Great Food Hall at Kyoto Tower

November 24, 2018

By Kensei Iizuka and Takanori Tsuhako

Kyoto Tower

As you know, Kyoto city is the main city in Kyoto prefecture and it is really lively. Of course, you can find a lot of nice places in the city like cafés, restaurants, clothing stores, general stores, temples, shrines and so on. Moreover, this city is also has a great edifice that can be seen from many parts of this city. That is Kyoto Tower. It is 131 meters high and is the tallest construction in Kyoto city. From this building, you can enjoy the panoramic view of the city. Of course, you can also see some famous historical buildings like Kiyomizu-Dera temple.

Not only can you enjoy the view, you can enjoy some facilities. For example, a beer and BBQ garden is on the 10th floor and Kansai Tourist Information Center is on the 3rd floor and so on. This article is focused on the Food Hall on the B1, or basement, floor.

Food Hall

There are some good facilities in Kyoto Tower and one is the Food Hall on the B1 floor. There are 19 restaurants in this food hall including typical Japanese food like Sushi. This food hall has really varied kinds of restaurants such as Chinese food, Mexican food, sweets and bars serving alcohol.

There are some good points of this food hall. First, there are many kinds of restaurant. You can eat beef, pork, chicken, curry, ramen noodles, soba (Japanese traditional noodles), pancakes and doughnuts. In addition, there is a restaurant for vegans and vegetarians. Second, this food hall is big and there are a lot of seats. On the weekend, every place near Kyoto station gets really crowded. That is why, if you find a good restaurant, you have to wait for a long time. On the other hand, you can find your seats more easily at this food hall. Last, you and your friends can choose your favorite food. It is usual for food hall but it is a big merit for using food hall. You can eat what you really want to eat and you can also drink alcohol. The experience at this food hall should be a good memory of your trip.

Recommended Restaurant

Gottie’s BEEF

If you would like to have beef, this restaurant is highly recommended. The beef served here has been carefully selected considering thing such as district where the cows were raised and using only the choice cuts of beef. In addition, it takes 40 days to mature the beef. The stage of production is called “dried-aging method.” By this method, the flavor of the beef will be enhanced. The steak sauce is very well matched with the beef.

KYOTOSENMARU Syakariki murasaki

Ramen noodle is one of the most popular foods in Japan and you should try it if you come to Japan. Ramen noodles in Japan are served in various flavors like shio (salt), tonkotsu (pork bone) and shoyu (soy sauce). Syakariki’s noodles have soy sauce taste but the broth that accompanies them is also made of seafood products and chicken. That is why Japanese like ramen noodles. Japanese people like to eat ramen noodles after drinking so, if you like to drink alcohol, try eating ramen noodles after that.

List of Shops

How to enjoy your meal at KYOTO TOWER SANDO

In the dining hall, which is like a food court, you can sit in any vacant seat. This means your party can buy food from different restaurants.

    1. Order

      When you decide what you would like to have, please go to the individual restaurant and order your meal. Please pay at this time. You can use not only money but also credit cards.

    2. Wait

      The staff will give you a bell. You can go back to your seat and wait until the bell rings, please.

    3. Pick Up

      After the bell rings, go to the restaurant again and pick your order up, please. You can also help yourself to water if you want to.

    4. Return 

      After finishing your meal, please return the empty dishes to the restaurant. You can easily find the sign “Return Here” there.

      Access and Information

You can come to Kyoto station by JR, Kyoto Subway Karasuma line, Kyoto City Bus, or by taxi, bicycle or private transportation. You can come to KYOTO TOWER SANDO directly from the underground shopping area called Porta. If you are above ground, you can come from an entrance which is located at the corner of Karasuma-dori and Shiokoji-dori intersection. Don’t worry. It is easy to find KYOTO TOWER.

Opening hours are from 9am to 9pm (Final Entry 8:40pm). In Japan, restaurants generally stop taking orders about 30 minutes before closing time. Customers are expected to finish their food and drinks by closing time and leave soon after. The telephone number is 075-361-3215 (9am to 8pm). The address is 721-1, Karasuma-dori Shichijo-kudaru Higashi-shio-koji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 600-8216.

 

Green tea and coffee in Kyoto

Huaman Hideki,Koki Nakano

 

Maccha

 

If I ask you what a famous drink in Japan is, what would you think of? I think there are many options. However, the most the famous drink in Japan would be green tea, definitely. I think it is part of our culture and it is part of our tradition. The green tea is famous in Japan mostly in Kyoto prefecture. Everyone in my country loves it, even foreign people love to drink and eat foods flavored with it. It is also good for our health. Many foreigners come to Japan, to have green tea. There are some reasons for it.

 

We asked some international students in our school about green tea. Most of them said they like it because it has a similar taste to green tea which they can drink in another country. Also, they like it because they can focus to study when they drink it and what is more, it helps their memory work. Furthermore, green tea contains caffeine, like coffee, so they can keep awake when they want. Also, some exchange students said that the rule of making green tea is very interesting for them because the rule is kind of compact and nobody can learn about it in another country. Therefore, observing green tea being made is popular for foreigners.

There are many tea restaurant. Skin Kyoto called “Maccha house”. There are thousands of maccha houses in Japan and the most popular is the maccha house in Kawaramachi which is in Kyoto prefecture. There is such a long line at the place every day, even when it is raining. Many people wait for two or three hours to enjoy to. The reason why is because of SNS. Many people, mostly students, like to post food on SNS, like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. In maccha house they provide not also green tea drink but also sweets. Especially the most famous sweets they serve is called “uji maccha tiramisu”. Almost every customer, Japanese or non-Japanese, orders it because they serve it Japanese traditional container which is called “uji maccha” square wooden cup. It is said that it is a great idea using square wooden cup because they feel Japanese culture more deeply.

The last reason is that it is good for our health and it can provide benefits to us. For example, green tea increases or improves metabolism, burns calories, calms the mind and relaxes the body and so on. What is more, it helps us to prevent disease such as high blood pressure, aging, and diabetes, stroke.

Green tea is an important thing. It is a representative drink or food in my country. I am glad that green tea is known by many people from all over the world because it means that they’re able to touch upon Japanese culture. I can proudly say that it’s tasty besides they are many ways to have it. Moreover, green tea can help us to focus on studying and can protect us from disease.

