If you like shopping, you’ll love Kyoto. It’s the best place in Japan to find traditional Japanese arts and crafts, and there are plenty of contemporary goods as well. This is a collection of the best shops and markets in the city.
Rather than giving a specific route and transport details, we have grouped the shops by area and the markets by date, so you can work them into your itinerary as you wish.
- Nishiki Market: This is Kyoto’s finest food market, hands down. These days it’s really swamped with tourists, so try to go early in the day or late in the afternoon.
- Aritsugu: Located at the east end of Nishiki Market (above), this is Kyoto’s finest knife shop.
- Daimaru Depachika: The basement food floor of this department store is like Aladdin’s Cave.
- Morita Washi: This brilliant shop is best place on earth to see Japanese handmade paper (washi).
- Maruzen: This is best bookstore in Kyoto, with a good selection of English-language books and lots of other stuff on offer.
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North of Downtown
- Zohiko: This is our favorite lacquerware shop in Kyoto. It’s very close to the following tea shop.
- Ippodo: If you like green tea, you must make a pilgrimage to this atmospheric old shop.
- 15th of Every Month: Chion-ji Temple Market: Known in Japanese as the Tezukuri-ichi (handmade market), this is a great place to find handmade crafts, some local organic food and some interesting people. It’s held at Chion-ji Temple, which is just east of the Imadegawa-Higashioji intersection.
- 21st of Every Month: Kobo-san Market: With a great selection of antiques, bric-a-brac, old kimono and curiosities, this market is a must-see if you’re in town on the 21st. It’s held at To-ji Temple.
- 25th of Every Month: Tenjin-san Market: Old kimono, bric-a-brac and antiques are among the many offerings at this fine flea market. If you’re in town on the 25th, don’t miss it. It’s held at Kitano-Tenman-gu Shrine.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)