Kyoto is one of Japan’s most quaint and charming cities and it shows in the region’s traditional food. Yuba (tofu skin) and matcha tea, for example, are a couple of the more prominent Japanese delicacies Kyoto is known for.

To many visitors from overseas, this is the best place to immerse themselves in Japanese culture and the city is thus one of the most visited spots on the island nation. And you’ll definitely need food fuel to fully enjoy the Japanese experience, right?

So let’s take a look at where you can find great-tasting cuisine in Kyoto, grouped according to the five main localities of Kyoto Station, Kiyomizudera, Gion, Karasuma/Kawaramachi, and Arashiyama. Don’t forget to check out our guide to the latest and tastiest shops in Kyoto newly opened during 2022 as well. May your cravings guide you on your next Kyoto trip!

Main image: KLOOK

Kyoto food checklist

Kyoto cuisine uses plenty of old Japanese ingredients, such as tofu, matcha, bracken starch, and kudzu. It also has plenty of preserved fish, such as dried herrings and salt-pickled mackerel, a fitting trait for a land-locked city.

As for sushi, there are mackerel and pickled sushi, enjoyable for their unusual appearances. Another classic dish is kaiseki, a variety of foods that changes with the season and truly has an air of Japanese tradition. The cuisine also makes use of kombu and dashi.

Though it costs more and takes longer than other foods, Kyoto cuisine is definitely worth experiencing. There are also tasty Japanese desserts out there, such as bracken starch mochi, kudzu noodles, and matcha parfaits.

1. Kyoto Yudofu: Warm and healthy

Yudofu

Tofu is made from soy beans and water. Kyoto, with its high-quality groundwater, has been a popular site of tofu-making for over 150 years. That being the case, Yudofu, tofu warmed in kombu broth and eaten with soy sauce, is one of Kyoto’s representational dishes. It’s a classic dish in temples, where monks eat vegetables instead of meat, so there are plenty of yudofu restaurants around them.

Most establishments have sesame yudofu and tempura in a set, available for 3,000 to 4,000 yen. Many are also based in mansions with beautiful gardens, allowing you to truly experience Kyoto while you eat.

Book Now ▶ Nanzenji Junsei (南禅寺 順正) – Traditional Kyoto Tofu Dishes

2. Kyoto Kaiseki: Beautiful and seasonally tasty

Kaiseki

There’s one cuisine everyone knows Kyoto for: Kaiseki. Sashimi, grilled, fried, and simmered foods, soup, rice, and dessert all come with these course meals, each brought out individually. They use seasonal ingredients and pay special care to how the food is presente…

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