A good area to shop is the street going down from the Kiyomizu-dera Temple into the Kiyomizu historic district. Take the wide stone stairs down from the temple, then turn right at the corner where the street goes straight down. A lot of the fans are made in china, but there are lots of other delightful little shops and a nice noodle restaurant on your right. It's in the Higashiyama district.
My favorite purchase was some cloth coasters with a pattern on each side.
What to buy: Handicrafts, fans [check source], silk scarves, knives, ceramics. There is something for every price point. I like buying things like chopstick rests and other small tableware that will remind me of Japan.
What to pay: From a couple of dollars to a lot.
Chirimen is a traditional weaving technique that was developed in the late sixteenth century in Japan. The cloth or silk fabric that is made from this technique is also called "chirimen."
I just love them, and I love how artfully mix colors.....the touch is so soft .....
What to buy: I bought the Hina hanging doll and matched it with another silk plate
What to pay: 5 dollar and up
The Ryomakan is a shop specializing in souvenirs related to Sakamoto Ryoma, the famous samurai from Kochi who helped bring an end to the Shogunate and usher in the Meiji Period. It is in Kyoto's Fushimi area because the Teradaya Inn where Ryoma was attacked (but not killed) is here. Ryoma is very popular so many people come to see the Teradaya and the shop has many unique souvenirs related to him for fans to buy.
The shop is fun to browse. There are keychains, postcards, pictures, books, pens, figurines, pottery, geta, cell phone charms, shirts, plushies, and other items featuring Sakamoto Ryoma. They also have some souvenirs such as swords that are related to samurai, since Ryoma was a samurai. (some items can also be ordered online from their website)
There are a couple other Ryoma-themed places on the same small road, like the Ryoma Sushi Restaurant and Ryoma Hall for those interested in the Ryoma theme.
Although Sanjo and Shijo have the most shopping centers and widest selection, if you're in the Fushimi area or just looking to go somewhere else for a change, the Otesuji Shopping Street is full of restaurants, clothing shops, some souvenir shops and other specialty shops. It's a nice place to browse. The district is four long streets in length and is located right outside Keihan Fushimi Momoyama Station (just a minute's walk from Kintetsu Momoyamagoryomae Station).
The area is most famous for its sake and wine, so if you are looking for local goods that is what to buy. Some are available here in the shopping district however, if you are touring the area, you can also go directly to the breweries not far from the shopping area.
As an interesting sidenote, Otesuji is powered by solar energy from solar panels on the roof of the overpass.
Kyukyodo is a shop in Teramachi (close to Sanjo) and has been here since 1663. For Japanese, it is a very popular place to buy cards. There is a good variety and most of the shop's cards and other items are unique. One of the shop's stated goals is to help preserve Japanese traditional culture, which of course, includes the preservation of historical businesses such as this one!
The cards are nice, especially the New Years cards (nengajo). They also have some unique hand-made postcards. Although the paper products seem to be the most popular, there are also many other items like fans, paintings, incense and Buddhist items, calligraphy sets, pottery, ceramics, and many expensive items. The cards are nice and have a bit of historical value, as they are made in such an old establishment and the other items are great for those looking for something more authentic than what you'll get at the souvenir shops.
Kyoto is famous for yatsuhashi, and there are a few different brands available, but none are more delicious than Honke Nishio Yatsuhashi! Once you've had it, you'll never waste your money on Yuuko yatsuhashi or other brands. Honke Nisho Yatsuhashi has been around since the 17th century, so it's certainly a well-established business!
Yatsuhashi can be soft or hard. They sell both here but the soft yatsuhashi is what most people come for. There are a variety of flavors and many are seasonal such as the summer mango, peach, and mikan, but others are always available, like the cinnamon nikki yatsuhashi. In most of the stores you can sample them to see which you like before purchasing them.
Shop locations are scattered about the city. There are a few around the outside of Kiyomizu Temple on the streets leading to it. Another convenient one is located in the Shinkyogoku shopping area (the one parallel to Teramachi). The street leading to Ginkakuji Temple has a store and a couple near Kumano Shrine. It is so popular, there is actually even one store in Tokyo!
The only downside is that if you buy soft yatsuhashi it must be eaten within one week and to be honest, if you want that fresh taste, it is best eaten within two days of purchase so it's not a good souvenir for those traveling from abroad. For that kind of souvenir, the hard yatsuhashi is better because it lasts a long time.
What to pay: Each pack of yatsuhashi is only 250 yen so it's worth buying even as a quick snack.
If you are looking for shopping centers rather than souvenir shops, Teramachi, which runs from Shijo to Sanjo is Kyoto's largest shopping area. Inside there's a wide variety of souvenir shops, clothing stores, arcades, restaurants, and other shops. The Nishiki Market is also part of the complex, branching off Teramachi. It has some souvenir shops but also a lot of tsukemono (pickled vegetables), fish, and produce. Shinkyogoku runs parallel to Teramachi and many streets connect the two from within the shopping complex.
Outside the complex in both Shijo and Sanjo there are a variety of department stores and multi-story shopping complexes. The Daimaru building and Hankyu building are the largest in the Shijo area. Sanjo has Loft and Uniqlo among many others. As is typical, there are many different clothing stores, but you'll also find book stores, jewelry, electronics, and a variety of specialty shops. There are also many restaurants and, of course, you will still find souvenir shops!
