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Shimogyo Shopping

Where to Shop in Shimogyo - Kyoto

Shimogyo is one of the smallest of Kyoto’s eleven wards however what it may lack in size it makes up for in action. Shimogyo contains the city’s busiest shopping district, Shijō Kawaramachi plus the huge shopping mall inside the landmark Kyoto Station complex. There are as many as five department stores and many smaller specialty shops in and around the Shijo Kawaramachi intersection.

Exploring Shimogyo on foot is the best way to discover some of the more obscure and unique shops that deal in exquisite traditional items such as authentic Japanese papers, distinctive Kyoto incense and accessories for kimonos.

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Kimono Shops in Central Kyoto

A popular downtown location for out-of-town visitors to get traditional goods is along Shijo Dori Street and Kawaramachi Dori Street. Here, there are many shops that specialise in kimonos and clothing accessories. Look out for unique items such as red lanterns (as seen in the famous 2005 film ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’), tea-ceremony utensils and lacquerware. These areas are well known for lively bars, clubs, and coffee shops, too.

  • Opening Hours: Daily
  • Location: Kawaramachi Street runs parallel to the west bank of the Kamo River on the eastern side of Kyoto.
  • Type: Kimono and traditional goods
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Kungyoku-do

Take home the scent of Kyoto with some aromatic incense. In Japan, kodo or ‘the way of incense’ is considered an austere art form; the smoke rising from the incense is said to show the way to heaven. Kungyoku-do imports materials from throughout Asia to craft these beautifully fragrant tokens of Kyoto.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 - 17:30, closed 1st and 3rd Sun. of month
  • Location: Horikawa-dori, Nishihonganji-mae, Shimogyo-ku
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 371 0162
  • How to get there: Horikawa-dori, Nishihonganji-mae, Shimogyo-ku
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Jusan-ya

A vital part of a geisha’s impeccable ensemble is her wooden hair comb. Kanzashi, her hair ornaments also complete the picture and offer her an avenue for a little individuality. For more than 60 years Jusan-ya has been crafting exquisite boxwood combs and hair accessories for Kyoto’s geiko and maiko. Although you may not have the kimono to fulfill the look these fragile ornaments are a great gift for any woman.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 – 18:00
  • Location: Shinkyogoku Higashi-Iru, Shijo-dori, Shimogyo-ku
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 221 2008
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Kyosendo

Founded in 1832, Kyosendo is a family business specializing in Kyoto-style hand-held fans. In Japan, fans are used in many ways and at various occasions and not only for keeping oneself cool. There’s a special fan for taking to the tea ceremony, specific fans to exchange between a man and woman at meetings with a view to marriage, or to be used in wedding ceremonies. There are also fans used in Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, or in traditional ceremonies at the Imperial Court and fans used only for non-traditional use. They even have fans for little dolls as small as 3-9cm. A visit to this shop can be a lot of fun.

  • Opening Hours: Weekdays 9:00 - 17:00; Sundays and national holidays 10:00 - 18:00
  • Location: 46 Tsutsugane-chou, Shoumen agaru, Higashinotouin-douri, Shimogyou-ku
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 371 4151
  • How to get there: 800m north of Kyoto Station central exit.
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Morita Wagami

Paper is very important in Japan, an essential element in traditional doors, windows, fans lamps and umbrellas. Morita Wagami’s quality handmade paper is highly sought-after in many parts of the world and its huge selection will fill a few hours of browsing. Craftspeople, calligraphers, artists, even scrap-bookers will be amazed at the number of different colours, textures, grains and especially the gorgeous chiyogami, decorated paper.

  • Opening Hours: Mon to Sat from 09:30 - 17:30
  • Location: Bukko-ji Agaru Higashinotoin Dori
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 341 0123
  • How to get there: South-east of Shijo-Kawaramachi
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Department Stores

Being Kyoto’s central commercial district it is home to a number of large departments stores that carry wide ranges of goods from clothing and accessories to home furnishings and decorations to priceless kimono and silks.

Isetan Department Store

If you need last-minute shopping before leaving town, try the huge department store called Isetan located inside JR Kyoto Station. Isetan features modern and fashionable imported and local-produced clothing, bags, cosmetics and more. The top floor has countless beautiful kimonos in many patterns and styles. It can be very interesting just to go window shopping here. Down on the food floor in the basement you won’t believe the variety of displays. If you have children, a cruise through the kids’ section will for sure put a dent in your finances. Japan is well known for ‘cute’ things – think Hello Kittie...

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 - 20:00
  • Location: Department Store is a part of the JR Kyoto Station Complex. Higashi Shijokoji-cho, Karasuma Shijokoji, Shimogyo-ku
  • Type: Modern and local goods & merchandise
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 352 1111
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Daimaru Department Store

Daimaru is a large chain store with many branches in Japan and even a few overseas and its base is actually in this very city, Kyoto. Though founded in 1717, the name Daimuru was first introduced in 1728. There are currently three Daimaru stores in Kyoto. The biggest one is on Shijo Dori, west of Takakura and has nine floors with a good range of products such as men & women's wear, a bedding, local souvenirs, electronic goods, and household goods including Japanese kitchenware.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10:00- 20:00
  • Location: Shijo Dori west of Takakura, Shimogyo-ku
  • Type: Modern and local goods & merchandise
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 211 8111
  • How to get there: One block north-east of Karasuma Station
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Takashimaya Department Store

Founded in 1831 in Kyoto as a kimono shop, Takashimaya later grew to a bigger store with more selections and moved its headquarters to Osaka where it remains to this day. With long years experience in retailing, Takashimaya is one of the major department store brands in Japan with 20 stores under its belt, including branches in New York, Singapore and Taiwan. The Kyoto store holds regular cultural and art exhibitions.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 - 20:00
  • Location: Above Hankyu Kawaramachi Station at the southwest corner of the Shijo-Kawaramachi intersection, Shimogyo-ku
  • Type: Modern and local goods & merchandise
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 221 8811
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Big Off

If you are looking for electrical goods and gizmos head for Big Off, a popular department store with a large electrical section. Toilet seat heaters, massagers, flashlights, the product range is diverse and everything is at good prices.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 – 18:30
  • Location: Shijo dori Yanaginobamba higashi iru
  • Subway: Karasuma Subway Line, Karasuma Station
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 221 3810

Fujii Daimaru Department Store

Fujii is small but packed with interesting trendy shops selling unique fashions for young men and women. Rather than rows of restaurants Fujii buzzes with intimate cafés and bistros but there is a food court which serves a great variety of dishes.

  • Opening Hours: Wed – Mon 10:30 – 19:30
  • Location: Shijo Teramachi, Shimogyo-ku. West of Shijo Kawaramachi at the Shijo Teramachi intersection
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 221 8181
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