Kyoyasai and Isoya Group

April 22, 2018

by Mayu Matsumoto, Sae Kawabata and Mayumi Otsuka

Kyoyasai is a general term for all local vegetables that are cultivated in Kyoto. In Japanese, ‘kyo’ stands for ‘Kyoto’, while ‘yasai’ means vegetables. What qualifies as kyoyasai, as opposed to just a normal vegetable has developed with each passing year. At present, there are 35 vegetables that qualify as kyoyasai. And in order for a restaurant to describe their food with the term ‘kyoyasai’, it must meet the following conditions.

  1. The vegetable must have been introduced in the Meiji era.
  2. It must be cultivated all throughout Kyoto Prefecture.
  3. It should contain bamboo shoots, in some form or another.
  4. It must excludes shiitake mushroom and ferns.
  5. It should includes vegetables that were grown or preserved, and extinct varieties.

Vegetables that satisfy these conditions don’t necessarily have to be of a species specific to Kyoto, they just have to be cultivated using methods specific to Kyoto. This would include, for example, Horikawa burdock, Ebiimo (literally, shrimp potato), Kyoto aralia cordata, Kyoto ginger, Kyoto bamboo, and so on.

Isoya Group

Isoya Group

One of the most popular groups of kyoyasai restaurants in Kyoto is the Isoya Group. It is kind of food management company with four strong values.

The first value is original farms. They have farm called Isozumi Farm in Mukou, Kyoto. The company owner grew up on a farm, so he has intimate knowledge of vegetable farming. The dedicated staff grow kyoyasai on these original farms to make customers happy.

The second value is about freshness. It is important to eat vegetables while they are still fresh. Isoya Group employees work hard to limit the time between harvesting and serving the vegetables. Furthermore, employees closely manage ways to keep the vegetables fresh in each restaurant.

The third value is a local farm network. The Isoya Group has cultivated a network of local farms that allow farmers to cooperate with each other. This allows the Isoya Group to always have a fresh supply of not only basic kyoyasai, but also specialty vegetables which may be hard to farm or difficult to find otherwise.

The last value is seasonal kyoyasai. The Isoya Group believes that it is important to eat food that is in season in Japan. Therefore, they make seasonal kyoyasai and cook it in an original way.

The Isoya Group has five restaurants in Kyoto.

Isoya Group Logo

Isozumi

This restaurant’s main food is oden, which is common and popular Japanese food. It contains many ingredients like eggs, white radish, and kelp boiled together in a large pot with a traditional type of Japanese broth called dashi.

Address: 388 Komeyamachi, Kawaramachi line Shijyo, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city
Tel: 075-223-5050
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Monday)
HP: http://isozumi.isozumi.jp/

Onikai

This restaurant offers many kinds of boiled kyoyasai food like oden, tempura, and nabe, which are typical homemade foods in Japan. Also, nabe is similar to oden, but offers more varieties.

Address: 388 Komeyamachi, Kawaramachi line Shijyo, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city second floor
Tel: 075-223-5052
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Thursday)
HP: http://onikai.isozumi.jp

Isoya

This restaurant offers many kinds of baked kyoyasai food. Many of their dishes contain salt, miso and some kind of sauce dipped into which you can dip your kyoyasai. Furthermore, they pay close attention to their baking methods and fire temperatures.

Address: 4215, Shimomaruyacho, Kiyamachi line, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city
Radicle Matsuya building 1F
Tel: 075-212-5039
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Tuesday)
HP: http://isoya.isozumi.jp

Isomatsu

This restaurant make kyoyasai food that pairs well with wine, as it is prepared in an Italian or French style. There are also big wine sellers, so you can enjoy many kinds of wine along with many kinds of kyoyasai food.

Address: 384, Komeyamachi, Kawaramachi line Shijyo, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city
Tel: 075-255-1239
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Tuesday)
HP: http://isomatsu.isozumi.jp

ISOISM

ISOISM

ISOISM is a restaurant serving many kinds of marinated kyoyasai vegetables. For example, you can eat eggplant marinated in soy sauce, celery marinated in orange sauce , and tomato marinated in white wine. These dishes are unique and original, and are enjoyed by both Japanese and foreigners alike.

Like other restaurants from the Isoya Group, the vegetables served in ISOISM are grown on organic farms and are pesticide-free. Therefore, this restaurant is famous for its originality and safety.

Lunch at ISOISM

Lunch at ISOISM

ISOISM offers a lunch plate of marinated vegetables. You can eat up to 12 marinated vegetables, each of which has good effects on the health of your body. For example, you can eat sweet potato marinated with honey and lemon, and topped with cream cheese and nuts. The effect of this meal is improvement of your intestinal environment. Another one is pumpkin marinated with sweet soy sauce and cheese. The effect is hormonal adjustment and body rejuvenation. A third one is onion marinated with sake and salmon roe. The effect is to speed up the metabolism. Additionally, you can eat seasonal takikomi-gohan and soup. Takikomi-gohan is boiled rice seasoned with soy sauce and mixed with meat or seafood and savory vegetables. In this way you are able to experience the Japanese seasons and you can enjoy Japanese culture in this restaurant.

But be warned: ISOISM is famous, so you should get appointment beforehand.

ISOISM
Adress: 114, Nakai-sho, Karasumanishiiru, Shichijo-line, Gekyo-ku, Kyoto city.
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Kyoto station
Tel: 075-353-5016 ( You can get appointment, if you tell this number.)
Time: Lunch(11:30-15:00) Dinner(17:30-24:00)
HP: http://isoism.isozumi.jp

As you can see, there are many restaurants in Kyoto using Kyoyasai. If you are not sure which restaurant is best for you, we recommend you to go Isoya group restaurants. They have the most enthusiasm toward serving kyoyasai dishes, and they also have the famous omotenashi spirit which makes Japanese hospitality an unforgettable experience. Since their restaurants are sometimes full of customers, we recommend you call ahead and check availability before you visit.

Restaurant Touyoutei

by Maya Kondo, Shiori Iwawaki & Eri Inaba

In Japan, we call hamburgers ‘hamburgers’, but there is no good English word for hanba-gu, unless you include ‘Hamberg Steak’ or ‘Salisbury Steak’. Hanba-gu is made from minced meat, onions, eggs, milk, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Actually, the word hanba-gu is not English, but rather came from the name of a city in Germany: Hamberg. In Japan, the hanba-gu is a very popular food for people of all ages and there are many shops serving it in Japan. However, the most delicious hanba-gu shop in Kyoto is called, Touyotei. Touyotei is loved by many Japanese people because it has a long history and offer its customers a wide variety of delicious food. The head restaurant/office is a 4-minute walk from Kitayama subway station.

