Going about its traditional ways, Kyoto is not without the modern, commercial side, ranging from the world-class international flagships to the traditional stores and antique emporiums, hedonistic heavens of healthy seafood markets & stalls, high tech electronics to the Hello Kitty accessories. It is an adventurous shopping journey from ancient Japan, and here we guide you through some of Kyoto’s best-known shopping addresses.
1. DOWNTOWN KYOTO
Here, you’ll be able to find the largest selection of the popular shops and major department stores; Daimaru, Takashimaya, an infinite number of the small sellers at Teramachi and Shinkyogoku famous shopping arcades, be amazed by the variety of traditional food options offered at Nishiki Market or spend some time with Louis Vuitton near Kawaramachi Street.
Might be hard to know where to start, but you can’t go wrong with Shijo Street, the main street of Kyoto, and cruising your way to the shopping arcades.
Kyoto’s main train station is surrounded by a belt of outlets and department stores, a highly sought-after destination for electronic goodies, and for those who are planning to renew their wardrobe you have a wide range of options for all different types of tastes in clothes and accessories.
To mention just a few; the Cube shopping mall, Isetan department store, residing on the 13 floors of the Kyoto station where you can find anything from a needle to the locomotive. Kyoto Yodobashi, featuring Yodobashi Camera, an electronics chain store, Asty Square & Asty Road with famous Kyoto stores selling some of the unique local products. To wrap it up, the Kyoto JR station world is yours to discover as soon as you step out of the train.
3. TO-YI TEMPLE & KITANO TENMANGU SHRINE – FLEE MARKETS
Let’s look at some of Kyoto’s flea markets, highly atmospheric, antique, vintage, and culinary happenings, usually at the end of each month.
Kobo – san market near To-ji temple, located south-west of Kyoto Station gathers treasure hunters every month on the 21st. With its own unique ambiance, this largest and the most popular market can be hard to navigate due to the crowds, but that is all part of the experience. Kimonos, traditional Japanese art & crafts, pottery, and much more is to be expected here.
Tenjin – san market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, on the 25th is equally impressive in size, offer, and atmosphere, with second-hand clothes grabbing most of the attention. Tezukuri-Ichi (Handicrafts), Kennin-ji Temple Flea Market ( Arts), Mononoke Ichi Market (youkai art – spirits, demons in Japanese folklore) are some of the smaller markets with a charisma of their own.
4. HIGASHIYAMA DISTRICT
Back at the very essence of Kyoto, in the eastern part of the city, you will find the historic Higashiyama district, “the mountain of the East”, arriving from the name of the mountain to which the neighborhood leans. Since the fourteenth century, numerous temples, shrines, and villas of the nobility have been built here, giving the neighborhood a special touch in the field of architecture, gardens, or fine arts.
This tradition continues today, attracting visitors from all over the world, and here you will find some genuine artifacts, souvenirs, pottery, complemented by the feel of ‘real Japan.
5. MAIN SHOPPING STREETS IN KYOTO
Here is a rundown of Kyoto’s most dynamic shopping streets where you can pick up anything from clothes, electronics, cool mementos, shoe stores galore, and high-end items, as well as a variety of arts, crafts, and of course food, weird and wonderful bites only Japan can offer. Teramachi Shopping Arcade – art galleries, bookshops, clothing shops, footwear, and pretty much everything. Shin Kyogoku Shopping Arcade – parallel with the Teramachi street, a trendier scene, attracting younger crowds with a hip vibe and offer.
Kawaramachi street – Here you will find the mother of the department stores in Kyoto, Takashimaya, as well as Marui. Shijo Street – at the intersection with Kawaramachi street, high-end boutiques and Daimaru department store await.
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