5 Tasty Souvenirs From Shops With More Than 100 Years of History in Kyoto
There are many shops that have continued for more than 100 years in Kyoto, a city crowded with various long-established places. Here are 5 souvenirs which you would definitely want to get when you visit Kyoto from these shops.
1. Tsuruya Yoshinobu's Yumochi
Tsuruya Yoshinobu is a wagashi (traditional Japanese confections) shop in Kyoto, established in 1803. Yumochi (starting at 540 JPY) is a recommended souvenir. It's made from fragrant yuzu citrus covered with soft gyuhi (glutinous rice flour kneaded with sugar and/or starch syrup; a major ingredient in wagashi) and dredged with home-grown wasanbon (refined Japanese sugar). It is a signature confection of Tsuruya Yoshinobu. It is addicting thanks to the yuzu's aroma, rich flavor, an irresistible refined sweetness, and the chewy texture.
It is available not only in their main shop but also in Daimaru, Takashimaya and JR Kyoto Isetan. By all means, try it if you get the chance!
2. Izutsu Yatsuhashi Honpo's Yatsuhashi
Izutsu Yatsuhashi Honpo is a wagashi shop established in 1805, famous for its yatsuhashi. Yatsuhashi is a classic Kyoto gift which is purchased by more than half of the tourists visiting the city, and is a type of hard rice cracker made from a mix of glutinous rice flour, sugar, and cinnamon that's steamed and baked in thin slices. Its shape resembles a Japanese musical instrument called the koto. The secret to making it delicious is the aroma, crispy texture, and cinnamon flavor. Nama yatsuhashi, which is only steamed and not baked, is also popular.
Definitely consider taking yatsuhashi as a souvenir, as they go well with Japanese tea or coffee. A gift set of yatsuhashi featuring 16 bundles of 3 pieces for a total of 48 pieces costs 648 JPY (incl. tax). It's available not only in the main shop but also in company shops in Kyoto and in various souvenir shops as well, since it is a famous product.
3. Gion Tsujiri's Gion no Sato
Gion Tsujiri was established in 1860 as a manufacturer and shop of Uji matcha. There is the Gion main shop with a cafe, and another shop at the Hachijo gate of Kyoto Station. They sell a variety of Uji matcha as well as wagashi, and are famous for their tasty wagashi using matcha. Their specialty is the Gion no Sato (8 pieces starting at 432 JPY (incl. tax)), which are rolled rice crackers kneaded with Uji matcha filled with abundant white cream. The fragrant matcha and the sweetness of the cream are balanced very well, and the crispy texture will have you reaching for one after another. They are packaged individually and are great as gifts!
4. Akaoya's Tsukemono
Akaoya is a shop established in 1699 specializing in tsukemono (pickles of all sorts), with more than 300 years of history. Their tsukemono, made with carefully selected seasonal ingredients and pickled one by one with care and traditional techniques passed down from generation to generation, is a perfect delicacy to experience the food culture in Kyoto.
There is a variety of tsukemono, all lightly salted, from Maru Miyako Zuke (Akashiba Zuke) (starting at 432 JPY (incl. tax)), which is a Kyoto classic featuring a variety of seasonal vegetables, to Wine Nasu (648 JPY (incl. tax)), which pickles eggplant in wine. You can enjoy tasting tsukemono at their shops, so you can find the ones you like and take it back as a souvenir. They're available in their main shop, Oike branch, Shichijo branch and JR Kyoto Isetan.
※Image is for illustration purposes
5. Kyoto Kuriya's Kin no Mi
Kyoto Kuriya was set up as a branch of the long-standing shop Kuriya in Sonobe that was established in 1855, but became independent. It is a shop famous for their chestnut wagashi made with Kyoto's Tamba chestnuts, and their specialty is Kuri Natto Kin no Mi (starting at 2,484 JPY for 10 pieces (incl. tax)).
It is made with big Tamba chestnuts peeled and boiled with water, then preserved in honey; it is distinctively crunchy and chewy on the outside. Once you take a bite, you will enjoy the full flavor of the natural chestnut itself. Try a chestnut sweet that is unique to Kyoto - it will make you feel a bit luxurious!
※Image is for illustration purposes
Hopefully you will find a tasty souvenir that will make you feel the unique Kyoto tradition. Definitely find them and bring them home after your visit!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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