In the 30th year of the Meiji Period (1897), Takahashi Ginjiro served western cuisine at the restaurant of a hotel in the Kawaramachi district of Kyoto city. At that time, western foods were too expensive for the average citizen to afford, so he wanted them to know how wonderful foods these were. On the 21st of December, 1966, he opened his own restaurant, called Kyapitaru Touyoutei in the Kitayama district of Kyoto. When he ran the restaurant in Kitayama, there were no buildings around it. A few years later, however, because of the new subway line reaching Kitayama, many buildings were constructed and many people come to the area. Touyoutei then became one of the most popular restaurants in Kyoto. In 1996, 100 years had passed since Mr. Ginjiro had opened the restaurant. Therefore, he decided to open his second restaurant near Kyoto station in 1997. In 1998, he started serving Tsutsumiyaki hanba-gu (see image below), which has been the most popular dish in the restaurant. In 1999, concerned that the restaurant was a fire hazard, he decided to renovate the restaurant. From 2008 to present, he wanted everyone to know how delicious his meals were, so he opened 7 more restaurants in Kyoto and Osaka. Nowadays, people come to Touyoutei, not only for eating meals, but also for using it as a meeting place. Every location is easy to visit. Furthermore, their aim is to become the number one restaurant serving delicious hanba-gu so that every customer can be satisfied with not only the food but also the atmosphere inside the restaurant.

In Touyotei, there are many good employees because the recruiter for this restaurant chooses the staff carefully. When they choose the employees, they prefer people who like to eat food and talk to people. Moreover, one of the representatives of the company that we spoke with, named Takahashi, said that even if they never held a dish or used a knife, it is fine. More important things are being honest, cheerful, bright, and not being afraid to take on new challenges. Therefore, in Touyotei, every staff member is always doing their best when they work. Moreover, the staff is always thinking of the customer satisfaction first. Mr. Takahashi explained that he wants the employee to grow on a personal level. Touyotei is the place where both the customer and employee can smile and become happy. This is because the behavioral guidelines are to be an employee who is always trying their best. To be this kind employee, they should always reflect on their actions and appreciate everything. Moreover, it is important to identify their strong points and make use of their good points. One more important point about Touyoutei is to make a fashionable and fun space for the customer. Moreover, Touyotei always thinks about the ingreditents of the food, its taste and good service for the customer. Touyoutei’s goal from now on is to have more fans and to create a lively, fun and delicious experience for them.

Tsutsumiyaki hanba-gu

At Touyoutei, the hamburger steak is the most popular dish. It is said that if you come this restaurant, you must order this dish. This hamburger steak is like Salisbury steak. When we order it, the chef grills ground beef and pork. After that, beef stew sauce, hamburger steak, and stewed beef are wrapped in aluminium foil. When the dish is brought to us, the aluminium foil collapses with tasty smell. The moment we open the aluminium foil by ourselves, the smell will hit us strongly. Be careful though! When opening the aluminum foil, some customers risk being splattered with beef stew sauce, so don’t go there with your favorite white clothes. Not only hamburg, but also a side of grilled potato is popular for some customers.

Also, we recommend the whole tomato salad because it is very popular as well. When we entered the restaurant, we saw many boxes of lots of tomatoes. Of course, these tomatoes are used to make tomato salad, and the tomatoes change with each season. This restaurant always uses the most tasty tomatoes, regardless of the area of production. In this way, we can eat tasty tomato salad any time of the year. In fact, this tomoto salad is served as a whole tomato, literally. Normally, we don’t have opportunity of eating a whole tomato, but in this restaurant, we can. This tomato is submerged in hot water for 5 minutes and then placed in cold water. The tomato with peeling skin is arranged on a tuna and onion salad. Finally, on top of it all, a special dressing is placed. This dressing is made by the chef for the tomato, so the name of dressing is ‘dressing for only tomato’. This dressing is said to not fit with vegetables without tomatoes. It tastes a little vinegary and oily. We can buy this dressing in the restaurant for about 610 yen.

picture3 puddingFinally, one more popular item on the menu is a sweet called ‘one hundred puddings’. This pudding was created by the first founder of the restaurant and made with simple ingredients. For this reason, many guests feel nostalgic and like it. When we order ‘one hundred puddings’, the staff brings a cup of pudding and a plate, and then they turn the cup of pudding upside down on th eplate. When we visit this restaurant, we can enjoy this performance.

In conclusion, Hanba-gu is made from minced meat, onions, eggs, milk, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. It is very popular food in Japan. In 1998, Takahashi Ginjiro started serving hamba-gu for the first time in Japan, and it became popular. We want you to try touyoutei hanba-gu when you go to the restaurant.

The Sake of Matsuo Taisha Shrine

by Kana Kobashi, Kensuke Nagai & Motonari Iwamoto

Do you like Japanese sake? Japan makes many kinds of sake, but did you know that some of those sake types are connected to a certain place. This is especially true of certain shrines, especially in Kyoto. In this article, we will tell you about one of those shrines: Matshuo Taisha, otherwise known as God of Sake.

Sake in Kyoto

Before anything else, it is important to understand how sake in Kyoto is made. As you probably are aware, Japanese sake is Japan’s national liquor, and there are many types. Three of the most well-known types are Junmai-shu, Honjozou-shu, and Ginjou-shu. They have different brewing processes and different levels of rice polish.

Junmai-shu is made from rice, rice mold, and water. The rice polishing ratio is below 70%. Its requirements are good flavor and shine.

Honjo-shu is made from rice, rice mold, and distilled alcohol. The rice polishing ratio is below 70%. Its requirements are also good flavor and shine.

Ginjo-shu is made from rice, rice mold, and distilled alcohol. The rice polishing ration is below 60%. Its requirements are a peculiar flavor and good shine. Every percentage of rice mold is at least 15%.

Jizake. There are many kinds of Jizake in Japan. ‘Jizake’ means Japanese sake brewed using locally grown rice grains and water from local areas. Their uniqueness varies from region to region. Kyoto has many kinds of it. Kyoto’s sake is one of the most famous Japanese sake in the world. This is because Kyoto is blessed with abundant nature. Therefore, Kyoto’s water is pure and the level of rice polish is high.

Now we will introduce two famous sake brands from Kyoto.

Eikun sake is made in the Fushimi area of south Kyoto. It is made with fresh local water from and high-quality rice. For this reason, it is delicious and therefore has become famous in world.

Kokorono-miyako is the most famous sake in Kyoto. It is produced by the sake brewing company Tamano-hikari, which has been in business since 1673. Their sake has a smooth taste. They only use Iwai sake rice which is grown in Kyoto. On the bottle’s label is an image from Tale of Genji, so you can sense the feeling of traditional Japan while drinking the delicious sake.