 

Coffee.

 

 

Recently, a news story said that Kyoto was the top consumer of coffee in Japan. People in Kyoto drink more coffee than people from other prefectures. Do you know why? Perhaps, because there are a lot of students in Kyoto. We took a survey of customers in coffee shops in Kyoto city and asked “What do you drink coffee ? And why did you choose to come to this shop?” The consumers answered, “We are students. We saw some pictures of this shop and we thought it is quite nice so we wanted have a chat in a nice and fashionable place.” The students went there to talk or study because they wanted to do it in nice and quite shop. So,it is not only because the students like coffee, it is because they like the space and atmosphere there.

The number of coffee shops in Kyoto have been increasing. They serve coffee like Blue bottle coffee and Arabica coffee. Those shops are not only popular with Japanese people but also they are popular with foreigners, such as Koreans and Chinese, we observed. People paid money to buy coffees. They sat down but they didn’t drink it first. They took many pictures from different angles. They posted on SNS, mostly on Instagram. They finally drank their coffees when coffees were getting cold but they seemed happy. People in Kyoto drink coffee a lot and they also eat a lot of bread, so a culture of western food spreads in Kyoto. Many people ordered coffee with some sweets. Perhaps how much coffee people drink and how much bread and sweets people eat are commensurable. In Kyoto, there are a lot of coffee shops and also there a lot of universities. There are many students and, of course, there are many professors too. People in Kyoto tend to like something new so they want to share information. Coffee shops are used as a place where people can share their information. I learned a lot through this research. In Kyoto, there are a lot of students and also foreign visitors of residents. They communicate and share information with each other while they drink coffee.

Sake in Kyoto

by Suguru Takauji, Hanami Yanagi & Yuka Yamazaki

Japan has nice alcohol called sake, which a lot of people in both Japan and around the world enjoy drinking. Sake is a really interesting drink because the taste is different depending on the type of water and rice used. Also, there are many ways of enjoying sake. Let’s find out more…

What is Sake?

Sake is an alcoholic drink made from fermented rice or ‘rice-koji’. Koji is the fungus that is used in the process of fermentation. From a legal perspective, sake is also called seishu, in which the alcohol content is less than 22%. The main materials are rice, rice-koji, and water. The type of rice used to make sake is different from the kind people eat. It is called shuzo-koteki-mai, and the size of its grain bigger than that of normal rice. Also, it can be fermented more easily than normal rice.

Although water does not sound like a special ingredient, it does make up 80% of sake. Therefore, the quality of the water is very important for making a sake that tastes delicious. For this reason, all sake breweries are near to a source of good quality water. Water that contains low levels of minerals, like iron and manganese, is good for flavor. In addition, hard water can make a sharp-tasting sake.

In general, people tend to think of sake and other rice-based distilled spirits, like shochu, as Japanese sake. However, the manufacturing process is not the same. Sake is brewed through the fermentation of yeast, while shochu is distilled. Typically the alcoholic percentage of distilled spirits is 25%~30%. The alcoholic percentage of sake is under 22%, and most sake is around 15% alcohol content.

Sake can be drunk in various ways. For example, you can drink it at a wide range of temperatures. Cold sake has a fresh taste, while sake at room temperature is mild. And with hot sake, you can experience the sweet taste of rice.

Sake also contains a lot of amino acids, which can moisturize the skin. It is said that some geisha have used sake as a facial lotion before putting on their makeup. Moreover, sake improves blood circulation, so sake have a positive effect on a variety of different health conditions related to poor blood circulation. Therefore, elderly Japanese people often say sake is good for health. In fact, 60% of healthy Japanese centenarians drink a moderate amount of the sake every day. Drinking moderate amounts of sake is good, while drinking too much sake is not good for health.

The History of Sake

Sake is not the first alcoholic beverage in the world. Alcohol has been around since the dawn of civilization. The earliest form of alcohol probably came from naturally fermented fruit. Wine was first drunk by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia in 4,000 B.C. Beer is the second oldest, first appearing in Mesopotamia in 3,000 B.C. Finally, distilled spirits made their appearance in in Asia in 800 B.C., and later in ancient Greece.

As for sake, people started making it about 1,300 years ago in the Nara period (8th century). However, the people couldn’t drink it freely, but rather only during celebrations and festival rites. People prayed for a good harvest and good health. Also, people drank it to get rid of evil. They believed sake brought gods and people together. For this reason, even today Japanese people often offer sake before Buddhist and Shinto altars.

Tokkuri

The people in the Nara period drunk only cold sake because they thought sake was a holy thing. The custom of drinking hot sake didn’t begin until the Mid-Heian period (about 969-1089). In the Kamakura period (1185-1333), people started to drink sake privately, outside of festivals and religious settings. In the Muromachi period (1338-1573), the drinking of sake became even more common and generalized than before. Moreover, people began using a thin-necked bottle with a round bottom, called a tokkuri, when drinking sake. People also began to bottle sake and sell it for business.

In the Edo period(1603-1868), people started to also make sake during the winter. They discovered that making sake at low temperatures slows down the fermentation process, which results in a good taste and depth. Also, a brewing laboratory was founded in the last part of the Meiji Period(1868-1912) in order to develop faster brewing methods. Since then, Japanese people found science is essential to making sake.

Water

Clean and beautiful water is absolutely necessary for making good sake. Kyoto is called The City of Water because it has tons of water. There are some big rivers that run through the region: the Katsura River from the mountains in the west and north, the Uji River from Lake Biwa (Japan’s largest lake), and the Kizu River from Nara’s mountains in the east. These three water lines provide a great quantity of water to residents. But not only does water come from the rivers, but there is also plenty of water underground in Kyoto, around 20 billion cubic meters. That’s a lot of water, isn’t it? This is the why Kyoto is so famous for sake and has a lot of sake breweries. When you want to make sake, you need a lot of water. For example, to make two liters of sake requires forty liters of water. That is, you need twenty times the amount of water to make a single bottle of sake.

Famous Sake in Kyoto

Famous Sake in Fusimi

There are many kinds of sake in Kyoto, but the Fushimi area in the south of the region is the most renowned. This is mostly because Fushimi has been blessed with the best quality water, which comes from wells.

