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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query kyoto. Sort by date Show all posts


KYOTO Sweets


Sweets from Kyoto

Many temples and shrines in Kyoto (and elsewhere in Japan) serve special sweets in the tea stalls (chaya) on the access road to the compounds. People of Kyoto enjoy them on the annual festivals of these temples and shrines and on other occaisons of their visit.

Some sweets are only sold at these shops.
I will try and list them here as I find them.


aburimochi, aburi mochi あぶりもち. のあぶり餅
slightly roasted dumplings

from Imamiya shrine 今宮神社

It has been prepared for more than 1000 years, when the plague was raging in Kyoto. The shrine has been built in 1001 in order to appease the god of the pest. Now even in sprng for the festival they serve these dumplingt to the gods and hope for health for all inhabitants of Kyoto.
(Second sunday of April)

To eat these dumplings after visiting the shrine will keep you in good health.

There are two shops in front of the entrance, both have a flair of old Kyoto. The kamisan female owner of each shop makes these small dumplings herself with a few helpers. They are not enemies, but friendly with each other.

The dumplings are made from the dough rolled in long strings, then cut in thumbsize bits and rolled in kinako soybean flower. These small balls are wrapped around a bamboo skewer which is half split at the top where the dumpling is kneaded around so that it does not fall down. Just preparing these skewers is a skill to be learned and done by the kamisan herself.
The dumplings are then slightly grilled over charcoal, when a customer orders them. About 10 or more make one serving. They are placed on a plate and covered with a sauce of sweet white miso paste (shiromisodare). This sauce is the secret of each shop.

the shop Ichiwa 一和のあぶり餅

the shop Kasariya かざりやのあぶり餅

yasurai matsuri やすらいまつり, やすらい祭
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Imamiya Jinja is a picturesque Shinto shrine located northeast from Daitoku-ji, one of Kyoto’s well-known Rinzai Zen temples. This shrine is said to originate from a holy place established on Funaoka Hill in 994 for protection against plague. The present Imamiya Jinja was established when that shrine was moved to its current location, where three deities are worshipped: Daikokuten, god and symbol of the earth; Ebisu, god of the sea and prosperous business; and Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto, a goddess of the paddy fields.
“Imamiya” means a newly established shrine.
The present buildings were built in 1902.
Yasurai Matsuri is held on the second Sunday of April and is an intangible cultural heritage. The festival originated in attempts to appease, through festival music and dance, the petrels flying around Kyoto with cherry blossom petals in their beaks, which were thought to be spreading plague, since it had started at the time when such petals fall. During the festivities, people costumed as goblins or red and black devils jump and dance to the music of beating drums and flutes.
It is said that festival participants won’t become ill if they pass beneath a special long-handled, decorated umbrella. Yasurai Matsuri is the first festival of the year in Kyoto (where everything begins in spring) and it is also said that the weather will be fine for all of the year’s festival days in Kyoto if the skies are clear when Yasurai Matsuri is held.
There is a magical stone in Imamiya Shrine. It is called “ahokashisan” and displayed a small building. Folk wisdom holds that if a person who is in delicate health strokes the stone and then rubs the faulty points in their body, he or she can recover early.

In Imamiya Shrine, you can get unique charms or talismans. One of them is the
tamanokoshi (marry into the purple) charm 玉の輿お守り.
It is a vivid navy blue and printed with the designs of Kyoto vegetables.

This charm is derived from an old story:
Tokugawa Iemitsu (1604-51), the 3rd Edo shogun, fell in love with a beautiful girl named Otama, who was born in Kyoto’s Nishijin weaving district as the daughter of a greengrocer. Iemitsu took Otama as a concubine and she bore him a son, who later became the 5th Edo shogun, Tokugawa Ietsuna. In 1651, when Iemitsu died, Otama became a Buddhist nun under the name Keishoin. She had kept Nishijin in mind even after achieving a high status, and she seems to have exerted herself to build a temple, revive the Yasurai Matsuri (which had been suspended), and support Nishijin after she heard of the ruin of Imamiya Shrine.
The guardian gods of Nishijin also protect Imamiya Shrine, so people wished for the prosperity of the Nishijin area. Local residents say that the word “tamanokoshi” can be traced back to Otama’s story, and anyone who wants to become a “Cinderella”, or simply be happy, can visit this shrine to buy this charm.
source :

Yasurai matsuri 安良居祭 (やすらいまつり) Yasurai festival
yasurai やすらい
yasurai hana やすらい花(やすらいはな) yasurai flowers
. . . CLICK here for flowers Photos !
kigo for late spring

Kyoto Vegetables 京野菜

. Imamiya Matsuri Festival .


Kyoo ame 京飴 Kyo-Ame, Kyoto Candy
candy (ame 飴) is a favorite with the ladies of Kyoto, who always carry a box with a few of their favorite samples, called ame-chan 飴ちゃん。
The kandy of Kyoto is almost transparent and looks almost like diamonds. It can be formed in many colors to form patterns and faces.

. . . CLICK here for Photos ! 


awamochi, awa-mochi あわもち / あわ餅 millet dumplings, millet cake
Kitanotenmangu 北野天満宮
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

daimonji okuribi senbei 大文字送り火煎餅
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Photo from Nakamura Daruma san.

だるま巾着 Daruma Kinchaku sweets


Gion Chigo Mochi 祇園稚児餅 / 祇園 ちご餅
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Gion Mameheitoo 祇園豆平糖 candy sticks with beans inside
How to make them is the top secret of the store.
. . . CLICK here for Photos ! 

Hotaru Namagashi 蛍 firefly sweets, fireflies sweets

kyooyasai ame 京野菜飴 candy with flavor of Kyoto vegetables
Instead of water the liquid from fresh vegetables is used. They come in various colors, like the vegetables.
see Kyoto Vegetables.
. . . CLICK here for Photos ! 

mitarashi dango みたらしだんご dumplings with sauce
Shimogamo Shrine

yakimochi やきもち (焼き餅)
mochi roasted over hot ambers

Kamigamo Shrine 上賀茂神社
mochi-toasting (mochiyaki)
baked rice cakes with a pun on “jealousy”
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
geröstete Reiskuchen

yakimochi in other traditions
Yakimochi Fudoo Son 焼き餅不動尊


yuurei kosodate ame 幽霊子育て飴
"candy for a ghost bringing up a baby"

Ghost candy for her kid
Once long a go, a pale woman in a light blue kimono bought just one piece of candy every night at midnight. The shopkeeper was suspicious and followed her, but she vanished at the graveyard. He entered and heard a faint sound of crying of baby near a newly marked grave. He dug in the grave and found a living baby in the coffin beside dead woman.
The pregnant woman had died and been buried, but her unborn baby was not dead and in her motherly love she tried to keep it alive.
The shopkeeper adopted the baby and the shop with this sweet is there to our day ...
From Minatoya, Kyoto みなとや

. . . CLICK here for Photos of the sweets ! 

. kosodate yurei 子育て幽霊 Legends .

. The most popular candy vendors in Edo 飴売り .


