Foods To Try In Kyoto, Japan

food to try in kyoto
| 6 min read

Discover the mystery and alluring charm of the ancient city of Kyoto, Japan. The city is steeped in a vibrant culture, rich history and colorful traditions. Kyoto is home to over 2000 temples and it celebrates the true masterpieces of religious architecture. As the seasons roll by, Kyoto is aburst in a display of vibrant colors from the pink hues of the cherry blossoms, to the mix of red, orange and yellow colors of autumn and the snow-covered wonders of winter. Japanese cuisine is one of the most sought-after dishes and a walk through the bustling streets will introduce travelers to a diversity of flavors and tastes. Kyoto is crammed with Michelin-star restaurants, quaint cafes, chic cocktail bars and street food vendors. A visit to Kyoto is a gastronomic journey into the culture of the city. Here is your ultimate guide to the foods to try when you visit Kyoto, Japan.

1. Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is Japan’s twist on a pizza or pancake and is a burst of flavor. Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese treat and is referred to by many of the locals as the soul food of Kyoto. This pan-fried dish combines butter and cabbage with other varieties like meat, seafood, wasabi, cheese and more. There are restaurants in Kyoto which specifically specialize in this dish with some restaurants providing guests with the ingredients to prepare it themselves on an iron griddle called a teppan. For the daring foodies out there, try Okonomiyaki which is filled with octopus, shrimp or kimchi.

Okonomiyaki Kiraku

Address: Japan, 〒55 0864 Kyoto City Kyoto-shi Higashiyama ku Higashi Ojiro Article 5 Upmobility Machi 562

Website: Okonomiyaki Kiraku

Price: 700 yen (6.17 USD)

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2. Negima Yakitori

Looking for the best appetizer or that light snack to enjoy before heading out on a night in Kyoto? Then sink your teeth into bite-sized flavors of a Negima Yakitori. The Yakitori is a dish of pieces of chicken, skewered and roasted over a charcoal grill. There a myriad of restaurants which serve these delicious sticks of grilled foods around Kyoto or you could meander through the streets of Kyoto and purchase them from any of the street vendors peppered around the city. Negima Yakitori is a type of yakitori made with chicken and scallions where the scallions serve to add color to the umami-rich chicken.

Yakitori tavern Don

Address: Japan, 〒604-8112 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 柳馬場通六角西入ル槌屋町102-4

Website: Yakitori tavern Don

Price: 1000 yen (8,82 USD)

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3. Dango

Mitarashi dango by yomi955 in Kyoto
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user yomi955 used under CC BY 2.0

Have a sweet tooth? Be sure to try out a Dango which is a Japanese sweet dumpling made from rice flour and served on a skewer. These delicacies are often paired with green tea. The Dango can be prepared and eaten in many ways. The most common type is the “Anko” which is served with a sweetened bean paste or the “Chadango” which is a green tea flavored Dango. Why not try a Mitarashi Dango which is covered in sweet soy sauce and gives off a pleasant caramel scent. Kids would love the Tri-Colour Dango which comes in a combination of green, yellow and brown colors, or a pink, green and white color. Dango can be steamed or poached with most of it being grilled to give it a slightly crispy interior and a gooey inside.

Kamo Mitarashi Chaya

Address: Japan, 〒606-0816 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, 左京区下鴨松ノ木町53

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4. Chocolate Croquette

Indulge your taste buds to the tantalizing flavors of a chocolate croquette. A chocolate croquette is a harmonious blend of melting chocolate with a crispy surface. This is the best food for a chocolate lover and can be found at any food vendor or on the menu of any of the restaurants in the city.

Nishiki Market

Address: Japan, 〒604-8054 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 富小路通四条上る西大文字町609番地

Website: Nishiki Market

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5. Sakana Kushi (Fish stick)

If you’re adventurous and want to experience the culture of Japan, then be sure to savor the variety of flavors served at street vendors. Many of the flavors have been passed down from generation to generation and are a perfect way to immerse yourself in the cultures and customs of the city. Sakana Kushi is by far a must-try street food if you enjoy seafood. Sakana Kushi is fresh fish served on a stick and is simply delicious.

Nishiki Market

Address: Japan, 〒604-8054 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 富小路通四条上る西大文字町609番地

Website: Nishiki Market

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6. Yudofu (Simmered Tofu)

Savor the flavors of Yudofu which is a unique blend of water, kombu seaweed and silken tofu. This is a simple Japanese dish but it is also equally elegant, known for its smooth, creamy texture and fresh flavors. This classic dish is prepared by allowing the three ingredients to simmer in a heavy hot pot dish which is then served with a light soy sauce-based dipping sauce. Yudofu is accompanied with freshly sliced scallions, Momiji Oroshi, which is grated daikon and chilli pepper and ground sesame seeds.

