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Kyoto, Arashiyama, Japan. A trifecta of scenery, sights and shopping.

Made in Japan Souvenirs– the perfect way to remember a perfect day trip to Arashiyama

Arashiyama is a mountainous village on the outskirts of Kyoto, and is a perfect day trip out of the city, hitting the trifecta of scenery, sights and shopping.

Great scenery?  Bamboo Grove, mountains, river, bridges. Check.

Great sites?  Temples, monkey forest (yes, you heard right, monkey forest). Check.

Great shopping?  Streets lined with ramshackle shops, authentic, made-in-Japan crafts, sweets galore, street vendors. Check.

arashiyama train station shopping in kyoto

This is the train station of my dreams. How can it not be a perfect day?

You arrive from Kyoto via a quick 30 minute train ride. Take a breath of mountain air as you step into this lantern lit station, then make your way to the nearby village.

arashiyama school children kyoto

School children will make sure to greet you with a joyous “hello.” Return the greeting with an unexpected “Konichiwa” and you will be rewarded with peals of laughter.

made in Japan authentic souvenirs arashiyama bridge to village kyoto

Warning: you are about to enter the zone filled with adorable shops. Do not stop. Do not look in the windows. Proceed straight to the mountain.

Although you will be passing the shops en route to the mountain, it’s always better to shop after touring, so you aren’t weighed down by all your purchases.

Check out the Sights

Japanese tourist attraction arashiyama kyoto bamboo forestYou’ll have to read your guidebooks and favorite blogs to find out about all there is to see in Arashiyama, but we can tell you not to miss the bamboo forest.  Yes, this is really what it looks like.

Japanse tourist attraction arashiyama kyoto signOne thing I noticed is that Japanese tourist sites are not flooded with signage or “you are here” maps.  If you don’t come prepared with your own maps, it is pretty easy to get lost.  After passing that same sign a couple of times, we decided it was time to head back down the mountain for some shopping.

Japanese Sweets Smorgasboard

Some of the best sweets shops in Japan have their outposts here.  The sweets are so beautifully packaged that you can go overboard on your purchases.  This would be a mistake.  Despite their precious appearance, Japanese sweets (in particular anything baked like cakes or cookies) do not always taste as a Westerner might expect them to.  When will I learn that tempting dead ringer for chocolate cake is actually red beaned flavor?  

Japanese food japanese sweets

Green tea cake has a very distinct flavor. Try before before stockpiling.

Japanese Silk Crafts, Pouches and Trays

You can’t miss the Chiri-men Craft Museum, right on the main drag.  Despite its confusing name, this a store, not a museum,  specializing in using all local Kyoto textiles in their crafts, with everything made in Japan of course.  Items are made with textiles woven via the namesake chiri-men traditional weaving technique, dating back to the 16th century.

What’s special about these Japanese textiles is the texture– the cloth has soft wrinkles, created by alternating two types of silk thread, giving it a slightly puckered appearance. You’ll be able to tell the fine quality of these crafts right away.  If they appeal to you, don’t wait, get them here–  the versions you’ll find elsewhere will be slightly cheaper in cost but considerably cheaper in quality.

made in Japan Japanese souvenir arashiyama kyoto best shopping cat pouches

Yes, I bought one.  After being in Japan for a week, the Japanese aesthetic for “cute” began to grow on me.  Plus, it’s a lucky cat.

made in Japan Japanese souvenir kyoto silk pouch from craft shop in Arashiyama souvnir shoppingI use this handmade Japanese silk pouch as a little makeup bag.

made in Japan Japanese souvenir kyoto japan arashiyama craft silk shop souvenirI also bought several of these Japanese silk trays, made from the same chiri-men silk.  These trays make great gifts for yourself or friends who travel.

travel tray for hotel room

made in Japan Japanese souvenir kyoto japan arashiyama craft silk shop souvenirThe Japanese silk trays are perfect for travel because they fold completely flat.  I always put one on my nightstand in hotel rooms to keep track of my room key, chargers, and coins. At home, I use them on my dresser to hold jewelry.

Kyoto Arashiyama train station lanterns

Sad to leave Arashiyama but happy to have full shopping bags to remind me of the great day we had in this perfect mountain village.

Do you have a favorite spot like Arashiyama, where you can do your sightseeing and shopping all in one place?  Tell us about it in the comments!

Japanese Souvenir Shopping Details:
Chiri-men Craft Museum (everything made in Japan)
Hours: 10:00-18:00
Address:  19-2.  Tsukurimichi.  Saga Tenrvuii.  Ukvo-ku, Kyoto.

Looking for more posts about Souvenir Shopping in Japan?  You may want to read these next:
Souvenir shopping Kyoto, Japan. Why Japanese customer service is the world’s best.
Kyoto, Japan. Don’t slip on this Imperial era shopping street or you’ll be dead in 2 to 3 years.
Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Japan. The road to spiritual enlightenment is paved with shops.
Souvenir shopping Kyoto, Japan. Tourist Tat Alert Cute edition.
Guide to Souvenir shopping for made in Japan kimonos and yukatas: what to buy
Souvenir shopping Kyoto, Japan. Furoshiki, some assembly required.
Souvenir shopping Kyoto, Japan. Yes, gift please.
Kyoto, Japan. Shopping Fail: Philosopher’s Path

All photos by Souvenir Finder copyright 2013 except as attributed below
#2, 5, 6 by Tripping Blonde, used with permission (thanks Linds!)
#4 oishii green tea baum Japanese cake flown in in by our friends from Japan! japanese-cake-20120315-2.jpg / CC BY 2.0

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7 Responses to Kyoto, Arashiyama, Japan. A trifecta of scenery, sights and shopping.

  1. Joanna 07/12/2014 at 12:23 pm #

    What a beautiful trip it must have been ! And I love the little kitty pouch, I would totally buy it too !

    • Kristin Francis 07/12/2014 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks Joanna, Japan is one of my favorite destination for both sightseeing and shopping! I wish I’d brought home a dozen of those kitty pouches.

  2. Allison @ Lighten Up! 07/13/2014 at 6:36 pm #

    I love your photography (and souvenirs!)

    • Kristin Francis 07/18/2014 at 11:36 am #

      Thank you for the kind words!

  3. Valerie@Occasionally Crafty 07/13/2014 at 7:29 pm #

    i LOVE the idea behind your blog. It’s fascinating! I’m sure I will never get to visit most of these places but I can live through you! Lovely choices for souvenirs!

  4. Katie Wassink 07/15/2014 at 9:38 pm #

    What a beautiful display of what this area of Japan can offer! I’ve never been but I do enjoy sake:) That bamboo forest looks amazing! The Japanese culture has such an attention to detail.

    • Kristin Francis 07/18/2014 at 11:32 am #

      Yes, I saw the bamboo forest photos before I went and it really did live up to my expectations. You are totally right- the Japanese attention to detail and also customer service is pretty incredible.

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