10 Traditional Souvenirs from Kyoto You Have to Bag Home

10 Traditional Souvenirs from Kyoto You Have to Bag Home

When you’re in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, be sure to bring home some traditional sweet treats and intricate crafts

When it comes to Japanese souvenirs, we all know about the famous Tokyo Banana and Shiroi Koibito snacks that you just have to take home. But what about the traditional gifts that exude and represent Japanese heritage and culture? If you’re heading to Kyoto, the rustic city where you can experience the ambience of old Japan, you’re in luck. This ancient capital has a variety of traditional souvenirs to pick from!

1. Kiyomizu Pottery

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If you’re someone who loves pottery, don’t miss Kiyomizu ware, which was once made along the streets near Kiyomizu Temple. Now, the term applies to all potteries made in Kyoto. In the city, you can spot artisans selling their work, from pottery with luxurious intricate designs to the affordable everyday ones. For a wide variety of traditional arts and crafts, including such Kiyomizu Ware, visit the Yamashina area on the east side of Kyoto. 

2. Matcha Soap

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Calling all matcha lovers, here’s a little something different than your usual green tea flavoured snack. Kyoto’s matcha soap contain a lot of beauty ingredients and it’s also suitable for troubled skin. Imagine slathering yourself in your favourite scented matcha, with all its natural ingredients. It’s not too bad a Japanese souvenir to take home for your shower indulgence. 

3. Rakugan Candy

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Pastel shades for your sweet tooth! Rakugan are traditional Japanese hard candies made of sugar, powder and syrup to form brightly-coloured shapes of flowers and animals. If you’re looking to bag something inexpensive, this is a pretty and yummy gift to consider for all your friends and relatives.

4. Oil Paper Umbrellas (Bangasa)

kyoto souvenirs

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Go back to old Kyoto with these the Japanese oil paper rain umbrella, also known as Bangasa. Different types of bamboo, beautiful textiles and painted patterns are put together with elaborate workmanship to fashion this beauty. Take home one of these and keep a little token of rustic Kyoto with you. 

5. Tsuge Comb

kyoto souvenirs

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For something a little oriental and dainty, consider getting a traditional Japanese wooden comb, also known as Tsuge comb. Made from boxwood, these artistic combs often feature intricate and distinctive sakura patterns carved by talented craftsmen, making it a treasured item that was used by geishas and samurais.

6. Washi Paper

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Also known as traditional Japanese paper made from the gampi tree, Washi papers typically have an impressive range of colours, textures, designs and prints. They make for perfect origami crafts or for your artistic muses.

7. Wagashi Sweets

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Wagashi sweets are traditional Japanese sweet cakes typically made from mochi, anko and fruits. These confectionaries are unique because they are an artistic work on its own, with attention paid to every delicate detail on each sweet. Often served with tea, these sweet treats make for a perfect souvenir because of its tasteful palettes and beautiful workmanship.

8. Bamboo Crafts

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Some of the finest traditional works have got to be the Japanese bamboo crafts. These woven handicrafts exude beauty in the simplest forms; and in many ways, they reflect the creativity of Japan. Take one of these bamboo works home as a stunning ornament to your home.

9. Fushimi Inari Torii

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What better memento of this rustic cityscape than with a token that represents it? Take home one of the famed Torii-gates from the Fushimi Inari Shrine, crafted to fit just into the palm of your hands or on the straps of your backpack.

10. Kitsune Fortune

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Kitsune, also known as foxes, are believed to be messengers of shrines, so much so that many fortunes and treats are crafted to look like them. While you’re in Kyoto, don’t forget to gift yourself a fortune shaped like these graceful creatures. They are easily found alongside the torii gates of the Fushimi Inari Shrine.

About Author

Mirabelle Koh
Mirabelle Koh

Mirabelle is an avid tea lover with an extreme fervency to travel and work on anything visual. Apart from doing photography, designing and writing, she spends most of her idle time hunting for delectable cuisine and planning her next venture. Always armed with a camera in hand, she writes for the ink that lives in the back of her throat. She also (unashamedly) plays dota 2.


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