20 More Souvenirs to Buy in Kyoto! Trendy Gifts for Almost Anyone You Can Think Of
Kyoto is abound with charming stores to buy souvenirs from, and you will probably find yourself spending too much time in them! To give you an efficient and informed souvenir-shopping experience, here is a list of our top recommendations for souvenirs you can find in Kyoto. From trendy, traditional, to the most popular Uji matcha items, read on and become an expert in Kyoto souvenirs!
Sep 13 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
10 Confectionery Souvenirs from Kyoto
1. Tsuruya Yoshinobu IRODORI
"Kohakuto" has been gaining buzz as a new and trendy sweet, produced by the long-established store Tsuruya Yoshinobu IRODORI. The "Kohakuto" is famous, not just in the Kansai region but around Japan as a local Kyoto product made by one of the oldest stores in Japan. Every flavor has our stamp of approval!
The adorable stick-shaped "Kohakuto" comes in soft and translucent pastel colors with a seasonal motif. Their jewel-like shimmering makes for a pretty Instagram shot, and they have a shelf life of about 30 days! This item is a great option for a souvenir if you're not able to gift it to somebody immediately!
MALEBRANCHE is a western-style confectionery store with its main branch in Kyoto's Kitayama area. Their Uji matcha flavored sweets are very popular for their traditional Japanese flavor. A new staple from the selection offered at MALEBRANCHE is "CHA no KA", a langue de chat cookie made with high-quality matcha. The matcha comes from a rich paste made by grinding the freshest leaves on a stone mill.
The "CHA no HA" sandwiches a generous amount of white chocolate, and the combination of the slightly bitter aroma of matcha with the sweet white chocolate is irresistible! It pairs well with green tea, as well as coffee or black tea. This sweet is a new Kyoto souvenir staple, but it is also very popular with locals.
3. GION SAKAI
The Kyoto Baum from GION SAKAI is made from local ingredients and is Kyoto's highly popular baumkuchen. The matcha layers are made from an exquisite blend of Kyoto's traditional "Morihan no Matcha" and another type of green tea called sencha. The richness of the aromatic matcha perfectly complements the smooth soy milk. The flour also comes from 100% domestically produced wheat, and the resulting soft yet moist texture is a must-try.
The prices of the "Kyoto Baum" varies depending on the thickness. The 3.5cm option costs 1,080 yen, and the recommended thicker 5.25cm option costs 1,620 yen. It is a wonderfully special gift, with beautiful contrasts of green and white.
4. nikiniki Kyoto Station Branch
nikiniki is a shop that reimagines the traditional yatsuhashi, a traditional Kyoto sweet made from rice cake. The brand is a part of the yatsuhashi specialty store, Shogo-in Yatsuhashi's main branch, and one of the most popular items is the "carré de cannelle". The "carré de cannelle" is assembled by first choosing the yatsuhashi base. There are 5 flavor options, including the classic Kyoto matcha and nikki (a type of cinnamon), as well as sesame, "azure", and "rosé".
Next, the yatsuhashi is combined with choices from 8 types of sweet bean paste and confitures. With options including tomato jelly and vanilla bean custard, the product is a brand-new kind of a yatsuhashi experience. Classic versions of yatsuhashi are sold in many places, but nikiniki is the only place where you will be able to try yatsuhashi as unique as these ones!
5. Takanoya Sadahiro
Have you ever heard of Japanese marshmallows? Instead of the usual gelatin-based marshmallows, these ones have delicate aromas and a soft texture. They are called "hozui", and are made by mixing whipped egg whites with an agar-based syrup. The "Chinmari" sold at Takanoya Sadahiro is an assortment of these marshmallows shaped into adorable animals.
The "Chinmari" comes in cute miniature sizes that could fit in a child's hand. Types of animals include rabbits, chicks, pandas, and tigers, in addition to piglets and bears. The last two types are included exclusively in the "Chinmari" package, while the others are also sold individually.
6. Gion Tsujiri
Gion Tsujiri is an Uji matcha specialty store, and its popularity is so high that it is said that there is not a single person in Kyoto that has not heard of it. You can't go wrong with any of the matcha sweets offered at this store! If you're in search for an item with a long shelf life, we recommend the "Tsujiri no Sato".
Gion Tsujiri's "Tsujiro no Sato" has a thin and crispy dough layer, filled with generous amounts of matcha cream inside. It also comes at a relatively affordable price of 432 yen for 8 pieces, or 648 yen for 15 pieces. Not only that, each one is individually packaged so it's a convenient souvenir to hand out!
