The area around Kinkaku-ji Temple – one of the leading tourist spots in Kyoto – is packed with shops selling Japanese sweets, accessories, and miscellaneous goods. Why not grab some souvenirs to remind yourself of Kyoto from them? Below are five recommended souvenir shops that you must visit when you tour Kinkaku-ji!
1. Honke Yatsuhashi Kinkakujimae Shop
Yatsuhashi is the famous representative sweet of Kyoto. It is a Japanese sweet with a unique aroma that has a tinge of cinnamon. Honke Yatsuhashi is a well-established yatsuhashi store with a history of over 320 years. Even today, it makes yatsuhashi the traditional way: ensuring that each piece is handmade by chefs and not relying on machines wherever possible. It is able to ensure that all of its sweets are of high-quality by using their built-up knowledge and experience to properly adjust proportions and the amount of water needed. Recommended here is the An-Yatsuhashi (Bean Paste Yatsuhashi) that is also said to be the signature souvenir of Kyoto. Wrapped inside the chewy unbaked yatsuhashi is bean paste, made with azuki beans from Hokkaido. There is a wide array of yatsuhashi available here, including ones that have strawberry or chocolate as fillings.
2. Kadokuwa Kinkakuji Shop
This is the Kinkaku-ji branch of Kadokuwa – a franchise with stores in prime tourist spots in Takayama (Gifu) and Kyoto. Located right in front of the Kinkakuji-michi bus stop, it is the largest souvenir store around Kinkaku-ji. It aims to stock “local souvenirs that will make those who receive them happy”, so it has created a space where customers can take their time choosing what to buy. The products are arranged in a way where customers can easily view the products that they want. Some bestsellers are the Omatcha Purin (matcha pudding) and yatsuhashi. There are also original handmade cookies that are only available at this Kyoto branch, so check them out!
3. Yamashin Shoten
Yamashin Shoten is a souvenir store that is located 50m away from the entrance to Kinkaku-ji. It has an extensive lineup of products – from traditional Japanese sweets like the Izutsu yatsuhashi called Yuko (530 JPY) and Omatcha no Warabimochi (a type of matcha dumpling made from bracken starch) (530 JPY), up to snacks and sweets that are only available in Kansai. It also sells Kansai-only character goods from famous animated shows and comic books. You can even find Shinsengumi happi coats and fans, as well as fake metal swords, here! It is definitely recommended to those who want to browse through a variety of souvenirs.
Yorimichi is a store that is directly run by Ryukodo – a manufacturer of washi (Japanese paper) crafts and travel souvenirs. It is located in Kinukake-no-michi, which is a road that runs through three World Heritage Sites – Kinkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji, and Ninna-ji. This makes it easy to drop by while sightseeing around the area. It sells kimono accessories and other items that are unique to Kyoto. One thing that is bound to catch your attention is the “chirimen zaiku”. It is a traditional craftwork made out of silk that was once often made by Japanese women.
5. Itsutsuji no Kombu Kinkakuji Shop
Itsutsuji no Kombu is a well-established kombu (kelp) shop that is over 100 years old! It is just about 30m south of the Kinkaku-ji intersection. It sells a wide variety of kombu products, such as dashi kombu (kelp stock), tsukudani kombu (kelp boiled in soy sauce), and tororo kombu (shredded kelp). The wrapping papers used here are quite fancy, as they are printed with Japanese art that depict scenes like traditional events in Kyoto and maiko (apprentice geisha). There are also slightly unusual products, such as the heart-shaped Heart Kombu (570 JPY (incl. tax)). It also carries items that are only available at the Kinkaku-ji branch, so make sure to check those out!
Next time you go on a trip to Kyoto, please use this article to decide what souvenirs to buy!
*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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