STORY Kyoto Shopping Guide Come for the history, stay for the myriad shopping options
Kyoto offers more than just temples—visit its many shopping districts for traditional goods and modern gifts alike
Kyoto's streets are filled with old, traditional shops that hearken back to the time when it ruled as Japan's ancient capital. This city continues to be one of Japan's trendiest, meaning you can also find many new shops selling chic souvenirs and one-of-a-kind items.
Much of the nation's chirimen, the silk crepe used for kimono, is produced in Kyoto . There are many stores here that sell various goods made from the rich cloth. One such shop is Manekinekonote Manekiya, located in Nishiki Market , one of Kyoto's most lively shotengai (covered market). This store sells goods crafted from chirimen like business card holders and wallets. It is also known for its many maneki-neko goods, a traditional cat motif thought to bring luck.
There are many incense shops in Kyoto , as it is traditionally used in offerings at the many temples throughout the city. Established in 1855, Ishiguro Kouho is a shop specializing in nioi bukuro, or scented sachets. You can choose from the many pouches made in house, or customize one with the help of a salesperson.
Shoyeido, which has been open more than 300 years, sells uniquely shaped incense burners as well as incense. It is located on the way to Kiyomizu-dera Temple on Sannenzaka Slope.
Fukujuen, known to sell the highest quality green tea, was founded in 1790. Its flagship shop in Kyoto includes tea-making workshops, a cafe specializing in Japanese sweets and a French restaurant featuring dishes made with green tea.
Gion Koishi is a sweets shop with items made by skilled artisans following traditional techniques. They specialize in kakigori, or shaved ice, a popular summer treat in Japan.
Yojiya was founded in 1904 as a stage makeup shop for the many actors who worked at Kyoto's famous theaters. It is most famous for its aburatorigami, or oil absorbing paper, which is used when hammering gold into gold leaf. It is also known for its hand cream, yuzu lip cream and various other cosmetics.
Eirakuya Hosotsuji I-hee Syoten specializes in traditional fabrics, specifically tenugui (hand towels) and furoshiki (wrapping cloths). Many of the cloths have amusing patterns, like maiko (apprentice geisha) playing golf or riding a bullet train.
Sou Sou sells modern versions of traditional tabi, or split-toe shoes. Tamaru Inbou sells unique seals and stamps, many with quirky or intricate patterns.
Aeon Mall Kyoto Gojo
For those looking to buy more modern goods, Aeon Mall Kyoto Gojo is a cheaper option compared to the city's luxury department stores. The complex contains up to 140 shops of all kinds specializing in fashion, food products, and assorted daily goods. The mall also features restaurants and cafes, making it a large-scale complex that can provide a whole day of fun.