The Chirimen Craft Museum in Arashiyama is not a museum at all; it is a store that specializes in items made from chirimen (a special way of weaving that creates a textured fabric). Perhaps what makes it a "museum" is simply that it has greater selection than most other places that have chirimen items.
The shop has a wide variety of mobiles, stuffed animals (including many zodiac signs), hand purses, bags, and other souvenir items. The second floor has more chirimen as well as some jewelry and glass items.
Chirimen is a bit pricier than the same products made with other materials but the prices are generally reasonable. Chirimen is a special Kyoto product, so these items make great souvenirs and gifts.
@*@THE CHIRIMEN CRAFT MUSEUM@*@*
Chirimen is a traditional weaving technique that was developed in the late sixteenth century in Japan. The cloth or silk fabric that is made from this technique is also called "chirimen." The cloth has the unique feature of soft wrinkles. According to the pamphlet from the Chirimen Craft Museum, "the wrinkles are created by alternating two types of silk thread, twisted in different directions, by turns in the weft. The woven cloth is at first flat, but the wrinkles suddenly emerge after rinsing dirt out of the thread. This is the moment when the breathtaking beauty of the wrinkles is born."
I really love this shop, it is a real japanese cultural thing that you is a great souvenier....
What to buy: price wise i bought one string of chirimen dolls and costs around 12 dollars.... cheapest and up tp 60 dollars.....which would be several strings attached
i also bought mobile phone toy for 5 dolars....
i like the purchase even if sounding little expensive
check the web site i attached for more pics
What to pay: least 5 dollar
The clerks all smell of the delicate fragrance of congealed mackerel grease, and if you poke them with a wilted cat-tail, they start to purr, and seriously under-price the manga magazines. But that is nothing next to the seriously marked down dresses, tastefully styled from rice paste, and left over doilies and randomn knitted orange throw rugs that your Grandmother used to place over the couch in the basement, you know the one that had a peculiar odor of grandpa after a summer rain, and where a nest of mice made home for a magical week in August
What to buy: No modern home is complete without a vibrating gaijin back-scratcher-home dental set, and the Screaming Kitty Company out of Kyoto still makes a quality product in that regard, one with real Panda teeth rotators and American Eagle trim that runs on nothing but the rendered fat of Blue Whales -- not the cheap imitation second rate dental paraphernali with the "sanitized" surgical steel that my analyst keeps recommending. I myself prefer the terrible beauty of a mature abcess. Oh yes, and the snow globes make a nice gift, but they can be rather hard to pass, especially if you digestive problems.
What to pay: start offering about 50 yen, but do so in a REALLY LOUD VOICE -- that way they know you are serious. Don't make eye contact as that is considered a form of marriage proposal
This street is one of the most popular places for tourists to purchase souvenirs in Kyoto, mainly because it is the street leading up to the famous Kiyomizu Temple, which most visitors to Kyoto will visit.
There are many shops, and although many of the same items can be found in each shop, individual shops often have a few unique items, as well. If you have the time, it is wise to shop around a little. You can often find the same item for a cheaper price at another store!
This is also a good place to sample some local specialties. In particular, Honkenishio Yatsuhashi, located just below Kiyomizu Temple's entrance, sells the most delicious and fresh raw yatsuhashi in Kyoto! There are a few other locations (like the Temmaya arcade area), but this one is convenient for most people! The yatsuhashi all have a delicious filling and there are many flavors, such as cinnamon, strawberry, peach, mango, etc. The only downside is that it must be consumed within a week of purchase, so it's best to eat it while you're here!
In my opinion, this is one of Kyoto's best souvenir shops. Many of the items cannot be found elsewhere in the typical tourist shops and the items also look less touristy! They have some really nice paintings with typical Japanese scenes, handmade crafts, and nice copies of famous Japanese works of art. The paintings are all printed on authentic Japanese paper made here (hence the name). If you are not impressed by the same items you find over and over again in other shops around the city, this may have what you are looking for!
Sells pottery, lacquerware, glassware, clocks, furniture.... from the Meiji to the Showa period. Reasonably priced, with little 50year old plates from 100Yen each, to delicate 30,000Yen antique Meiji era lacquerware bowls....
What to buy: I bought this lacquerware plate from the Meiji era (ie. about 100years old) as well as some black early Showa period soup bowls. hmm I'd also like to get the light as a feather early Showa drinking glasses.... (ie. from about the 1930's, the ones grandma would have used...) - I just worry I would break them!!
What to pay: I bought the bowls on sale! 500Yen each! They also have some lovely Taisho Period lacquerware trays that i think I want!! Only 4 of them left. 2500Yen each. Very reasonable...
This is a pedestrian shopping lane about a kilometer long lined by restos and stores on both sides that sell clothes, shoes, bags, consumer goods, souvenirs, etc. Together with Shijo St., it is Kyoto's main shopping area for both locals and tourists.
The fancily dressed store attendants, who open the front doors, not a second before, not a second after the allotted opening time.
What to pay: Depends on what you buy, but definitely pricier than most department stores.