Matsuo Taisha Shrine

Matsuo Taisha–Shrine is called Matsuo-san by neighbor it located Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto.  It about one third of Kyoto’s population serves residents Nishikyo-ku, Ukyoku, Shimogyo-ku and Minami-ku.  Unlike the others shrine, it features powerful gate with two guardian gods.

Tortoises have meant in China, Korea and Japan as emblems of good fortune, about long life and good health.  The water is said to be health, and the shrine is visited both by ordinary people to get good water.  Manufactures of miso paste and sake brewers who pray for the success of their enterprises.

We can see figures of tortoises in the precincts.  The most famous of which is called the Kame-no-i, Tortoise Well, near the entrance to the first garden.  Matsuo Taisha is specify for important cultural property, and have many god statues inside here.  Moreover, this shrine is known for better fortune, so many people come here from the other places.

History of Matsuo Taisha Shrine

A god is enshrined in the Matsuo Taisha who have a power for helping agricultural and farming.  The name is Ooyamakui-no-kami.  It is one of the big god in Japan from a very long time ago.  Hiyoshi Taisha in Shiga, which is headquarters to enshrine Ooyamakui-no-kami.  The near residents decided why locate at Nishikyo-ku.  Because a person has the honor toward guardian of living at the top of Matsuo mountain.  Agriculture developed concurrently with the other industry.  And then, how to make sake imported from Shin (the old China) in this place.  So, Matsuo is known for the first sake in Japan.  After the end of the World War 2, it was decided not to use the title of the government secretary Taisha, due to the abolition of state management.  So, in order to avoid confusion with the same name Shinto shrine was renamed Matsuo Taisha in Showa 25 and it has reached the present.

Connection between Matsuo Taisha Shrine and Sake

Matsuo Taisha shrine has a deep relationship with sake. There are two accounts of how it became the God of Sake.

The first was that in the 5th and 6th centuries, a man named Hatauji of the well-known Hata clan, a Chinese immigrant clan that came to Japan through Korea. Hatauji eventually went to Matsuo Taisha shrine and worshiped the God of Matsuo Taisha shrine. Also, Hatauji, like many of his clan member, was good at making sake using techniques from mainland Asia, so he taught Japanese people how to do it. Therefore, the God of Matsuo Taisha Shrine came to be known as the God of Sake. This account is written in the historical Nihon Shoki.

The other account is actually a myth. One day, the Gods nationwide gathered at Matsuo Taisha shrine and talked. The God of Matsuo wanted to hypnotize the other gods. Therefore, he made sake to make the other gods happy, using rice from the nearby Arashiyama district and water from the mountains of Kyoto. Because of that, he came to be called the God of Sake. The God of Matsuo Taisha Shrine is strongly followed by alcohol-related companies, who worship the God by making offerings of barrels of sake.

In addition, there is water in Matsuo Taisha, and it is said that the company will not go bankrupt if you make alcohol using that water. Besides, Matsuo Taisha shrine has rare things not found in other shrines. For example, there is barrel fortune telling. When you pay 300 yen, you receive two arrows and release an arrow in a barrel. After you have finished it you can get a talisman to take home with you.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many shrines in Kyoto, but Matsuo Taisha is the one famous for sake. Since the Muromachi period, the God of Matsuo Taisha Shrine was called the God of Sake, and from that time many tourists and worshipers have visited Matsuo Taisha. However, at present young people go to Matsuo Taisha for their annual New Year’s visit, but they do not fully understand that the God of Sake is enshrined at Matsuo Taisha. Since we researched Matsuo Taisha, we hope tourists will know more about its history and meaning.

Access

You can get to Matsuo Taisha by bus or train.

If you use the train, take the Arashiyama line of the Hankyu train. Get off the train at Matsuo Taisha Station, and walk for two or three minutes to get there.

If you take a bus, you have to take a Kyoto City bus using the Arashiyama Daikakuji or Kokedera lines. Gett off the bus at Mastuo Taishamae and walk for one or two minutes to get there. Arashiyama, Suzumushi temple, and Saihoji are nearby. These spots are famous in Kyoto, so if you have time, we recommend that you go visit them as well.

10 Minutes Mont Blanc

by Shiori Iwawaki, Maya Kondo & Eri Inaba

Do you know the Mont Blanc that you cannot eat without lining up in Kyoto? Mont Blanc is originally from Piemonte, Italy and it means White Mountain. A French chef was the original creator using a chestnut candied syrup called marron glace. In 1933, a Japanese chef, Mr. Keizo Nishida, went to Italy to learn how to make Mont Blanc, bringing the technique back to Japan. However, at that time not many people knew about Mont Blanc in Japan. Nowadays Mont Blanc is a very famous sweet in Japan. People think that Kyoto is famous for green tea, but it’s not 100% true. There is a now a shop called 10 Minutes Mont Blanc in Kyoto which is very famous right now. In this article, we would like to introduce about this shop’s history, its Mont Blanc, and interview its owner.

The owner of 10 Minutes Mont Blanc is named Mr. Keizo. He opened the shop in Kyoto because he was born here in Kyoto. One more reason is he worked at many bakery stores after he graduated from high school and he wanted to run a shop by himself. The reason he wanted to work at a bakery store was when he was a high school student was he first saw a wedding cake. From that time, he wanted to make a cake by himself. He finally managed to open his own shop at near Nijo castle, in the Sanjo-kai shopping district. The name of the shop was ‘Sweet Cafe Kyoto Keizo’. Before he managed to run this shop, he had worked at a first-class confectionery shop for 40 years. At that time, he wanted to open a shop offering to customers amazing sweets as soon as they are ready to serve. It has made happen by building his own pastry studio. He restricted a building which had been there for 100 years to create a beautiful shop. Because of it, people can feel missing and relaxing.

From inside his shop, we can see the garden that leads to the pastry studio. We can sit in a terrace seat and smell the scent of sweet cake. Then, we can observe the process of making the cake. Mr. Keizo wants to give customers a fresh taste, because he believes a cake that has already spent time waiting to be eaten is not a good for offering to a hungry customer. The concept of this shop is based on this principle, so they give the cakes to the customers as soon as they are prepared.

