(Mario statue at 1F of Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. new area T8.)

For any avid fan of Japan, the name Takashimaya resonates as an emblem of international repute among department stores.

My sojourn in Singapore in 2016 placed me in close proximity to Ngee Ann City, and I found myself drawn to “Taka” – as Singaporeans affectionately call it – every other day, seeking a slice of Japan. For many, Takashimaya serves as a beloved portal to authentic Japanese culture.

Did you know how Takashimaya was born?

Let’s delve into a brief history of Takashimaya.

The Story of Takashimaya

In 1831 (that’s about 190 years ago!!), Takashimaya was founded in Kyoto by a merchant from Fukui Prefecture as a modest “gofuku” store, offering used clothings and cotton cloth. Despite the challenges of the Edo period, the store flourished, and saw its first major international debut following the Meiji Restoration, as it began to export the traditional beauty of Japan to the global stage.

By the early 1900s, Takashimaya had established offices in major fashion capitals such as Paris and London. Today, it stands as a world-renowned department store headquartered in Osaka, with branches in Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Well, that’s the concise backstory for you about Takashimaya. Should you find yourself in Japan’s Kansai region, seize the opportunity to explore two of Takashimaya’s premier flagship stores: Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. and Takashimaya Osaka.

I will be detailing Takashimaya Osaka in a separate articles, but today, let’s focus on the distinctive allures of Kyoto Takashimaya S.C.



What’s new in Kyoto Takashimaya S.C.?

First of all, good news to all Nintendo’s lovers!

Excitingly, following the opening of a new zone called T8 adjacent to the main building, Nintendo inaugurated its third store, ©︎Nintendo KYOTO, joining those in Tokyo and Osaka. This launch was met with enthusiasm, especially considering Nintendo’s storied origins in Kyoto.

Nintendo KYOTO draws international shoppers eager to explore a wide array of merchandise featuring major Nintendo characters.

A notable highlight is the opportunity to snap a photo with a triumphant Mario atop the goal pole. on T8’s rooftop!

©︎Nintendo KYOTO
Area: T8, 7F


Savoring Traditional Kyoto

Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. distinguishes itself with a selection of venerable merchants originating from Kyoto, well loved by the locals since decades ago.

“Tagoto”, for example, was founded about 150 years ago in Kyoto as a kaiseki-style restaurant serving exquisite Kyoto cuisine.

Tagoto proudly serves yuba, one of Kyoto’s most popular delicacy. My personal affection for yuba knows no bounds, making it my top food choice in Kyoto. I was thrilled to discover their Special Yuba Set, a culinary celebration of yuba prepared in an array of styles. This set is a feast for the senses, showcasing yuba’s versatility through textures that range from silky smooth to delightfully crispy, and flavors from subtly delicate to richly creamy. It’s an experience you’ll undoubtedly want to savor for yourself.


Area: 7F in main building

A trip to Kyoto isn’t complete without indulging in its traditional confectioneries. Tsukigase, a distinguished confectionery with roots going back nearly a hundred years in Sakaimachi, Kyoto, has been a cherished destination for tea breaks within Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. for about 70 years! It is now under the stewardship of its fourth generation.

The crown jewel of Tsukigase is undoubtedly its anmitsu. This classic dessert, a harmonious blend of agar jelly and sweet red bean paste, is served with a contemporary flair that both honors tradition and appeals to modern palates.

I enjoyed a bowl of Ichigo Cream Anmitsu served with strawberry puree and condensed milk, which offered a sweet, creamy contrast that elevated the traditional dessert to new heights.


Dine-In or Take-Out: The Choice is Yours

While there are an abundance of delectable options within Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. for eating in, considering take-out might be a smart move, especially during busy dining hours or to enjoy a quiet meal back at your hotel, should the craving for a late-night snack arise.

Personally, I opted for take-out, planning a serene picnic in the vicinity.


Venture down to the food department on B1, where you’ll be greeted with an astonishing variety of treats, from savory tidbits and exquisite confectionery to meticulously prepared bento boxes and beyond.

A special highlight is “Meika Hyakusen,” a dedicated corner that showcases popular tidbits from virtually every region of Japan, offering a culinary tour of the country’s diverse flavors and specialties.

In spring, the counters adorn pastel pink to welcome the cherry blossom season.It’s a refreshing experience to discover new products with each visit, reflecting the changing seasons. Wonder what they have on the shelf right now? Head there to find out!

Kyokasho is a specialty wagashi counter that offers the finest curation of Japanese sweets from Kyoto’s premier confectioners.

Area: B1 , main building

For those seeking a tranquil setting to enjoy a take-out lunch, the renowned Kamogawa River is conveniently located just a short stroll from Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. Particularly in spring, you might be fortunate enough to witness the spectacular bloom of cherry trees, adding a breathtaking backdrop to your meal.

Sping time hanami picnic by the Kamogawa river.

Discover the Essence of Traditional Kyoto

Kyoto captivates hearts with its timeless beauty, reminiscent of classic Japan. Venture to the 5th floor to immerse yourself in the authenticity of traditional Japanese kimonos and accessories, a true reflection of Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage.

Buysell is a unique corner dedicated to offering preloved kimonos and obi belts at accessible prices, providing a sustainable way to own a piece of traditional Japanese culture.

For those in search of quintessential Kyoto souvenirs, the accessory selection comes in all shapes and sizes, each beautifully crafted using kimono fabric. These pieces offer a unique and artistic way to bring a piece of Kyoto’s rich culture into your life.

Area: 5F, main building


Useful Tips

Traveling with babies? Fret not!

Takashimaya boasts top-notch facilities for families, featuring an excellent nursing room located on the children’s department floor. This includes diaper changing counters, a baby feeding area, and a private room for breastfeeding, ensuring comfort and convenience for parents and their babies.

Adjacent to the nursery room, there’s a thoughtfully designed play area for babies and toddlers. It’s the perfect spot for parents looking for a safe space to let their little ones play and unwind.

Area: 5F, main building


Finally, a pro tip! Most people do not know about this, but international shoppers are eligible to receive a Takashimaya Shopper’s Card (each brand has an adorable unique design too!), to get 5% off in addition to tax refund! Talk about the perks of being a foreign tourist in Japan!!

There are just a few things to note:

  • Given only to those who meet the tax-free requirements.
  • Only the person whose passport can be verified is eligible to use it.
  • Some products are not eligible for discounts, especially the shops in the newly opened T8.

Area: 7F, main building


Access to Kyoto Takashimaya S.C.

Kyoto Takashimaya S.C. is located near Kawaramachi area in the city and here are the best ways to access it:

  • For Hankyu Railway: Get off at Hankyu Kyoto Line Kyoto Kawaramachi Station, it is directly connected underground.
  • For Keihan Railway: Get off at Gion Shijo Station, then a 5 minutes walk.


Keep an eye out for my upcoming piece on Takashimaya Osaka! I have a surprise in store that I’m eager to share – something you might not expect. Stay tuned!