Experience sensory delights at the Kitchen of Kyoto, shop for souvenirs, take an art class and visit a sacred temple in this central neighborhood.
Spend a day in the area around Karasuma station for insights into Kyoto’s wonderful art, culinary and retail attractions. Food stalls and gift shops line the streets and alleys of the colorful shopping districts. Museums celebrate everything from local history to crafts and kaleidoscopes. Visit Karasuma to also see a centuries-old Buddhist shrine.
Established as a fish market in the early 1300s, today the bustling Nishiki Market presents a feast of authentic Japanese flavors. Sample delicacies, such as dried seafood, octopus skewers, soy ice cream and yuba (tofu skin) at hundreds of restaurants. Observe bartering battles and shop for knives and culinary utensils. The combination of food locales and kitchenware stores has earned the market the nickname Kyoto’s Kitchen.
Close to the market, the covered arcades of Shinkyogoku Shopping Street and Teramachi Shopping Street are among Kyoto’s most popular shopping areas. Purchase candy, footwear, slogan T-shirts, yukatas and kimonos on Shinkyogoku. Teramachi has more of the same in addition to bookstores, galleries and religious gift shops. The name Teramachi translates to Temple Town and refers to the relocation of several temples here in the 1500s by warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Journey through the ages of Japanese arts and crafts and see a replica of an Edo-era street at the Museum of Kyoto. The Kaleidoscope Museum features a fascinating collection of kaleidoscopes and a make-your-own exhibit. Expositions by resident artists, concerts and contemporary dance performances take place at Kyoto Art Center. Peruse displays of Japanese crafts and sign up for workshops at the Gallery of Kyoto Traditional Arts & Crafts.
Find serenity at the 16th-century Bukkōji Temple, known locally as the Temple of the Buddha’s Light. It features an impressive collection of prayer halls and woodcarvings. Another interesting temple is Nishiki-Tenmangu Shrine, located inside Nishiki Market.
The Karasuma area is on the border of Kyoto’s central Nakagyo and Shimogyo wards. Get here by taking the train to Karasuma station, from where most attractions are within a 10-minute walk.