6 Elegant Kyoto souvenirs that even Japanese rush to buy
One of the most prominent tourist destination in Japan, Kyoto offers extensive varieties of souvenirs from foods to cool knick-knacks. So, among many, what are some of the souvenirs that have won solid reputations? We picked up some items both classic and hot.
“Yatsuhashi” is the most leading souvenir in Kyoto. There are two kinds of Yatsuhashi; one that is called “Yatsuhashi” are Senbei (hard cracker made with rice) type and they are baked with cinnamon mixed in their doughs. The other one is known as “Nama Yatsuhashi” , and they are unbaked. Among Nama Yatsuhashi, the kind that wraps in anko (red beans paste with sugar mixed) is the most famous one. They have become so popular, and if you say a word “Nama Yatsuhashi”, many people will think of this kind. Depending on which shop you go to, Yatsuhashi are different, for example in their appearances, though the ones shown in the photo are the most classic ones. There used to be only anko Yatsuhashi available, but they have been expanding their lineup with the time and now you can find Yatsuhashi with some fruits like strawberries and Yuzu and also with chocolate-flavored anko. So find your favorite flavor. They are about a few hundred JPY, and available at souvenir shops as well.
There are varieties of "local kit kat" that are only available in certain areas of Japan. Their number has gone up to 10, and in Kyoto, there is maccha Kit Kat. Let us add that it is not ordinary maccha that they collaborate with. Instead the maccha used comes from “Ito Kyuemon”, which is an old tea shop with a history of over 180 years. They are highly reputed by numbers of temples and shrines as well. So when you put one Kit Kat in your mouth, you can taste both sweetness and slight bitterness of maccha. Green and black chick package for the product is very much Japan-like as well. Surprisingly, their price is not different from those of regular Kit Kats. Available in souvenir shops as well (378 JPY for 5).
2. Kit Kat Ito Kyuemon Maccha Flavor
Just like Kit Kat presented earlier, there are many “local” limited flavors and goods only available in certain areas of Japan. Among them, one of the most popular characters with steady fans is Hello Kitty, and her goods are called “Local Kitty”. In various parts of Japan, there are souvenir goods such as towels, key chains and stationaries with prints of Hello Kitty dressed in local specialty outfits. In Kyoto, some Hello Kitties look like Maiko (an apprentice Geiko), some are dressed in kimono and others look like fox, which is known as protective god of Fushimi Inari Shrine. Or, some Kitties are wearing Yatsuhashi on her heads and some look like Kyoto Vegetables (Kyoto specialty). As it is probably clear by now, there are lots of Kyoto special Hello Kitties, so try to find your own favorite. You can find them in souvenir shops.
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3. Local Hello Kitty
“Tenugui” refers to thin cotton cloths, and they have been essential part of Japanese lifestyle for a long time. They are useful in varieties of ways including drying wet hands and bodies just like towels or handkerchiefs, decorating a room as an interior, and wrapping and carrying around gifts -without using a wrapping paper. Eirakuya with their main shop in Kyoto is a well-established tenugui store with a history of over 400 years. Their tenugui, with a range of patterns including traditional Japanese textile, auspicious pictures as well as modern designs, are highly recommended as souvenirs. What’s more, they are so light and they do not take up a space in your suitcase (Starting at 1,728 JPY for one)!
“Abura Tori-gami (oil blotting paper)” are thin papers that remove excessive oil from skin. It is one of essential items for many Japanese women to take care of their appearances. Since they can be used even with make-up on, they are really useful especially when fixing make-up. Among many, it is not too much to say that abura tori-gami by Yojiya is the most famous one in Japan. Yojiya is a cosmetic company originated in Kyoto. It is the classic of the classic, and everyone knows who this round faced lady is. For a long time, they have been devotedly loved by actresses on stages, people in the film industry and women working in entertainment districts. Besides their fame and popularity, they have become extremely famous with core fans for their devotion for fine washi-paper and gentle texture of the papers. It is guaranteed that this souvenir will make any women who receive them happy (326 JPY with tax) .
If you want to buy some tea in Kyoto but do not know which store to choose since there are so many, choose “Ippodo Chaho“and your mission is complete. They are an old tea store that only sells Kyoto tea and their products are popular even among Kyoto locals as “delicious and slightly luxurious”. Their lineup includes varieties of fine Kyoto tea including Matcha (powdered green tea), Gyoku-ro (highest-quality green tea), Sen-cha (good-quality green tea) and Ban-cha (common green tea). Among them, the most reputed is their “Hoji-cha (a kind of green tea made with roasted tea leaves)”. Their elegant and sophisticated flavors are loved by many regardless of their generations. They are available in Kyoto station too, but it is recommended that you visit their main store with an elegant outside appearance that will remind you of their long history (540 JPY with tax for 12 tea bags).
In Kyoto, you can find many selected high-quality products including well-established flavors. You will find many other souvenirs in Kyoto besides those presented here. Find your favorite, and take it home with you along with memories of Kyoto.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.