[2019 Edition] Top 9 Newly Opened Sightseeing Spots in Kyoto
Even in the tradition-rich Kyoto, an increasing number of new and fun sightseeing spots are constantly emerging! Below are nine newly opened spots in Kyoto that incorporate contemporary sensibilities but manage to continue to be true to the traditional vibe of the region!
1. Sujin Shinmachi
Built on a vacant lot that is just about a 5-minute walk east of Kyoto Station, Sujin Shinmachi is a restaurant district that is known for its casual yet trendy exterior and houses 16 dining and drinking establishments. The spot where it currently stands is actually the planned relocation site for Kyoto City University of Arts, so this complex is only scheduled to run for about 2.5 years, or until the construction works for the campus begin. It adopts a design chosen by students, so even its artsy vibe is really fun.
One of the most recommended finds from the food stalls here are the deep-fried dishes offered by Nakamuraya Sohonke. You will love the perfect combination of freshly fried croquettes, menchi katsu (fried minced meat cake) and kushiage (fried meat and vegetables on skewers) with beer. If you feel like dining in a cafe, then you should try the rice cake sweets and sparkling gyokuro (high-quality green tea) offered by Sujin Chaya. Some of the rice cake confections offered here are the rice cake with raw chocolate inside and the hojicha (roasted green tea) rice cake with raisins and sake.
Business hours: Weekdays: 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm, Holidays: 12:00 pm - 11:00pm
*May vary depending on the store
Opening date: January 2018
2. Kyoto Tower Sando
Kyoto Tower Sando is a spot that will let you experience Kyoto’s unique dining, souvenirs, and interactive activities right in front of Kyoto Station.
At the FOOD HALL in B1F, there are 19 restaurants and around 400 seats in the entire space, so you can eat and drink anything you want and enjoy multiple dishes all at once. Choose the food and drink you like, including local Kyoto sake and fancy cocktails, and enjoy!
The MARKET on the 1st floor is the perfect place if you are searching for souvenirs as there are plenty of items available that will make you feel the true Kyoto spirit, including Japanese sweets, cosmetics and miscellaneous goods!
Meanwhile, the 2nd floor is a place where you can experience making Japanese sweets and sushi, and even try your hand at making food replicas. Food replicas are samples or models of parfaits, sushi, and other food items that are displayed at the storefront of dining and drinking establishments. This experience is something that is not always available in other spots, so try it and make some unforgettable memories.
Business hours: 1F/2F: 9:00 am - 9:00 pm, B1F: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm
*May vary depending on the store
Opening date: April 2017
3. Kyoto Jidai Matsuri-kan Toni Toni
Kyoto Jidai Matsuri-kan Toni Toni is a newly opened commercial complex on the grounds of Heian Shrine where you can watch simulations of the Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages), which is held at the shrine every October, as well as enjoy Kyoto-style food and shopping. There is also a panel screen where you can enjoy watching high-resolution movies of the festival's parade.
People love the fact that a lot of the food items in this complex are quite photogenic! The tiramisu that looks like a potted bonsai and the namafu (wheat gluten cake) topped with a cute topping and put on a stick like ice cream are just some of the items you would definitely want to try. This facility does not only have shops, but also a theater (under renovation), so you really should stop by if you're in the area, before or after visiting Heian Shrine.
Business hours: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Opening date: December 2017
4. Souvenir Miyako
Souvenir Miyako, which just opened inside the premises of JR Kyoto Station, is a commercial facility that sells a wide variety of product from Kyoto’s famous sweets and miscellaneous goods to bento (box lunches). Many people drop by before they get on the Shinkansen (bullet train), so it is packed with all the popular products of Kyoto and you can buy everything quickly.
Out of all the souvenirs available, though, the one that is highly recommended is the Butter Sandwich (Uji Matcha) (1,150 JPY for a set of 5 pieces) from PRESS BUTTER SAND. This butter sandwich, made with soft, crumbly cookie dough and filled with refreshing Uji matcha cream, is a confection that you can only buy at this shop’s Kyoto branch!