In Kyoto, the best quality sake is made from the Iwai variety of rice, which grows in the Kyoto region. Iwai is a premium variety of rice that is ideal for making sake. The taste is dry, but offers the taste and smell of rice. So you want to experience Kyoto-style sake, we recommend that you try a bottle made in Fushimi from Iwai rice.

As you can see, sake is a really interesting Japanese beverage. It has the long history and is very traditional. And as Kyoto is the center of ancient Japanese culture, it is the best place to learn about and experience the tradition of sake. Once you visit a Kyoto sake factory, you will undoubtedly by hooked on sake. Then, you will find your favorite one.

Sujin-Shinmachi

by Rena Tokunaga, Riku Hamaguchi & Maya kondo

Do you know a place called Sujin-Shinmachi? It is a collection of food stands built on a temporary location in downtown Kyoto. It is open from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm each day. It is only a five-minute walk from Kyoto station, in the Takakura-shiokoji area. Even if you have too much to drink, it is not a big deal. Don’t worry about it! It is easy to hop on a train and go home.

Sujin-Shinmachi opened on the February 1st, 2018, but is set to close in 2020 because a university campus will be built on the location. The reason why Sujin-Shinmachi was built is because the area is facing a declining birth rate and an aging population. The locals want young people to know how nice this area is and that there are so many things to do there, just like the Shijo area of town several kilometers to the north, which is currently where young Japanese people often hang out.

More About Sujin-Shinmachi

At Sujin-Shinmachi, there are about 15 different food stands offering a variety of food styles, like Japanese, American, Hawaiian, Korean, Chinese, and Spanish, so it is not difficult for you to eat and drink whatever you want. This space is divided into four sections called, 1 cho-me, 2 cho-me, 3 cho-me, and 4 cho-me, each with four different food stands.

Kimono Rental

But wait! There is more: Would you like to wear kimono while you are in Kyoto? If so, Sujin-Shinmachi is the best place for you to go because there is a kimono rental shop there. They rent out yukata, too, which is like a summer kimono, so visitors can choose to wear kimono or yukata. In the summer, we recommend wearing yukata, while eating and drinking at Sujin-Shinmachi. In this way, you can experience traditional Japanese culture in a fun and delicious way.

SNS Sharing

The latest food stands at Sujin-Shinmachi are popular with young Japanese people, especially for posting on their their social networks like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. We especially recommend that young people go there, take pictures, and share on their own SNS. They might get a bunch of likes from many people!

Something for Everyone

Not only young people, but also middle-aged adults and elderly people can definitely enjoy Sujin-Shinmachi, too. As we mentioned before, it is near Kyoto station, so many tourists from all over the world go there for dinner, so you enjoy eating, drinking, and talking with an international crowd.

Moreover, Sujin-Shinmachi often holds some events for the purpose of revitalizing the community. For example, kyogen, which means ‘make believe’ or ‘trick’, is the name of a traditional Japanese drama, which is sometimes performed at Sujin-Shinmachi. Also, there are live painting events, in which artists come and paint pictures on a wall as entertainment for customers.

How to Enjoy Sujin-Shinmachi

At Sujin-Shinmachi, we can meet many people. It is easy to hang out with strangers because the gap between the tables is so close. Also, many visitors like to drink when they come to Sujin-Shinmachi. So, it has a nice, festive atmosphere, which makes it easy to meet people.

All of stores offer a lot of small dishes, so you can order your food from a variety of stores. First, you should look around and throughout all of the food stands, while thinking about what you want to eat and drink. Then, you should decide where to sit. After that, you go and order what you want, then come back to your table with your food and drink. Finally, it is time to enjoy yourself!

Don’t forget to take some pictures and post on your Instagram account, using hashtags such as #Sujin-Shinmachi #happy #yammy, etc. It also might be a good idea to try asking some of the employees there to recommended stands, or you can try to share your food with your new friends that you are sure to meet.

Our Recommendations

Sujin-Chaya

Originally founded in Kyoto, Sujin-Chaya is the special shop selling rice cakes (mochi) and sparkling green tea, made with gyokuro, a high-quality type of green tea. Here, you can enjoy having mouthwatering rice cakes that combine various tastes, each with their own recipe. You can feel Japanese and Western culture simultaneously through this combination of carbonated green tea and rice cakes that you have probably never experienced before. I’m sure that you will like them.

Tasty Food

When we went to Sujin-Shinmachi, we tried as many foods as we could. The most delicious food and drink combination was the fried chicken (800 yen) from 58doorstepBURGER and Fruits Fizz (500 yen) from Kyokushiyaki Matuba. Because the chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and the fruits fizz is sweet and sour, you can feel like it is summer no matter what time of the year it is.

One more food that we recommend is ‘Choboyaki 6 syumori’ (600 yen) from Yakiyakisujinshinmachi. Choboyaki is said to be the origin of Takoyaki, which is very popular in Kansai area, but it is fluffier than Takoyaki. It goes great with a beer. You can try this one, too.

Romankan

Romankan is the name of the kimono store in Sujin-Shinmachi. Here, you can enjoy a fashionable and contemporary way of wearing clothes such as brand-name kimono and unique ones. The store is designed in the motif of the Taisho era of Japan, so you can spend time with a calm atmosphere. You can also ask the staff to take pictures for your memories. Everyone will enjoy Japanese culture by walking around the city in Kyoto while wearing beautiful kimono.

Conclusion

For visitors to Kyoto and locals alike, Sujin-Shinmachi is obviously a great place to come together and make new relationships while enjoying delicious foods and drinks. And because it is so close to Kyoto station and all the hotels nearby, we strongly recommend that you come to Kyoto and pay a visit to Sujin-Shinmachi. What is more, we hope foreigners get more interested in Japan and will come to travel. That is why the government should build more facilities that can attract foreigners by providing quality services for them. I hope this information will help you when you plan to visit Kyoto.

Oden Restaurants in Kawaramachi

by Miyu Arimoto, Yuko Yasuda & Yuma Ogata

Oden is a Japanese one-pot simmered dish that has been developing for over 1,000 years. Every Japanese person loves oden. Originally, oden was simply dengaku, which is a grilled eggplant with sweet miso paste.

