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A few questions re. Kyoto food itinerary

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We'll be in Kyoto for 5 nights; two at the Hyatt Regency and three at the Hiiragiya.

My first question is concerning our dinners at Hiiragiya - how repetetive would it be to eat three dinners in a row here, over the course of our stay? Can anyone comment on the variance with regards to ingredients and preparation? As meals are included, I feel somewhat guilty about eating elsewhere, though I'm leaning towards breaking up the monotony of three dinners in our ryokan with an evening out elsewhere, in the middle of our stay here.

Here is what we're looking at for our dining itinerary:

Sat. Dinner - Nishiki

Sun. Lunch - Hyotei

Sun. Dinner - Arashiyama Kithco

Mon. Lunch - Momijiya Restaurant - (would you recommend lunch or dinner for best atmosphere?)

Mon. Dinner - Hiiragiya

Tue. Lunch - Shoraian

Tue. Dinner - Kamigamo Akiyama

Wed. Lunch - Hiranoya

Wed. Dinner - Hiiragiya

Thu. Lunch - Gion Yata - (only open for dinner?)

Here's where I'm stuck... I really want to do Gion Yata as well, but I just discovered that they are only open for dinner. I assumed they had a lunch seating as well. So now I'm trying to decide which of the above restaurants should I switch from a dinner to a lunch, in order to accommodate Yata. I obviously cannot do anything with our kaiseki meals at the Hiiragiya ryokan and I definitely want to experience Kitcho for the full dinner service at night... that leaves Nishiki and Akiyama. Are both open for lunch seatings as well? Which would serve as the better lunch venue?

And lastly, I have the following on my list, as well... how essential or non-essential are they, and should I give much though to them considering our already well-rounded dining itinerary? Are there any that could serve as a nice venue for tea service or perhaps sake and snacks, rather than a full meal? Should I not bother, as we've already covered enough ground?

- Sagano Tofuya
- Okutan
- Aunbou
- Shigetsu

Thanks for your input and help!!

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  1. Another option, is to just visit Momijiya for tea service and sightseeing rather than a full meal. It seems like a beautiful destination and could make for a nice nature walk, with a the reward of a warm pot of tea. Would you consider it a dining destination, or is the appeal mostly about the setting, building, history, surrounds, etc?

    1. And lastly, could someone please offer a general comparisson between the ¥4,200 lunch and ¥8,000-12,500 dinner set for a place like Kamigamo Akiyama? Is it an entirely different experience? Are the number of courses and quality of ingredients vastly different?

      Thanks again!!

      PS - Does anyone know if Nishiki offers lunch seating and if so, what are the hours and opening days?

      1 Reply
      1. re: OliverB

        In my experience, when you see this kind of price difference for lunch of a tier at around 5,000, and then another from 8,000-15,000, the former is typically less food but of a similar ingredient quality as the cheapest of the next tier (8,000 range) (often it's just the same plus additional dishes). Going up in price beyond the 8,000 range means better quality ingredients but the same number of courses.

        We enjoyed our lunch at Nishiki. It has a nice atmosphere in a private room in the middle of the river. I don't think being there at night would add much. However, we enjoyed our lunch in a private room at Sangencha in Gion overlooking the garden more. This was in 2009, however, so standards may have changed.

      2. Apologies for the multiple posts in a row, but I'm even more confused now... This website indicates that there is indeed a lunch service at Yata:

        http://www.jrhakatacity.com.e.bv.hp.t...

        However, there is no mention of such (that I could discern from Google Translate) on the restaurant's official website:

        http://www.kaland.co.jp/yata_honten/i...

        Can anyone please confirm for certain that this restaurant is open for lunch??

        If so, my final question now is:

        Lunch at Gion Yata or Nishiki?

        Which is better suited to lunch and which is better suited to dinner? Where would we experience the strengths of each kitchen and which would offer the most atmosphere at either time of day?

        4 Replies
        1. re: OliverB

          The Hakatacity link is for a branch located in Hakata Station, Fukuoka.

          The Kyoto honten does not offer lunch

          1. re: Glicoman

            Thank you, Glicoman!

            How does this revised food itinerary look for our stay in Kyoto? Also, any idea what to expect from breakfast meals at Hiiragiya ryokan? I'm wondering how it will effect our lunch plans Tue, Wed, and Thur. Are Japanese breakfasts served at ryokans typically very filling?

            • Sat – Gion Yata @ 7:15 PM

            • Sun – Hyotei @ 11:30 AM (Lunch)

            • Sun – Arashiyama Kitcho @ 7:30 PM

            • Mon – Momijiya @ ??:?? (Lunch)

            • Tue – Shoraian @ 12:00 PM (Lunch)

            • Tue – Kamigamo Akiyama @ 7:00 PM

            • Wed – Nishiki @ 12:00 PM (Lunch)

            • Thu – Hiranoya @ 11:00 PM (Lunch)

            1. re: OliverB

              'Are Japanese breakfasts served at ryokans typically very filling?'

              Yes. Expect fish, tofu, rice, pickles and at a place like Hiragiya, multiple courses.

              1. re: shakti2

                Basically, ANY ryokan meal is pretty excessive. After breakfast you can easily skip lunch, even if you (sadly) pass on the natto.

        2. Okay, I lied. THIS is the very last question for tonight:

          Hiranoya - better for simple tea service or full kaiseki meal?

          Should we eat elsewhere and simply enjoy tea here one afternoon?

          Thanks so much for any help with this leg of our trip; I really appreciate it!!