External LINKS

Kyoto Foodie : Sweets

Reference : Kyoto Sweets

Worldwide use

Süßigkeiten aus Kyoto

Things found on the way


Related words

Dishes from Kyoto, Kyoto Cuisine (Kyoo no ryoori)

***** WASHOKU : Regional Japanese Dishes

***** WAGASHI ... Sweets SAIJIKI


- #kyoto #sweets -


Goboo Kyoto Vegetables


Burdock (goboo)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: See below
***** Category: Plant and Humanity


edible burdock, comfrey, gobo, goboo 牛蒡
Arctium lappa, Greater Burdock
CLICK for more photos
japanische Schwarzwurzel, "grosse Klette"

It has medicinal properties and is used in Chinese medicine (kanpo). Said to help with fatique, prevents catching a cold, provokes urin production and detoxifies.
Japan seems the only place where it is eaten as a normal vegetable.
Before use in Japanese food it has to be soaked in vinegar to remove the bitterness. Its fibers are good for digestion.

kinpira goboo 金平, the name comes from the Strong Boy, Kintaroo 金太郎.
Kintaro, Daruma daki Kintaroo だるま抱き金太郎
Something that gives you strenth, kin hira 金平

planting burdock, goboo maku 牛蒡蒔く(ごぼうまく)
kigo for spring

flower of burdock, goboo no hana 牛蒡の花 (ごぼうのはは)
kigo for summer

planting burdock in autumn, aki no goboo maku
pulling out burdock, goboo hiku 牛蒡引く (ごぼうひく)
digging for burdock, goboo horu 牛蒡掘る (ごぼうほる)
kigo for autumn


kigo for mid-autumn

Fuji goboo 富士牛蒡(ふじごぼう) "Mount Fuji burdock"
subashiri goboo 、須走牛蒡(すばしりごぼう)
Fuji azami 富士薊 (ふじあざみ) "Mount Fuji thistle"
azami goboo 薊牛蒡(あざみごぼう)
Cirsium purpuratum
The name is burdock, but the plant belongs to the thistle family. The roots are often sold as a speciality of mountain hot springs and around Mount Fuji.


Hiraki goboo 開牛蒡 (ひらきごぼう) "open" burdock
"divining sticks" burdock, sangi goboo 算木牛蒡(さんぎごぼう),
"crushed" burdock tataki goboo 叩牛蒡(たたきごぼう)
The long burdock roots are inscised various times and boiled long as they are. They resemble the divining sticks of temples and shrines. Sometimes the burdock is crushed.
kigo for the New Year


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sacred rope like burdock, goboo jime 牛蒡注連( ごぼうじめ)
kigo for the New Year
Shimenawa 注連縄 details about the sacred rope


Yamamori Goboo 山盛りのゴボウ
Eating large portions of burdock

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This is an event in the town of Kuninaka in Echizen, Fukui prefecture.
The "Goboo eating group" goboo koo ごぼう講 meets on February 17. The men in official robes eat long stripes of burdock and drink sake to pray for a good harvest and good luck for the coming year.
This dates back to the year 1705 when the poor villagers kept a secret field in the compounds of the local shrine Kuninaka jinja 国中神社 to grow some extra rice they did not have to give a way as tax crop. They offered the rice and burdock to the local deity and partook of it afterwards. Nowadays, 48 families of the village still keep this tradition.

About 30 menfolk of the neighbourhood meet at the home of the one in charge for this year. They have to eat a lot of rice and burdock, 5 go cups of cooked of rice each (gogoo mossoomeshi 五合物相飯). This year 3oo kilograms of burdock were cooked and eaten with the fingers.

. . . CLICK here for Photos of shrine Kuninaka Jinja ! 国中神社



Dishes with burdock root

kinpira gobo, kinpira gobō, kinpira goboo

simmered burdock root, braised burdock root
Carrots and burdock are stir-fried with salt and sugar.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Chikuzen-Ni with gobo
Fukuoka speciality.

Goboojiru 牛蒡汁 Miso soup with burdock
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Horikawa goboo 堀川牛蒡 (ほりかわごぼう)
burdock from Horikawa
One of the Kyoto Vegetables. It has been discovered under the "Horikawa" moat which Toyotomi Hideyoshi had build more than 300 years ago.
It is so big the inside is hollowed out and stuffed with minced meat of chicken or fish before it is braized.

. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Yahata-maki やはたまき (八幡巻き) goboo burdock roll
Kyoto speciality.
With goboo from Yahata town.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

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Tenugui, small towels with vegetable design

Kyooyasai 京野菜 vegetables from Kyoto
. . . CLICK here for Photos ! Kyoyasai

Kyoosai 京菜 Kyoto Vegetables
Gemüse aus Kyoto, Kyoto-Gemüse

Kyo yasai vegetables are not of origin in Kyoto, but include vegetables that have been introduced from other areas. The vegetables have adapted well to the soil and the water of Kyoto. The seeds and the cultivation methods have improved over the generations and these vegetables are now very important to the cuisine of the town. There are about 50 different kinds available, usually named after its place of origin. They are all of strong appetizing colors and mostly eaten fresh, often used in the temple kitchen and for the tea ceremony cooking. Nowadays, they are even advertised on the internet.
Many are cultivated since the Heian period and a lot grow in temple gardens. Some count 34 varieties as the traditional "Kyoto Vegetables of the temple cuisine".

Farmers wifes bring the vegetables to their customers in hand carts on certain days of the week.

Kyoto vegetables and pickles from these vegetables are also used in "obanzai" おばんざい Kyoto home cooking.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
. Kyoto Obanzai Dishes

daikon (だいこん) 大根 radish
from temple 聖護院 (Shoogooin)・辛味・青味・時無・桃山・茎・佐波賀 Sabaka in Maizuru ,郡大根
CLICK for more english info
Temple Shogo-In
This giant radish is also used for the dish called furofuki daikon "Gesimmerter Rettich".

ebiimo, ebi-imo 海老芋 sweet potatoes in the form of a shrimp and are prepared in famous dishes, like imoboo いもぼう【芋棒】potato sticks.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

kabu カブ turnips 佐波賀・松ヶ崎浮菜・聖護院 Shogoin・大内・舞鶴 , 東寺蕪 Toji kabu
Tempel Toji, Kyoto

kabocha, see
Shishigatani kabocha 鹿ヶ谷かぼちゃ pumpkin from Shishigatani, Kyoto

Kamo nasu, Kamonasu 賀茂茄子・京山  (eggplant) from the Kamigamo-area are as large as 300 to 400 grams per piece and are a summer vegetable. They are almost round. They are eaten boiled or fried with oil. With miso paste as dengaku.
They are the most well known of the Kyoto Vegetables. They are also used for pickles called "shibazuke".
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
... moginasu もぎなす they are a little smaller and harvested in early summer.

Kintoki ninjin 金時人参 Kintoki carrots Kyoo ninjin 京人参 "Kyoto carrots"

Kujoo negi, kujonegi 九条葱 leek from Kujoo
Near the tmeple Tooji.
Long green onion. It tastes best in the winter time. It is rather sticky, but this gives it a sweeter taste. The contrast of the white stem and green leaves is well liked and the leaves are also eaten.
These leek dates back to 711, according to the Kyoto Prefecture's Gardening Almanac of 1909.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

kuwai クワイ arrowhead bulb
Sagittaria trifolia

kyoo takenoko 京竹の子/ 京筍 bamboo shoots from Kyoto
They are a typical spring vegetable. They are grown in special groves of Rakusai (western Kyoto) and different from the wild varieties. They are sweet and soft and can be served raw when freshly picked, only with a vinegar-miso-sauce.

kyuuri, Shoogooin kyuuri 聖護院胡瓜(キュウリ) cucumbers
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Manganji toogarashi 万願寺唐辛子 hot green peppers from temple Mangan-Ji .

mibuna 壬生菜(ミブナ)leavy vegetables from the Mibu area
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Mibu Temple Kyoto

mizuna (Japanese cabbage) called mibuna, grown near Mibu-dera (Mibu temple) a temple renowned for kyogen (comic drama flourished from the middle of the 14th century). The clear spring water helped with the irrigation of the fields to grow this plant. It has feathery leaves and the stalk is white and thin. The color contrast is one of its charms, so is its crunchy bite. It is used for soups, pickles, fried or in a salad.