Back in the late Muromachi period, people used to skewer ingredients like tofu, bake them, and eat them with miso, or fermented soybean paste. When Muromachi period changed to the late Edo period, people began to boil oden instead of bake it.

When we make oden, we definitely need dashi, which is a traditional Japanese broth made from bonito flakes and/or kelp. If you want to make your own dashi, you need to boil these things. Dashi in Kyoto is usually made with bonito, so when you eat oden, you can smell the aroma of bonito. Experiencing the aroma of dashi is one way to enjoy oden. The taste of oden is very simple, but distinct. For example, vegetables become very tasty when boiled in dashi. Typically, 45 minutes of boiling the ingredients is the best way to make delicious oden.

There are many kinds of oden. For example, there is satsuma-age (deep-fried fish paste balls), hanpen (solidified minced fish paste), boiled egg, Japanese radish, konnyaku (a rubbery gelatin made from the konjac plant), tsukune (chicken meatballs), chikuwa (a tube-shaped fish paste cake) and so on. Especially, the main ingredients of oden are boiled eggs, Japanese radish, and konnyaku. Oden ingredients are slightly different depending on the area of the country, however.

Oden goes well with Japanese mustard and yuzu pepper. Yuzu is a citrus fruit native to Japan. Yuzu pepper is a Japanese spice made from yuzu rind, chili and salt.

There are many oden restaurants in Japan, but it is so difficult to find them because usually they are located in out-of-the-way places. For this reason, foreign visitors to Japan don’t know much about Oden, so they won’t enter these restaurants. In this article, we introduce three different oden restaurants in Kyoto’s popular Kawaramachi district.

Kiyomizu Gionshinbashi

Kiyomizu Gionshinbashi is an izakaya (Japanese style bar and grill) located near Gion Shijo station that serves oden, amongst other foods. It has a very nice atmosphere with a beautiful garden and tokonoma (Japanese-style alcove) rooms, giving it a truly urban Kyoto feeling.


The oden at Kiyomizu Gionshinbashi is delicious. It includes boiled eggs, daikon (Japanese white radish), atsuage (a block of deep-fried bean curd), and potatoes. Interestingly, the broth of the oden here is not made from bonito, but rather from chicken. So, it gives a unique aroma and taste, much different from the oden of other restaurants.

Kiyomizu Gionshinbashi also serves okara, which is a traditional food made from tofu and soy milk. It has a unique texture and flavor. Actually I ate this. It smells like between tofu and atuage. I enjoyed this one.

   

If you come to Kyoto to do sightseeing, and you are near Kawaramachi, we highly recommend you to visit this izakaya to eat some delicious food.

Usually, Kiyomizu Gionshinbashi is closed on Sundays, but if Monday is a public holiday, then it is closed as well. Opening hours are from 5:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Expect to spend between 4,000 to 5000 yen ($40 to $50). This shop has a menu in English, so it is easy for you to request the food. And surprisingly, I went to this shop, the shop owner thanks to me with writing paper. If you want to visit, it is sure to you to make reservation on the web site. (web site: http://www.kyoya-kiyomizu.com/ )

 

Gokomachi Ono

Our second oden restaurant to recommend is called Gokomachi Ono. It is located only about 5 minutes on foot from Kawaramachi station. There open from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. For dinner, the average cost is 5,000 yen (5$). The atmosphere of the shop is very good, so you can relax inside. You can either sit at a table or a counter seat. You can eat many kinds of oden ingredients and other Japanese food in this restaurant, some of which cost only 200 yen ($2.00).

Our recommended oden ingredient is tomato.

It is juicy and sweet, and it goes well with the dashi of the oden. We also recommend daikon, which is the most popular oden ingredient at Gokomachi Ono. We like it very much. Please try it. It goes very well with yuzu pepper.

Another delicious food served at Gokomachi Ono is kamameshi, which is rice boiled with various ingredients such as seafood, meat and vegetables in the small iron cooking pots.

The kamameishi at Gokomachi Ono is made with seasonal ingredients, which makes it even better. For example, you can order taimeshi, which is rice with minced red sea bream. It is very tasty, so we recommend that you eat that dish.

Moreover, you can drink many kinds of nihonshu at Gokomachi Ono. Nihonshu is a Japanese distilled alcohol made with a kind of mold called koji. People drink it in small ceramic cups called ochoko. We want you to enjoy the delicious oden and nihonshu in Gokomachi Ono. It also serves tempura and fresh sashimi. However, it doesn’t have English menu, so you should research about ingredients of oden before visiting.

Daruma to Kingyo

Daruma to Kingyo is the name of an oden izakaya on Teramachi Street near Kawaramachi station. This is a very cozy-looking restaurant with many unusual items on the menu. However, their oden is so simple. And even though it is very simple, it is super delicious with an elegant taste.

This restaurant is very famous, not only for oden, but also for potato salad. You should try the potato salad here. It is so delicious that you will become addicted to it.

This is potato salad.

This is Oden.( Japanese radish, Potato )

 

This is unique menu in that restaurant ( chicken and mocheese. Mocheese is mochi and cheese. )

Daruma to Kingyo is open from Wednesday to Sunday between 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. For dinner, the average cost is around 3,000 yen ($30). If you want to eat there, it’s better to make a reservation in advance. It is usually closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

This picture is in front of the restaurant. It’s a little bit difficult to find it.

It’s in inside of restaurant.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we visited three oden restaurants in Kawaramachi. All served delicious food with nice atmospheres, so we think you should visit all three. However, if we had to recommend only one, we would recommend Gokomachi Ono. It offers many kinds of Japanese food at reasonable prices. Enjoy eating oden in Kyoto!

Vegetable brand “Kyoyasai” worth trying

Risa Uemura, Mika Nakajima and Mai Hayakawa

What are kyoyasai ?

Kyoto is far from the sea, so it was hard for people to get seafood a long time ago. That’s why people living in Kyoto used to eat mainly vegetables. 1,000 years ago, local people presented the Emperor, who used to live in Kyoto, with several vegetables grown in other prefectures in Japan. Then these vegetables were grown in Kyoto and became good quality thanks to the climate, clean water and cultivation methods there. This was the beginning of Kyoyasai and Kyoto’s speciality vegetables. Even now, some of these vegetables are still grown using the same traditional methods.

