Indeed, we weren’t very lucky with the weather, and we got a good serving of heavy rain during most of our stay in the city. Which means we changed our plans and spent quite some time roaming around in various shops during these humid days.
This post will compile a bunch of shopping/food addresses and our visit of the Fushimi Inari shrine.
Shopping in Kyoto
We didn’t get around to exploring all the shopping areas, but here are a couple of places that piqued my interest. We spent quite some time in the Teramachi gallery (perfect to hide from the rain).
TABIO (Teramachi gallery)
A sock shop that you can also find in France (in the Marais), but there are a lot more options in Japan: you can get your initials embroidered (perfect for useful and pretty gifts). It’s not the first time I’ve brought some back from my japanese trips and I’ll vouch for their quality.
B-SIDE LABEL (Teramachi gallery)
It’s in this little sticker shop I found those I used to customize my Chef Cuisine cooking appliance. They’re water and sun proof, with tons of various graphic styles: perfect to customise a suitcase or a phone case.
SMALL CHANGE VINTAGE (Teramachi gallery)
This is where I found my two vintage bandanas. I noticed that second-hand shops in Kyoto aren’t always a good deal because the prices remain high (or maybe I visited the wrong shops). But it’s fun to look around in for fun accessories.
Octopus lollipop anyone ?
Perpendicular to the Teramachi gallery, it’s a small road filled with souvenir or handicraft shops and street food. I tried the Tako tamago (octopus with a quail egg inside) : nothing spectacular, but I enjoyed it!
Tons of pickles and spices stands. We bought steel picks to eat crab (=something an under 50 housewife would buy) and other cookery related ustensils.
INOBUN (Shijo dori)
My favorite “lifestyle” boutique. On a number of floors you can find everything, from the kitchen to the bathroom to clothes.
We found really cute wooden dessert sppons (under 50 housewife, here we go again) and thought long and hard about bringing back a vintage style kettle (but then it’d have had to fit into our luggage, and we would have had to lug it around for the rest of our trip).
HELLO KITTY SANRIO SHOP (Shijo dori)
A classic, but fun if you want to find Sanrio related objects to bring back as souvenirs : phone cases, beauty masks, but also tsum tsum (a public utility service!).
The list is not exhaustive. In any case, this area (Kawaramachi dori/Shijo Dori/Teramachi gallery) is perfect for shopping and staying dry!
Fushimi Inari shrine
Located 2 stations way from the Tokyo train station, (through the JR Nara Line) and directly accessible when you get off the train (Inari station), you can’t miss it.
A number of guides will let you think the place isn’t all that touristy….not true anymore, if I believe the number of people we saw.
This temple was seen in the “Memoirs of a geisha” movie, which probably helped boost the number of visits. Don’t follow our lead, we left for the temple after lingering at lunch: night is quick to fall.
The temple’s characteristic is that one of its hiking trails is covered by 10 000 Torii (red gates). Cound 1h30 to 2h by foot.
These torii are the property of japanese companies (or maybe yours, as it’s possible to buy your own torii). You can read visually exotic inscriptions, but in the end it’s only the owner’s name : kind of disappointing right?
“I ain’t afraid of no ghosts ?”
Surprised by nightfall (and more rain), we didn’t get to the top and walked back, probably only a couple meters from the end, but seing as we were almost all alone (=we’re scared of the dark), we didn’t push further.
On our way back, we saw a japanese television crew filming a weather forcast with their mascot. The mascot was wearing a yellow raincoat – totally funny and cute (especially as it wasn’t a kids show!).
Aaah, the japanese and their childlike spirits! <3
Last yummy discoveries in Kyoto
CHOJIRO (103-2 Hashimotocho, Shimogyo-ku)
Perfect sushi place where you order on Ipad (no need to call a waiter).
“Where have all the personal relationships gone, eye contact and all that??” Don’t worry, you get some of that when you pay.
Or you can choose to take your food directly from the conveyor belt if you’re not too “techonology oriented”.
They had quite a large variety of sushi, of great quality. I’m still salivating.
KOBE GAVLY BURGER (Kyoto Station building, next to Isetan) (2018 EDIT : THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED NOW)
In between shopping sessions, this is a good place for a quick bite. This Kobe or Wagyu A5 burger (I had talked about the listing of meats here) will satisfy you if you’re missing junk food.
The meat is perfect (although to be expected with this sort of meet) : count 8 to 16 euros for a burger. (English translation by Marine)