Kyoto Shopping

Most shops slide their doors open at 10, and many shopkeepers partake of the morning ritual of sweeping and watering the entrance to welcome the first customers. Traditional shops lock up at 6 or 7 in the evening. Stores often close sporadically once or twice a month (closings are irregular), so it helps to call in advance if you're making a special trip. On weekends, downtown can be very crowded.

A

shopkeeper's traditional greeting to a customer is o-ideyasu (Kyoto-ben, the Kyoto dialect, for "honored to have you here"), voiced in the lilting Kyoto intonations with the required bowing of the head. When a customer makes a purchase, the shopkeeper will respond with o-okini ("thank you" in Kyoto-ben), a smile, and a bow. Take notice of the careful effort and adroitness with which purchases are wrapped; it's an art in itself.

Kyoto's depato (department stores) are small in comparison to their mammoth counterparts in Tokyo and Osaka. They still carry a wide range of goods and are great places for one-stop souvenir shopping. Wandering around the basement food halls is a good way to build up an appetite. Prices drop dramatically during end-of-season sales.

Kyoto has several popular seasonal fairs, from local area pottery sales to the national antiques fairs, usually held in May, June, and October. Several temple markets take place in Kyoto each month. These are great places to pick up bargain kimonos or unusual souvenirs. They're also some of the best spots for people-watching.

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Kyoto Shopping

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Aizen Kobo

  • Local Specialties

This shop specializes in the finest handwoven and hand-dyed indigo textiles. Pure Japanese indigo dye, with its famed rich color, will...

Daimaru

  • Department Stores

This large department store appeals to more expensive and conservative tastes, so expect high-quality kimonos and lacquerware. International...

Fujii Daimaru

  • Department Stores

This store, focusing exclusively on trendy fashion, is a funkier branch of the old matron Daimaru. ...

Isetan

  • Department Stores

This 13-story department store in the Kyoto Station Building has one floor dedicated to cosmetics, another to art, another to—well,...

Jusan-ya

  • Clothing

Probably the most famous—and surely one of the oldest—of the numerous accessories stores that can be found in the Shijo neighborhood,...

Kitano Tenman-gu

  • Gifts/Souvenirs

This vibrant flea market overflows into the side streets surrounding the grounds on the 25th of each month, with kimono and crafts at...

Kungyoku-do

  • Crafts

This shop has been dealing in fine woods, herbs, and spices for 400 years. It specializes in fragrant wood, incense sticks, and scented...

Kuraya Hashimoto

  • Crafts

Something out of a young boy's dream, this shop has one of the best collections of antique and newly forged swords. The staff is happy...

Loft

  • Gifts/Souvenirs

This store has five floors jam-packed with everything from beauty products to anime merchandise. Kids and teenagers love browsing here,...

Miyawaki Baisen-an

  • Local Specialties

The most famous fan shop in all of Kyoto has been in business since 1823. It delights customers not only with its fine collection of...

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