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Food Lover's Guide to Kyoto

Food Lover's Guide to Kyoto

The capital of traditional Japanese dining, Kyoto has a food scene as rich as its history. The local cuisine, known as Kyo-ryori, is defined by delicate flavors and many vegetarian meals. To experience it, here are some can't-miss dishes and activities for foodies.

Must-Try Dishes

The word obanzai refers to home-style cooking with a bent toward seasonal ingredients, and a typical obanzai ryori meal comprises several small, simple dishes prepared skillfully to highlight natural flavors. There's also kaiseki ryori, a traditional multi-course fine dining experience. Shojin ryori, strictly vegetarian dishes developed by Buddhist monks, can be sampled on the grounds of the city's temples.

Meanwhile, seafood plays a starring role in many restaurants, with dishes like sushi, fried fish cakes, saikyo-zuke (miso-marinated fish) and Japanese pike conger eel, a popular summer item in the region. A bento box is a great way to try several dishes at once; these can include pickled vegetables, miso soup, tempura, fish, rice and kinpira gobo, a side dish of root vegetables simmered in a sweet soy sauce.

Kyoto is also famous for its sweets, especially mochi, sweet pastel-hued rice cakes, and wagashi, a traditional Japanese confection made from a variety of ingredients and often served with green tea.

Must-Do Experiences

  • Put your finger on the pulse of the city's foodie culture with a tour of the 400-year-old Nishiki Market and its 130 food shops and stalls.

  • Learn how to prepare regional dishes or popular Japanese fare during a cooking class in a local home.

  • Set aside time for a traditional Japanese tea ceremony or sake tasting and brewery tour. (Beverages are just as important in Kyoto as food.)

  • Spend an evening dining with a geisha at a private restaurant, a uniquely Kyoto experience.

  • Join a food walking tour to get to know one of Kyoto's vibrant neighborhoods such as Arashiyama or Kamogawa and sample Japanese treats along the way.

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2 Tours and Activities

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Kyoto Arashiyama & Sagano Walking Food Tour

Kyoto Arashiyama & Sagano Walking Food Tour

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92
Spend some time getting acquainted with the food and culture of two historically important and beautiful districts of Kyoto on this guided walking tour. Stroll over the ninth-century Togetsukyo bridge and make stops to sample local snacks. After a visit to the 14th-century Tenryu-ji temple, head to a beautiful bamboo garden and indulge in some traditional Japanese sweets. This tour of Arashiyama and Sagano is a great way to get to know Kyoto.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
From
$110.70
From
$110.70

Daytime Kyoto -Nishiki Market and Gion District Cultural Walking Food Tour

Daytime Kyoto -Nishiki Market and Gion District Cultural Walking Food Tour

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108
Get an excellent introduction to the cuisine of Kyoto on this small-group guided tour of the city's best food spots. Start at the deliciously vast 400-year-old Nishiki Market, nicknamed 'Kyoto's Kitchen,' where over 130 food shops and stalls beckon your taste buds. Stroll through the market with the guide, learning about the history of food in the city and taste many dishes unique to Kyoto, including pickled vegetables, fried fish cakes, Japanese pike conger eel, mochi and Japanese omelet. After the market, visit a shrine dedicated to the god of education.
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  • 3 hours
From
$100.10
From
$100.10