Inside Kyoto’s Shopping Arcade – Teramachi

  • FOOD
  • SPOT
  • Kyoto is a city many associate with the traditional and historical aspects of Japanese culture and society. From the many shrines located around the city to the imposing sights of the Imperial Palace and Nijojo Castle, there’s no lack of traditional Japanese culture to be found. But for those wishing to discover contemporary Japanese life in Kyoto, there are still many destinations available. Teramachi, both an underground shopping complex and sprawling outdoor Shotengai, is found north of Kyoto station and a short walk west from the scenic Kamo River, running parallel to Kawaramachi avenue.

    The large scale of Teramachi makes it convenient to access from various points in Kyoto through subway, bus, or on foot. This shopping arcade is the heart of daily life in Kyoto, with numerous attractions for both locals and tourists alike found within its avenues.


    Visitors looking to see Kyoto’s food culture can walk through the western avenues, which hold many food vendors selling items from fish to vegetables to Kyoto’s famous Green Tea goods. The main avenues running from north to south have restaurant dining options as well, including the imposing seafood restaurant Kani Doraku. Teramachi’s large size makes it a prime shopping destination within Kyoto for visitors. Various shopping outlets such as stores for books, clothing, and souvenirs can provide an easy destination for finding Kyoto Omiyage. Teramachi is also a convenient location for seeking out entertainment within Kyoto. Those wanting to experience Japanese gaming can visit the OMEGA parlor to take part in the uniquely loud and colorful spectacle of pachinko, Gamecenter A-cho for traditional arcade games, and Round 1 for sports activities. Various karaoke parlors can be visited in the vicinity of Teramachi, and the MOVIX movie theater is a convenient destination in Kyoto for cinephiles. Specialty locations such as the animal cafes and anime goods store Animate can spice up your time in Kyoto.

    Teramachi is no stranger to Kyoto’s numerous shrines- you can find some tranquil shrine grounds throughout the Shotengai.

    Gion Matsuri

    Teramachi’s location provides a front row seat to some of Kyoto’s biggest cultural activities. Gion Matsuri, a festival in July which culminates in a parade full of locally-made floats, wraps around Teramachi on the surrounding downtown streets. Prior to the event, visitors to Teramachi can hear the sound of flute players practicing during the June and July weeks. Teramachi’s exterior becomes access to prime viewing space for the festival, and both the shopping arcade and the surrounding streets become packed with parade viewers. The inter-connectivity of Teramachi makes it easy to view the parade from various places.

    Teramachi’s sprawl and location make it a unique attraction within Kyoto. The placement between iconic Kyoto locales such as the scenic Kiyomizu-dera temple and open Imperial Palace park provides the perfect place to unwind and explore contemporary Kyoto. The various shops, restaurants, and entertainment options within have something for all people of various interests. Next time you visit Kyoto, put it on your agenda to visit this dense and unique marker of daily life in Japan.

    It’s easy to find a hotel in Kyoto. Here’s one that can easily reach downtown by way of a nearby bus line.