We asked Mr. Keizo about how to make the Mont Blanc, so he gave us permission to go inside of the pastry studio. Therefore, we were able to watch carefully how the 10 Minutes Mont Blanc was being made. First of all, they squeeze whip cream in the middle of a plate, and then put a sponge cake on the top the whip cream. Next, they put a crunchy meringue over the sponge cake. This crunchy meringue is the most important point of the 10 Minutes Mont Blanc. It takes about three hours to make the meringue, and the chefs have to pay close attention because the baking time may vary depending on how they mix the dough. Toward the end of the process, they squeeze chestnut paste all over the meringue. Finally, they decorate around the plate with chocolate sauce, sprinkle some white sugar powder and put a single chestnut on the top of the cake. They make the Mont Blanc after their customers place their order. They don`t stock the Mont Blanc in advance, but rather they start the process after the customers place their order. After the customers order the Mont Blanc, they can go to the pastry studio and watch how their pastry is being made. 10 Minutes Mont Blanc means if you eat it within 10 minutes, you can feel the meringue is crunchy. But if you wait longer than 10 minutes to eat it, the meringue become soft and the texture become totally different from the crunchy one. Therefore, you can enjoy two kinds of meringue textures with just one Mont Blanc.

We asked Mr. Keizo how he invented the 10 Minutes Mont Blanc. Then, he answered that he wanted to use meringue as a protagonist in this sweet story. As everyone knows, meringue always plays a supporting role; never the protagonist in the production of a sweet. He discovered the right type of meringue when he was making a chiffon cake, as it uses a lot of meringue. When he tried to bake the meringue, it became crunchy. This was the first step in the process of making Keizo’s Mont Blanc. Moreover, Mr. Keizo wanted to let the customer imagine the inside of the cake. The top four most popular cakes are shortcake, cheese cake, minnefeuille and chocolate cake, but these cakes can be seen through to the inside. On the other hand, the inside of a Mont Blanc can not be seen, so we must imagine what it looks like and what it is made of. However, to make use meringue as the main ingredient, you cannot take the pastry homme because it will not last long. The most challenging part of making a 10 Minutes Mont Blanc is to make a crunchy meringue. Therefore, they can only serve the pastry in the shop itself in order to keep the meringue crunchy.

Mr. Keizo said that he was most confident about his staff. This is because they are all able to explain about the menu and go to the customer’s seat and explain about the food and dessert. Also, Mr. Keizo wants all the customers to enjoy and smile and go back home and feel that they were glad to come to this store. His happiest moment is when a customer says with a big smile, “It is so delicious, I will come to this shop again.” For him, the 10 Minutes Mont Blanc is like his child because he worked so hard through trial and error to create it. In the future, he wants to make a new kind of Mont Blanc that is relevant to the season in which it is eaten, and made with seasonal ingredients like pistachio, cherry blossom, pumpkin, and many others. Moreover, in the shop there are many other kinds of cake, so he wants the customer to taste other things as well. Now, many people say “Let’s go and eat 10 Minutes Mont Blanc,” but he wants customers to say “Let’s go to Mr. Keizo’s shop” and “which cake should I eat today.” This is his goal and he wants to spread this shop around the world as well.

As you can see, Mr. Keizo has a lot of feeling for 10 Minutes Mont Blanc, and his store’s staff can give customers that same feeling when they explain about the way to eat the Mont Blanc. The staff said to us “Let’s enjoy the sound of the crunchy meringue, using a fork and knife.” After that, we started to eat with a fork and knife, and listened the sound carefully. When we eat just Mont blanc, it taste still dark, but when we eat it with chocolate sauce, that is becoming sweeter. From the beginning to the end, we could enjoy feeling the change of texture. After we left the shop, there was a long line of people waiting to get in. Finally, Mr, Keizo described 10 Minute Mont Blanc is as his son, so you should go and try this amazing cake.

Gourmet Tour of Uji

by Kensei Iizuka, Yuta Kobayashi, Takanori Tsuhako

Uji is a city located in the south part of Kyoto. There are many famous historical spots there, such as Byodoin Temple and Ujigami Shrine. That is why if you are interested in Japanese history, you can enjoy a visit to Uji. Moreover, you can also feel nature in Uji because this city has a good river running through it and it is surrounded by mountains. In addition, Uji is an attractive place for people who like eating delicious food. Uji is famous for Uji-cha, which is a kind of green tea famously known as one of the big three green teas in Japan. It has been produced since the Kamakura era (1192) and it was a very expensive tea in those days. Because of that, there are a lot of nice shops where you can drink Uji-cha or eat sweets that are made from Uji-cha.

Getting There by Train

 

There are two train stations in Uji: the JR Uji station and the Keihan Uji station. The JR Uji station is the most accessible station for sightseeing in the center of Uji. It is suitable for people who arrive at JR Kyoto station by Shinkansen from Tokyo or Osaka. On the other hand, the Keihan Uji station doesn’t connect to the JR Kyoto station directly, so it is good way to get from Kawaramachi after doing sightseeing at Kiyomizu temple or the Heian shrine. It takes about fifteen minutes to get to Uji from Kyoto station, so it really is a short trip.

Main Sightseeing Spots

Ujihashi

Ujihashi is a bridge spanning the Uji river, which is a Class A river running from Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture in the northeast. Its color looks like emerald blue and makes us calm. It was built in 646, making it the oldest bridge in Japan. Its length is 155m and width is 25m.

Koshou Temple

A shady path surrounded by lively trees marks the way to the entrance of Koshou temple. It is named Koto Saka and has very moderate incline to the temple. In autumn, all the leaves turn to a vivid red, and its beauty attracts visitors every year. Unfortunately, very few leaves were red when we visited the shrine because it was still the beginning of November. We recommend you that you go there at the end of November. You will most certainly be stunned by its landscape. It is about a 15-minute walk from JR Uji station, crossing over Ujihashi.

Ujigami shrine

 

A short walk up from Kousho temple brings you to Ujigami shrine. This shrine is one of the popular sightseeing spots for visitors to Uji. It was built at the end of the Heian era (From Wikipedia). The main shrine (in the above picture) is said to be the oldest shrine in Japan. It is also part of the Koto Kyoto-no Bunkazai, which is registered as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Byodoin-Hououdo

 

There are no Japanese people who haven’t yet seen this famous structure. This is Byodoin-Hououdo, which is a kind of temple. The elegant and dignified main temple with two gold phoenixes on top appears as a reflection in the small pond in front. This always fascinates all visitors in every season. Also, this main temple can be found on the Japanese 10 yen coin. That’s why it is super famous in Japan and so recognizable to Japanese people. You must visit here when you go to Uji. It is a 15-minute walk from JR Uji station.