Made with steamed and cut mibuna :
. tonsho mochi 屯所餅 "garrison mochi" .   

myooga 京茗荷(ミョウガ)Japanese ginger

sasage 柊野ささげ(ササゲ) cowpea; black-eyed pea; southern pea
Vigna sinensis. Sasage-Bohne

seri 京芹(セリ) Japanese parsley; dropwort

Shishigatani nankin (pumpkin) see:
Shishigatani kabocha 鹿ヶ谷かぼちゃ pumpkin from Shishigatani, Kyoto

Shogoin kabura, Shoogooin kabu 聖護院かぶ, a kind of turnip started with seeds from Omi brought to Kyoto during the Edo period. The thinly sliced turnips, salted and pickled with kombu (kelp) are called senmaizuke 千枚付け, which is the first of its kind to be eaten with no other food.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

sugukina 酸茎菜(スグキナ)"sour turnip leaves"
Brassica rapa var. neosuguki
They are used for the pickle called "sugukizuke".
suguki are eaten as ochazuke in Kyoto.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

toogarashi トウガラシ chilli peppers

udo, kyoo udo 京独活(ウド)京うど
mountain plant which produces fat, white, edible stalks.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Udo from Edo

uri, Katsura uri 桂瓜(ウリ)gourd, melon
Cucumis. melo var. conomon
Katsura uri is used as the original ingredient for narazuke (pickles).
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

The temple cooks and chefs of Kyoto restaurants use these fresh vegetables for traditional dishes as well as some new experiments with Westernized dishes.
Nishiki Ichiba 錦市場 (Nishiki "Brocade" Market) is the kitchen of Kyoto.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Kyoo yasai tsumishi bakari no suzushisa ni

Kyoto vegetables -
freshly picked
they are so cool

Koono Kei-ichi 河野啓一
source : seseragi


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kiku kabura 菊かぶら / 菊蕪 "chrysanthemum turnip"
The best known are from Kamekura village 亀蔵.

This is a pickled turnip, which is cut many times and looks almost as a yellow chrysanthemum blossom. The yellow color is enhanced with seeds of the gardenia (kuchinashi). The pickle liquid is rather sweet.


For specially trained cooks, there is the title of

Meister of Kyoto Vegetables 京野菜マイスター
kyooyasai maisutaa
"Kyo-yasai Meister"

You must pass an examination to become one and get a certificate for it.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

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There is also a special logo mark for Kyoto specialities, including vegetables.
Kyoo maaku 京マーク Kyoto Speciality Logo


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furoshiki with vegetable patterns 京野菜風呂敷
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tamanokoshi (marry into the purple) charm 玉の輿お守り
to marry a rich husband or wife
with design of Kyoto Vegetables
talisman at Imamiya shrine 今宮神社
Einheirat in eine reiche Familie


sokobie no yado no kinpira goboo kana

foot-cold -
the little inn serves
burdock roots

Tsuda Teiko 津田汀子

Related words

kigo for mid-summer

***** yamagoboo no hana 山牛蒡の花 (やまごぼうのはな)
flower of the pokeroot, pokeweed
Phytolacca esculenta

yamagoboo ni ishikoro yosenu arakihari

Takada Chooi 高田蝶衣 Takada Choi


Togarashi, toogarashi 唐辛子 red hot pepper




KYOTO and Kaiseki


Kyoto, the Old Capital of Japan

CLICK for more photosKyoto (京都 Kyōto, Kyooto, Kioto) is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.

Heian-kyō (平安京 "tranquility and peace capital"), became the seat of Japan's imperial court in 794, beginning the Heian period of Japanese history. In Japanese, the city has been called Kyo (京), Miyako (Miako) (都) or Kyo no Miyako (京の都). Keishi (京師), meaning "metropolis".
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Nishiki Food Market 京都錦市場

..... And though it’s certainly not Japan’s largest or flashiest food market, the things you’ll find here—from just-harvested, flame-orange locally grown carrots, to eels arranged, pretty as necklaces, on their beds of ice, to woven baskets abrim with fresh chestnuts—really do represent the best, the freshest, of Kyoto’s culinary offerings.

Most of the 126 stalls sell just one thing: grilled squid, or omelets, or sugared fruit, or rice balls. It’s the perfect place to come to find a cheap meal or a snack, or just to witness the quality and care with which the Japanese treat even the most ordinary, the most humble, objects of life. After all, that attention to detail and presentation is, as much as the food itself, what makes Japan the place it is.
source : Hanaya Yanagihara


Kaiseki Meal, Kaiseki Ryori 懐石料理
kaiseki ryoori

This meal, written like "a hot stone carried in your robe to keep the belly warm", started off as a small meal before the tea ceremony, consisting of one soup dish and three vegetable dishes. The meaning was to keep the stomach and breast warm, to carry over the hunger until the real meal was served.
The meal was served warm, a way to "show" that the kitchen was close by, the host was a poor and humble man.

It then evolved into one of the most elaborate food preparation of Japan, written with the meaning "to meet and sit down" 会席料理, as did the feudal lords with their entourage. These meals were served cold, since the host was rich and had a large estate, with the kitchen in a different section of the manor.
Its arrangements on special seasonal dishes are a feast for the eye. The daimyo had access to all kinds of food, from fresh fish to animals of the forest and could serve expensive tidbids.

CLICK for more photos CLICK for more ENGLISH information


Order of the dishes served

Originally, kaiseki comprised a bowl of miso soup and three side dishes. It has since evolved to include an appetizer, sashimi, a simmered dish, a grilled dish, and a steamed course, in addition to other dishes at the discretion of the chef.

Sakizuke: an appetizer similar to the French amuse-gueule.
Hassun: the second course, which sets the seasonal theme. Typically one kind of sushi and several smaller side dishes.
Mukozuke: a sliced dish of seasonal sashimi.
Takiawase: vegetables served with meat, fish or tofu; the ingredients are simmered separately.
Futamono: a "lidded dish"; typically a soup.

Yakimono: Broiled seasonal fish.
Su-zakana: a small dish used to clean the palate, such as vegetables in vinegar.
Hiyashi-bachi: served only in summer; chilled, lightly-cooked vegetables.
Naka-choko: another palate-cleanser; may be a light, acidic soup.
Shiizakana: a substantial dish, such as a hot pot.

