Handmade Everyday Kyoto Bits and Bobs
Just a 10 minutes’ walk southeast of the Nijo-jo Castle, Kyo-machiya Shop Mayu is a zakka store selling a range of individually hand-dyed Kyoto-style accessories that utilize the ancient capital’s traditional dyeing techniques.
Mayu first opened its doors in 2000 after parent company and 100-year-old yuzen dyer Marumasa Nishimuraya wanted to give people more access to the largely traditional fabrics.
Utilizing years of skill and experience in Kyoto’s traditional dyeing technique, yuzen, Mayu offers a swath of brilliantly colored and incredible looking items.
Among the various designs are some that reference the seasons, with patterns of plum and cherry blossoms, and some that feature classically Japanese landscapes–providing the items with even more of a sense of Kyoto.
Another draw of these hand-dyed fabrics comes during the cutting process when the sheets are cut, altering the placement of the patterns. This creates a unique situation where while two items might share the same design, they will never be exactly the same.
Utilizing these fabrics, Mayu offers a wide range of handmade bags and accessories, for everyday use, including small kisslock coin purses and phone cases.
Mayu produces all their items at their Kyoto factory, making them all Kyoto made through and through.
So if you’re looking for authentic, locally made Kyoto souvenirs, then check out Mayu.
koto koto Coin Purse
/ ￥1,650 (inc. tax)
Mayu’s koto koto are a line of popular kisslock coin purses that feature original designs.
The concept of the koto koto line is “a representation of Kyoto from Mayu’s unique and peculiar perspective.”
In addition to designs featuring the vegetables and temples and shrines of the Kyoto, there are also ones that reference the city’s famous sightseeing spots via cute animal patterns–including the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine’s foxes and Arashiyama’s monkeys.
If you’d like to know the particular reference of any of the designs, feel free to ask one of the staff.
If you find a design featuring somewhere you visited during your time in Kyoto, then why not pick it up as a keepsake of your trip to Japan’s ancient capital.
/ ￥1,100 (inc. tax)
This case is designed to hold smartphones, digital cameras, and other devices. Ichimatsu is a traditional Japanese motif, and here it's combined with cherry blossom for an even more Japanese feel.
Mayu makes sure to never skimp on the details either, as they include an entirely different design on the inside of each of the cases as well.
The cases also have small hooks attached, so you can snap on a strap and turn them into a handbag or cool neck pouch.
Also, as the feel of all of the cases change when something’s inside, make sure to try them out with your phone and see how they look.
3Check it out!
/ ￥1,650 (inc. tax)
These cool tumblers are modern yet traditional, with different floral designs that contain their own distinct meaning.
The plum blossom pattern, for example, is a reference to Sugawara Michizane, a historic scholar who is enshrined at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine as the deity of wisdom and was a lover of plum blossoms. This design is recommended to those currently focusing on their studies.
All of the designs can be switched out, so feel free to customize your tumbler with the design you like the best.
Also, note that these tumblers are not dishwasher safe.
4Check it out!
Balloon Makeup Bag
/ ￥2,200 (inc. tax)
Just as the name suggests, these are makeup bags designed to blow up like balloons.
These wonderfully round bags are made with particularly loose fabric so that they can fit as much in as possible.
Also, since the bags use a kisslock, even if you put a ton inside, you’ll be able to open it up wide and get a good look at everything inside.
While these are called makeup bags, they can also be used to carry anything that might not fit in a smaller bag.