In Japan, bringing home souvenirs, or omiyage from a trip is a cultural tradition—for yourself, and for others to enjoy, too. For Japanese people, omiyage often means food products: Japanese sweets, snacks, tea, or even pickled vegetables. But there are plenty of other options for Kyoto souvenirs, too.
Shopping Like a Local: Popular Kyoto Souvenirs & Gifts
Tsukemono are Japanese pickled vegetables—like the pickled ginger that often accompanies sushi. Kyoto is known for its kyo yasai vegetables, but with pickled tsukemono, you won’t have to worry about them spoiling when you take them home! Traditionally, tsukemono is served as a side dish to accompany rice.
Kyoto is practically overflowing with different varieties of traditional Japanese sweets, from the more familiar—softer, more cookie-like confections—to delicate, art-like treats.
One traditional variety is goshikimame—literally, “five-colored beans,” which are made from sugar-coated beans. True to their name, they are made in five different colors, and are easy to package as a gift. You can find goshikimame at shops like Mamemasa.
Tea has an extremely rich tradition in Kyoto–it was first cultivated in Japan in Kyoto’s northern Takao region! Japanese green tea also makes an extremely elegant (and delicious) souvenir, and makes for lightweight packing. You can purchase some matcha powder or loose tea leaves from many locations throughout the city, including the centrally-located Fukujuen Kyoto Flagship Store. Japanese tea comes in many varieties, so it’s a good idea to ask the staff about your options.
Even More Kyoto Souvenirs!
Kyoto shopping of course offers opportunities to take home a piece of the Ancient Capital that you won’t be eating later. The following are also incredibly unique Kyoto souvenirs that you’ll be able to use and admire long after returning home.
Kyoto Pottery: Kiyomizu-yaki
How about a Japanese teapot for your tea? Kyoto ceramics are highly regarded for their beauty and quality, not least of which Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, which is produced in Kyoto’s Yamashina area. Kiyomizu-yaki pottery is available in a wide spectrum of designs and colors, many of which are unique to specific kilns.
Buy Japanese cooking knives while you’re in Kyoto to bring back some of the flavors of Japan in your own kitchen. Japanese cooking knives come in many shapes—some of them engravable—and some Kyoto cutlery shops have been in business for many generations.