Would you like to buy a little something home as a reminder of your travel in Kyoto? Or you would like to buy something you can use to look back and recall the wonderful experience you had with your loved one in this ancient city? Or, is it something for your relatives, friends, and colleagues to show that you have been thinking about them while you have been away on your vacation? But buying souvenir can be a stressful and tricky process. It is better to buy something meaningful than to buy many cheap things that you will never use. Here is a list of the top five best souvenirs you should buy in Kyoto.
Japanese knives are becoming famous and many foreign visitors would love to buy one as a souvenir. If you travel to Kyoto, you shouldn’t miss the most famous Japanese kitchen knife maker in western Japan – Aritsugu. It’s also one of the oldest knife makers in Japan.
In 1560, a swordsmith named Fujiwara Aritsugu set up his store in Nishiki Market. Later, he was one of the few selected stores to become a supplier for the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Based on this aspect of Aritsugu’s history, one can be sure of the excellent quality of their products. And 550 years had passed since the founder set up the store and it is now lead by the 18th generation of store owners.
If you are interested in buying one Aritsugu kitchen knife as a souvenir, you can visit the Aritsugu located at the east end of the old Nishiki Market arcade in central Kyoto, which has been in existence since 1560. Santoku is highly recommended because it’s an all-purpose kitchen knife for home cooking use. In addition to selling a wide selection of knives, Aritsugu also offers several other kitchen tools implements as scissors, graters, whetstones, etc.
Traditional handmade Japanese paper is collectively known as Washi. As a matter of fact, paper was originally made in China in the first century and the art of making paper was brought to Japan in 610 AD by Buddhist monks for producing scriptures. In the Edo era (1603-1867), the culture of washi spread widely in Kyoto. Later, washi was used to make various everyday goods like traditional artworks, household goods, toys, fusuma (sliding doors), etc.
Kamiji Kakimoto is one of the best places in Kyoto to buy washi. It located on a stretch of Teramachi that is chock-a-bloc with craft stores, antique stores, and art stores. You can spend hours here browsing a wide selection of interior design and modern accessories created in Kyoto from traditional washi paper, and getting inspired for your next art project.
Both kimono and yukata are traditional Japanese garments that have charmed people around the world with their beauty and style. Do you know the difference between the two? Let me tell you, the basic difference is in their fabric. Kimono dress comes in silk fabric, while yukata comes in cotton fabric. Furthermore, kimono is the older, more traditional, and more expensive and it is always worn for important festivals or formal occasions. On the other hand, yukata are the more casual and inexpensive garment and it’s a popular choice for summer events like firework festival. The Kikuya market located at Manjuji-dori is the best place to get yourself a quality second-hand kimono.
Chopsticks are originally the traditional kitchen and eating utensils of China. Later it spread to other locations including Japan, Korea, Nepal and many Southeast Asia countries. In the beginning, chopsticks were only used in Japanese ceremonies. Gradually, chopsticks made their way into the home and became used for eating on a regular basis. Do you know that not all chopsticks are alike? Japanese chopsticks are usually shorter than other chopsticks and taper to a fine point. Furthermore, Japanese chopsticks also come in kid sizes and woman sizes, which are even shorter than standard sizes. Even if you’re not using them, Japanese chopsticks are among the best souvenirs you can buy from Kyoto because almost every pair of them are true works of art. If you are interested in buying Japanese chopsticks as a souvenir, you can drop by the Ohashi-no-Ohshita chopsticks store and workshop, which located at Gion district.
All these above items are the exquisite Kyoto souvenirs that are a unique blend of traditional and modernity. Surely, you want to put it on your bucket list of things to buy. They make great souvenirs to bring back home and make everyone jealous how great your Kyoto trip was!