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It turns out there’s a whole range of classic Kyoto goodies available on a typical store shelf!

If you’ve visited Japan—any part of Japan—you’re likely to have encountered tourist stops, especially at airports and train stations. You can identify them easily by their stacked boxes of souvenirs of local delicacies like Tokyo Banana or specially flavored KitKats. These souvenirs can cost a pretty penny, though—and when you’ve forgotten to buy any omiyage, or souvenirs, you have no choice but to fork over your cash at these tourist stops even so.

But are there any other options? Maybe so, as it turns out! One of our Japanese-language reporters, Udonko, hails from Niigata but is currently living in Kyoto. When she took a peek at the sweets section in her local supermarket she was stunned by how many classic Kyoto souvenirs were available, and at a greatly reduced price.

▼ The shelves were stocked with a bounty of traditional snacks.

Nestled among the typical candies and potato chips, for example, were some pleasantly normal-looking yatsuhashi.

▼ A matcha-flavored Kyoto delicacy made from glutinous rice!

Yatsuhashi are incredibly popular as Kyoto souvenirs, but you’d normally expect to buy them in bulk—say, for a whole crowd of colleagues, friends, or family members. These Izutsu Yatsuhashi cost just 200 yen (US$1.74), and you can also purchase packs of their Yuko brand treats for the same price.

▼ Yuko is a range of unbaked yatsuhashi with sweet paste fillings.

Both these options, from esteemed Kyoto brand Izutsu, are popular picks at souvenir stores, but this way …continue reading