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local specialties of kyoto

shirlotta Jul 17, 2006 08:54 PM

what kind of food is kyoto best known for, and where should i go to get it? i will be staying at heianbo ryokan near kyoto station, but of course am open to other areas as well. thanks so much for your help!

  1. Yukari Jul 22, 2006 04:49 AM

    You will not want to miss out on Nishiki market.


    3 Replies
    1. re: Yukari
      Shokutsu Jul 22, 2006 11:11 PM


      In Nishiki, I particularly enjoyed Yaoya no nikai if you have time for lunch.

      1. re: Shokutsu
        E Eto Jul 23, 2006 02:20 AM

        Beware, Yaoya no Nikai is not a drop-in-for-a-quick-meal kind of place, since its been well reviewed by Japanese (and American) media. I tried to go there for an early lunch (around 11:30 on a weekday) and was told there was an 11⁄2 hour wait. So if you want to go there, you'd better reserve well in advance.

        1. re: E Eto
          shirlotta Jul 24, 2006 03:49 PM

          thanks guys! i'll try to make a reservation.

    2. o
      oishi Jul 20, 2006 11:53 AM

      I was in Japan in May and found just about any restaurant excellent fare. However, if you don't mind hopping on the train for a bit, try going to Osaka especially Dotonbori - sooooooooo many restaurants in that area (the tako-yaki place was my favourite - just look for the huge octopus out front). I was told by a local that money is spent on food in Osaka - my kind of town :)

      1. shirlotta Jul 19, 2006 05:37 PM

        oh, that sounds amazing. i had heard about kyoto's vegetables. and i love tofu and homestyle cooking! thanks so much for the suggestions!

        1. shirlotta Jul 19, 2006 01:30 PM

          thanks so much for the recommendation! i would love omakase, and as i don't speak japanese it would probably be easier.

          1 Reply
          1. re: shirlotta
            Shokutsu Jul 19, 2006 03:09 PM

            While Kyoto is known internationally for its kaiseki, I have found that people around Japan typically think about tofu (and yuba), the local homestyle cuisine (o-banzai) and vegetables as what makes Kyoto unique. Both of these feed into kaiseki cuisine in a less highbrow manner.

            If you are looking for good places for tofu and yuba, I have two recommendations:

            1) the area around nanzenji temple is known for its tofu. Okutan is one good restaurant. For a pricier but better setting, I recommend try Nanzenji Gimmond http://www.gimmond.co.jp/kyoto/khome-e.htm and click on Nanzenji Gimmond

            2) Along the Kamo River in downtown is a place called Tosuiro that is excellent. Ask the hotel to make reservations so you can outside on the "Yuka" or outdoor platform along the river http://www.bento.com/kyototofu.html

            In terms of Kyoto homestyle cuisine, there are plenty of places. Many places dont have English menus so I would ask at the hotel or just ask for an o-makase. Some suggestions:

            1) Hime-Gozen http://www.himegozen.jp/
            Great renkon tempura (lotus root), nasu dengaku (eggplant with miso) and let her do the rest. Great sake here too.

            2) Manzara(Honten) Ebisuawa-agaru, Kawaramachidori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto Tel 075-253-1558

            Hope that helps

          2. l
            linlinchan Jul 18, 2006 10:51 PM

            Kyoto is most famous for its "Kaiseki" cuisine, the local variant of which is called "kyo-kaiseki."
            If you are an adventurous eater who can enjoy an omakase (completely determined by the chef) menu, I would highly reccommend the experience, you will not forget it.

            As far as where one should eat kaiseki or kyo-kaiseki, I have heard much praise for Daitokuji Ikkyu: http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/7096.... which is near the Daitokuji Temple on Kitaoji.
            Be prepared to spend at least 4500 yen (about $40) and up per person for lunch at any good kaiseki place, and at least 80-100$ and up for dinner.

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