Shopping in Kyoto
In the same way Kyoto reflects both modern and ancient Japan, the shopping here is a city of opposites. There are superb independent, local shops, ideal for picking up unique gifts and knick knacks for decorating your home. But this being one of Japan’s major cities, there are vast malls, high–end luxury brands and all–encompassing department stores too. If you want it, Kyoto will doubtless have it.
Kyoto's main shopping district centres around the area where the streets Shijo-dori and Kawaramachi-dori intersect. Here you’ll find big department stores. The area between Kawaramachi-dori and Karasuma-dori contains smaller, independent specialist shops and boutiques selling both traditional crafts and the latest fashion trends. Fashionable shops, exclusive boutiques and trendy restaurants can also be found along the elegant Kitayama Street, which stretches eastward from Kitayama Bridge further north in Kyoto.
Kyoto has a number of shops that offer handmade Japanese paper, and Morita Washi, Higashinotoin-dori-Bukkoji agaru, near Shijo-dori, is the most famous, selling purified paper of the highest quality. Japanese comics and film fans should head for Teramachi-dori, one of Kyoto's biggest shopping arcades, which runs between Oike and Shijo-dori, where there are several stores specialising in manga and anime.
Kyoto is famous for its arts and crafts shops, and the best one for tourists is undoubtedly the multi-storey Kyoto Handicraft Center, 22-2 Shogoin Entomicho, Sakyo-ku, which sells a wide range of handicraft products and souvenirs, from lacquerware, porcelain, jewellery, woodblock prints and fabrics to kimonos, swords and T-shirts. Another excellent craft shop can be found in the Kyoto Craft Center, 275 Gion-machi-kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, which has exhibitions of textiles, ceramics and many other kinds of craft items made by local craftsmen and artists.
There are several huge department stores between Shijo-dori and Kawaramachi-dori, where you will find major fashion chain stores and high-street brands.
Shops in Kyoto are usually open daily 1000-2000.
Kyoto’s cavernous, incredible station is home to a series of excellent souvenir shops which sell more than your average fridge magnets and key rings. The Cube mall, in the station’s basement, is the ideal spot to pick up gifts for friends back home, especially if you’re about to hop on a shinkansen (Bullet Train) to your next destination.
A consumption tax of 5% is added to the price of all goods. Credit cards are slowly becoming more widely accepted, but most transactions are still done in cash.