There are several requirements for vegetables to be registered as kyoyasai. To suit the image of Kyoto, they have to ship to other prefectures, and must consistently meet the quality standards. Farmers must avoid using pesticides under the Kyoto Kodawari cultivation rules. Also, only types of vegetables that have been grown before the Meiji era are allowed to be called kyoyasai. These special vegetables are used in restaurants and even at home for cooking.  Recently, scientists discovered that “Kyoyasai has an original smell, taste and colors. Furthermore, they have many health benefits such as preventing cancer and keeping a healthy weight as they are low in calories.”

 

Kyoto vegetables which you can try now

Currently, there are twenty types of Kyoto vegetables registered. Some of them are available to harvest all-year round, and some are only available at certain times of the year. Kyoto Mizuna (pother mustard), Kujo green onions, and Mibuna (similar to pother mustard) are grown all-year. Kyoto Mizuna has leaves with a deep slit, and has a crisp texture. It can be cooked in various ways in a range of dishes, for example, with deep-fried bean curd (tofu), dishes prepared in seasoned broth, salads, and can be made into delicious light pickles. Kyoto’s famous springtime vegetable is takenoko (bamboo shoots), also called shiroko. Compared to other bamboo shoots, these have a sweeter taste, and the texture is fleshy and soft. In summer, shishigatani kabocha (pumpkin) is popular. It has a rough shape, like Japanese gourd. Due to its shape, it is sometimes used like a plate, with other food placed on top. An example dish is shishigatani kabocha, which is pumpkin stuffed with minced beef. The shape is unique, so people also use it for its appearance. Fall in Kyoto brings eggplants and chillies to the kitchen. They have various shapes, sizes, and other individual features. There are many Kyoto vegetables harvested in the winter. Above all, the most famous vegetables are kintoki ningin (carrot), Horikawa gobo (burdock) and seigoin daikon (radish). Kintoki ningin carrots are bright red from the surface to the inside. Therefore, they are used to add color to winter dishes such as miso soup and osechi (Japanese New Year’s cuisine). The burdock is bigger compared to normal burdock and has a hollow trunk. So, they soak up surrounding flavors. Seigoin daikons do not taste bitter; instead they have a faintly sweet flavor, so they are often used in oden (Japanese hotpot with assorted ingredients like radish, tofu, or boiled egg). Of all the Kyoto vegetables, the most famous are Kujo green onions and Kyoto Mizuna because they are well known and available to harvest all year.

 

Recommended stores and restaurants for Kyoto vegetables

Finally, we would like to introduce several cafes and restaurants where you can eat Kyoto vegetables. We recommend three restaurants in Kyoto. Isoya on Sanjyo is a casual restaurant where you can eat grilled Kyoto vegetables with an original sauce, a selection of salt, or Miso (bean paste condiment). In the restaurant, fresh Kyoto vegetables which were picked that morning are lined up, and a chef cooks those in front of you. So, you can enjoy eating different Kyoto vegetables and cuisines depending on the day you visit. If you go Isoya, we recommend you reserve in advance.

Gion abbesses on Gion Shijyo is located in an old Kyoto townscape. It is a luxury French restaurant, and you can try authentic French cuisine with colorful Kyoto vegetables. There are more than 150 kinds of wines including natural wines in this restaurant, and you can consult with a wine sommelier.

Obase on Sanjyo. It is a Japanese style restaurant in a renovated kyo-machiya (a traditional tile-roofed wooden house structure with mud walls and an inner garden, built using a framework construction method). This restaurant is very particular about the interior because it chose pieces of furniture to match the traditional building. You can eat original Japanese and Western course meals with Japanese tableware and chopsticks.

We introduced three restaurants where you can eat Kyoto vegetables in a wide variety of dishes. Kyo-branded Products Association (Public Interest Group Corporation) has certified formal Kyoto vegetable dealers in the metropolitan area and the Kinki area as bases for consumption promotion and sales promotion. Now, twenty-five stores in the metropolitan area and twenty-four stores in the Kinki area are certified, and you can easily get Kyoto vegetables at those stores. On the Kyo-branded Products Association’s official site, a lot of cooking recipes using Kyoto vegetables have been released. If you are interested in those dishes, please try cooking them yourself at home!

 

The Hottest Ramen Noodles in Kyoto

by Kensei Iizuka, Yuta Kobayashi, Takanori Tsuhako

As you know, there is a lot of delicious food in Kyoto. In this article, we are going to tell you about the noodles. Kyoto, especially Kyoto City, is one of the most famous places for noodles in Japan. That is why there are a lot of great noodle restaurants here. In this article, we will introduce you to Menya-Kirameki: a really famous noodle restaurant on Kyoto Sanjo and part of the Kirameki chain of noodle restaurants in Kyoto. We will introduce other Kirameki restaurants at the end of this article. If you want to get more information about the Kirameki Group, please check them out.

Menya-Kirameki Kyoto Sanjo 

Taiwanese Spicy Soupless Noodles

The most famous noodle dish in Kirameki is their Taiwanese Soupless Noodles. This dish was born in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture in 2008. It was created from meals that were prepared for the staff of a Taiwanese restaurant in Nagoya. The Taiwanese owner used to serve these soupless noodles only for his employees until one day a customer saw them and asked him to put it on the regular menu. The owner tried to add some spices to make it tastier because it was a simple dish compared to other items on the menu in this restaurant. The dish contains ground meat seasoned with some spices that are placed on the top of super thick noodles. It also has fish meal, leeks, Chinese chives and fresh egg yolk. The way to eat it is straightforward: you just mix all the ingredients to taste them together. You might be surprised by the flavors when you eat this for the first time. However, we are sure that you will like it more and more as you continue to eat. When you have finished eating, it is recommended that you put a small cup of rice into your noodle bowl that still has some flavor from the spices. This is called “shime” in Japanese, and it is meant to refresh your mouth. To put it simply, it plays the role of brushing your teeth. By eating a bowl of plain white rice, you can ‘clean up’ the remaining flavors in your mouth. In Kirameki, you can get a small cup of rice for free when you order Taiwanese Soupless Noodles. It is okay to put the rice into your noodle bowl at the end of eating, and it is great to eat the noodles and rice together. It definitely makes you full and satisfied. But, please take care of the smell of your breath after eating Taiwanese Soupless Noodles! Those are some spicy flavors!

