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Having been Japan’s capital for centuries, Kyoto is the birthplace of much of Japan’s traditions, beliefs, and culture. In particular, cooking has become an art in Kyoto, leading to the development of Kyoto’s distinct cuisine. In addition, styles of Japanese cooking has arrived at Kyoto from all over the country, resulting in the mix of Kyoto and generic Japanese fare on offer in the city today. Here’s some of our top picks for exploring the city’s culinary culture.
Situated in Gion, a district preserved in a historical style, this restaurant is housed in a traditional building. With the authentic Kaiseki fare and the historical setting around you, Gion Karyo is very atmospheric as well as perfect for experiencing Kyoto’s food culture. Unlike most traditional Japanese restaurants, an English menu is available and some staff speak English, making it more accessible and tourist friendly.
Another one of Kyoto’s many Michelin starred restaurants, Ajiro is famed for its vegetarian Shojin cuisine, which is based on Buddhist beliefs and is typically the food eaten by Buddhist monks. The founder of Ajiro studied this way of cooking in the kitchen of a Buddhist temple before establishing the restaurant, therefore the food is authentic in its simplicity and delicate flavours. To accentuate the sense of tradition, the interior of the restaurant is decorated with Japanese elements such as a tatami style seating with low tables.