Kyoto’s Secret: Get a Paper Lantern

Did you ever visit a temple and wonder if you could purchase the beautiful paper lantern you just saw? You ask around, try to make yourself understood, but no one can really tell you if it is possible or not. Then you say:  I should find it in a lantern shop, of course. But where do we find such a place?

If you are in Kyoto, here is a valuable secret for you. Kawashima Chochin Senmon Ten, just west of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, is a small shop where  articles such as umbrellas and paper lanterns can be found. Just walk in, browse a moment and very soon you will come across used models of lantern which come in different sizes and have a wide variety of characters on them.  It is customary to choose a style or model, specify your design requirements and return back later to get your order.  A trained artist will create the lamp or umbrella according to your specifications: desired characters, crest or images. Of course, you as a tourist can order the same way, if time and money are not an issue; it will cost you between 10,000 and 30,000 yen. But if you can’t, here’s a tip: ask the shop attendants (the lady of the shop in particular) if second hand lanterns are available. She will be happy to repair any apparent defects with wet paper and a bit of glue, and you will get a beautiful lantern for a fraction of the price with little wait! Why bring home a new article without history, when you get away with authenticity?


Mountain Temple Lantern Style

Paper Lantern with Typical Mountain Crest


Here is the address:


Kyoto-Shi, Kamigyo-Ku,

Kita-no-Shôbô-Mae, 602-8384



(北野天満宮西入)日本 602-8384