Perfect as Souvenirs! Top 5 Japanese-Patterned Fashion and Item Brands in Kyoto
How about picking out a Japanese-patterned item when picking out a trinket or souvenir in Kyoto? This article introduces the top 5 places to get such souvenirs in Kyoto, where such items are abundant.
1. Eirakuya Main Branch
Eirakuya has been in business since 1615. It is the oldest specialty shop in Japan to produce cotton into washcloths. These washcloths have been weaved specifically to wipe one’s face and hands. They have a wide selection of different patterns. Their washcloths have been revered as fashion items since long ago. They have more than 300 types of original washcloths that start from 1,728 JPY (incl. tax). You can pick anything, from old and retro designs that are reminiscent of Tokyo, to more modern ones.
2. Pagong Main Branch
Pagong handles dyed items using the Kyo Yuzen* technique. The main products that you’ll find here is the Aloha Shirt (from 23,000 JPY (excl. tax)), which has been dyed skillfully by a craftsman to create a Japanese-style pattern, and the Cut and Sewn (from 8,000 JPY (excl. tax)). The designs that you’ll find here are traditional ones that are usually found on kimono and kabuki costumes. Their colors and vibrancy spell out the charm of the Kyo Yuzen technique. Each of these patterns carry different meanings, such as happiness, longevity, or a lucky omen (Kichijo*). You can also find Japanese-style coin purses and pouches among their product line-up.
(※1) Traditional way of dyeing fabric in Kyoto
(※2) A good omen; a lucky sign
Kyo Yuzen Aloha Shirt <Neko no Kabuki/White>
3/4 Sleeve Cut and Sew <Uzo to Tatsunami/Black>
3. JAPO-RHYTHM (Fashion)
JAPO-RHYTHM specializes in fashion items that incorporate the culture and taste of Kyoto into their designs. This shop is popular for their chic designs that showcase the beauty of Japan and its traditions without being too showy. One item to watch out for is their T-shirts (adult size: from 3,888 JPY (incl. tax)), which comes in different sizes and designs. The shop provides a free name-printing service for their clothes. For foreigners with names written in the alphabet, you can avail of the popular option where they create a phonetic version of your name. They also hold Visiting Foreigners Workshops (reservation needed), where you can write your name in kanji using calligraphy, and have them printed out to create original goods.
Takezasado specializes in handrails and other woodblock-printed goods. These have a nostalgic design etched into them based on hand-drawn pictures. It is the perfect place to find souvenirs, thanks to its wide array of products, such as book covers, washi (Japanese paper) letter sets, cloths, handkerchiefs that have woodblock designs on them, and Japanese-patterned smartphone cases.
Example of Prices: Woodblock Printed Book Cover (from 864 JPY (incl. tax))
SHOWEN specializes in strings, as well as other goods and accessories made with these plaited cords. These tied-up strings have long been used to create small Japanese-style goods. One item you should check out is the double-layered tied bracelet (1,800 JPY (excl. tax)). This type of bracelet is called "Odamaki". It has a small, adorable bead attached to it, with a Japanese color scheme for the silk string. You may also want to look into their exquisite kanzashi (hair pins) (3,000 JPY (excl. tax)), which have some flowers etched into them. This item is one of the goods that craftsmen painstakingly created using silk.
Double-layered Tied Bracelet
Kanzashi (Hair Pin)
Please consider visiting and having a look at these items for yourself when you come to Kyoto!
*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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