Gohan: a rice dish made with seasonal ingredients.
Ko no mono: seasonal pickled vegetables.
Tome-wan: a miso-based or vegetable soup served with rice.
Mizumono: a seasonal dessert; may be fruit, confection, ice cream, or cake.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

ainame to tamagodofu no haru-wan ...Frühlingsschale mit Eierstich und Fisch
haru no sakizuke ...Kleines Frühlingsgericht


Hassun 八寸
contains three different tastes:
from the mountains, yama no mono 山のもの
from the field, no no mono 野のもの
from the sea, umi no mono 海のもの
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

kaiseki 会席料理
This is a more informal banquet-type meal served in Kyoto restaurants together with ricewine, whilst the
kaiseki 懐石料理 is served with tea.

kappoo ryoori 割烹料理 kappo food
Kappoo, Kappo, a simpler style of Kaiseki Food

obansai / obanzai おばんさい / お晩彩 /御晩菜
home-cooking of vegetables and small dishes from Kyoto
originall writen お番采 ("vegetables on duty", normal vegetable)
Kyoo no obansai 京のおばんさい / 京のおばんざい obanzai
lit. like this お晩彩 "colors for the evening"
CLICK for more photos traditional home-style cuisine
It has all the flavor of vegetarian temple cuisine, imperial court cuisine, tea ceremony kaiseki cuisine and more of the refinement of Kyoto cooking.
Most dishes are made from vegetables.

CLICK for more photos of OMAWARI It was also called "Omawari おまわり" already since the court cooking of the Heian period, when one dish of rice was surrounded by up to six small plates with side dishes.
Another word is "Ozayoo" お雑用 "variuos things" or
mainichi no okazu 毎日のおかず food of every day

Many old homes keep a yearly diary, called "saichuu oboe" 歳中覚, where the various dishes for special days are recorded since more than 200 years and passed on to the housewife by her mother in law.
Not a bit of any vegetable is wasted and left-over food has to be rearranged to a delicious obanzai on the next day.
Now ther is even Kaiseki Obanzai おばんざい懐石 and Obanzai Baikingu おばんざいバイキング (self-service) restaurants.

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Reference : Kyoto Obansai
Reference : Kyoto Obanzai

Nanzenji no toofu ryoori 南禅寺の豆腐料理
Vegetarian and tofu dishes from temple Nanzenji


For Kyoto, the fresh drinking water was essential and supported the many tea houses and tea masters and also the shops making sweets and kaiseki and other food.
KIYOMIZU 清水 and fresh drinking water

みたらしだんご mitarashi dango, dumplings with sauce
from Shimogamo Shrine, with special well water

Well near the Sweet Shop Kameya Yoshinaga
Samega-i 醒ケ井 "Wake-up well"
Reference : "Samegai Well"

. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Other dishes from Kyoto

Kyooyasai, kyoyasai, kyosai 京野菜 / 京菜 Vegetables from Kyoto.
Gemüse aus Kyoto, Kyoto-Gemüse, Kyoo-yasai
Kujoonegi, Kujoo negi, Kujonegi 九条葱(くじょうねぎ)
leek from Kujo in Kyoto

Kamonasu no dengaku 賀茂なすの田楽
round eggplants with miso paste, served on the "riverbed restaurants" 川床 kawadoko, dining decks on the river Kamogawa. A custom since the 16th century in summer.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Reference : Kawadoko Dining in Kyoto

. . . . . also
kawadoko ryoori 川床料理
near shrine Kibune Jinja 貴船神社 served in the forest restaurants along the clean river.
. . . CLICK here for Photos ! 貴船の川床料理

. kawayuka 川床(かわゆか)riverbed veranda  and more related KIGO

Kyoo tsukemono 京漬物 pickles from Kyoto
see below, senmaizuke, shibazuke.

furofuki daikon ふろふきだいこん boiled radish with kombu and a bit of yuzu
with radish from Temple Shogo-In 聖護院

mizuna to oage no taitan みず菜とおあげの炊いたん boiled vegetables and mizuna leaves


Lake Biwa, (Biwako 琵琶湖)
and its Fish Cuisine 琵琶湖料理

burakku basu ryoori ブラックバス 料理 dishes with black bass
large-mouth bass Micropterus salmoides
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
There are a lot in Lake Biwa (Biwako 琵琶湖) , from collectors who did not want to keep them any more, and they do a lot of damage to the lake ecology. Many say they are not tasty. But as tempura, they are now a cheap hit.
basu tenpura バス天ぷら Udon with black bass tempura
burakku basu don ブラックバス丼 tempura on rice
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Recently the biodiversity of the lake has suffered greatly due to the invasion of foreign fish, the black bass and the bluegill. Bluegill were presented to the Emperor and later freed in the lake as a food source for other fish. Black bass were introduced as a sport fish.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !
Schwarzer Barsch, Grossmaul-Barsch

isaza 魦 いさざ Lake Biwa goby, Chaenogobius isaza
Grundelart, der Isaza
isaza nabe いさざ鍋 hodgepodge
isaza to harusame no su no mono いさざと春雨の酢のもの with harusame noodles and vinegar
isaza to ebi no gomoku age いさざとえびの五目揚げ fried with small shrimp
isaza no nimono いさざの煮物 simmered goby

ko-ayu no tenpura こあゆの天ぷら tempura from small sweetfish
ko-ayu no amazu-ni こあゆの甘酢煮 small sweetfish simmered in sweet vinegar

ko-ebi no age-ni 小えびの揚げ煮 fried and simmered small shrimp

sujiebi, suji-ebi 藻えび / mo-ebi もえび (藻蝦)
middle-shrimp, Metapenaeus intermedius
suji-ebi no kaki-age すじえぴのかき揚げ fried suji shrimp
suji-ebi iri poteto kurokke すじえび入りポテトコロッケ potato croquettes with suji shrimp
. . . CLICK here for suji ebi Photos !

kani, kaki, buri ryoori
Fish and Seafood dishes in Winter
They come mostly from the Sea of Japan, like Echizen crabs and oysters and yellowtail.

Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake, is located at the center of this prefecture:
Shiga Prefecture - Regional Dishes


amadai あまだい sweet tai tilefish
Lopholatilus chamealeonticeps

azukimeshi, azuki-meshi 小豆飯 rice with red adzuki beans
Cooked on auspicious occasions for the birth of a child, first day of school and so on. The type Dainagon Azuki from Tanba is used. Rice is partly normal rice, partly mochigome soft rice, and a bit of salt is used for the flavor.
dainagon azuki 大納言あずき

barazushi, bara sushi ばらずし Barazushi
a kind of chirashizushi
It is made mostly with kanbutsu dried ingredients, some local vegetables and boiled shrimp for some red color. Slices of fried egg for yellow.
Prepared for festivals,especially the Doll Festival on March 3.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

bubuzuke ぶぶづけ/ ぶぶ漬け ochazuke from Kyoto お茶漬け

chirimen sanshoo ちりめん山椒 boiled small fish with Japanese pepper
chirimenjako ちりめんじゃこ【縮緬雑魚】 are small salted boiled fish babies.
Together you have the bounty of the sea and of the mountains (umi no sachi / yama no sachi). It tasts nice on white rice.

detchi yookan でっち羊羹 / 丁稚(でっち)ようかん sweet bean jelly
also eaten in Shiga.