MarieBelle is a popular chocolatier from New York that opened a branch in Kyoto. Take a moment to step foot in its New York-style stylish blue atmosphere during your visit! The "Signature Art Ganache" is our top recommendation to take home as a souvenir. The surface of each of these bon bon chocolat sweets each have illustrations on them with their own little stories.
Choosing the illustration depending on the person you are gifting it to is one of the best parts of buying this souvenir. You can also enjoy a chocolate show or some gelato in the adjoining cafe's stylish Japanese-style atmosphere.
8. Chocolat BEL AMER
The "Stick Chocolat" sold at Chocolat BEL AMER is a popular souvenir option for its gorgeous aesthetic and has been featured on TV and in magazines. Visit this famous chocolatier to find your favorite among these Kyoto-exclusive chocolates that incorporate the culture and tradition of Kyoto!
Chocolat BEL AMER is a must on your list if you find yourself in Kyoto. People visit from all around the world to see their stylish interior, and you can snap a great Instagram photo with the backdrop of Kyoto's traditional streets. Prices are admittedly not cheap with each piece costing 540 yen, but tasting the rich and smooth aroma of chocolate spread in your mouth is a worthwhile experience. There are many flavors to choose from that are special to Kyoto, including matcha adzuki, brown sugar with soy bean flour, and amazake (a sweet, low-alcohol sake)!
9. ARASHIYAMA RUSK Main Branch Cafe
Next up in our recommendations is the "Arashiyama Rusk", which can be found at the Arashiyama Rusk Main Branch Cafe. It is an original item from Kyoto's Togetsu-kyo area and is a very popular souvenir option. The traditional Kyoto-style flavors of the "Arashiyama Rusk" include matcha and hojicha (roasted green tea).
An impressive amount of top grade Uji matcha is incorporated into the matcha-flavored rusk, and it is a must on every matcha-enthusiast's list to experience the subtle bitterness combined with the crunchy texture. More recently, the Hoji-cha flavored rusks have started appearing in convenience stores and are very popular with foreign visitors. This delicious souvenir is great for people who don't enjoy overly-sweet snacks and is sold for an affordable price of 540 yen for a pack of 6. If you're looking for a small and light souvenir that won't crowd your baggage, this is for you!
10. Tsukimochiya Naomasa
The "Shiruko" from Tsukimochiya Naomasa, is one of the more unusual items in our list of recommendations. Enjoyed for its flavor as well as aesthetic, it is a traditional sweet made by a famous sweets shop that has been in business for four generations. It is not as famous as some of the other recommendations on our list, but it is a special souvenir bought by 'people in the know'.
Colorful rows of fresh and dry sweets are displayed in this very traditional Japanese-style shop, frequented regularly by locals. Open from early in the morning until the evening, this is a great spot to take a short break from your sightseeing activities, as well as a place to buy some delicious souvenirs!
5 Local Specialty Souvenirs from Kyoto
The souvenir staple "Ajari Mochi" from the famous Kyoto sweets shop Mangetsu was introduced in 1856. The thin and chewy dough layer, made from sticky rice, rock sugar, and eggs, envelopes a subtly sweet bean paste made from a top-quality brand of adzuki beans.
Unfortunately, the "Ajari Mochi" only has a shelf life of five days but if you aren't able to gift it to someone, treat yourself to one of these deliciously chewy manju (sweet buns with sweet bean paste filling)! Sold at an affordable price, these make absolutely wonderful souvenirs if you can deliver them in time!
Tsukemono (pickled vegetable) shops are unmissable as you make your way around Kyoto, but Kyoto Tsukemono Nishiri is particularly popular, with locations in most popular sightseeing locations including Kawara-machi and Arashiyama. If you're a fan of pickled vegetables, you can't go wrong with any of the items sold here, but the "Nishiri Senmai-zuke" (slices of pickled radish) is one of their most beloved items.
Most people usually opt for sweet souvenirs, but why not change it around and grab some pickled delicacies instead? Every single item at Kyoto Tsukemono Nishiri is made using only locally-produced vegetables, so these are arguably the ultimate Kyoto souvenirs. You can try samples of some of the pickles in the stores, so you can have a taste before deciding what to buy and you'll most likely end up buying some for yourself too!
The nationally famous traditional sweets shop Shioyoshiken was established in 1882. Its emblematic black banner and very traditional atmosphere has a history of over 130 years in Kyoto's Nishijin district. As one of the oldest sweets shop representing the ancient capital of Japan, Shioyoshiken sells the exquisitely gorgeous traditional sweet "Ohigashi".
The popular "Ohigashi" at Shioyoshiken is made from pure wasanbon (a special Japanese fine-grain sugar). There are six types of "Ohigashi" offered, all unique variations of the sugar sweet that are delightful to look at. With a 30-day long shelf life, these are a definite crowd pleaser.