Delicious Food and Refreshments

Uji Cha (Green Tea)


Uji is known as the one of tea production areas in Japan. The tea produced around the area is a kind of green tea, called Uji cha. Its taste depends on how much time it is brewed and at which temperature it is made. For example, you can enjoy the real taste of green tea made with hot water. In contrast, green tea made with cold water tastes so sweet, and in this way results in reduced levels of caffeine. Green tea has been loved by all Japanese for a long time due to its good effect on our health, such as activating blood flow, preventing diabetes, and so on. The green tea in the picture is not the usual green tea. It includes plenty of sugar so that even people who don’t like the taste of green tea can still enjoy drinking it. It tastes so sweet and is easy for everybody – including foreign visitors – to enjoy.

 

Ice Cream


Even in the extreme cold of winter, Japanese people are willing to buy ice cream, not to mention in the heat of summer. In Uji, you can eat locally made ice cream. It has two different flavors: macha (Green tea) or hojicha (Roasted green tea). You can often see a lot of macha flavored ice cream shops in the center of Kyoto. However, as for hojicha, it is a rare one for visitors from another country. It is a refreshing flavor compared with that of macha. Make sure you compare each taste and feel it by yourself because it is difficult to explain. Each costs approximately 300 yen. There are a many stores selling this type of ice cream, so you can find it easily.

 

 

Cha-dango


Cha-dango are rice dumplings flavored with green tea. This is a traditional snack in Kyoto, especially in Uji. It looks so cute. The flavor spreads throughout your mouth as soon as you put it into your mouth and chew it. Its flavor and texture depends on each store. So you can enjoy a wide range of Cha-dango in Uji. One stick with three rice dumplings costs anywhere from 50 to 80 yen. It is very cheap and can satisfy your hunger. Just be careful not to eat too much. You don’t want to spoil your lunch!

 

 

 

 

Model Plan Route

 

After arriving at Uji station, your main way of getting around would be walking because Uji is so compact city that you can walk. Except for Koshoji Temple and Ujigami Shrine, there is not so much slope.

First, let’s go to Uji Bridge from JR Uji station. It takes about five minutes on foot. Crossing the bridge with seeing nice view. After crossed the bridge, please turn right. It leads to nice path, especially in fall, autumn leaves are beautiful. On your left side, you can see Koshoji Temple and Ujigami Shrine. The slope is a little hard but please visit there. Especially, Ujigami Shrine is a world heritage site, so you should visit there. After visiting temple and shrine, let’s across another bridge called Asagiri Bridge. This bridge is smaller than Uji Bridge, but you can walk more comfortable than Uji Bridge.

Lastly, let’s go to the main tourist attraction in Uji, called Byodoin Temple. This temple is a model of 10 yen coin. You can take out your 10 yen coin and compare them. Around Byodoin Temple, there are a lot of nice restaurants, sweets shops, and souvenir shops. You can visit there and enjoy famous food in Uji.

~Plan~

Kyoto Station → (20 min.) JR Uji Station

Kawaramachi Station → (40 min.) Keihan Uji Station

↓ Walk (5 min.)

Uji-hashi (Uji Bridge)

↓ Walk (10 min.)

Koshoji Temple → Ujigami Shrine

↓ Walk (10 min.)

Byodoin-Hououdo

Tamba Wine

by Hiroaki Kawakami & Yurie Natsume

 

Now, there are four major wine production regions in Japan. These are Yamanashi, Nagano, Hokkaido, and Yamagata. Especially, Yamanashi prefecture is known for its excellent wine, so there are a lot of wineries in the prefecture. However, one winery which is different from the four major production areas is in the spotlight now. It’s Tamba winery in Kyoto prefecture. Tamba winery is located in Kyoutamba district, and it is the only winery in Kyoto. Now, we will show about the history and attraction of Tamba wine.

History of Tamba Wine

Tamba winery was established in 1979. Its founder, Tetsuo Kuroi, went to Europe and was impressed by French wine there. Therefore, he decided he wanted to produce wines in Japan. His ideal was that the wines should agree with Japanese food, so he rented a sake brewery in Kyoto and started to produce his ideal wines there. In 1981, he sold his first wine produced in the Tamba winery. The reputation of Tamba wine was established almost immediately, and only two years later in 1983, Tamba winery won the gold prize of Monde Selection, a prestigious wine contest. After that, he gradually increased the number of cultivars and descriptions of wine. In 1984, the Tamba winery started to sell new brews, called nouveau in France. Now more than 40 species of grapes are grown as tests in the Tamba winery. When they can cultivate better varieties, they can produce wine with the grape as authentic products.

The Vineyard

 

What Makes Tamba Wine Special?

Tamba wine is different from other Japanese wine and overseas wine in its aromas and in its feelings it produces on the tongue. These differences are attributable to its production methods. Most of wine makers in the world ferment the intact juice of grapes, but Tamba winery first clarifies the juices of grapes before the process of fermentation, especially for its white wine. This method makes the wine smoother and fresher than other normal white wines. In regards to its aromas, the location of Tamba winery is deeply related with a unique scent. Actually the land of Tamba winery was originally a sake brewery, so the founder started producing wines with the exaxt same facilities and equipment that the sake brewers used. So the brewing machines still contain traces of the flavors of rice-malt, giving Tamba wine sublte aromas resembling those of Japanese sake. Hereby, they can produce the wine that is suitable for Japanese foods. Based on these factors, it can be said that Tamba wine is a perfect fit for the cultural climate and preference of Japanese people.

Wine curve

 

Now we are going to introduce two products of the Tamba winery.

Tamba Toriino Pinot Blac Sur Lie

The first product is white wine by the name of Tamba Toriino Pinot Blanc Sur Lie. This is made from the white grape called Pino Blanc. The color is clear yellow with a greenish tinge. In terms of aromas, it doesn’t just contain a roasted flavor derived from casks of oak, but also traces of rice-malt, honey, and apple. The taste is so rich, resulting from maturing in oak casks, and the sharpness of its sour taste is attributable to features of Pino Blanc and the climate of the Tamba district. However, the sour flavor is definitely not harsh. White wines made in Bourgogne of northeastern Frence sometimes contain too much sour taste, derived from abundant mineral compositions like Chablis. On the other hand, we can feel the comfortable and refined sour flavor in Pinot Blanc of Tamba Toriino.

Tamba Toriino Pinot Noir

The second wine is a red wine by the name of Tamba Toriino Pinot Noir. This is made from Pinot Noir, which is one of the most famous black grapes in the world. Furthermore, Pinot Noir is very famous as the grape which is considered difficult to cultivate. The color is like a deep ruby with a garnet edge. In terms of aromas, it contains various scents like watery soil, sweetly scented herbs, cedar, and black tea. The attack of taste is so soft and velvety, but tannins contained in the wine are rather strong. The aftertaste is as long as those of the wines made in New World, including America, Chile and Argentina. The global impression of this wine is that the Pinot Noir of Tamba Toriino is closer to New World’s wine. However, Tamba wine is milder than wine from the New World – which is fruity – so Tamba wine is suitable for Japanese dishes.

