Kyoto Cray !!! List of Must-Eat Foods in Kyoto, Japan2
Kyoto is one of my favorite cities in Japan. It’s almost like travelling through a time warp and unlike the bigger cities of Japan, it’s a good mix of the old and new. We stayed in one of the most popular tourist districts called Gion where the famous Yasaka Shrine was built and a place Geisha’s are frequently spotted. Gion is also an awesome area in the city for FOOD full of restaurants and street vendors! We also hit up the Fushimi Inari Shrine which had a ton of tasty street food. Here are some of the highlights of THE BEST things we ate while venturing the streets of Kyoto!
Mochi and Isobeyaki
We stumbled upon this awesome little mochi shop on Shijo Avenue, the main street of Gion, with a colorful display of freshly made mochi balls and charcoal grilled isobeyaki! Mochi is a Japanese glutinous rice cake and can be served sweet or savory. The mochi sold at this stand was traditional mochi filled with sweet fillings including red bean paste, white bean paste, green tea and more. Isobeyaki or yakimochi is a savory soy sauce glazed grilled mochi wrapped in nori (seaweed). I preferred the hot off-the-grill, smoky, sticky isobeyaki over the sweet mochi. Sooooo good!
A few blocks down from the mochi shop is a hole in the wall that sells a traditional Japanese snack called Mitarashi Dango, grilled mochi-esque Japanese dumplings served on a skewer coated in a viscous sweet soy sauce glaze and dusted with toasted soy bean powder. It has a nice chewy texture similar to glutinous rice balls with a sweet yet slightly salty sauce – almost like a soy caramel. You’ll know you’re at the right place when you see a cluster of people waiting in line and eating this stuff. These peeps are super strict with a “no photos” policy.
Within the same vicinity, look for the restaurant Issen Yoshoku that sells a Japanese savory pancake (okonomiyaki). Both the name of the restaurant and the signature pancake are called Issen Yoshoku. It’s a Kyoto style okonomiyaki made to order with scallions, dried shrimp, beef, grilled fish paste, bonito, ginger, tempura batter, konnyaku jelly and two eggs! It’s one of the most delicious okonomiyaki I’ve ever had!
Kyoto Style Sushi
Kyoto does sushi a little differently than the rest of Japan incorporating cured fish and extra vinegary rice. Common types of Kyoto-style sushi include Sabazushi consisting of mackerel tightly wrapped around rice held together with a thin sheet of kombu and Hakozushi or box sushi is where the fish and rice are pressed into a wooden box shaped mold usually incorporating grilled pike conger in the summer and Spanish mackerel in the winter. Hit up Izuju Sushi, an OG sushi spot that has been around for over a century!
２９２ Gionmachi Kitagawa
KyotoHigashiyama Ward, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0073, Japan
Japanese ice cream is my absolute favorite type of ice cream. I don’t know how they do it, but it’s the creamiest and tastiest ice cream in the world! Try the tofu soft serve at the bottom of Fushimi Inari Shrine! It’s super creamy and absolutely delicious.
Japanese fish-shaped cakes that literally translates to baked sea bream. The mouth of this sea bream figure pastry can is stuffed filled will all sorts of fillings including whipped cream, custard, ice cream, fruits, and more. I’m pretty sure Taiyaki can be found at any major tourist district. We tasted it at the foot of the Fushimi Inari Shrine.
Pick up Kyoto’s beloved sweet cinnamon confectionaries called Yatsuhashi available in every single souvenir shop in the city. Yatsuhashi is available either raw or baked. The baked version is a hard crunchy cookie similar to a fortune cookie. The raw unbaked form is soft and chewy closely resembling the texture of mochi often wrapped around a variety of fillings. Try to pick up a box of the limited edition Yatsuhashi flavored KitKats too!
Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0001, Japan
There are a few mad old school legit soba places in Kyoto. Check out a 548 year old shop down the street from the Imperial Palace called Honke Owariya.
Baumkuchen is a spongy layered cake in the shape of a cylinder. Think roll cake, but with extremely thin layers minus the cream in-between. We bought a matcha green tea wheel of this delicious cake right across the street from Yasaka Shrine just a few shops down from Izuju Kyoto, the Kyoto-style sushi spot. This layer cake was bomb – sweet and super friggin’ moist. I was tempted to buy another one of these bad boys.Asian, Dessert, Dinner, Japanese, Kyoto, Japan, Lunch