Keep an eye out for a chemist (A.K.A. pharmacy or drug store) when traveling Japan. Called kusuriya 「薬屋」 they are a great place to shop for the budget-minded traveler of Japan.

Kusuriya in Kyoto

Kusuriya: Drug Store Matsumoto Kiyoshi in Kyoto
Matsumoto Kiyoshi Kusuri near Kawaramachi Station on Shijo Dori, Kyoto

In Japanese kusuri 「薬 くすり」 means “medicine” and ya 「屋 や」 means “store”.

I skip the convenience stores and vending machines in favour of buying drinks and snacks here. Although you’ll find all the typical pharmacy products here: toiletries, medicines, cosmetics, etc; there’s also cheap drinks and snacks at most of these stores. Be sure to check one out and see just how much cheaper it can be shopping here.

This kusuriya (of the Matsumoto Kiyoshi Kusuri chain) is located between Kawaramachi and Gion Shijo stations (on the west side of the Kamo River). It’s only a few minutes walk from the awesome 9hours Kyoto Capsule Hotel. Gion and Yasaka Shrine are also a short walk away.

See the Yasaka Pagoda (HDR Photo).

Map of this location:

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View this location (Map coordinates: 35.003939,135.770676) on Google Maps.

In the Japanese autumn of 2013 I stayed in this area to cross a few World Heritage sites in Kyoto off my must-see list. The Kawaramachi area is a great place to stay, it’s just across the river from Gion and buses to most major sites in Kyoto can be accessed here. I’ve stayed in this area many times when visiting Kyoto.