5 Recommended Souvenirs to Buy Around Kyoto Station
For those of you who missed buying souvenirs while you were sightseeing, never fear. There are plenty of souvenir shops around Kyoto Station. Here are some places to buy great last-minute souvenirs.
Matcha, powdered green tea, is a traditional drink in Japan and especially Kyoto, and Koime no Matcha Chocolate from Nakamura Tokichi is popular with overseas travelers to Japan (583 JPY (incl. tax) for a box of 6). This tea house was opened in 1854, and their tea, Nakamura-cha, is so highly prized that it was offered to the gods on the occasion of the coronation of Emperor Showa. That well-renowned tea shop uses their matcha for a luxurious combination in Koime no Matcha Chocolate to create a treat that isn't a regular matcha chocolate. The inside of the snack melts smoothly in your mouth as the fragrance of the matcha permeates your senses for a rich, addicting taste. You can buy this at the Subako JR Kyoto Isetan in front of the west ticket gates of Kyoto Station as well as the Nakamura Tokichi main store.
Konpeito is a bumpy candy made from rock sugar and liquid, and it's very cute and perfect for souvenirs. Ryokujuan-Shimizu is Japan's only konpeito specialty company and it holds a long history and uses traditional techniques. They don't sell their wares online, so it's definitely something you want to pick up when you go to Kyoto. A small bag of konpeito is about 600 JPY. They have a huge variety of flavors like strawberry, orange, natural cider, and more that fill your mouth with flavor when you eat one. You can buy it in the B1 level of JR Isetan, but be aware that they are extremely popular and therefore may sell out.
Mangetsu's ajarimochi (108 JPY (incl. tax)) has a traditional taste with a modern feeling. "Ajari" means a monk of high rank, and the name of this mochi comes from a story where the monks ate this mochi to stave off starvation in the middle of particularly brutal training. Wheat isn't used at all, only mochi rice flour and egg for the outside and red bean anko paste for the filling. The mochi is springier than you expect and the anko is light, making this a perfectly balanced treat. It's an extremely popular treat so there's almost always a line. It's definitely one of Kyoto's more representative wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets). You can buy it past the ticket gates to the shinkansen.
There are many cute souvenirs from Kyoto, but the transparent sweets from Kaden Kyoame Gion Koishi are truly special. They're small and sparkle in the light like gems as though they were actually rubies and sapphires. Among their products, the Gion Ame Saijiki (432 JPY (incl. tax)) is particularly recommended because the flavors change depending on the time of year and the season. For example, in February it's Koubai plum candy, in April it's cherry. Each month a new flavor representing that month appears. Make no mistake, buying a special candy that exemplifies the time that you went will make it an even more impressive souvenir. You can buy it on the first floor of the CUBE inside Kyoto Station's Semontengai.
If you want to buy rakugan from Kyoto, you must look no further than Shioyoshiken. Rakugan is a dry confection made of rice flour and starch sugar that is mixed with coloring and then hardened in a mold to create a pretty shape. Shioyoshiken's more famous product, Yuki Maroge (864 JPY (incl. tax) for a box of 20) are small sweets that are colored in the festive, auspicious colors of red and white. Their beautiful shapes make them look like traditional handicrafts, and when you put it in your mouth the light texture melts like snow in an instant. This is the reason it boasts immense popularity. Its beauty and transiency, and of course its deliciousness, makes it a true representative of Kyoto sweets. It can be bought on the first floor of the CUBE in Kyoto Station's Senmontengai, floor B1 of JR Kyoto Isetan, the Kyo no Miyage shop inside the Kyoto Station shinkansen ticket gates, and more. *The image is for illustration purposes.
These Kyoto souvenirs have a lot of history and are great examples of Japanese aesthetics. It's great that you can buy them around Kyoto Station and can avoid making a trip out to the main branches if you don't have too much time. Please enjoy the flavors of these famous shops.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.