Kyoto features a unique mix of shopping, where modern, high end fashion shops can be found alongside stores with centuries of history selling traditional Kyoto crafts or specialty foods. This is well expressed in the city's largest shopping district along Shijo Street at the heart of central Kyoto.
The shopping area along Shijo Street is centered around the intersection of Shijo and Kawaramachi streets where you will find the Takashimaya department store. A Daimaru department store, as well as high end fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, stand nearby. If you continue along Shijo Street across the Kamo River toward Yasaka Shrine, the large stores give way to smaller shops selling fashion and Kyoto specialty foods and crafts.
Branching off Shijo Street around the Kawaramachi intersection are the Teramachi and Shin Kyogoku Shopping Arcades. These two parallel running, covered pedestrian streets, are packed with shops and restaurants that sell day-to-day clothes and goods and draw a younger crowd than the more upscale stores along Shijo Street. Also found in the area, Nishiki Market, a colorful narrow food market street known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", runs about a block off parallel to Shijo Street.
Kyoto's second largest shopping area is around JR Kyoto Station and includes the extensive Porta underground shopping mall, a massive Aeon shopping mall south of the station and big retailers such as a Bic Camera electronics store. The Kyoto Station building itself houses a large Isetan department store and "The Cube" shopping center with various souvenir shops, boutiques and restaurants.
For a more traditional, old Kyoto atmosphere head to the streets of the eastern Higashiyama District around Kiyomizudera where you will find a wide range of souvenirs, specialty foods and handicrafts, including the famous Kiyomizu-yaki pottery. This area's shops and restaurants have been serving travelers and pilgrims for centuries, and the district maintains its traditional feel with its narrow lanes, stone paved streets and wooden buildings.
For one stop souvenir shopping, check out the Kyoto Handicraft Center just north of Heian Shrine. The first floor of the Kyoto Handicraft Center features higher end items such as lacquerware, folding fans, damascene jewelry, armor and swords, while the upper floors have retailers selling more inexpensive souvenirs like kokeshi dolls, yukata and wood block prints.
Kyoto has also a few flea markets that are of interest to tourists. One is held every month on the 21st at Toji Temple south of Kyoto Station, while the other is held on the 25th of every month at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Both are filled with vendors selling clothes, tools, antiques, art and plants.