Tamba Toriino Pinot Noir & Tamba Toriino Pinot Blanc Sur Lie

 

Today, the sales of retailing of wine targeted at individuals is increasing year by year in Japan. This data shows that Japanese people often drink wine with Western dishes, but few people often pair it with Japanese dishes. Most Japanese people might think that Japanese dishes are not suitable to pair with wine. However, this thinking is wrong. Features of wine can be changed by the climate, the soil and the maker, so we must make an ideal wine that can be suitable for Japanese food. The wine from Tamba winery proves that this can be done. We believe that Tamba wine gives Japanese wine a big hope. We hope you try these wines of Tamba so that you can know new horizon regarding Japanese wine.

Tamba Wines

Ban-cha, Matcha and Fukujuen

By Kazuki Kume and Yoshiki Kawauchi

Kyoto is the origin of Japanese tea culture. It developed forms of serving and drinking tea that were very artistic. There are two famous teas in Kyoto; ban-cha and matcha (green tea).

What is ban-cha?

Ban-cha is a kind of green tea drunk all over Japan. Ban-cha especially made in Kyoto is called kyo ban-cha. Many people have been drinking it since ancient times because it is cheaper and easier to get than other teas. Its taste is refreshing, although it also contains some astringency. The name of this tea has two origins: one name meant the drinking tea on a daily basis, in other words it was inexpensive. Ban means “usually” and “everyday” in Japanese. Until the middle of the Edo period, it is thought that most of the tea drunk by people was ban-cha.The other meaning of ban was “evening”. . In other words, ban-cha is a late harvest tea. Ban-cha is not made from newly sprouting leaves, but it from hard tea leaves. Therefore, the size of its tea leaves is bigger than the others.

the size of its tea leaves is bigger than the others

 

The effects of tea

You may expect that quality of the tea is low if it is cheaply priced. However, that is a mistake. You can get various effects from cheaper teas. For example, such teas contain a lot of tannin. Tannins improve the function of the intestines. So it is said that such teas can help prevent colon cancer. Also, ban-cha has less caffeine than the other teas, so you can drink without worrying about it keeping you up late at night. In addition, catechin, which is contained in the tea, has the effect of reducing body fat. By taking in catechin before meals, it is said you can keep body fat from building up.

Matcha and its famous shop

Fukujuen building

Kyoto flagship tea store Fukujuen is one of the most famous “Uji Matcha” stores in Kyoto. Located between Hankyu Kawaramachi and Hankyu Karasuma this shop has seven floors. Each floor is interesting to visit. In the first basement floor we can blend many kinds of tea together to drink. We can also enjoy a Japanese traditional tea party there. On the first floor is a stand for “Uji Matcha” —probably the most popular item for foreign customers. On the second floor is a café. We can eat matcha sweets and have a light meal. On the third floor is a restaurant. This restaurant offers dishes which mix “Uji Matcha” with  French cuisine. We are able to discover new combinations in these meals. On the fourth floor is a tearoom. In this room, we can have a tea party easily. The fifth floor is like art gallery. There are many great tea implements here. Most of them are original designs of “Fukujuen” and the implements are all hand made.. the last floor is for entertainment. The room is made of marble. The atmosphere is so cool.

You can enjoy “matcha sweets” in Fukujuen.

Tsukemono

by Sakina Nishitsuji, Nami Shinkado and Shiho Tojo

We will introduce about tsukemono. Tsukemono are Japanese-style pickles. Vegetables are pickled in salt, rice brain, miso or sake lees. They are served with rice as a side dish and with drinks as a snack. Tsukemono are beloved by many people in Japan. You can buy them pretty much everywhere in Japan. If you go to a supermarket, you will find them. There are various kinds. For example, takuan (daikon), umeboshi (ume plum), turnip, cucumber, and Chinese cabbage are among the favorites to be eaten with rice as an accompaniment to a meal. Some Japanese people make tsukemono by themselves. The easiest way of making tsukemono is just putting the vegetables with salt into a Ziploc bag. Roughly cut some vegetables of your choice and put them in a Ziploc bag, then add salt and kelp dashi stock and shake the bag. You release the air from the bag to make a lightly vacuum state in the bag and then stick it in the refrigerator for one or two hours. It is complete. This recipe for this preparation is simple but the tsukemono are delicious. Tsukemono are also popular with foreigners, not just Japanese people. And Kyoto has many specialty shops of tsukemono, so you can buy some kinds of tsukemono at Kyoto. It is really great for souvenirs. Tsukemono is known by most people, but they may not know the particulars about tsukemono. Tsukemono has a long history. So, below, we will introduce about the history of tsukemono, three major tsukemono outlets in Kyoto, and how to make tsukemono.

History of Tsukemono in Japan

Tsukemono have a long history in Japan.  Japan is surrounded by the seas, and it was a longstanding practice that food was preserved in salt or with salt water. Not only vegetables but also nuts, meat and fish were preserved with salt in order times. The origin of the tsukemono is not known for sure. However, when vegetables were not yet farmed, it is possible that people soaked the edible wild plants such as Japanese parsley or the bracken in seawater.

We do know that Chinese also used salt to preserve food. It was written that there was something like tsukemono in the old book called by the Chinese, “Shurei“. From 2000 years ago, it is said that a method to preserve food in salt was performed. As the times advanced, the tsukemono developed more, but came to be called “pickled vegetables” because the fragrance of the tsukemono improved when the Muromachi Era began, in 1336, by fermenting. Not only were tsukemono liked as side dishes and the tea cake of the meal, but also pickled plums came to be used in the sterilization of the wounds in the battlefield to prevent bacterial infection and blood poisoning. The Muromachi Era was an age of civil strife. And in Edo era, beginning in 1603, the tsukemono shop called the pickled vegetables shop appeared. From this era, tsukemono came to be eaten by the people at large. In addition, the kinds of vegetables grown in Japan increased, and during the Edo Era, beginning in 1603, many merchants came from all over the country to study some techniques and innovations in seasoning and how to make tsukemono. In the Meiji Era, beginning in 1868, Takuanduke and Naraduke became the important side business in the farmhouses in the suburbs of major cities, including Tokyo. During Taisho Era, from 1912, and the Showa Era, from 1926, the pickle manufacturing industry developed into a major commercial business. Recently, an important point is focus on the health. Fermented foods, according to recent scientific research, are important for intestinal health. That information made tsukemono even more desirable all over Japan.