Yudofu Sagano

Address: Japan, 〒616-8385 Kyoto Prefecture, 京都市右京区嵯峨天龍寺芒ノ馬場町45

Website: Yudofu Sagano

Price: 3800 yen(33,51USD)

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7. Daifuku

Sweet Bean Paste in Race Cake
Source: Photo by Flickr user Usodesita used under CC BY 2.0

What’s for dessert? Kyoto has got you covered with the tasty Daifuku. Daifuku is a Japanese dessert made from Mochi which is a rice paste. These small, soft, sweet rice buns are filled with a sweet filling and dusted with a sugary powder. These bite-sized treats may be white in color or a pale pink or green. Some popular Daifuku is Mame Daifuku which is filled with whole soybeans, Daifuku Aisu which is filled with ice cream or Ichigo Daifuku which is filled with anko and a whole strawberry.

Demachi Futaba

Address: Japan, 〒602-0822 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Kamigyo Ward, 出町 今出川上ル青龍町236 Higashi Oji Dori

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8. Yatsuhashi

Green tea and yatsuhashi
Source: Photo by Flickr user WordRidden used under CC BY 2.0

Yatsuhashi is another Japanese dessert enjoyed in Kyoto and is also a great souvenir idea. Yatsuhashi is a mochi-like dessert which can be enjoyed raw or baked. For a hard, crispy texture then opt for the baked version or choose the raw version which is wrapped as a dumpling and filled with anko. Yatsuhashi comes in flavours like cinnamon, green tea and black sesame.

Izutsu Yatsuhashi Gion Store

Address: Japan, 〒605-0079 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, 東山区 川端通四条上ル

Website: Izutsu Yatsuhashi Gion Store

Price: 540 yen(4,76 USD)

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9. Dashimaki Tamago

Kickstart your adventure in Kyoto by tucking into a traditional breakfast and be sure to order a Dashimaki Tamago. A Dashimaki Tamago is a variation of the Tamagoyaki which is several layers of rolled pan-fried eggs. Dashimaki Tamago is Japan’s version of an omelet. It includes a mixture of Dashi into the fried eggs and is mild in flavor.

Nishiki Market

Address: Japan, 〒604-8054 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 富小路通四条上る西大文字町609番地

Website: Nishiki Market

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10. Hamo Tempura

Looking for a delicacy that is indigenous to the people of Kyoto? Sink your teeth into the summertime treat of an Hamo Tempura. Hamo or pike congar is a type of fish that can only be found in Osaka and Kyoto during the summer season. The hamo is prepared in a variety of ways, but the most popular and most delicious is to have it deep fried in batter giving the fish a crispy coating and accompanied with dipping sauce. Prices vary from 600 - 2000 yen (5,29 - 17,62 USD)

Nishiki Market

Address: Japan, 〒604-8054 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 富小路通四条上る西大文字町609番地

Website: Nishiki Market

Price: 600 - 2000 yen (5,29 - 17,62 USD)

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11. Kaiseki Meal (from USD 206.0)

When you want to experience the culinary delights of Kyoto, you simply can’t overlook the exquisite tradition of a Kaiseki meal. Kaiseki stands as the epitome of Japanese haute cuisine, offering a meticulously crafted multi-course dining experience that reflects the essence of seasonal ingredients, artful presentation, and deep-rooted cultural influences.

From the delicate sashimi that effortlessly melts in your mouth to the perfectly simmered seasonal vegetables, and from the simplicity of rice to the intricate and flavorful pickled delights, there’s an array of dishes, each chosen thoughtfully by the chef, for a true celebration of your senses.

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Gion Tour with Kaiseki Meal in Kyoto at Night

Duration: 3hours

6 reviews

12. Kyo-Ryori (from USD 164.0)

Kyo-ryori is a culinary masterpiece that artfully harnesses seasonal flavors, creating an unforgettable dining experience. Rooted in a philosophy of embracing pure, seasonal ingredients, the cuisine’s essence lies in its skillful use of dashi, a savory soup stock crafted from dried bonito flakes or kelp.

With a diverse range of components, kyo-ryori transforms each season’s bounty into delectable dishes. From fresh vegetables and savory dried fish to delicate tofu and sweet seasonal fruits, every plate captures the present moment’s essence. This gastronomic journey is enhanced by Kyoto’s famed Japanese tea and sake, adding to the cuisine’s allure.

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Evening in Kyoto Pontocho Food Tour

Duration: 3hours

5 reviews

13. Wagyu cuisine (from USD 159.0)

Any food enthusiast visiting this historic city must try this renowned Japanese beef, celebrated for its unparalleled tenderness and marbling. You can enjoy it as a succulent steak, in a traditional hot pot (Shabu-Shabu), with roasted vegetables, or as part of a delectable bento box. Kyoto’s Wagyu cuisine will leave an indelible impression on your taste buds, forever connecting you to the city’s culinary allure.

During this byFood excursion, you’ll have the pleasure of dining at the prestigious Niku Kappou Futago, situated within the luxurious confines of THE JUNEI HOTEL. Indulge in private dining, savoring a variety of courses that showcase the delectable flavors of exquisite Japanese Wagyu beef, skillfully chargrilled to perfection.

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Rickshaw Tour and Wagyu Cuisine in Kyoto

Duration: 3hours

1 review

Savor the taste of Kyoto

Cuisine of Kyoto

Indulge in the different tastes and flavors of Kyoto by trying these authentic Japanese foods.

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Annelene is a marketing graduate with a zest for life and a passion for travel. She believes these things help bring new perspective, introduce new cultures and educate us about life.

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