This in one of the remaining wagashi (traditional Japanese sweet) shops in Kyoto. It is well-known not only for its confectionery, but also for its prime location, right on Shijo St. One can buy the sweets to take out, or go upstairs to the cafe, which has Ming Dynasty pottery and antique furniture. The Wagashi and Green Tea (macha, the frothy bitter green tea used in the traditional tea ceremony) set costs JPY700. Also famous is the shop's kuzukiri arrowroot noodles with a sweet sauce for JPY800.
Kaiseki is a traditional dining ritual in Japan, and Kikunoi is famous for exactly that. The renowned Chef Yoshihiro Murata has a TV show and a newly published cookbook to his credit. He uses exotic ingredients like sea bream wrapped in bamboo leaves that are then tied with gold and silver strings, to make the most wonderful meal. If that's not a reason enough for a visit, then keep in mind that this place boasts of 11 elegant dining rooms. Reservation is essential.
Ippudo Nishiki Koji is a very popular restaurant in Bantoya-cho, Nakagyo in Kyoto. Patrons swear by the gyoza and ramen served there. The food is affordable and filling and is served with a complimentary glass of iced tea. Diners especially enjoy a lemon and chili chutney to go with the gyoza; the eatery bottles and sells the paste as well. The chain originates in Fukuaka and is now in many of the major cities around the world, including New York.
This is a well-established "live-house" — or, in plain English, a music venue. Juttoku is located in an old warehouse (kura) not far from Nijo Castle in the west of the city. Expect to see anything if you decide to just drop in on spec - anything in terms of both quality and genre. Rock, blues, thrash, Japanese pop, Irish fiddle, electronica, you name it and it has probably been played at Juttoku. Usually pretty friendly, though a little out of the way.
Gion Karyo is a classic restaurant in the heart of Kyoto. The exteriors of the establishment are deceptively simple. As soon as you step in, you will be bowled over by the glamorous décor. The meal is served in the form of a four-course gastronomical experience in a formal manner of seating, as is the traditional custom in Japan. The whole meal centers around the serving of kaiseki ryori with its subtle yet distinctive flavors.
This adored coffee and pastry shop is located steps away from the Tozai Subway line, and is a popular stopover for locals traversing through this route - either on the way to work, or for a quick bite while returning home. Shinshindo is known for its delicious breakfast meals, with croissants, freshly baked breads, bagels, teas and coffees. Besides pastries and desserts, savory meals and set lunches are available here as well. Prices are affordable.
Over the years since 1974, Taku Taku has played host to quite a few international stars, including Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Los Lobos, Taj Mahal and Dr. John, but most of the groups are local, offering Japanese rock and pop. Westerners well aware of the concept of "warehouse parties" will feel right at home here. And this particular warehouse is made of wood, which gives the whole place an aged and historic, if somewhat shabby, feel. Taku Taku has been rated among the best live houses in the Kansai, and it is most certainly a good place to get an idea what the yoof of today is all about.
Ran Hotei is situated in a quaint old building and specializes in “Chanoyu” or “Japanese tea ceremony" as well as delicious desserts. Go through the intricacies of pairing matcha tea (powdered green tea) with cheesecakes. It also serves charming green tea sweets shaped and colored like grapes, peaches and other fruits. Other items include a selection of green tea lattes and smoothies, Matcha Fudge Cake, Taisho Roman Ice, and rice served with Japanese curry. Stepping into the antique tearoom is like entering an Art Deco art gallery and bookshop. Right from the stained glass doorway and vintage chandeliers to a restored church pew speak of another era. Tatami (rice straw) mats, book racks and Hotei statues complete the picture. Ran Hotei also gladly welcomes dogs of all breeds and sizes. On some days, you can even attend art exhibitions and music events.
This restaurant is part of the small Tagoto chain of Kyoto cuisine restaurants. Three outlets are located in the city: one of them in the Kyoto Station complex and the other two downtown in the Shijo-Kawaramachi area. All offer traditional bento (lunchbox) fare. Tagoto is popular with shoppers and tourists who wish to sample traditional Kyoto cuisine at reasonable prices. Tofu is a feature in the delicious array of bento, which includes kaiseki, yuba-kaiseki, mini-kaiseki and the lunchtime only yanagi bento.
A downtown coffee shop, very popular both with staff from the surrounding stores and with shoppers themselves. In addition to coffee by the cup, Doutor sells bags of coffee from such countries as Brazil, Tanzania, Colombia and Indonesia. Blends of Italian, American and European ground coffee are also sold.
Located in a recently refurbished traditional wooden Kyoto townhouse (machiya), Tosai offers a wide range of a la carte healthy vegetable and tofu cuisine, along with a good selection of beers, wines and sake. The atmosphere is informal and lively and popular with all age groups. Look out for the large white lantern on the street outside the restaurant. The decor is genuinely traditional. This place is old. There is a long stone path off from the street at the end of which you remove your footwear before entering the dimly-lit cozy wooden interior. A large izakaya-style menu of all things veggie and healthy--tofu, natto, salads, rice-balls and fried things. A lot of bottled beers and sake also get consumed here.