 

Three Popular Varieties of Tsukemono

There are 3 famous kinds of tsukemono in Kyoto. One is Shiba-zuke. Shiba-zuke are made of eggplant, perilla leaves and cucumber pickled in natural lactic fermentation. Shiba-zuke vegetables are sprinkled with salt and are matured in a barrel for some months. Shiba-zuke was first made in the latter half of Edo period, about 300 to 150 years ago. A second kind of popular pickled vegetables is senmai-zuke. It is pickled turnip. Senmai-zuke which are sold in supermarkets are traditional pickles in Kyoto and are produced by marinating paper-thin slices of turnips with pieces of kelp, red peppers and vinegar. The third type of pickles is Suguki-zuke. Suguki-zuke is made of suguki, a kind of tunip, pickled with its own leaves. It is a kind of pickle which preserves both the leaf and the root of the Brassica campestris in salt. It features clear acidity. Recently, it gradually has become famous as a health food around the world. These pickles are called three best tsukemono in Kyoto.

The Old Tsukemono Shops of Kyoto

“Kyotsukemono” or Kyoto style Tsukemono includes various kinds of pickles. Pickles are available in many places but there are 5 famous old shops in Kyoto which still the. The first is Daitou. It is the shop which is the birthplace of the senmai-zuke. This shop was built in 1865. It has long history for about 150 years. Senmai-zuke is very popular in Daitou. The reason is rich taste. The second shop is Murakamiju. It is the shop which became the model of the pickle shop when it appeared in the NHK drama “Kyohutari” broadcast in 1990. The third shop is Akaoya. This shop is the oldest of them all. It was built in 1699. It has been making pickles and history for over 300 years. Pickles in Akaoya are made with a moderate amount of salt. The next shop is Narita. It is famous for suguki-zuke. It was built in 1804. The traditional taste continues now. Finally, there is Kinse. This shop was built in 1764. There are various pickles in Kinse. At Kinse, they do not use any preservatives or additives. On the other hand, this shop also makes an effort in new product development.

In conclusion, tsukemono were called the Chinese “Shurei” in long time ago.

After having passed for years, that name changed from “Shurei” to “pickled vegetables”, and it gradually became famous in Japan. Nowadays, many people buy tsukemono. There are 3 famous tsukemono, Shiba-zuke, senmai-zuke, and suguki-zuke in Kyoto. Speciality shops of tsukemono are long established businesses in Kyoto. For example, Daitou, Murakamiju, and Kinse.  These shops are very popular among Japanese people and foreigners. If you want to eat tsukemono, we recommend that you visit Kyoto.

Cafe

By Shiho Tojo, Nami Shinkado and Sakina Nishitsuji

A cafe is a type of restaurant which usually serves coffee and snacks.

The term “cafe” comes from French, and means “coffee”. A cafe is sometimes called a coffeehouse or a coffee shop in English. A Japanese person opened a coffee specialty shop in Japan. It hired barista. A barista stands at the counter of the bar, and receives orders from visitors, and pours the coffee or espresso. That style is known by most people. The famous shop is Starbucks. It is also popular all over the world. In some countries, cafe is closer to restaurants, because cafe is able to provide customers with hot meals, and alcohol. However, British cafes do not sell alcohol. In Japan, the first coffee shop was opened at the end of the Meiji period at Minou city in Osaka. Cafes have improved year by year. There are many cafes all over the world. If you want to relax sometimes, you can go to a cafe and relax there. You can talk with your partner or friends in the cafe. Recently, people can pick up a lot of new information from SNS. People take nice pictures, and post them on the Internet. Especially, Instagram can be connected to many people. We would like to introduce some cafes  in Kyoto. These are really talked about cafes now in SNS.

MACCHA HOUSE

MACCHA HOUSE is one of the most famous cafes in Kyoto. It was built recently. Customers have to wait for about 2 hours every day, because it has a matrix in front of shop. The shop is really popular in Kyoto among young people. MACCHA HOUSE recommends maccha tiramisu to customers. They also seek it. It is really delicious and give a fun impression. Its price is 500 yen. So you can eat it for a reasonable cost. There are many items on the menu as well as maccha tiramisu. For example, green tea, ho-ji cha tiramisu, and maccha parfait. If you visit Kyoto, you should visit MACCHA HOUSE, and eat maccha tiramisu with your friends.

Location

It is near Kawaramachi station. It takes about 3 minutes by walking from exit 3B.

JOUVENCELLE

This cafe is one of the famous cafes in Kyoto.  JOUVENCELLE was built on Oike-street at the time of the Gion Festival in 1988. JOUVENCELLE means “maiden” in French. This cafe uses the seasonal ingredients. This cafe reserves many Japanese confectioneries to customers. It is very popular as an experience of Kyoto.

Location

It is near Karasumaoike station. It is about a two minute walk from exit 1.

GREEN TEA FONDUE

Green tea fondue is the most popular sweet in this cafe. The other popular dishes are pound cake, Dango and other Japanese sweets. Another dish is banana, strawberry, baked orange, sweet potato and Warabi-Mochi. A popular drink served here is chocolate flavored with green tea. It is a little hot and smells of green. Bitterness of the powdered green tea offset the sweetness of the chocolate.
It looks beautiful and cute. So, this cafe is very famous among young people. Green tea fondue is about 1500 yen. You can enjoy eating it.

Location

This cafe is about 100 meters south of south tower gate of Yasaka.

IPPODO-CAFE

Ippodo is a famous shop of Japanese tea in Kyoto. It sells just Japanese tea. Tea is good for the health. Every year, the flavor of tea changes with the temperature. However, this cafe blends their tea so that the taste does not change. In addition, to its café, Ippodo has a classroom and a shop. Classes are held at Ippodo. People can learn how to drink tea with proper manners and rituals, and learn about Japanese tea more deeply. Ippodo-cafe is in the head office. Everyone makes tea by himself or herself in this cafe. Customers can order green tea, gyokuro, gen-tea, ho-ji tea and genmai-tea. These Japanese teas all have different tastes. Each tea has a different level of bitterness. The important points are how to drink, temperature, quantity of the tea leaf and time to brew. Ippodo’s staff tell the customers how to make each tea. People can drink tea with Japanese sweets. You can go with family or friends or just by yourself. There is a menu in English, for the convenience of foreign visitors to Kyoto who come to this cafe. So, foreign people can have a good time. This cafe also has take-out available. The design of the take-out cup is so cute. If you ever visit Kyoto, I recommend visiting Ippodo.

Location

Ippodo is near Kyoto Shiyakushomae Station. It takes about 5 minutes to walk there from the station. There are some antique stores and galleries on this street and people can feel Kyoto.

