KYOTO HANDICRAFT CENTER
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Kyoto handicraft center and duty-free shop – showcasing the traditional crafts of Kyoto and the finest quality luxury gifts and souvenirs.
I want to tell you about the Kyoto Handicraft Center, your number one destination for luxury traditional craft items from Kyoto. For those special gifts or souvenirs that are truly out of the ordinary, such as swords or Kiyomizu ware, Kyoto Handicraft Center offers the discerning souvenir hunter a unique experience. You will also see various traditional crafts being produced by real artisans, a rare cultural insight that will make your visit so much more than just a shopping trip.
Browse and buy in the duty-free shop with its friendly English speaking staff. Payment in major foreign currencies, or by all major credit cards is accepted, with overseas shipping options available – but don’t forget to bring your passport for your duty-free bargains!
Traditional Craft Gifts and Souvenirs
Kyoto Handicrafts Center is divided into the West Building and East Building, with English speaking staff on every floor. An Information Counter and Souvenir Shop are located on the first floor (ground floor) of the West building. Here you will find a wide variety of luxury goods such as ornamental swords, samurai armour, beautifully intricate damascene inlays, gorgeous pearl necklaces, ornate Japanese dolls, hanging scrolls, and woodblock prints, to name just a few.
On the first floor of the East Building is a book shop with a great selection of titles on Japanese history, traditions and culture in English, along with tourist guides, and even some examples of Japanese manga.
Up on the second and third floors, various traditional craft, food, and drink items can be found, such as kimono and yukata, genuine Nanbu ironware, wooden Kokeshi dolls, exclusive Japanese cosmetics, Japanese teas, sake, paper goods, Wagashi sweets, and so much more!
Traditional Crafts Workshop Experience
On the seventh floor of the West Building, craft making workshops are held three times daily where you can have a go at any one of 9 traditional crafts such as Kyoto Damascene, Woodblock Printing, ceramic Dorei Doll making, and even Shichimi Spice Blending! Classes start at 10:30, 14:30 and 16:00 – advance reservations are required by telephone or via the web page in English, here: http://www.kyotohandicraftcenter.com/experience/?lang=en
Immediately next door to the Workshops is the Kyoto Damascene Factory where you can observe first hand the craftsmen working on exquisite inlays of gold and silver – a craft with a history of over 1000 years in Japan. Learn also of their long-standing collaboration with TIFFANY & CO.
Interestingly, during WW2, many inlay artists, as well as other Japanese artisans were forced to leave their professions. It has been an aim of the Kyoto Handicrafts Center and its founder, the late Shintaro Oda, to gather such craftsmen, as well as those from other disciplines, and promote and support them in re-establishing their arts.
I’ve no doubt you’ll probably spend a long time browsing the shops and experiencing everything the Kyoto Handicrafts Center has to offer, so there are excellent in-house lunch time options available for your refreshment.
KAKOH Buffet Restaurant is on the second floor of the West Building and is open from 11:30 – 14:30. The wide buffet selection includes many Kyoto home-style dishes, as well as other popular Japanese Washoku dishes, and Western-style foods. Eat all you can for just ¥1,500 (tax-free), but reserve ahead during high season to avoid disappointment.
SHAOMI Japanese Restaurant is on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors of the East Building where you can enjoy the seasonal delights of Kyoto kaiseki cuisine. Each floor has its own distinctive atmosphere with choices of traditional tatami room dining, bright casual dining, table and counter seating and private rooms. The sixth floor is especially notable for its stunning view of the Higashi Mountains scenery. In addition to their kaiseki courses, SHAOMI also serves Japanese-style bento lunch boxes and vegetarian meals. Open from 11:00 to 13:30 – advance reservation required.
Access and Opening Hours
The Kyoto Handicrafts Center is open from 10:00 to 19:00 daily, all year round. http://www.kyotohandicraftcenter.com/access/?lang=en
Traditional craft items can be obtained from the following online stores:
Visiting the Kyoto Handicrafts Center, it soon becomes apparent that it is much more than a souvenir shop. Yes, it sells a lot of what would be described as luxury goods in the West, but more importantly, it demonstrates that Japan’s traditional crafts are as alive and culturally relevant today as at any other time in the country’s history. So, when you visit the Center, don’t make it a flying visit, but immerse yourself fully in the rich variety of traditional arts on show, and that includes the seasonal Kyoto cuisine served in the restaurants!
- Born and raised in Kyoto. I love traveling. The more I was exposed to foreign culture, the more I realized how fascinating Kyoto is. This is why I am writing this English article for you to make your trip in Kyoto much more enjoyable!