 

 

Chicken Bone White Broth Noodles with Soy Sauce

There is a wide range of noodles in Kyoto. Most noodle restaurants in Kyoto specialize in ‘rich noodles.’ Kyoto is called the “Student City” because there are many universities in Kyoto City. Students want to feel full and satisfied for as little money as possible. That is why many noodle restaurants are serving ‘rich noodles’ to make students-the main customers-feel satisfied. Kirameki serves ‘rich noodles.’ The soup in this dish is made from chicken bones. It takes a long time to produce the umami flavors from the chicken bones. Umami is made from the chicken bones and adjusted for taste.When you eat ‘rich noodles,’ at first, try a spoonful of just the soup and enjoy each original rich flavor. Secondly, pick up some of the noodles and eat them together with the rich soup. The noodles are all made from Japanese flour called yumemanten, which is made in Nagano Prefecture. They are really thick and chewy. Most people fall in love with these divine noodles due to their texture. Also, you can enjoy some awesome toppings such as slices of roasted pork, juicy menma (bamboo shoots), shredded green onions, and a slice of lemon. They make these noodles even tastier.

 

Chicken Bone Noodles

As well as their soy sauce dishes, Kirameki also serves noodles that have a delightful salty taste. This dish is very similar to the soy sauce options. However, the color of the soup is a little different. These dishes have a special handmade sauce that contains salt made from fresh sea water from Vietnam and France. You can taste the natural flavor of the salt, which gives you a very different taste to the soy sauce noodles. It would be great to share two noodles with others if you go to Kirameki with your friends. Comparing two flavors is just one way of enjoying noodle restaurants and becoming an expert in Japanese noodles!

 

Golden Noodles with Sesame Sauce

In Japan, especially in Kyoto, the temperature reaches up to about 38 degrees in the summer. It is said that the summer climate in Kyoto is worse than a desert. Someone might say “I don’t want to get hot food on such a humid day.” But, for those people who need to cool down in the coming summer season eating noodles can be a great option. Golden noodles with sesame sauce is a dish of cold spicy noodles. It has plenty of shredded meat on top and also some peanuts. The peanuts play an important role in this dish. The sweet taste of the peanuts balances the spiciness. In Kirameki, this dish is served only in the summer. It would be the perfect noodle dish for anyone who really wants to eat noodles even on a hot day. Although we concentrated on Kirameki noodle restaurants this time, enjoy discovering and experimenting with a variety of noodle restaurants around Kyoto. You may be able to find a special noodle restaurant that your friends don’t know, and can be your noodle heaven.

【Access】

There are six Kirameki restaurants in Kyoto:

1. Kirameki-no-tori

This was the first Kirameki restaurant opened in Kyoto. If you visit Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kirameki-no-tori is nearby. The opening hours are 11:00-15:00, and 18:00-23:00. The telephone number is 075-231-2505.

2. Yuhi-no-kirameki

This was the second Kirameki restaurant. If you visit Ichijoji, or Takaragaike, it is nearby. The opening hours are 11:00-15:00, and 18:00-23:00. The telephone number is 075-746-5388.

3. Kirameki Chicken Heart

This is Kirameki’s third restaurant. It is near Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. If you visit Arashiyama, you can go there by bus. The nearest bus stop is Shijo-kadono-oji, which takes about 15 minutes from Arashiyama. The opening hours are 11:00-14:30, and 18:00-22:30. The telephone number is 075-754-6388.

4. Kirameki ☆ JAPAN

Kirameki ☆ JAPAN, the fourth Kirameki restaurant, is near Demachi-yanagi Station and Kyoto University. Take the Keihan Railway and get off at Demachi-yanagi Station. It is easy to get there. The opening hours are 11:00-14:30, and 18:00-22:30. The Telephone number is 075-741-7174.

5. Komugi-no-kirameki

This is the fifth Kirameki restaurant. The nearest station is Kamikatsura, and Katsura. Kamikatsura is on the Hankyu Arashiyama Line. You could visit here before or after visiting Arashiyama. The opening hours are 11:00-22:30. The telephone number is 075-874-4411.

6. Menya-Kirameki -Kyoto Sanjo Street

This is the sixth Kirameki restaurant and the head restaurant of Kirameki. If you visit Kawaramachi, you can visit here. Head to north from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station. It takes about ten minutes on foot. The opening hours are 11:00-23:30. The telephone number is 075-744-6199.

Great Bread around Karasuma Station

by Kensei Iizuka, Yuta Kobayashi and Takanori Tsuhako

As you know, Kyoto has a lot of traditional Japanese food that is popular with tourists. However, do you know that bread is really popular with people in Kyoto? In fact, bread consumption in Kyoto is No.1 in Japan. The reason why bread is so popular in Kyoto is due to its connection with craftsmen. There are a lot of busy craftsmen in Kyoto and bread is really easy for them to eat when they are working. In this article, we are going to introduce some great bakeries near Karasuma Station. This area is really flourishing so you can find not only bakeries but also many nice shops such as souvenir shops, clothing store and so on. Enjoy the metropolitan side of Kyoto and great local bread in this area.

Sizuya

 

 

Sizuya is a famous bakery, which since 1948, has captured the hearts of Kyoto residents. Anyone who was born or grew up in Kyoto can’t but love their bread. There are 22 locations in Kyoto prefecture and the site that we visited this time is located in Shijo-Karasuma in the very heart of the city. This shop is very accessible as it is inside Shijo-Karasuma Station, and you can find it quickly as soon as you exit from the ticket gates. The most famous bread in Sizuya is the Karne -a sandwich with ham, fresh onion and soft margarine. It is very simple but delicious.

Shinshindo

 

 

Shinshindo is known as a bakery pioneer in Kyoto. It was established in 1913, making it 35 years older than Sizuya and the oldest bakery in Kyoto. There are 12 locations in Kyoto; however, some stores don’t just sell bread. Some have a restaurant where you can enjoy lunch or dinner, and others have a coffee shop inside where you can enjoy super fresh bread and excellent coffee. You can walk there in about 5 minutes from Hankyu-Karasuma Station, so you can take a break and enjoy great bread and coffee before or after exploring Shijo. The most popular bread in Shinshindo is said to be their rich buttery croissant. Outside is very crunchy and the inside is super soft. The beautiful flavor of the butter spreads out in your mouth as soon as you bite it. It must be one of the best croissants in Kyoto.

