Organic Food Restaurants

April 14, 2008

by Hiroki Koizumi; Mika Onishi; Aya Kataoka

Gion is a famous and popular area in Kyoto because it has many high-class, Japanese-style restaurants and bars. So you might see a geisha or maiko walking along Gion’s streets and alleyways. Hanamikoji is an especially tasteful street.

The restaurant Obanzai is located here.
Most Gion restaurants require a seat, and also most of their menu items are priced very high. However, unusually Oishinbo has no seat charge, and serves very cheap and delicious foods. This is because they are made with locally grown Kyoto vegetables.
There is an English menu, so foreign customers don’t have to worry about selecting foods.

There are a lot of interesting items on the menu. For example, there is Japanese-style cheese fondue.

In this dish one dip (a soft food made from wheat gluten) into the melted cheese. It is said this dish is effective as a beauty treatment and good for your health and diet.

There are also Japanese-style desserts. For example, macha (green tea) ice, kinako (soybean flour) ice and namafu ice and so on.

The Interior decoration is old-fashioned Kyoto machiya style. So every seat is in a Japanese-style room and there are a total of 100 seats. This restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 to 15:00, is open for dinner from 17:00 to 24:00. So you can enjoy Japanese meals over many hours. They never close, so you can go whenever you visit Kyoto. The average cost of meal at Oishinbo is about 3,500 yen.


By Aya Kataoka

Do you know obanzai? The word “obanzai” refers to dishes that are common in Kyoto home-style cooking. So restaurants that advertise obanzai serve common everyday dishes. Mori Toshi is one kind of obanzairestaurant in Kyoto.
This shop is northwest of Kawaramachi and Shijo Streets, at the intersection of Teramachi Street and Takoyakushi Street.The atmosphere of this shop is bright, clean and cozy, and the owner is very kind and friendly.

This shop is not so big and is very traditional in many ways.
Mori Toshi is still not well known, so you can go anytime without making reservations. Also, this shop has an English menu, so foreign visitors will have no problem ordering.

There are many kinds of dishes served at Mori Toshi.
Several are common dishes, obanzai, that cost less than 300 yen. Some of them are:

Japanese red pepper

Natto (fermented soybeans)

Green soybeans

Cucumber with unrefined sake’

Some other foods on the menu are chicken, fish, pork, pilaf,vegetables, tofu, fried spring rolls made with shrimp and vegetables, and yuba (the thin skin that forms on hot soymilk; it is hung up and dried and is an especially well-known product of Kyoto). Namafu (a soft bread-like food made from wheat gluten) with miso sauce is especially tasty. In addition, the obanzai menu changes daily.On the drink menu there is beer, sake, and soft drinks

  • Japanese pilaf with egg —- 530 yen

  • Fried spring roll (shrimp & vegetables) – 630 yen
  • Grilled tofu – 530 yen

  • Namafu – 630 yen
  • Fried chicken – 630 yen
  • Obanzai – 300 yen each
  • Beer – 420 yen
  • Wine(red or white/glass of wine) – 420 yen
  • Cocktail – 530 yen each


265 Sikibe-cho, Takoyakusi agaru, Teramachi, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Telephone number: 075-221-5955

Open: Tuesday through Friday from 6 pm to 11pm (last order at 10:30 pm)

On Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 5pm to 11pm (last order at 10:30pm)

Closed Mondays

Capacity: 18 seats

Major credit cards are accepted.


By Hiroki Koizumi









In Kyoto city, there are a lot of cafés for foreign people, and among them is a new place, CAFÉ PROVERBS 1517. However, this café is little different from other shops. The reason is their menu. Nearly everything on it is made from plant-based ingredients. They use as few chemical additives, food colorings, flavorings, and preservatives as possible. They also use natural seasonings that are non-GMO (genetically modified foods and organisms), so customers don’t need to be concerned about the safety of their food here. So this restaurant is ideal for people who are vegetarians.

There are more than twenty items on the menu and they are divided into seven categories: salads, sandwiches, curries, plates, bowls, a la carte dishes, and noodles. Salads use fresh vegetables such as leafy greens. They also make their own original salad dressings. Sandwiches have lots of originality, like one that is stuffed with generous slices of avocado. Curries also use many kinds of homegrown vegetables. Plates all have rice, salad, soup, and an organic meat or vegetable, so plates are for people who want to eat several kinds of food. Bowls feature organic vegetables with rice, and the a la carte menu has a great variety of items: fried spring rolls, mabo dofu (a Chinese-style hot tofu dish), and so on. Finally, bowls of noodles use soymilk or Asian-flavored soup, so the taste is a bit plain. Their prices range from 750 yen to 1500 yen, so it’s on par with other cafe’s. Of course, many kinds of beverages are served: coffee, tea, juice. For desert, there are homemade sweets, cheesecake, chocolate cake, and strawberry cake.

Customers, especially women, can relax on the café’s sofa seats after lunch or dinner. The atmosphere at lunchtime is very pleasant. Moreover, candlelight lights the space peacefully during dinnertime. Most customers enjoy eating foods that use organic vegetables and they also enjoy their time in this café. If you are vegetarian and are looking for a place to eat, I recommend this café.

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