• Take a jaunt to Kyoto to find Japan’s finest handicrafts
• Meet celebrated artisans in their workshops
• Pick up one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts
For centuries, the capital of traditional Japanese crafts has been Kyoto—a city where skills are passed down through generations and the exquisite local products range from bamboo chopsticks to extravagant silk kimonos. Hours can be spent blissfully hopping between Kyoto’s countless ateliers, artisan shops, and showrooms in pursuit of the perfect gift or souvenir. But here’s how to shop the very best of the city in less than five hours round-trip from Osaka. From Kyoto Station (30 minutes by train from Osaka Station), take a taxi to Nishijin, Kyoto’s historical weaving district, where you’ll find Hosoo (open by appointment only), a textile mill founded in the 1600s and sustained through 12 generations that today produces richly textured silk fabrics for kimonos, fashion projects, and interior design. Nearby, a restored machiya (traditional wooden house) serves as the workshop of celebrated artisan Ko Kado, whose on-site showroom Kamisoe offers gorgeous karakami—decorative woodblock prints on handmade washi paper—used for sliding screen doors, wallpaper, and even stationery. Your next stop: Uchu Wagashi, a specialist in pastel-hued wagashi, artistic teatime confections crafted from mochi, fruits, and bean paste. Further south, Kohchosai Kosuga operates an elegant shop filled with bamboo housewares, from simple rice spoons to graceful handwoven baskets. Visit Kaikado for the tin tea caddies—as well as coffee tins and handled jars—that have been produced in precisely the same way since 1875. You’ll find lovely Uji-clay pottery at Asahiyaki, on the southern outskirts of the city, where a 15th-generation artisan crafts pieces that will elevate any modern-day tea ceremony. Make your final rounds at Design House Kyoto, a thoughtfully curated shop filled with range of crafts from Japanese artisans, including ceramic sake sets, colorful washi tape, and Nishijin-fabric card cases.
From the Conrad, walk north to Osaka Station and take the JR Line to Kyoto Station (about 30 minutes), then hail a taxi to shuttle between the shops below.
UCHU WAGASHI: 307 Shintomi-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto; +81-75-201-4933;uchu-wagashi.jp
KOHCHOSAI KOSUGA: 74 Nakajima-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto; +81-75-221-8687;kohchosai.co.jp