September 1, 2019
When you go to Japan, you can find a lot of souvenir shops, especially in Gion, Kawaramachi, Shinkyougoku, and places close to famous temples. Kyoto’s souvenirs are mostly traditional Japanese things. Therefore, people come to collect them from all around the world, include Japanese people. We focused on one of the souvenir shops in the Shikyogoku area of downtown Kyoto. It is called Kyo-no-Furusato, which means “Hometown of Kyoto.” They can speak seven languages, and are open from 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Kyo-no-Furusato is located on Shinkyougoku street, which is about 10 minutes on foot from the Hankyu Kawaramachi station. As you walk towards Kyo-no-Furusato, you can see many local shops. We chose to focus on this shop because there it is a very popular and busy shop. There are three main very popular souvenirs in Kyo-no-Furusato, so if you are interested in getting some great souvenirs from Kyoto, you should go there.
The first souvenir is called Fuurin, which is a bell made of metal, glass, and/or pottery, with a strip of paper dangling below it. You can enjoy hanging it under the eaves. In the picture seen here, the front is made of metal and the back is made of glass. We usually use it from the summer to the beginning of fall. When we hear the Fuurin sounds, our mind becomes calm and at ease. It is known as amulet. It was first used by nobles and then later used by the general population.
The metal ones are traditional, while the glass ones is are more modern. Both of them are the poplar. You can find them in the center of shop.
An ochoko is a small bowl like a glass when you drink tequila shot. It is made from glass and pottery. The name ochoko comes from choku which mean ‘little by little’. We usually use it when we drink Nihonshu, or Japanese sake. The alcohol percentage is high, so we drink it with an ochoko. At first, it is used exclusively by nobles. But its use spread to the common people in an interesting way. The pottery in the form of Higuchi seems to have been old, but it was explosively spread in the middle of the Edo period when Soba (buckwheat) noodles were popular. They used it a way to drink Soba soup. After that normal people were able to drink sake then use the cup as glass of drink like now.
The ochoko in this shop has a lot of beautiful designs, which are all Japanese patterns. We recommend that if you would like to buy lots of ochoko, you can use them as ornaments. They are all so small, so you can bring them back to your country easily. You can find ochoko in the back of shop and along the right side.
There are many Japanese snacks available in Souvenir Shops like Kyo-no-Furusato. Especially, Kyoto is very famous for green tea, so many snacks are made with green tea.
Everyone knows Kit Kat. In Japan, however, the snack is made in a very Japanese way. For example, there are Kit Kat chocolates with sake of plum, chocolate with sake, chocolate with roasted green tea, green tea, and Uji green tea (Uji is a part of city of Kyoto that is very famous for green tea). In addition to Kit Kat, there are many other famous snacks from Kyoto, including:
1. Yatsuhashi 2. Malebranche from Cha no ka 3. Senju Senbei from Kogetsu 4. Ajarimochi from Mangetsu 5. Green Tea Corneta from Jouvancelle 6. Torori Warabi-mochi from Warabin 7. Kyo Baumkuchen from Otabe 8. Hogyoku-do’s Fox senbei from Hogyokudo 9. Macha Tea Roasted Chocolate from Nakamura Tokichi 10. Kyoame Koicha Temari
There are many kinds of snacks unique to Kyoto. However, it is not just Kyoto that has special snacks. Other prefectures also make unique snacks, so when you have time in Japan or when you go to other prefectures, it is better to find that snacks from that prefecture. It can be a very interesting experience during your trip.
In conclusion, Kyoto is wonderful city, especially for traditional things. When you come to Japan, you must be open minded, so it is important to try things outside of what is normal for you. For example, you can buy a Huurin and use it in your own country. In this way , you can feel the Japanese summer in your own country, or choose Kyoto’s special snacks and eat them in your country with your family, friends, and neighbors. You can share what Japanese people like the most. Let’s enjoy your trip to Kyoto by experiencing true Kyoto things.