Where to eat in Kyoto

japanese cafes on empty narrow street in evening
Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

You have probably heard that food in Japan is well cooked and is really tasty. Ingredients are high quality and very fresh. From prepared meals at konbinis to full menus in restaurants you can find many traditional and delicious foods. When visiting Kyoto, you know you gotta try the Okonomiyaki with beer, Tsukemono (pickles), eel, and of course the different Matcha-based delicacies.

bamboo bamboo whisk board bowls

Let me share with you, food that you probably won’t find in your google search, and that you definitely have to try.

Oden in a Konbini

7 places to eat in Kyoto :

Pic by Sofuku
  1. AEON mall Kyoto.https://kyoto-aeonmall.com/ If you go to the food court of any mall, you will find plenty of restaurants with different menus that can please the palate of every family member. When in Kyoto, not all people like traditional Japanese food – so this will give you another option for a more enjoyable travel. This is why AEON mall is my number one place.
  2. Wagyu steak Teppanki steak SO-FUKU https://www.facebook.com/sofuku.kyoto/ Have you heard that meat in Japan is expensive? Well, it is, but it is worth it. Animals for human consumption are fed with natural ingredients and with a lot of care, therefore meat is sold in small and pricy portions – otherwise meat consumption would increase too much. Compared to other countries, in Japan meat is not sold to make money, but rather to keep the business going while respecting nature with a controlled consumption.
  3. Suppon (soft-shelled Turtle cuisine) TSUBAKURO https://gurunavi.com/en/kajx700/rst/?sc_cid=al_ta&__ngt__=TT115fcf612000ac1e4ae61dbuAzte_GFgF1SeocBEx-na **Warning! Disclaimer for vegetarians: This place may be a bit too much!** To be honest, when I saw this the first time I felt terrible. But after being in Japan for long enough to witness the full commitment and respect that the culture has for nature, animals, and organic production ways – not only respecting growth seasons, but also moderating consumption – my perspective about this menu changed. You see the turtle and you panic thinking about it; but trust me, the Japanese have established controls and regulations for all foods, from potatoes to fish. Some foods are only prepared during very short seasons and with a very small number of dishes per day. If you can bear it, the soft-shelled turtle cuisine is a must. It is famous for its health benefits such as revitalizing the body. Check the link for more information.
  4. Vegetarian and Organic Kyoto Obanzai Shojin Restaurant ARASHIYAMA http://www.eonet.ne.jp/~arashiyama-bb/ If you are a vegetarian traveling in Japan, you won’t have a problem. As you may already know, monks in Japan are pretty much completely vegetarian – and there are many restaurants and temples that serve fresh and deliciously cooked vegetables. Also in any Japanese table, you will always find that 70%-80% of the plates contains veggies. This is another plus of visiting Japan, there are ample food choices for everyone.
  5. Traditional desserts TSUKIGASE, famous for its traditional Japanese ANMITSU dessert https://tsukigase.jp/ If you have a sweet tooth like I do, be ready to gain some weight in the most delicious way. Japanese desserts are just unbelievably awesome. It doesn’t matter if you are having them at a konbini or in a fancy restaurant. The quality of their sweets is just amazing. These are not too sweet and are not simple or lacking flavor. Additionally, there is a great variety of treats! If you like bitter-sweet tasting desserts (Yeah I know, how is this even possible? Well in Japan it surely is) you can enjoy the matcha desserts or even the rose-based desserts. Yes, I said rose desserts. Japan is a paradise of unique desserts.
  6. Traditional Japanese sweet bread YAOISO http://yaoiso.com/ If in your case you are weak against the temptation of Carbohydrates in form of bread – it’s time to completely give up. Japanese bread is inevitably desirable. Baked fresh daily, it is very soft, presentably beautiful, tasty like no other, and with short shelf-life. This is just a must, forget about the diet during your travel.
  7. DOMA DOMA KIYAMACHI Japanese style pub (Izakaya) https://www.doma-doma.com/index.html Of course you have to go to an Izakaya. These are bars that serve alcoholic beverages with Japanese snacks.

Do not forget to open your mind and your heart to a culture that is probably very far and different from your mind-set. Do not judge, allow humanity to express their own beliefs and traditions, and respect them. Japan is beautiful. If you are in Kyoto, be sure to visit some of these places. Trust me, you will enjoy them.

Megumi Takayanagi

All credits for this post go to my dear friend, Megumi – who kindly shared with me all her Kyoto travel magazines, so I could carefully choose what I wanted to experience.

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