Jul. 05, 2018 UPDATE

Must-visit shops during Gion Matsuri

There are many shops in Kyoto to seek for souvenirs. In this article, the best and the most accessible shops you might want to drop by while visiting the Gion Festival are introduced.
Gion Festival

One of the three largest festivals in Kyoto is Gion Matsuri. Streets and accommodations in central Kyoto are filled with tourists around this time of the year. Thus, it’ll be a bit difficult to find a place for shopping. However, this list covers spots you can purchase Ukiyo-e (a genre of traditional Japanese art), Japanese sweets, and bamboo chopsticks, so please take notes of them and find your favorite ones!


1NISHIHARUNishiharu is located on the Teramachi Kyogoku Shopping Street. It founded in 1923 and has offered well-preserved Japanese printings and ukiyo-e artworks to collectors. Its Sukiya-zukuri (a type of Japanese traditional residential architectural style) interior gives you a feeling you’ve really come to Kyoto, the most classical and historical city in Japan. Even though you’re not a big fan of ukiyo-e, it would be fun for just browsing. 


Best for    seekers for traditional artworks



2LONDON-YAThis locally loved sweets shop, London-ya, is on the Shin-Kyogoku Shopping Street. You can buy bite-sized Japanese sponge cake with fillings of pasted whited beans here. The sponge cake machine at the entrance is a landmark of it. It’ll be fine to get only a piece, which costs 54 yen, so it’s good for those who are a little bit peckish.


Best for    those who are peckish and want a little sweetness



3SUETOMIThe highlight of the Gion Matsuri is Yamaboko Junko (a parade of decorated floats). If you walk down to the south from the starting point of the parade, there’s Suetomi. Their well-thought out Japanese sweets are often chosen by monks and masters of the tea ceremony. Their wrapping paper is very famous for its color, so-called “Suetomi Blue,” which is designed by a Japanese-style painter Yoson Ikeda.


Best for    shoppers looking for souvenirs and Japanese sweets



4HAYASHI MANSHODOHayashi Manshodo is on the Shijo Dori, the main route of Yamaboko Junko. Their chestnuts are roasted by artisans at the head store with mastered techniques. While roasting, the sweet aroma of Amaguri (roasted chestnuts) allures people passing by. They’re strictly committed to the philosophy, “Don’t sell old-day roasted chestnuts,” since the first opening to provide high-quality Amaguri.


Best for    tourists seeking for a shop along the Shijo Dori



5SOHONKE KAWAMICHIYASoba-horu (buckwheat flour cookies) is what Sohonke Kawamichiya specializes for. Bringing the techniques of making soba noodles into baking, Soba-horu first appeared in the late Edo period. Since then, it has been a popular item in Kyoto among locals and tourists. Soba-horu is available at the JR Kyoto Isetan department store as well, so great for last-minute shopping.


Best for    tourists who look for long-loved classic items in Kyoto



6ICHIHARA HEIBEI SHOTENIchihara Heibei Shoten is a long-established store as the purveyor to the Imperial Household. They specialize for bamboo chopsticks made from scarce Susu bamboo. About 400 kinds of chopsticks are available and all of them are beautifully shaped. There are some people who visit Kyoto to long for their chopsticks. All of their products reflect the Japanese craftsmanship, unwavering commitment to their works.


Best for    those who shop something “very Japanese”


Chiemi[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
The downtown of Kyoto has many shops ranging from very traditional to trendy-pop shops. Picking up stores which are loved for the ages, I hope you’ve found your favorite one. Each of the shops is a few minute-walk from the Shijo Dori, so please stop by at one before and after the Yamaboko Junko parade.
Related keywords
All Shops Sweets All Kyoto Area Downtown Gion & Kiyomizu Temple
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