NAVITIME Travel - Japan Travel Guides, Transit Search and Itinerary Planner

A Taste of Kyoto

With a tradition of millennia, a full sampling of Kyoto cuisine would take a lifetime, but that’s no reason not to take your own culinary tour of the ancient capital.

  • The range of styles, tastes, and textures that make up Kyo-ryori, or Kyoto cuisine, are incredibly varied and include kaiseki, the delicate and seasonal multicourse menus that inspired French nouvelle cuisine; shojin ryori, the cuisine served to the devout at temples and monasteries; and obanzai, the name given to the particular brand of frugal and seasonal home cooking of Kyoto.

    A Taste of Kyoto

    A Taste of Kyoto

    The blocks leading to the bridge across the Kamo and the Gion district are home to a handful of elegant department stores that, like most others in Japan, house impressive food courts in their lower levels. Takashimaya’s is particularly extensive: it houses branches of many local institutions all under one roof. This depachika (a compound of depato, department store, and chika, underground) is a great way to get a feel for Kyoto’s cuisine and what’s in season.

    A Taste of Kyoto

    A Taste of Kyoto

    The nearby Nishiki Market can often be overrun with visitors to the city, but locals in the know frequent Daimaru’s depachika food court and market. As well as restaurants and shops selling prepared food, it is home to stands with fresh seafood, vegetables, and meats. The basement of the department store is a testament to Kyoto’s obsession with seasonality. The best time to stop by is in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon, away from mealtime rushes.

    A Taste of Kyoto

    A Taste of Kyoto

    For an idea of what can be done with that achingly fresh produce and a master’s hand, visit Saiseki Chimoto and sample the kaiseki menu. The menus at kaiseki restaurants can often range into territory that would make the accountants at Per Se blush, but Chimoto is without sacrificing on ingredients, flavor, or presentation a more relaxed and affordable option for experiencing the cuisine.

    A Taste of Kyoto

    A Taste of Kyoto

    The restaurant has a history dating back centuries and still serves diners the same way it always has: with a simple menu, at a narrow counter with the chefs visible, carefully assembling jewel box-like plates. The casual atmosphere makes it the ideal place to drop by for lunch, even when dining solo. Chimoto is the perfect introduction to kaiseki before you head to the city’s pricier establishments.

    A Taste of Kyoto

    A Taste of Kyoto

    Representing the simpler side of Kyoto’s cuisine, obanzai is the city’s home cooking. Obanzai restaurants offer their own takes on the style, but this is what is usually true: most of the ingredients will be grown or produced or processed within Kyoto, dishes feature unloved or little-used ingredients, and everything on the plate will be in season. Pontocho and Gion have a number of well-regarded spots for obanzai, but such restaurants are ubiquitous in all quarters of the city.

    A Taste of Kyoto

    A Taste of Kyoto

    Okabeya, located not far from Kiyomizudera, is primarily a tofu factory, but its kitchen also serves up yuba bean curd skin, simple tempura, and a Kyoto classic: yudofu, soft, subtly sweet tofu braised in a thin broth. Perhaps springing from shojin ryori’s vegetarian cuisine, the simplicity of the dish and its accompaniments sums up something of Kyoto’s culinary aesthetic.

    Kiyomizu Junsei Okabeya
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Kiyomizu Temple Mae Shimizu 2
    Phone
    0755417111
  • Facebookでシェアする
  • Twitterでシェアする

Recommended new articles