 

Grandir Kyoto


 

This bakery has a cool and trendy appearance with a simple black exterior, and inside there is a wide range of bread on display. Grandir Kyoto opened about 30 years ago and specializes in bagels and panini. People who want to eat a nice bagel or fresh panini should visit there. There are 5 locations in Kyoto and also 3 locations in Nagoya. The shop that we visited is near Kyoto-Shiyakusho-Mae Station (Subway- Tozai Line) and is easy to get to from Kawaramachi or Karasuma. When you open the stylish door and go in, you are surrounded by the pleasant smell of fresh bread. You can choose from a lot of different kinds of bagels as you can see in the photo: cocoa, cream cheese and so on. Just picking which bagel you want is fun. You can also order fresh paninis which the shop staff make to order in front of you. So, you can enjoy a really tasty fresh panini there.

 

Kin-iro Kyoto

Kin-iro Kyoto, was launched just recently in April 2018. It is getting a lot of attention from young people. There are only two kinds of bread, both of which are cream buns. One is called kin-iro which has rich cream and plenty of Canadian honey. It looks really gorgeous because it is decorated with pieces of gold leaf on the top. The other cream bun is called kuro-iro. Kuro means “black” in Japanese, so it is a black cream bun with cacao and coffee in the bread dough. Inside of the bun, you can taste Guatemala coffee’s honey in the custard and cream made from high-class eggs from Oita prefecture. The harmonization of the bread dough made by cocoa and coffee with the rich cream will blow your tongue away!

Kyoto Bakery Market

This bakery is perfect for people who are downtown shopping and don’t want to walk around too much just to find some decent bread. It is on the 7th floor of Marui Department Store near Kawaramachi Station (Hankyu-Kyoto Line). The best thing about this store is that you can find a selection of great bread from various bakeries in Kyoto. You don’t need to spend time and energy going to each bakery to sample their speciality bread. Also, you can take a break and have a coffee in the rest area attached to the bakery. In other words, here is like a culmination of what Kyoto’s bakeries have to offer.

【Information for Sizuya】

Sizuya is in front of the subway ticket gates in Shijo Station. You can also easily access it from Karasuma Station on the Hankyu Railway. The ticket gates are on the lower basement floor. If you come from the ground level, please take the stairs or escalator down. The opening hours are from 7:30am to 9:00pm, and they are closed on January 1st.

【Information for Shinshindo】

You can walk to Shinshindo in about 5 minutes from either Karasuma Station or Shijo Station heading north-east. Diagonally opposite, there is a park that has a playground. Shinshindo has lovely trees and plants, so you can easily find it. Opening hours are 7:30am to 8:00pm. The days when the bakery is closed varies.

【Information for Grandir Kyoto】

Grandir Kyoto is a smaller bakery than others. The closest station is Kyoto Shiyakusyo Mae (Kyoto City Hall) Station; however, you can walk from Kawaramachi. If you go there from Kawaramachi, please head north. It’s about a 15-minute walk. This bakery is next to Kyoto City Hall. You will see bicycles parked in front of the bakery. The opening hours are 8:00am to 7:00pm. The days when the bakery is closed varies.

【Information for Kin-iro Kyoto】

Kin-iro Kyoto is on Sanjo Street. You can walk from Kyoto Shiyakusyo Mae (Kyoto City Hall) Station (10-minute walk) or Kawaramachi Station and Karasuma Station (15-minute walk). The bakery doesn’t have any space to eat inside. The opening hours are 11:00am to 7:00pm. The bakery is closed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

【Information for Kyoto Bakery Market】

Go to the 7th floor in Marui Department Store, which is on Shijo Street opposite the Disney Store. There are lots of tables and chairs where you can eat. If you are tired of shopping, you can take a rest here. Opening hours are 11:00am to 8:00pm. The bakery is closed when Marui is closed.

 

 

Kyoto bakery

 

Kyoto is said to have the highest bread consumption in Japan. Kyoto has many bakeries and the consumption is the best in Japan. It is also known that there are many delicious bakeries. These are some recommended bakeries.

 

Le Petit Mech

The most popular bakery in Kyoto is “Le Petit Mech.” It is a bakery with a nice look like a bakery on

France’s street corner “Le Petit Mech.” The appearance is red, and local people have nicknames it “red mech.” It is a popular, delicious and tasty bakery shop. The shop is crowded with customers all the time. The bread is made by the owner, who was trained in France. French pastries are acclaimed around the world.

Business days are Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and public holidays. The inside of the shop is fancy, and decorated with many French images. French movie posters are on the walls, along with messages from customers from all over the world. There is an eat-in space with red gingham check tablecloth, and it is crowded with lots of people from early in the morning. Either with coffee or French beer, you can have delicious bread. The most popular pastry at Le Petite Mech is “Bacon Shrimp” which includes bacon, shrimp and black pepper.  This is so simple, but so popular in this bakery.

Next is baguette. This bread is made with a low temperature, so the smell is very good with a crisp exterior.

This bread costs 262 yen and it is 60 cm in length.

Address

Kyoto City Kyoto-shi Kamigyo-ku Imadegawa-ku Oomiya Nishi Ima 159 Roh Minami Kitaokicho

To go to this bakery, you take a bus [203] and get [go to Nishikibayashisyakomae] bus and get off at Imadegawaoomiya bus stop. Then, continue 140m on foot.

 

Grandieres Oike

A long-established Kyoto store is “Grandieres Oike shop”.

“Grandieres Oike shop” has a chic, calm and nice appearance. It is a long-established bakery which has been beloved in Kyoto since long ago. While taking over the old taste, it continues to make more delicious bread every day.

Various types of sandwiches are popular. This shop in the business area has many breads and good for lunch. For example, a burger with plenty of ingredients. You can also eat the bread you bought on the outside terrace. There are many kinds of delicious breads. The variety of breads is said to be the best in Kyoto. The most popular bread is “panini shrimp & avocado” for ¥460. Shrimp, avocado, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and basil sauce are included.

