Nara Shopping

Where to Shop in Nara

Nara’s shopping choices surprises many day-trippers with its wide variety of goods – so much so that many regret that they didn’t plan to stay longer. For serious shoppers who are after only top-quality Japanese items, look around the Higashimuki & Mochiidono shopping arcades as well as the traditional local shops in the charming old town quarter, Naramachi. Some of the shops have been in the same location for ages. There are many hidden gems scattered here and there so take your time and enjoy your Nara shopping experience.

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Higashimuki Shopping Arcade

One of the most convenient and busiest shopping areas in Nara is Higashimuki, a 250-metre-long covered shopping street which extends from the east of Kintetsu Nara Station and Sanjo Dori Street. It is a pleasant place for strolling around, through shops and stores selling things from souvenirs arts and crafts, clothes, kimonos, as well as traditional Japanese sweets and ornaments. Highlights including the Okai Shop (specializing in Nara’s traditional linen products Tel: +81 (0)74 224 7119), a 100-yen shop (all items for 100 yen/piece) and countless restaurants to select from.

  • Opening Hours: Daily
  • Location: Next to Kintetsu Nara Station
  • Type: Modern and local goods & merchandise
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Mochiidono Shopping Arcade

Mochiidono Shopping Arcade lies to the south of and is connected to Higashimuki Shopping Arcade. From here you can explore Nara’s old quarter Naramachi which was founded in the 8th Century and still features traditional shops and houses from Edo period. Those who are looking for local art and fabrics will not be disappointed with choices along Mochiidono. Interesting items include ceramics, pottery, Nara dolls (ittobori), ink and brushes for Japanese calligraphy, crafts made of deer antlers (tsunozaiku), round fans (uchiwa), Japanese theatre masks and blankets, bags and handkerchiefs – all made from traditional Nara fabrics.

  • Opening Hours: Daily
  • Location: Connected to Higashimuki Shopping Street and leading to the historical Naramachi Street
  • Type: Modern and traditional local goods
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Sanjo Dori Avenue

Sanjo Dori is considered Nara’s main street and features not only shopping outlets but also banks, and entertainment and dining venues. Many of the shops specialise in Nara’s traditional arts and crafts. Visitors will also find many antique stores.

  • Opening Hours: Daily
  • Location: A one-minute walk east from the Chuo-guchi (or the central exit) of JR Nara Station. Sanjo Dori Avenue is connected to Higashimuki Shopping Arcade.
  • Type: Modern and local & traditional goods

Nara Family Shopping Mall

Nara family, located near Yamato-aidaiji Station, has been open since 1972. It is a huge mall where you will find almost everything for sale such as clothes, toys, Japanese good luck charms, pottery and porcelain, food (both cooked and the ready-to-eat type variety as well as fresh fare), fruit, sweets and more.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 – 21:00
  • Location: A three-minute walk from Yamato-Saidaiji station
  • Type: Miscellaneous
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Nara Atrium

Nara Atrium is another shopping location with many stores, shops and dining venues to discover. If you want to buy kimono but find it too high priced (and many are) try the secondhand kimono shop in Nara Atrium. You might find something you like that fits in with your budget. In case you’ve never shopped at a Japanese 100-yen shop give it a try. It can be so much fun to observe what’s on display – kitchen knives, tableware, sake sets, hammers, screwdriver sets, calligraphy brushes, slippers, towels and English-Japanese dictionaries – it’s all there – at 100 yen a go.

  • Opening Hours: Daily
  • Location: Off Sanjo-dori on the way to Nara Park
  • Type: Modern and local goods and merchandise

Vivre Department Store

This is where most of the younger generation of Nara shops, which means that Vivre can get extremely busy at weekends. Expect to find lots of clothes for men and women, cosmetics, books, supermarkets, furniture stores and more.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 – 20:00
  • Location: On Konishi Street, south of Kintetsu Nara Station
  • Type: Modern and local goods and merchandise
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Ikeda Ganko-do

It might be hard or simply impossible for visitors to tell the difference between genuine Japanese traditional folding fans and kitsch ones but if you are really into high quality arts and crafts products and have a bit of cash to spare, a must-visit place in Nara is Ikeda Ganko-do Shop. They are the experts in Nara-style round fans (uchiwa).

  • Opening Hours: 09:00 – 19:00 closed on Wednesdays
  • Location: On the north part of Sanjo Street
  • Type: Traditional Nara fans
  • Tel: +81 (0)74 222 3690
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Hokuto Budougu

Hokuto Budougu Shop is devoted to the art of kendo (a Japanese sword-fighting martial art using bamboo sword) and Japanese calligraphy. The result is shown on many of their products including bamboo sword, traditional folding fans and calligraphy arts.

  • Opening Hours: 10:00-19:00, closed on Wednesdays
  • Location: About a 10-minute walk north from JR Horyu-ji Station on the way to Horyu-ji Temple
  • Type: Kendo sword and calligraphy arts
  • Tel: +81 (0)74 575 6128
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Matsumori is famous for Japanese lacquer ware and ceramics and has been in the business for generations since 1871. Check out many of the tea cup, blows and plates with the images of Sento-kun (a boyish, Buddha-like character with antlers, the latest symbol of Nara introduced in 2010 to cerebrate 1,300 anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo Capital). Matsumori sure can be a great source for fine souvenirs.

  • Opening Hours: 09:00-20:00, closed on Thursdays
  • Location: On Mochiidono Shopping Street, near the north entrance
  • Type: Japanese lacquer ware and ceramics
  • Tel: +81 (0)74 222 2037
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