Ekijuutoo Ekijuto 益寿糖 "Sugar for a longer life"

Gion doofu 祇園豆腐 Gion Tofu the Niken Chaya Shop 二軒茶屋

fujizushi, fuji sushi 藤寿司 (ふじすし)"wisteria sushi"
sushi with black beans. Black beans from Tanba 丹波黒大豆 are used for this festive sushi. The rice is cooked with the boiling broth of the black beans and thus becomes gray. Later vinegar is added and it changes to a bright red-violett (like the flower fuji wisteria.

funazushi ふなずし fermented funa fish sushi
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
a kind of narezushi, fermented fish and rice
kigo for summer

Fushimi toogarashini, togarashi-ni
boiled chillies from Fushimi
Fushimi toogarashi 伏見とうがらし, see Kyoto Vegetables.
Made in summer to get an appetite.


hamo 鱧 (はも) pike conger pike, pike eel and the Gion Festival
. . . Hamo no kawa 鱧の皮 (はものかわ)skin of the conger pike; pike eel
kigo for summer
Muraenesox cinereus. dragontooth

heshiko へしこ pickled saba mackerel for one year
Saba or iwashi from the Tango Seaside is marinated.
also eaten in Fukui.

hiuo 氷魚 (ひうお) small ayu trout
The "Diamonds of lake Biwa". 琵琶湖のダイヤモンド
They are rather small and have a shiny skin. Served grilled, even the head is grilled while stuck into a net and then all is eaten.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

honmoroko, hon moroko 本諸子, ホンモロコ, 諸子 (もろこ)
Gnathopogon elongatus
small kind of carp.
It is eaten in Kyoto as a very expensive fish. Now farmers in Tottori are growing it in old rice paddies and sell it to Kyoto.
kigo for all spring
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


imoboo 芋棒(いもぼう) "potatoes like a stick", long taro
cooked with cod fish.
made from famous taro potatoes "like shrimp" ebi-imo 海老芋 (えびいも), also known as Kyoo imo 京芋(きょういも) potato from Kyoto, imobo, which grow near the temple Toji 東寺. They have been introduced to Kyoto by a prince of the imperial family, Hirano Gondayu 平野権太夫, from Kyushu, first called "taro from China" (too no imo 唐芋(とうのいも), around 1725. Now they are cooked or mixed with potatoes from Hokkaido.
Reference : Imobo Hirano-ya Honten, Kyoto

itokojiru いとこ汁 vegetable miso soup "Nephew soup"
"the soup", shirumono 汁もの
From Nagaoka, with local eggplants, pumpkins and red beans, in miso and soy sauce.
It is especially prepared in the village of Joododani 浄土谷 on the night of Obon (august 13) to welcome the ancestors' souls (o-shoorai san おしょらいさん(精霊)).
The dish is simple but healthy and has been given as schoo lunch too.
The name comes from putting the vegetables in the broth, like 追い追い OI OI, which could alse be spelled 甥、甥, meaning "nephew".
see also
Itokoni いとこ煮、従弟煮 "Boiled Nephews"
from Yamaguchi prefecture


. Karakki からっキー a mascot for red hot pepper  

kayaku gohan かやく御飯, kayaku meshi かやく飯
a kind of gomoku gohan, eaten in Kansai.
with vegetables, fish and meat.

Kayaku ... 加薬 (かやく) addition or adjuvant
Add medicine to your food.

Kenchinjiru けんちんじる(巻繊汁) vegetable soup
also from temple Kenchoji, Kamakura. けんちん汁
In some areas they put in new vegetables with the left-over broth and heat it up again. This soup is then called KENCHAN けんちゃん.

kinome-ni,kinomeni 木の芽煮 simmered tree buds of sanshoo pepper
The leaves and fruit of the Japanese pepper tree are simmered in sweet soy sauce like tsukudani. This mixture is very pungent and can be eaten on top of white rice.
CLICK here for PHOTOS !

kuromameni, kuromame-ni 黒豆煮 boilded black beans with rice
from Tamba beans
Auspicious food for the New Year im memory of winning a battle (kachi ikusa 勝ち戦). Some add boiled chestnuts. Sometimes a rusty nail is added when boiling.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Kyoo kurorooru kuromaru 京黒ロール /くろまる
roll cake with black bamboo coal from Arashiyama and namkuriimu cream inside.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Minazuki 水無月Kyoto sweets for June
with a layer of red azuki beans

nattoomochi, nattoo mochi 納豆餅(なっとうもち)
From Tango. They are eaten on the three days of the New Year instead of the usual zooni soup. They are about 15 cm in diameter and round. Natto fermented soy beans is smeared around the white mochi.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

nikuman 肉饅頭(にくまんじゅう) steamed bun with meat, and the initials of "old capital"
From Ebisu Rakuan restaurant in Kyoto

nishinnasu, nishin nasu にしんなす herring and eggplants
since Kyoto was far away from the coast, dried fish was used for this dish. A typical summer dish.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


sabazushi 鯖寿司 makerel sushi
saba no boozushi さばの棒寿司 long makerel sushi
pressed sushi made with cured, marinated makerel

. . . . . guji ぐじ tilefish
Wakasa guji,specialty of the Wakasa peninsula and one of the finest ingredients in Japanese cooking. Salted Wakasa Guji used to be sent to Kyoto via the Mackerel-Road (saba kaido 鯖街道) along with salted mackerels and Wakasa flatfish, as they are important ingredients for Kyoto cuisine.

WASHOKU : makerel road (saba kaidoo 鯖街道、さばかいどう)


. Saga doofu 嵯峨豆腐 Tofu from Saga, Arashiyama
Tofu shop Morika 森嘉(もりか) 

Saikyoo miso 西京味噌 Saikyo miso from western Kyoto
a kind of white miso paste
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
..... also akadashi miso

sasamaki, sasa-maki, chimaki 笹巻き / ちまき
sweets wrapped in a bamboo grass leaf
auspicious food eaten on the Boy's Day in May, the middle day of the year, 11 days after the summer equinox (半夏生(hangeshooはんげしょう). uruchi rice and mochigome rice are blended 7:3 . They are formed to long sticks, four are bound together and steamed.
sasa, Sasa japonica.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
During the Gion Festival in July the wrapping only is sold as a talisman. You can tie it to your front door for protection from evil influence and disease for your family.

senmaizuke せんまい漬け / 千枚漬 pickled trunips
"1000 slices"
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Seta shijimi
corbicula from Seta (瀬田蜆) and the Seta Bridge

Shibazuke しば漬け / 柴漬け 
Perilla pickles with eggplant
From Ohara 大原

Shookadoo Bentoo 松花堂弁当 Shokado Bento Lunchbox

Sukiyaki from Mishima Tei すき焼きno 三嶋亭

suppon nabe すっぽんなべ suppon turtle stew
kigo for all winter
Has a tradition of more than 300 years in Kyoto.
Washoku : Nabe Hodgepodge Food


Taizagani 間人蟹 (たいざがに)zuwaigani crabs from Taiza port
At the Tango sea of Japan.
This is a small port with only five ships, whidh make the tour every day and bring the fresh crabs to the harbor for sale. They are said to be the best you can get in Kyoto.
The egg of the female are of two types,
sotoko 外子 outer eggs
uchiko 内子 inner eggs
These female crabs are also called KOPPEGANI こっぺがに and the eggs are mixed with rice for a simple but delicious
koppedon こっぺ丼 bowl of rice with one female Matsuba crab
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Tanba matsutake 丹波松茸
pine mushrooms from the Tamba region

Tango no barazushi 丹後のばらずし sushi rice with scattered ingredients
(a kind of gomokukzushi)
for the autumn festival in Tango. Farmers give it away to people who helped them with the harvest. They have a special wooden container to make it (matsubuta sushi まつぶた寿司). It is a very colorful sushi, with sansho Japanese pepper leaves for green, egg for yellow and red pickled ginger.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
... other types of barazushi ばら寿司 eaten of festive days.