Yojiya is Kyoto's famous cosmetics brand, and once you've seen the logo of the woman's face, you will recognize it everywhere, including the oil blotting paper on our previous list! Their oil absorbing sheets are very famous in Japan as a Kyoto product, and make a useful gift for friends and family who wear makeup.
They are convenient to gift to many people, and you can even find scented versions depending on the season, such as matcha, yuzu (Japanese citrus), and sakura (cherry blossom). If don't want to worry about shelf life at all, this is a great souvenir to buy.
The popular souvenir "Chirimen Sansho" (dried baby sardines with Japanese pepper) sold at Kikuya is a delicious addition to the dinner table. Kikuya is a long-established traditional Japanese restaurant so the "Chirimen Sansho" is exceptional, but it is a great savory souvenir option too, as it can be stored in room temperature.
The traditional flavors of "Chirimen Sansho" made by one of Miyagawa-cho area's oldest restaurants will do wonders to your appetite with its combination of the piquant pepper and sweetness of mirin (sweet sake seasoning). It pairs wonderfully with rice as well as alcoholic beverages, and costs 1,080 yen for 40g. This is a popular item across all ages and is one of the more versatile items on our list!
5 Non-Food Souvenirs from Kyoto
1. Karancolon Kyoto
If you visit the store, make sure to look for the Kyoto-exclusive "uroko" (checkered) pattern. This pattern has a historical meaning of protection from evil and misfortune, and the multi-color arrangement is very pretty to look at. Check out the store's official Instagram page @karancolon__kyoto for updates on the latest designs and products!
Eirakuya is Japan's oldest cotton fabrics store with over 400 years of history. Same as the previous store Karancolon, this store also has a location in ASTY Road. From various types of traditional cloths to bags, this store sells Japanese designs that were popular from the Meiji to Showa era as retrospective designs.
Apart from the gorgeous retrospective designs, there is also a lot of original art from collaborations with many artists and companies that expand the world of Japanese cloth art. With a great combination of functional use and beauty, these make exceptionally stylish Kyoto souvenirs.
3. Shoyeido kunkun
Buy incense from Shoyeido kunkun and remind yourself of the aromas of Kyoto when you return home! The "kunkun series" is particularly popular, and you can find an array of other adorable small souvenir incense items such as incense packets.
The "kunkun series" can only be purchased at the Kyoto Station Hachijo Gate branch of Shoyeido kunkun, and their elegant, softly-wafting incenses are enjoyed by a lot of first-time customers. The "kunkun series" are bundles of 7cm stick-type incenses, and it comes with a simple incense holder. Buy this compact item as a souvenir and save yourself some luggage space while you're at it!
4. Kyoto Shabonya
Next on our list of recommendations is soap from Kyoto Shabonya. All of them are handmade and there is a large variety to choose from, including matcha, sweet chocolate, and of course, bubble-scented ones!
We particularly recommend the "Maiko Soap", made using gold leaf and white rice bran that are also used by maiko (geisha apprentices). Grab one of these soaps from Kyoto Shabonya and hopefully achieve the beautiful skin of maiko!
5. Kyonoyuki Kyoto Nijo Main Branch
Last but not least on our list of recommendations is the "Sakura Pouch Trial Set" from Kyonoyuki, a natural cosmetics brand based on medical treatment invented in Kyoto. Since the products from Kyonoyuki were put on sale online in 2004, the brand has gained a lot of fans locally and from all around Japan.
The base of the products sold by "Kyonoyuki" are 27 hand-selected plant essences that are native to Japan and China. All of these plants, including mugwort, shiso, and turmeric, are preciously grown by the most trusted farmers around the country. The products are extremely carefully made right down to the natural water taken from Kyoto's Mount Kurama for the essence, so consumers do not have to worry at all about quality or origin. The "Sakura Pouch Trial Set" includes basic skincare items and comes with a cute pouch useful for traveling!
A Selection of Kyoto's Best Souvenirs
And there you have it, our top picks for sweet, staple, and miscellaneous souvenirs from the popular tourist destination, Kyoto. Take advantage of your visit and plan trips to some of these shops for souvenirs you will only find here, but be warned, you will probably end up shopping for yourself in the process! If you need more ideas, check out our other selection for even more ideas and inspiration! Many of the streets in Kyoto can be difficult to navigate, so make sure to also factor in some time to get lost and a running list of souvenirs to look for.
Header credit: PR Image Factory/Shutterstock.com
Translated and republished with permission from: SPIRA (formerly known as Relux Magazine)
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Title Image: PR Image Factory / Shutterstock
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.