Last Minute Trip to Kyoto
I will be traveling on business in Kyoto next Sunday through Wednesday. I realize it is probably too late to make reservations anywhere. Given the limited amount of time I have, I was wondering if anyone has recommendations on restaurants. My goal would be to try a different type of Japanese cuisine for each meal (sushi, traditional Kyoto meal, something with Kobe beef or similar, other types?). I am not very familiar with the cuisine types.
I will be able to make a Sunday dinner (although I will not arrive until around 8 pm - so I would need someplace in or near the Granvia), Monday lunch, and Monday and Tuesday dinners. Location-wise, I am staying at the Granvia which I hear is at the Kyoto train station.
At least one evening, I will be dining with locals on business. Etiquette-wise, I assume I should let them pick the restaurant (even though I expect to pay for dinner). That will also be the only meal I will have the benefit of a Japanese-speaking member of my dining party.
Also, although this is off-topic, if someone had one day to see the sites of Kyoto, what would be your top three things to see - either scenery-wise or history-wise.
I will also be in Tokyo one evening, if anyone has a suggestion for a restaurant there, perhaps with the idea of continuing my goal of experiencing different cuisine types, please let me know. I will continue to review the posts of this site, but wanted to post something first in the hopes of getting some responses before I leave.
Haven't tried sushi in Kyoto but for kaiseki and beef, there is a Kitcho and Moritaya respectively and I think they both have outlets in the Kyoto station building. Probably easiest for you. Although I have not been to these branches, I have been to other branches and they are both excellent.
As for sight-seeing, I would recommend Kiyomizu-dera, Kinkakuji and Fushimi Inari shrine for first time visitors. Also walk around Gion area which has lots of restaurants. The tourist office in Kyoto station would also have info on sakura blossom and you should be able to catch the tail end of it.
Kokkekokko, a yakitori restaurant in Kyoto station (Isetan 10F), might be a good casual choice for your arrival night dinner. They have good food, English-friendly service, and reasonably late Sunday hours. http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/7040.html
I'd also suggest shojin-ryori (vegetarian temple cuisine, one of Kyoto's local specialties) for one of your lunches. Izusen in Daitokuji Temple is one of my favorites, and it's also next to a nice sightseeing spot. http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/7095....
For beef I'd recommend the teppanyaki restaurant in your hotel (Gozanbo) over Moritaya.
You might want to postpone your sushi meal until you get to Tokyo - sushi is more of a Tokyo specialty.
You might try Kyoto's Kaiseki cuisine. I enjoyed my visit to Hyotei (Honten (Original Branch)), but reservations may be hard to get at the last minute at this 300 year-old establishment! Ask your concierge and see if they can arrange it for you. Here are my thoughts on Hyotei:
For sight-seeing, totally agree with HKTraveler's great ideas. I *loved* Kiyomizu-dera (^_^), and would add the Philosopher's Walk if it's still Hanami / Cherry Blossom Season when you arrive next week. Here some pics of that stretch from my trip last year:
Good luck and enjoy Kyoto! :)