tochimochi, tochi-mochi 栃もち / とち餅 / とちもち dumplings from horse chestnuts
The chestnuts have to be watered and the bitterness taken off by rinsing them in fresh mountain creeks. They are then mixed with mochigome rice. When fried and some sugar and soy sauce is added, they taste quite nice. It was a food for poor farmers in mountainous regions to make it over the winter months.
Also eaten in Tottori and many other mountainous parts of Japan.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

WASHOKU : Ujicha, Uji-cha 宇治茶 tea from Uji
The most famous Uji tea in Kyoto, already used by Sen no Rikyu.

unagi chazuke 鰻茶漬け eel on rice with green Uji tea.
From Ujidahara Village 宇治田原町

uzumidoofu, uzumi tofu, uzumi dofu うずみ豆腐 "tofu burried in rice"
uzumaru 埋まる lit. means to be burried under something.
It can be freshly cooked white rice or rice gruel (kayu) or mochigome sticky rice.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

wagashi 和菓子


Yahata-maki やはたまき (八幡巻き) anago and eel roll with local burdock

Yanaka shooga 谷中生姜 Yanaka stem ginger

yatsuhashi, nama yatsuhashi 生八ッ橋
Yatsuhashi, Iris Bridge Cake, やつはし 八橋
The name is a reference to the famous Tales of Genji.

Yuba 湯葉/湯波/油皮 soymilk skin

Yudoofu, tofu in boiling water ... 湯豆腐
..... yuyakko 湯奴
kigo for all winter

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Reference : Kyoto Kaiseki

Dining in Kyoto
Kyoto Yuka Outdoor Dining
Kyoto Beer Gardens, Halls and Restaurants
source :


Kaiseki Food for the Seasons
WKD Library

Find out where (and what) the locals are eating from some longtime residents of Kyoto, both ex pat and Japanese here on Kyoto Foodie!
source : / Kyoto Foodie!

04 special kaiseki

Local Kaiseki Boxes from Okayama


..... WKD . Edo and Kyoto, Capitals of Japan
"Blossom Capital" flourishing town (hana no miyako 花の都)


Haiku about the hio trouts

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


hio yasete tsuki no shizuku to tokenu beshi

Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規


hio kueba sese no ajirogi mitaki kana 

Matsuse Seisei 松瀬青々 [1869~1937]
born in Osaka

ajirogui 網代杙(あじろぐい) is a kigo for winter


funazushi ya Hikone no shiro ni kumo kakaru

crucian carp sushi -
the castle of Hikone
is wrapped in clouds

Yosa Buson 蕪村


composing haiku -
more difficult than
composing a meal

Gabi Greve

Related words

WASHOKU : more about Kyoto dishes

Tenzoo 典座 Tenzo kyokun, the Zen cook teachings

***** WASHOKU : Regional Japanese Dishes



Hamo pike conger


Pike conger eel (hamo)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: All Summer
***** Category: Animal and Humanity


CLICK for more photos
dragontooth . Muraenesox cinereus

The best hamo come from the Inland sea and Awaji Island.

hamo 鱧 / 海鰻 pike conger eel
ikihamo 生鱧(いきはも)life hamo
matsuri hamo 祭鱧(まつりはも)"hamo for festivals"
especially the Gion festival in Kyoto, see below

mizuhamo 水鱧(みずはも)"water hamo"
kohamo 小鱧(こはも)small hamo

hihamo 干鱧(ひはも)dried hamo
hamo ichiyaboshi ハモ一夜干し dried for one night

CLICK for more photos
gongiri 五寸切(ごんぎり)"cut is small pieces"
This is a special expression used in haiku, refering to the honegiri cutting of bones. It is also used as another name for the fish when prepared as food.
also the chinese characters 風海鰻 are used for hamo.

hamo no kawa 鱧の皮 (はものかわ) skin of the hamo
..... hamokawa 鱧皮(はもかわ)
. . . CLICK here for hamokawa Photos !

hamo-otoshi はもおとし / 鱧おとし hamo on ice
bite-sized pieces on ice or in a wooden tub, to keep you cool in summer
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

hamozushi 鱧鮓(はもずし) sushi with hamo
a kind of oshizushi. The fish is first grilled and covered with special sauce.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

hamo sashimi はも刺身, a speciality of the Kyoto area in Summer. It is hacked very finely because of the many small bones and takes an experienced cook to prepare it properly.
. . . CLICK here for 鱧(はも)料理 Hamo Dishes . Photos !


Hamo has two food seasons,
one is in summer, just after the rainy season is over. He is then eaten for the Gion Festival in Kyoto or the Tenjin Festival in Osaka (matsuri hamo). The Gion Festival is sometimes even referred to as "Hamo Festival".
In former times, this rather strong fish had to be carried in barrels of sea water from the coast to the captial in Kyoto, taking a few days.

His second best season to eat is in autumn when he is much fatter and called "gold hamo" 金鱧 or matsutake hamo 松茸鱧.

He is rich in vitamin A and calcium and iron.
His many bones are bothering when eating, so they must be cut very finely (honegiri 骨切り "cutting the bones") and the chef who prepares them must learn how to do that. In a span of one SUN 寸 (about 3 cm) you have to make cuts for 26 times in the flesh without cutting the skin below. A special hamo knife is used for this purpose. When it is then dipped into hot water it curls like a cherry blossom flower.
CLICK for more photos

For tempura, the backbone of the fish is also used as some kind of "bone cracker" (hone senbei).

Hamo soup (suimono) is a delicate broth and the fish is slightly covered with kuzu arrowroot starch.

Referenc : Hamo cuisine in Kyoto

Botan-hamo 牡丹ハモ Hamo in Brühe
Genpei Yaki 源平焼き Gegrillter Hamo in 2 Varianten

suzuhamo スズハモ Muraenesox bagio
hashinaga hamo ハシナガハモ Oxyconger leptognathus
watakuzu hamo ワタクズハモ Gavialiceps taiwanensis

Worldwide use

Anago ist Meeraal

Things found on the way

Gion matsuri 祇園祭り (ぎおんまつり)
Gion Festival in Kyoto

CLICK for many more photos
The Gion Festival (祇園祭 ) takes place annually in Kyoto and is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. It spans the entire month of July and is crowned by a parade, the Yamaboko Junkō (山鉾巡行) on July 17.

Kyoto's downtown area is reserved for pedestrian traffic on the three nights leading up to the massive parade. These nights are known as yoiyama (宵山) on July 16th, yoiyoiyama (宵々山) on July 15th, and yoiyoiyoiyama (宵々々山) on July 14th. The streets are lined with night stalls selling food such as yakitori (barbecued chicken skewers), taiyaki, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, traditional Japanese sweets, and many other culinary delights. Many girls dressed in yukata (summer kimono) walk around the area, carrying with them traditional purses and paper fans.

During the yoiyama eves leading up to the parade, some private houses in the old kimono merchant district open their entryways to the public, exhibiting valuable family heirlooms, in a custom known as the Byōbu Matsuri, or Folding Screen Festival. This is a precious opportunity to visit and observe traditional Japanese residences of Kyoto.

