Gion is a major tourist location in Kyoto. For those in the know, Gion's the place to go to find cute Japanese souvenir shops!
In Gion, you can see traditional scenery with many Kyo-machiya (Kyoto style traditional town-house). If you are lucky you can come across maiko (apprentice geisha) heading to ozashiki (a Japanese style banquet room).
In Gion, there are many cute Japanese sundry shops, and some of these shops have special items for maiko such as Kyoto cosmetics and kanzashi (traditional hair ornaments).
Here are some recommended products that you will want to get during your visit to Kyoto.
1. Kazurasei Roho: From Kanzashi to Cosmetics, a Long Established Shop Favored by Maiko
Located right in the center of Shijo Street running east to west. Kazurasei Roho is a sundry shop in Gion with over 150 years of history.
Established in 1865 during the Bakumatsu Period in Kyoto they have sold wigs, used in theater, to kanzashi and other specialty goods used by maiko and geigi (geigi or geiko is the Kyoto version of geisha). Nowadays they sell cosmetics and items for Kyoto style beauty.
The main product of this shop in Gion is the kanzashi. Most people think that you can only wear kanzashi when wearing a kimono, but there are kanzashi with simple designs that match normal clothes.
For example the cute plum decoration Mini-pin Kanzashi (6,048 yen) can be worn with various styles other than Japanese hair styles such as half up and half down, and buns. The flower section of the kanzashi uses selected materials like the Tango-chirimen. Craftsmen make these products by hand.
Another main product is the domestic camellia oil (tsubaki-abura). Kazurasei camellia oil has been known to be good for your skin and hair from long ago, and in 1972 they have established their own plantation and oil mill in Goto Islands Nagasaki Prefecture. It uses only pesticide-free Japanese camellia in its products.
Camellia oil consists of about 85% oleic acid, which is considered good for your skin. The oil has been filtered many times and isn’t sticky. It has a reputation that the oil sinks isn't and creates moist skin and shiny hair. It can also be used by men so couples and families can share the oil.
They also have camellia oil moisturizer (3,564 yen), the new moisturizer masks made with sake from Sake-dokoro Fushimi (3,888 yen), Hand & Body Cream (1,512 yen), and other cosmetics.
Some other goods are the premium comb tsuge-gushi (starting from 1,944 yen) and a coin purse with Japanese camellia design (2,268 yen).
These items that create Kyo-bijin (Kyoto beauty) are carefully selected by the shop. Take one hair ornament, not only do they pass on the tradition, but they also alter the color and ease to use for modern times.
Kazurasei Roho Gion Main Storeかづら清老舗 祇園本店
- Address 285 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu
- Phone Number 075-561-0672
Hours: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Closed: Wednesday (opened if it is a holiday)
2. Kyo-to-to: Cute and Comical Embroideries of Traditional Culture like Yokai and Temples
Kyo-to-to Main Store is located on Yasaka Dori with a good view of Yasaka-no-To. It is an embroidery brand that was established in 2007 by a company that operates an embroidery workshop in Kaemoka City Kyoto.
The name was made by combining Kyoto, the symbol of Japanese tradition, and Tokyo, which represents modern Japan. By combining the two names they hope to pass on culture in a new way.
The main feature of Kyo-to-to is its original embroidery designs. Under the theme of Japanese traditional culture, they design yokai (Japanese monsters), sushi, Kyo-yasai (heirloom veritable from Kyoto), and others with original designs that are cute and comical.
In the shop, there is a lineup of hand towels, bags, pouches and small items with Japanese embroidery. Here you can find items with wonderful design and practicality.
A popular product is the Yasaka-no-To series that are limited to the main store. The series has items like the mini gama-guchi (miniature purse with metal clasps) and tawara gama-guchi (large purse with metal clasps).
Yasaka-no-To is the landmark of this area, it is a 5 story pagoda at Honganji Temple that is visible from the shop. The white embroidery of Yasaka-no-To on a red cloth is impactful and cute. The delicate embroidery gives the item design with a warm feeling.
The main product of this shop in Gion is the wappen or Japanese design patches. The store has a large lineup of patches with unique Japanese style designs such as living creatures like birds and fish, food like sushi and mushrooms, and yokai.
They even have designs based on Choju-jinbutsu-giga (a famous four picture scroll with frolicking personified animals) that was drawn 1,000 years ago. If you look carefully you can see the cute facial designs. These items can enhance your clothes or bags in the right way.
Store manager Umemura said, “we hope that ‘kawaii’ can introduce Japanese culture and traditions to people.” These cute items with a mix of culture and tradition make perfect gifts.
Kyo-to-to Main Store京東都 本店
- Address 93-28 Hoshino-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu
- Phone Number 075-531-3155
Hours: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Closed: Irregular holidays
3. Chingireya: Find One-of-a-Kind Fabric Accessories Made from Ancient Cloth Fragments
Going south on Yamato Oji Dori for 3 minutes from Keihan Main Line Sanjo Station, you will find Chingireya on your left. Since the store has been established in 1902 it has dealt with kodaigire (antique fabrics) that are over 100 years old.
In the store, they have items from the Azuchi-Momoyama Period, Edo Period, Meiji Period, and precious fabric from Japan and overseas. They are so rare that researchers at museums and collectors visit the store.
The main attraction of antique fabrics is that you can find one of a kind items that you like. With various items from different eras, there isn’t one article that has the same material and design. If you find something to your liking you can purchase the whole antique fabric.
At Chingireya there are small items such as gama-guchi, pouches and name card holders that are made from these antique fabrics. These items are handmade by exclusive shop craftsmen.
Since the design changes depending on what part of the cloth is sued, all the designs are different. Also depending on the fabric the price changes for the same sized items.
A perfect store to find a one of a kind item for you. Finding that one special item is like looking for treasure. Also looking at the design and material of the antique fabric, it can tell you how people used to live. Imagining what kind of people using that particular fabric is part of the fun.
- Address Sanjo Minami-iru, Nawate-dori, Higashiyama-ku Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi
- Phone Number 075-561-4726
Hours: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Closed: New Year Holiday
We hope you enjoyed the guide. The Gion shops we introduced in the Gion area have many products that have qualities of cuteness and essence that increases the elegance of women. They are perfect for yourself or gifts for friends. We hope you can find the perfect item for your travels in Kyoto.
*All prices include tax.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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