There are many cafes in Kyoto. Sightseeing spots in Kyoto have many green tea shops. That is because Kyoto is really famous for Maccha within Japan. Particularly popular are Maccha HOUSE, JOUVENCELLE, and Ippodo. Maccha HOUSE is famous for Maccha tiramisu. JOUVENCELLE is famous for green tea fondue, Ippodo is famous for Japanese tea. As for the popular key points, desserts of those cafes are not only tasty but also beautiful to look at. The appearance of these shops is fashionable and there are English menus for foreign tourists.
Nowadays, Maccha is popular all over the world. Maccha is green tea powder. Japanese green tea can be bought from some supermarkets, vending machines, and also in most Japanese tea shops. Recently, Japanese green tea is becoming well known around the world. Japanese green tea shops became famous in Twitter and Instagram. Many people visit cafes in Kyoto and eat a dessert made of Maccha. They also take a stylish picture of food and put down that photo on SNS. After that some other people see that picture on SNS. The popularity of these cafes has spread a lot thanks to SNS.
However, you must line up for approximately two hours on weekdays if you want to visit there, thanks to the popularity. This is a problem caused by popularity and widespread use of SNS. However, people never stop lining up. In this way, the cafe of Kyoto is popular with people from around the world who are able to feel at ease, and able to enjoy an atmosphere only in Kyoto. It is pleasant to visit the cafe of Kyoto on an occasion of the sightseeing of Kyoto. Please try and go.

Kyoame

by Mayumi Otsuka, Mai Takezawa and Kanako Wakamatsu

If you come to Kyoto, what are you going to buy as a food souvenir? There are very popular food souvenirs in Kyoto, such as yatsuhashi, matcha, and so on. However, have you ever heard of kyoame? Kyoame is a candy and is one of the historical Japanese sweets in Kyoto. It has a pretty design and a very beautiful color, such as pink, purple, green, and yellow. Also, in Chinese characters, ‘candy’ means ‘be delighted by eating’. Therefore, you can be happy by eating the candy called kyoame.

Yatsuhashi

 

History of Kyoame

There wasn’t any such thing as candy in ancient Japan. Instead of candy, there was starch syrup (the literal translation is ‘water candy’ in Japanese) that was made with rice and malt. However, it was used only as seasoning. In the late Muromachi era (1392~1573), Portuguese explorers came to Japan, bringing their religion and culture. One of the things they introduced was white sugar. However, it was not famous among the common people at that time. It was not until the end of Edo era (1600~1867) that ordinary people found out about white sugar. However, it was very expensive, so some of them could not eat it yet, much less see it. In the Meiji era (1868~1911), Japan began to engage actively in foreign trade. In addition, the skill of making candy was developed, so many kinds of candy were produced. In this way, kyoame was born by using traditional candy-making techniques with starch syrup and the new ones with white sugar.

How to Make Kyoame

At the beginning, the kyoame craftsman makes the paste of the candy. First of all, she boils the sugar up to 110° C, which is raw material of kyoame. Then he keeps boiling the sugar until it reaches 160° C. Then, she uses a special machine to drain the candy of its water. After that, she puts the candy paste on a cooling plate and blends in the flavor and food coloring. This is the basic process of making the kyoame candy paste.

Once the candy paste is made, what happens next depends on what type of Kyoame is desired. In general, there are two methods of making kyoame. One is made by pouring the candy paste into a variety of molds. Another is done by combining some big candy parts together, which differ by color and taste, to make one big candy paste mass. The craftsman then makes the candy paste long and thin and then cuts it into small pieces. That part is very similar to European-style candy making.

The craftsman work is very sensitive because the craftsman needs to adjust his work to a variety of conditions, such as season, temperature, humidity, and so on. To be a kyoame craftsman is a very difficult job because it requires both technical skill and management skill. As proof, some kyoame craftsman have been commended for their sensitive skill by officials from Kyoto city.

Of course, making kyoame is very difficult and almost impossible for ordinary people. However, there is one kyoame store that offers visitors the experience of making kyoame themselves. So, if you go there, you can try to make your own original version of kyoame. Many kyoame stores do not use machines much, as mostly the candy is made by the craftsman’s hand.

Kyoame is popular souvenir for foreigners because the design is very beautiful and it really has the feeling of a traditional Japanese souvenir. On the other hand, kyoame is also a popular souvenir amongst the Japanese, because it is so affordable. Often, Japanese people feel guilty for receiving a souvenir that is too expensive. And in the season of school trips, students often buy kyoame as a souvenir for their family or for their seniors. Kyoame is not so expensive, but the design is beautiful, so it is easy to buy for students. In sum, kyoame is suitable as both a formal or casual gift.

Kyoame

 

Where to Buy Kyoame

In Kyoto there are several famous Kyoame stores. We would like to introduce two of them.

Ayanokouji

The first one is called Ayano Kouji. It was founded in 1876. They have 5 kinds of kyoame and the names of each are related to traditional Japanese culture. For example, Shun is related to the change of the seasons, so you can enjoy a different taste at different times of the year. They also make specific Japanese tastes, like like plum, yuzu, kujyou welsh onion, etc.

http://www.ayanokouji.co.jp

TEL 075-351-0593

Open 9:00-18:00 (Monday-Friday)

Crochet Kyoto

The second kyoame shop is named Crochet Kyoto. Unlike Ayano Kouji, it is a very new shop, just founded in 2013. They offer 21 kinds of kyoame. All of them are flamboyant and their name is related to both Japanese and European culture. For example, Shiromuku is kind of traditional clothing that brides wear, and it’s taste is that of sakura, or cherry blossom. Another is named Antoinette, from Marie Antoinette. It is related to Europe and its taste is strawberry.

http://crcht.com

TEL 075-744-0804

Open 10:30-19:00

Kinds of Kyoame

 

Surprising Fact About Kyoame

In 2004, a company that makes fashion accessories with kyoame was established. It is called Nanaco Plus+. It reproduces traditional Kyoto confectionery with their accessories. If you go there, you can see jewelry or key rings that look just like kyoame. They want us to watch, wear, and eat kyoame. Their goal is to revive the heart of beauty and sensitivity that Japanese felt in times long ago.

Their accessories are made with real kyoame. The company invented a technique to cover the real candy with clear resin. Each piece is hand-made, so you can enjoy differences in size and design. In addition, they also sell cosmetics, such as a lip cream which smells like kyoame. In this way, traditional kyoame can be loved forever.

As you can see, kyoame is a traditional sweet in Kyoto that requires a special technique to make. There are a variety of kinds and tastes, and they have names related to both Japanese and European culture. In addition, you can enjoy Kyoame not only by eating them, but also by wearing them as accessories. Therefore, we recommend you buy a beautiful kyoame as a souvenir during your stay in Kyoto.