This festival originated as part of a purification ritual (goryo-e) to appease the gods thought to cause fire, floods and earthquakes. In 869, the people were suffering from plague and pestilence which was attributed to the rampaging deity Gozu Tennō (牛頭天王). Emperor Seiwa ordered that the people pray to the god of the Yasaka Shrine, Susanoo-no-mikoto. Sixty-six stylized and decorated halberds, one for each province in old Japan, were prepared and erected at Shinsen-en, a garden, along with the portable shrines (mikoshi) from Yasaka Shrine.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Gion Matsuri / Gion Festival
and its kigo


External LINKs

by Ad Blankestijn, Japan Navigator
Hamo is Daggertooth Pike-Conger, a white-meat fish from the eel family. As its English name reveals, it has a deep ripped mouth with sharp teeth at the upper and lower parts of the jaw. The name hamo comes from hamu, an old term for eating, because the fish uses its sharp teeth to eat almost anything from shrimps and crabs to small fish.

Guide to Japan


izushi no hamo natsukashiki Kyoto kana

pike conger vegetable sushi -
how fond the memories
of Kyoto

Kikaku 宝井其角(たからいきかく)

izushi is a kind of sushi when fish is pickled with vegetables like radish or turnips (kaburazushi 蕪鮨(かぶらずし).


take no yado hiru mizuhamo o kizamikeri

lodging in a bamboo grove -
for lunch they are cutting
pike conger in water

Matsuse Seisei 松瀬青々 (1869~1937)


Kyoo ni arite matsurihamo kuu hitasura ni

I am in Kyoto
and all I do is eat
festival pike conger

Kaneko Tohta 金子兜太


Oosaka no matsuri tsugi tsugi hamo no aji

Osaka Festival -
one after the other
the dishes with pike

Aoki Getto 青木月斗 (1879―1949)

Related words

***** . Gion Matsuri 祗園祭 Gion Festival







Michelin about Japan

Michelin has been active to rate restaurants in Tokyo.

CLICK for more photos

The tour guide Michelin awarded 191 stars to 150 restaurants in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, the most number of stars awarded in any city.
Paris so far had the most stars, 65.

Michelin and Tokyo Food

 List of some Tokyo Restaurants


quote December 2007

Michelin Tokyo takes Japan by storm
Guide sells out nationwide, but critics question rating system's validity

Japan Times

A new book released last month has created a sensation and is selling like hotcakes in Japan, with bookstores being picked clean of the initial stock of 120,000 copies in only three days.

Michelin guides Director Jean-Luc Naret speaks about the famous restaurant guide during a recent interview in Tokyo's Iidabashi district. YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO

Its publisher printed an additional 150,000 copies and put them on shelves on Dec. 12, but they also quickly disappeared from bookstores up and down the country.
The book in question is the Japanese version of Michelin Tokyo 2008, the first Asian edition of the prestigious gastronomic guidebook.

Kazumi Kawashima, an employee at Yaesu Book Center near Tokyo Station, said the only book she can remember selling like this was the "Harry Potter" series.

"We started selling the book at 8 a.m. (on Nov. 22) outside the store — two hours before the store itself opened. We ran out of our stock before noon the same day," Kawashima said.

..... But what has surprised people the most is perhaps not the book's impressive sales, but the fact that all of the 150 restaurants listed in Michelin Tokyo carry at least one prestigious star.

..... That means Tokyo is now considered the world leader in terms of the sheer number of Michelin stars awarded.

..... Before launching the Tokyo project, Naret visited other Asian cities, including Hong Kong and Singapore. He said he was particularly impressed with Japanese people's passion for food and the quality of restaurants in Japan.

At a reception party to celebrate the publication of the book last month, he kiddingly urged reporters to buy a copy immediately because, he joked, all the copies would soon be gone from bookstores.

 source: Japan Times . Dec. 29, 2007


Critics dispute Michelin regard for Tokyo food

Associated Press Writer
Mon Aug 25, 2008

TOKYO - Paris might still be good if you've got a big wad of cash and want the best of the best. But Tokyo is really where it's at food-wise, at least according to the French people who keep track of these things.

When the venerable Michelin guide came out with its first Tokyo edition, it was so full of praise that it almost read like a press release for the Japan Restaurant Association. Its conclusion — Tokyo is the culinary capital of the world.

But is it, really?

Here's a Michelin morsel:

"Tokyo is a shining star in the world of cuisine," Michelin Guides Director Jean-Luc Naret said shortly after its Tokyo edition came out last November. "We found the city's restaurants to be excellent, featuring the best ingredients, culinary talents and a tradition passed on from generation to generation and refined by today's chefs."

Michelin's Tokyo guide awarded a whopping 191 stars to 150 restaurants in the Japanese capital, the most number of stars awarded in any city. Previously, Paris had the most stars, at 65. Eight restaurants in Tokyo — three French, two sushi bars and three traditional Japanese — received Michelin's highest three-star rating.

Paris can still claim to have the most top-rated restaurants — with 10. New York has just three.

The announcement was a godsend for Japan, which has been trying for years to put a shine on a tourist industry muted by the country's notoriously high prices and a powerful lineup of rival attractions just beyond its shores — such as the fabled shopping districts of Hong Kong, the beaches of Thailand, and the rapid rise of Shanghai as one of Asia's most interesting cityscapes.

Treated as front-page news and trumpeted on TV broadcasts, Michelin's glowing review was also seen as confirmation of the value of something that the Japanese have long seen as a source of national pride — their mastery of sushi, raw fish and all the other famously subtle elements of Japan's indigenous cuisine.

The guide sold 120,000 copies in just three days.

It was a hard-won honor for Tokyo.

A team of three undercover European and two Japanese inspectors spent a year and a half visiting 1,500 of Tokyo's estimated 160,000 restaurants to decide on the ratings, according to Michelin. The guidebook series rates restaurants on excellence in cooking, service, decor and upkeep.

But the Michelin hype has met with a great deal of skepticism — especially from other reviewers.

One particularly controversial pick was a sushi bar that — though on just about everybody's list for quality — is located in a basement, is cramped even by Tokyo standards and shares its restroom with other tenants. Ambiance, it would seem, is pretty subjective.

Some of Michelin's competitors say there are bigger problems with Michelin's whole premise. Why, for example, are so many French restaurants at the top of the Tokyo list? Why no Chinese, no Italian, no palaces of tofu?

"There are a lot of great cities in the world," Tim Zagat, founder of the Zagat guides, told The Associated Press. "Tokyo is an exciting place to eat. But Paris is an exciting place to eat. So is Rome."

The question, he says, is whether Tokyo is better.

"I don't think it is helpful to make that kind of statement," Zagat said. "Tokyo has the best Japanese food in the world. But it is nowhere near as diverse as other cities."

There is no doubt Tokyo — the land of the Iron Chef — has an exceptionally well-developed restaurant scene.

Zagat said the reasons are many — not least of which being the fact that the Japanese like good food, they have money to spend on it and their native cuisine is highly refined and places a very strong emphasis on tradition, freshness and the natural balance of ingredients.

Another reason, however, is that dining in is often not an option, especially for business-related meals. Homes continue to be relatively small and cramped, and getting there often involves a long commute for all. Thus, restaurants have thrived, from the neighborhood bar to the whole areas of town that are built around after-hours entertaining.

Yasuo Terui, the editor of "Tokyo Ii Mise, Umai Mise (Tokyo Good Restaurant, Delicious Restaurant)" whose first edition went on sale in 1967, was also critical of Michelin, saying that it only scratched the surface of what there is to be had in Tokyo.