Bagels are also popular. They have a very nice scent and the  texture is wonderful. It is recommended to use the bagels for sandwiches.

 

Address

Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Nakagyo-ku Teramachi Oike Shimuru Ueonbonnji-mae cho 480-2 1F

To get to this bakery, you take the subway Karasuma line, and get off at the Kyoutoshiyakushomae station. From this station, 2 minutes on foot.

 

Tamakitei

Another popular bakery is Tamakitei. This bakery is in Uji.

 

Inside the shop is filled with the fragrance of freshly baked bread. It looks like delicious bread. There are lots of bread with individuality and impact. Every one seems to be really tasty. Although I don’t usually have such strong urges about food, in this shop I want to eat everything. One of the popular breads of the shop is “Panshue”. This is bread baked with a lot of bacon and potatoes. The taste of pepper, garlic butter, and parsley is makes it a flavorful meal. A fragrant, tasty baguette is another attractive specialty. Even though it has a deep taste, there is lightness, and when you start eating you won’t feel like stopping until the bread is consumed.

Also, the “cream croissant” is so delicious. It costs 230 yen. It has handcrafted custard and cream. This bread is campagne, so it is very delicious. This bakery is the only one that uses these ingredients.  In addition, this bakery has a refrigerated corner. There is bread available only at this refrigeration corner.  There are many breads with unique names such as Kanyane (クニャーネ), Ujibashi Dori, and Tan Tan France.  Kanyane has a very good texture. Ujigashi dori smells of tea. Tan tan France uses black beans. so, you can feel the taste of Japan. Please do try it once.

 

 

〒611-0011Kyoto Prefecture Uji-shi Gokenjo Hirano 57-14

to get this bakery, you take JR Nara line and get off at the Oubaku station. From this station, the bakery is 5 minutes on foot.

 

These three bakeries are so popular, but in Kyoto there are other delicious bakeries. When you visit Kyoto, please try to go to bakeries.

 

 

Ichijoji Ramen

On the north side of the intersection of Higashi Odori and Kitaoji Dori, there is an area where ramen shops are gathered so that this area is called ramen highway in the fierce ramen battlefield “ichijoji” in Kyoto.

This time we will introduce 3 popular noodle shops recommended especially among ramen shops in such “Ichijoji”street.

GOKKEI RAMEN

The first restaurant is “Gokkei”. Rich soup is a popular dish in this restaurant.

This ramen shop’s menu includes “tori daku”, “aka daku” and “kuro daku”. Some people add toppings such as chashu [grilled pork] Plus 100 yen to make noodles flourish.

Tori Daku

This ramen is chicken-based ramen, it features a rich thick soup. The impression is heavy, but there is no persistence, so you can eat it with a plate dish. This ramen becomes addictive once you eat it.

Aka Daku

This is ramen sprinkled with chilli on the whole bowl. Under the red peppers is a thick soup, so if you taste it with chili pepper it is not as hot as it looks. Rich in noodles, rich soup and chilli are mingled together.

Kuro Daku

“Kuro daku” is ramen served with oil in it. It is ramen with scorched garlic for flavor, the aroma stimulating the appetite before eating. After finishing the ramen noodles, we eat rice in the remaining soup. If you would like to eat soup without leaving even a drop, please eat this way.

Store information

■ Store name: Gokkei Ramen

■ Nearest station: 5 minutes on foot from “Ichijoji Temple” station[Eizan-honsen line]

■ Address: 29-7 Nishikigawarahara-cho, Sokyoku-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture

■ Phone number: 075-711-3133

■ Business hours: 11: 30 ~ 22: 00

* Business closes as soon as the soup runs out

■ Closed holiday: Monday

■ Smoking: Completely non-smoking

 

AKIHIDE

The next restaurant is “Akihide.” Informations about when this restaurant is opened is uploaded on Twitter about 30 minutes before opening. This means that the basic day is closed. You cannot go to a restaurant without watching Twitter information. There are always lined up in front of this restaurant on weekdays. In order not to bother the neighbors, please take care when lined up. In this restaurant, there are only 9 seats in the counter. The way to order ramen is only using vending machine.

This restaurant has regular size ramen(750 yen) and large size rmen(900 yen). You can also choose toppings such as seasoned eggs and garlic. Since rice is also prepared from 60 yen, rice is added to the ramen soup after eating up.

Store information

■ Store name: Ramen or Akihide (Akihide)

■ Nearest station: About 4 minutes on foot from the “Ichijoji Temple station”[Eizan-honsen line]

■ Address: 5-2 Kitakamaru-machi, Ikkyo-ji, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

■ Telephone number: None

■ Business Hours: Only during the time period posted on Twitter

■ Closed holiday: irregular holiday

■ Smoking: Completely non-smoking

 

TAKAYASU

“Takayasu” is 4 minutes on foot from the “Ichi-ji” station. The shopkeeper who opened in Takano-Tamaoka Town moved to Ichijoji in March of 2006. There are many female customers who have a fashionable appearance. It is always crowded. There are risks if you want to enjoy ramen without being lined up in row long time. The stock, which simmered for over 20 hours is made of pig bones and is creamy and rich in taste without any bad smell. You can also committed not to use vegetables to sweeten only with bones. Therefore, you can feel the taste of pork straight.

The noodles are tangled firmly in the soup. The whole balance of soup, noodles is well balanced. It is easy to try even those who do not like pig bones, and it is also attractive to enjoy a casual taste.

Store information

■ Store name: Chinese noodle Takayasu

■ Nearest station: 4 minutes on foot from “Ichijoji Temple”[Eizan-honsen line]

■ Address: 10 Kazuki-ku, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture 10

■ Phone number: 075-721-4878

■ Business hours: [Monday – Friday] 12: 00-16: 00, 18: 00-23: 00

[Saturday, Sunday and public holidays] 12: 00 ~ 23: 00

■ Closed holiday: irregular holiday

■ Smoking: Completely non-smoking

 

How did ramen come to be established at Ichijoji? It was a popular area and any shop could take a chance on starting a business there.  When visiting Kyoto, please try ramen, as well as traditional Japanese food