Kyoto is a beautiful city to visit during a stay in Japan, there are many culinary specialties that we recommend.
- Kaseiki ryori, Japanese gourmet cuisine
- Shojin ryori, Buddhist cuisine
- Kyoto sushi, “Izuju” restaurant
- Yuba, thin soybean skin
- Yudofu, tofu fondue
- Obanzai ryori, simple homemade dishes
- Tsukemono, pickled vegetables
- Nama Yatsuhashi, triangular pastry
- Kyo-wagashi, delicate pastry
- Matcha desserts
- Baumkuchen, airy cake
Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan and for almost a thousand years was the imperial court. It offers a varied cuisine. You will find both a very fine cuisine like kaseiki, a vegan cuisine of the Buddhists or a simpler cuisine like obanzai.
Here are some of the dishes we recommend in Kyoto:
Kaseiki ryori, Japanese gourmet cuisine
Kaseiki Ryori is a very refined and careful Japanese gastronomic cuisine. It is conceived according to the season, the harmony of colors, tastes, texture and with very fresh, local products.
Kaseiki is composed and served in several small dishes, more than ten.
This dish is usually found in ryokan (traditional inn), very popular in Kyoto. It is a very expensive dish.
Shojin ryori, the cuisine of Buddhists
Shojin ryori is the vegan cuisine of the Buddhists. The basic philosophy is that it is forbidden to take life, and therefore to kill living beings.
Therefore, there is no meat, fish or eggs in their dishes.
Shojin Ryori respects the seasons, local products, and avoids any waste. The leaves, the vegetable peelings, the radish leaves… everything is cooked. One could compare it to Kaseiki as the dishes are worked, taken care of and served in several small dishes. Unforgettable experience.
Sushi in Kyoto, “Izuju” restaurant
We recommend a sushi restaurant in Kyoto, Izuju, a family restaurant that has not changed its sushi recipe since its creation in 1892.
You will find mackerel sushi, hako sushi, square pressed sushi, Inara sushi, deep fried tofu and many others.
Yuba, thin tofu skin
Yuba is the skin that is created when soybeans are heated.
It is used in the vegan cuisine of Buddhists, but you will find a lot of it in Kyoto because it is in this city that Yuba was created.
In addition to being low in calories and high in protein, yuba can be eaten dipped in shoyu soy sauce and wasabi.
Yudofu, tofu fondue
Yudofu is a winter dish made only of tofu. The dish is very healthy, the tofu is dipped in sauce like ponzu.
If you don’t know tofu, try it in Kyoto!
Obanzai ryori, simple homemade dishes
This is a traditional cuisine originating from Kyoto, at least half of the ingredients must be produced or processed in Kyoto. They must also be in season. They are cooked simply, quite cheap and very healthy.
The emphasis is on drawing out the natural flavors of the ingredients rather than adding thick seasoning.
Tsukemono, pickled vegetables
Tsukemono are vegetables that are pickled and preserved for a long time in jars. They can be eaten as a side dish in a Japanese meal, over Japanese rice, with a drink or even in a kaseiki.
The vegetables can be for example daikon, cucumber, eggplant… You can taste them at the Nishiki Market in Kyoto.
Here are more details about the pastry shops in Kyoto that we recommend:
Nama Yatsuhashi, triangular pastry
One of the popular desserts in Kyoto is the yatsuhashi, a triangular pastry in which there is usually anko (red bean paste).
The texture is soft, sweet and doughy, it goes very well with Japanese green tea.
Kyo-wagashi, delicate pastry
Baumkuchen, air cake
It is a cake originating from Germany but it is very popular in Japan and especially in Kyoto. It is a spit cake, thin layers are rolled up creating a soft cylindrical cake.
It is exquisite. It is often presented in beautiful boxes. A must try.