"I don't think Michelin knows anything about Japan," he said.

But he basically agreed with the rating of Tokyo as the world's best place to eat.

"I think we can call it the culinary capital of the world," he said. "If you try any cuisine, it's hard to go wrong in Tokyo."

Terui said part of the secret of Tokyo's success is that many of emerging Japanese chefs have studied Italian, French, Chinese and other international cuisines all over the world, and are trying to be creative by adding to them a fusion of Japanese tradition.

He added, however, that guides have limitations — some good places are bound to be overlooked.

"You can find many places that are not publicized at all but are still good, especially when you are traveling rural Europe," he said. "I'm sure it's similar in Japan, too."


AP writer Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.


If You Go...

According to the Michelin Guides, Tokyo is the world's capital of good food. Of course, not everybody agrees. But when the lists come out, there are a few places that just seem to please everybody. Here are three that got Michelin's highest ranking, three stars, and also tend to get the nod in other lists as well. Dinner prices can range from $180-$280.

7-5-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, phone 011-81-3-3571-6050,
French food in Tokyo's swanky Ginza shopping and nightlife area under French chef Bruno Menard. Claims to be "More French than France." Ambiance is a mix of Japonism, art deco and 20th century French painters.

3-13-5 Ningyo-cho, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, phone 011-81-3-3661-5940,
Very Japanese. Meals may or may not include the services of geisha, depending on what kind of a dining experience the customer is looking for. Food is elegant classical Japanese cuisine, with a strong emphasis on seasonal elements, the finest ingredients and service on beautiful dishes. Location is an old geisha establishment by the Nihon Bridge, an older Tokyo neighborhood.

4-2-15 Ginza Chuo-ku, Tokyo, near JR Yurakucho Station/Ginza Station, phone 011-81-3-3535-3600.
Located near a subway exit in the basement of an office building, this place is the stuff of sushi legend. Chef Jiro Ono is a national treasure. The restaurant is tiny, seating only about 20 people at its counter and tables. Chefs make their way each day to the huge Tsukiji fish market, a short walk away, to find the best and freshest.

By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Writer


October 2009

Michelin Guide Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe
Keihanshin (京阪神)

October 13, 2009

Michelin Gives 3 Stars to 7 Kyoto, Osaka Restaurants

The Michelin Guide said it gave top billing to six traditional restaurants in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto and one French eatery in Osaka in its debut coverage of the cities that pays homage to local cuisine.

The best-possible three-star rating was awarded to Kyoto outlets such as Chihana, a six-decade-old, family-run restaurant in the geisha district of Gion; Osaka’s Hajime, which opened last year and serves French food under owner-chef, Hajime Yoneda, won the title in Japan’s second-biggest business center. Kyoto won a combined 110 stars, shared among 85 restaurants and traditional hotels, known as “ryokans,” while Osaka had 79 stars among 65 restaurants, Michelin said in a statement.

“We are shocked,” said Yoshihiro Murata, owner of Kyoto- based Kikunoi, one of six restaurants awarded three stars. “We didn’t even know the judges had come by and had been focused on serving to satisfy our customers.”

The Kyoto-Osaka guide is Michelin’s second in Japan after the Tokyo edition, first released in November 2007 to media controversy over the French company’s perceived leaning toward foreign cuisines. Michelin has repeatedly denied that bias and defended its understanding of local food.

Kyoto Restaurants With Three Michelin Stars

Chihana (Traditional Japanese):
584 Minamigawa, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan.

Hyo-tei (Traditional Japanese):
35 Nanzen-ji Kusakawa-cho Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan.
Tel: +81-75-771-4116;

Kikunoi Honten (Traditional Japanese):
459 Shimo Kawaramachi, Yasaka Torii Mae, Shimo Kawara dori,
Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan.
Tel: +81-75-561-0015;

Kitcho Arashiyama Honten (Traditional Japanese):
58, Susukinobaba, SagaTenryuji, Ukyo, Kyoto, Japan
Tel: +81-75-881-1101;

Mizai (Traditional Japanese):
Maruyama park Higashiyama-ku Kyoto,Japan
Tel: +81-75-551-3310;

Tsuruya (Traditional Japanese):
30, Okazakihigashi-Tennocho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Tel: +81-75-761-0171;

Osaka Restaurants With Three Michelin Stars

Hajime (French):
1-9-11,Edohori,Nishi-ku, Osaka, Japan
Tel: +81-6-6447-6688;

source :


Friday, April 20, 2012

Hokkaido's diverse cuisine recognized by Michelin

Hiroshi Nakamichi dreamed of becoming a great one-star restaurateur when he went to Lyon, France, with a Michelin guide in his hands, to work at Michelin-starred restaurants. More than 30 years later, his dream came more than true when his "bible" gave three stars to his Sapporo-based French restaurant Molière.

"I never thought three stars was possible," says owner-chef Nakamichi, 60.

The "Michelin Guide Hokkaido 2012,"
which hit store shelves today, brought tears and cheers to 69 restaurants and hotels awarded with the treasured Michelin stars. This is the first time Michelin has put Hokkaido on its reputable gastronomic map; the guide introduces 699 restaurants and hotels in the region.

The highest honor of three Michelin stars went to Japanese restaurants Sushi Tanabe and Nukumi, as well as to Nakamichi's Molière, all in the city of Sapporo. Michel Bras Toya Japon, which offers French cuisine in the town of Toyako, is also listed among the three-starred restaurants, all of which Michelin designates as "worth a special journey."

Nakamichi says Michelin's Hokkaido guide gave credit to restaurants that showcase Hokkaido's rich and diverse harvest.

"I thought Michelin made a bold decision by awarding stars to my restaurant, which serves very authentic French cuisine, leaving not so much room for creativity — even though creativity is something Michelin valued in its Tokyo guide," says Nakamichi.
Nakamichi's observation might be true.

After Michelin's eight famously anonymous food connoisseurs journeyed around Japan's largest chunk of land to wine and dine at 1,500 restaurants and hotels, they decided that Hokkaido offers too wide a variety of culinary experiences to apply their usual tack. In order to the embrace the gastronomic diversity, Michelin's inspectors took unusual steps.

For the first time in a Japanese Michelin restaurants and hotels guide, they added a Bib Gourmands selection, introducing 121 nonstar restaurants that offer reasonable gourmet experiences for under ¥3,500. They also listed 288 restaurants featuring local cuisine such as the mutton barbecue jingisukan, a dish named after Genghis Khan, whose Mongolian soldiers were said to have grilled mutton on their own helmets.

The biggest surprise came when Michelin recognized 19 ramen eateries, its first inclusion of the noodle dish in Michelin's five-year history in Japan.

"I did not even really know what the Michelin Guide was about," says Machimi Terui, 43, the owner-chef of ramen noodle shop Gentle-men in the town of Kyowa. The restaurant's name is a play on words, since men is Japanese for "noodle."

Hokkaido Prefecture has high hopes that the Michelin guide will bolster its already-robust tourism industry, especially in attracting visitors from outside of Japan. But how much the guide will contribute has yet to be tested, as the Hokkaido edition, unlike the guides for the Kanto and Kansai areas, is published in Japanese only. The prefecture says it will put an English translation on its official tourism website by summer.
source :

Related words

***** Restaurants in Japan

***** WASHOKU : General Information and References