Kyoto: guide to the best addresses for crafts and design

Kyoto, dream city

Kyoto is a gem, a miracle of emotions and wonders. I remember my first visit to Eikando Temple, 23 years ago. I perfectly remember this feeling. It was Winter. The air was crisp. The temple was totally empty. Shoes had to be removed before entering. The wooden floor was cold underneath the socks, it cracked when walking. There were children laughters in the distance and ravens croaking. And a waxed wood and incense mix in the air that filled the nostrils. Suddenly there was a gong echo and chanted psalms.

It was both mysterious and reassuring. A multi-sensorial shock.

This emotion of the first time, I experience it over and over again, every time I return to Kyoto, city so close to my heart.

Kyoto, city of art and crafts

And what I discovered during these many trips, beyond temples, charming streets, is the breathtaking beauty and richness of its crafts, its workshops, its masters of art.

Yes, you can go on a trip and experience shopping as a moment of great meaning, which contributes to the discovery of a place in a way that is perhaps even more personal because these objects we bring back are like small pebbles that will enlighten the path of memory for a long time. Kyoto is like a treasure hunt of objects to discover, to hunt for, to watch being made.

This is what I would like to share with Atelier Ikiwa and the travel guides we produce, the search for a meaning lost by the piles of cheapskate souvenirs that one ends up bringing back because one does not know where to go.

Knowing where to find treasures, meeting the craftsmen who continue to keep multi-centenary traditions alive, learning to push doors even if the language is a mystery, discovering that there is an incredible renewal of talent, a youth creative spirit that also spread on Kyoto a breathtaking wind of modernity.

Kyoto, city of treasures

Kyoto has always been a city designed for shopping: the best craftsmen and masters of art have succeeded one another at the Imperial Court and Kyoto has preserved a rich infrastructure of shops from this past: old mashiya still occupied by successive generations of craftsmen, department stores, boutiques and galleries for an urban and contemporary lifestyle.

A new generation of young artisans and creatives is reshaping the city and bringing a new and exciting shopping scene. Between two visits to temples and shrines, let yourself be carried away by the discovery of these treasures.

Kyoto, the guide to craft and design addresses

Atelier Ikiwa is about, among other things, articulating the idea of discovering a city through its crafts, whether traditional or contemporary, whether confidential or very established, whether art or everyday, by giving access to the best addresses in the destination, to encourage encounters and the purchase of unique and personal souvenirs, which are meaningful, which carry strong human values and exceptional creative and crafts qualities.

Souvenirs brought back from travel: the local creative act rather than the object manufactured elsewhere. Rigorously selected addresses, without intermediaries, each visited, documented and approved.

Discover the first guide of the series, in FRENCH ONLY for the moment, dedicated to Kyoto, gathering our favourite addresses in a playful format of 25 postcards presented in a beautiful box.

Let this guide be a tool to be utilised as you wish : a visual gallery of 25 cards to be framed or given as gifts, a selection of our favourite cards to slip into our suitcases at the time of departure... But always, to be able to dream Kyoto before, during and after the trip.

A guide imagined and designed by Atelier Ikiwa, with photos and texts by its founder, Laurence, printed in France in a limited edition (in FRENCH ONLY for the time being). To discover the guide, follow this link


A guide in French to Kyoto's crafts and design addresses