For one-stop souvenir shopping, your best bet is Kyoto's largest craft, gift, and souvenir center. Five floors of merchandise contain almost everything Japanese imaginable: pearls, lacquerware, dolls, children's toys, kimono (including antique kimono), woodblock prints, pottery, cameras, paper products, swords, lanterns, silk and textile goods, painted scrolls, and music boxes -- and that's just for starters. You can even buy the socks to be worn with geta wooden shoes and the obi sashes to be worn with the kimono.
You can easily spend an hour or two here just wandering around; artisans also demonstrate their various crafts, including woodblock printing and the production of damascene. You can even try your own hand at making woodblock prints, cloisonné, and dolls, with instruction provided. For this you should plan at least 1 hour; bookings are made by phone (tel. 075/961-0142) at the information counter on the ground floor from 10am to 6pm daily. Lessons cost ¥1,500 ($13/£6.50) and are a great way for older children to get creative while you shop. And if you spend more yen than you have, you can exchange money here at a favorable rate. Open daily from 10am to 6pm.
- © Frommer's 2013