Business hours: 8:30 am - 9:00 pm (Some stores are open at 7:00 am - 9:00 pm)
Opening date: October 2018
While Souvenir Miyako houses a large number of stores, Kyo-komachi only has one shop. It may be just one shop, but note that it boasts a wide selection of products from an array of genres that include Japanese miscellaneous goods, Japanese sweets, Western-style sweets, and pickled foods. Customers also think it is very easy to shop here since they can pay for everything they buy all at once in one place. Here, the products that have modern designs but keep traditional patterns, such as bags with Japanese design, are not just great as a treat for yourself as they are for gifts for others!
Business hours: 8:30 am - 8:00 pm
Opening date: October 2018, and scheduled to reopen after renovations in March 2019
6. Funaya Biyori
Ine-cho is a port town that is lined with funaya, which are houses outfited with garages for boats to enter. The recently opened Funaya Biyori is a sightseeing base in Ine-cho that houses a cafe and sushi restaurant where you can relax while gazing at the calm sea, as well as shops and a lecture room for sea kayaking lesssons.
One of the establishments especially recommended here is INE CAFE. With massive windows that open toward the sea, sunset brings with it the mysterious view of the silhouettes of the sea, funaya that are soaked in the orange light, and the glowing lights of the houses. During lunch on weekdays, you can savor delicious seafood from the Sea of Japan by ordering the Kaisen Chirashi (1,500 JPY (incl. tax)) that uses five kinds of seafood.
Business hours: Sushi restaurant 11:30 am - 2:30 pm (L.O. 2:00 pm), 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm (L.O. 8:00 pm)
※Business hours vary depending on the season
Cafe 11:00 am - 5:00 pm (L.O. 4:45 pm), Saturday, Sunday and national holidays: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm (L.O. 4:45 pm)
Opening date: April 2017
7. topdrawer Kyoto Takakura Nishiki Branch
The new store of the stationery specialty store Itoya is topdrawer Kyoto Takakura Nishiki Branch that offers a selection of products inspired by nomad workers.
Aside from stationery, this store carries a wide variety of goods such as bags, handkerchiefs and computer accessories. Here, the products with colorful and stylish designs are neatly arranged, so those who love miscellaneous goods and stationery will surely be hooked!
It has a sister store, Itoya Kyoto Branch, on the 10th floor of Isetan at the Kyoto Station Building and it draws in a lot of customers with its impressive collection of stationery.
Business hours: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Opening date: August 2018
Porta is an underground shopping arcade in front of Kyoto Station, right next to the Karasuma East Ticket Gate. The East Area was renovated and opened with a total of 25 shops after 15 new stores were added. It is the perfect spot for shopping for souvenirs and lunch boxes.
If you want to buy a lunch box before you get on the Shinkansen, you might want to try Omi Suehiro Kyoto Chaya. The melt-in-the-mouth Omi beef is characterized by its robust taste. There is also a space for eating and drinking, so you can eat what you bought on the spot.
Further, the traditional umbrellas of Kyoto’s veteran umbrella shop Hiyoshiya are displayed at the central space of Porta, so make sure to drop by while you’re shopping.
Business hours: Shopping service: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm, Restaurant/Cafe: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
※Varies depending on the store
Opening date: March 2018
9. Lake Biwa Canal Cruise
Lake Biwa Canal was built about a century ago to draw the water of Lake Biwa to Kyoto. Tourist boats plying the canal began operating in the spring of 2018, and they have been very popular since. For 2019, they will run from the end of March through December 1st.
This cruise is filled with fun points, including the beautiful remains of brick structures with traces of their former grandeur, nature along the river that changes colors every season such as cherry blossoms and autumn foliage, and the sense of adventure as the boat sails through the dark tunnel! You can reserve a seat on the boat on its website.
※ Please check the official homepage for the operation schedule. Opening date: March 2018
9. Lake Biwa Canal Cruise
Inside JTB Kyoto Branch, Keihan Shijo Kawaramachi Bldg. 7F, 338 Tominaga-cho, Kawaramachi-dori Matsubara-agaru 2-chome, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
There are many newly opened spots in Kyoto that are definitely worth visiting, including facilities where you can rediscover the charms of Kyoto and shops where you can have a lot of fun shopping! So, with this article as your guide, try to check out the hot spots in Kyoto right now!
*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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