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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Japan > Kyoto

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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.

Key areas

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 and luxury brands. 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.

Markets

Kyoto is famous for its arts and crafts shops, and the best one for tourists is undoubtedly the multi-storey Kyoto Handicraft Center, 17 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. Nishiki Market in downtown Kyoto, also known as ‘Kyoto’s kitchen’, not only offers an abundance of food but also kitchenware and other souvenirs.

Shopping centres

There are several huge department stores between Shijo-dori and Kawaramachi-dori, where you will find major fashion chain stores and high-street brands.

Opening hours

Shops in Kyoto are usually open daily 1000-2000.

Souvenirs

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.

Tax information

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.

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Hyatt Regency Kyoto

A leader for luxury in Kyoto, the Hyatt Regency is superbly located next to the Sanjūsangen-dō Temple, with the Kyoto National Museum across the road and the Gion district within walking distance. The 178 rooms and suites are tastefully decorated with natural tones and traditional Kyoto fabrics. There are various in-house restaurants and bars, a Japanese garden, a relaxing spa and yoga studio.

Hiiragiya Ryokan

The Hiiragiya is one of the most exclusive ryokans in Kyoto. Since the mid-19th century it has hosted the rich and famous in its exquisitely decorated rooms. There are two wings – the oldest is full of traditional aesthetic charm and the more modern (completed in 2006) is a compliment of modern Japanese design. The service is impeccable and truly an experience in itself.

Shunkoin Temple Guest House

For a sacred night's sleep, Shunkion is located within the Myoshin-ji temple complex in the northwest of the city. Its eight simple and serene rooms are decked out with tatami mats and offer shared kitchen facilities; some have en suite bathrooms. The real draw is that guests can enjoy morning meditation classes and strolls in the temple by night. There's also free bicycle rental on offer.

Hotel Mume Kyoto

Set in a sleek four-story building in Gion, this warm and welcoming boutique stay has seven rooms decorated around the nature-inspired concept of 'ka-cho-fu-getsu' (flower, butterfly, wind, moon). In Flower, guests gaze up at cherry blossom karakami ceiling panels, Butterfly is defined by sumptuous red antique furniture, Wind is bright and breezy and Moon plays on a lunar theme with monochrome tiling.

Hotel Granvia Kyoto

A well-designed hotel for both business and leisure, Hotel Granvia Kyoto is conveniently located in the JR Kyoto Station building. The hotel is spread across 15 floors with 545 tastefully decorated rooms, an indoor pool, sauna, and fitness room as well as 12 different restaurants and bars. Local artwork is on display in the lobby and guest rooms.

Kyoto Royal Hotel & Spa

Snap up an early-bird discount for a great value stay at this large modern hotel found within walking distance of an array of historic landmarks restaurants and nightlife spots. Its 355 well-equipped rooms appeal to both business and leisure guests with high-speed Wi-Fi tea stations and comfortable beds. The restaurant has buffet-style lunch and dinner and a Western and Japanese breakfast spread.