February 1, 2014
by Shiho Tanaka and Keita Matsui
Teramachi-dori is one of the most famous streets in Kyoto city. This street has a variety of characteristics, and a calm ambience. There are many good stores from south of Kyoto City Hall to north of the center of Kyoto. These stores can be both tasteful and traditional, but on the other hand, there are also a number that offer modern styling for Japanese people. University students in Kyoto often go here to shop, and we often go there, too, as we like the clothes you can buy on this street. There are always many people around on the weekend because there are lots of people from different places, so if you hate crowds you should go on a week day.
The History of Teramachi-dori
From the Heian period to the time of Sengoku, Teramachi-dori’s width was around 32meters. This wide thoroughfare was named Higashikyogoku-oji, and was considered a high-class residential area. However, it was badly damaged during the Ohnin and Bunmei revolts. Teramachi-dori was actually named by Toyotomi Hideyoshi over four hundred years ago, as he decided to locate specific temples and shrines here. In the Meiji period, smart shops were opened, one by one, including confectionery stores and the first photo studio in Kyoto. In the Heisei period, a sheltered sidewalk was created to make the Teramachi shopping arcade, and it became the Teramachi-dori we are familiar with today.
A Variety of Shops
First, we will introduce clothes shops. There are many clothes shops here, catering for the young to the old, so people of all generations can enjoy shopping. There are a number of Kyoto specialist stores in which you can buy goods with a Kyoto look and original style. There are also some interesting Japanese-style confectionery outlets, which sell every type of Japanese-style sweets. And you can also buy many uniquely Japanese things, for example, Furoshiki, Noren, Obi and so on. In addition, there are many stores selling all kinds of items from comics to rice bowls. We are sure you can get a feel for the Japanese mind and culture through them. There are also many kinds of restaurants for the food lovers to enjoy. For example, there are traditional and modern Japanese restaurants, coffee shops, Italian and Indian restaurants, and so on. You can eat just about whatever you want to here. For the tea lovers, there are green tea stores too, with Houraido and Ippodo being the best examples. They are really good tea stores, and the Ippodo Tea Warehouse is a particularly famous Japanese specialist tea emporium. So many kinds of tea, and all so delicious, it will be really hard to choose. Don’t worry though, if you can’t come to Kyoto, you can buy them on the Internet.
Parallel to Teramachi-dori to the east in the downtown section, you can visit Shinkyogoku-dori. This street is very famous too, and there are lots of restaurants, clothes shop and other stores for young people. You can keep up with all the latest and popular fashions and food by visiting here. Nishiki-dori also runs east to west across the southern part of Teramachi-dori, and is a very good place for foreign visitors because there are many special food and cultural products of Kyoto on sale here. If you go to Teramachi-dori, you should also go to these places to make sure you have seen the best of what Kyoto has to offer. Have a great time!!