Jan. 11, 2018 UPDATE
Winter in Kyoto is cold but actually great for sightseeing!
Piping hot winter foods ease the cold in Kyoto
In the Kansai region, winters are especially cold in Kyoto, and in January and February, it may even snow in Kyoto. Besides wearing warm clothes, you also have to eat deliciously and piping hot food to stay warm! The hot pot dishes in Kyoto, like sukiyaki and shabu shabu, are especially popular in winter and make you feel very warm. And you shouldn’t forget everyone’s favorite noodles, ramen, and udon, which are also sure to make you feel warm. The winters in Kyoto can be warm too!
Hyoto KyotoHyoto Kyoto is located in the Shijo Karasuma area of Kyoto, and the friendly hostess of the restaurant welcomes you right away when you enter the restaurant. The tatami mats of the restaurant and the traditional Kyoto music of it all feel very elegant. They offer A5-grade Omi beef that just melts in your mouth. Indeed a very luxurious experience!
Before having the shabu shabu, you get to taste a very beautiful hassun platter. This platter is full of Kyoto traditions, and the ingredients are all seasonal. After eating the shabu shabu, you even get udon noodles, so I’m sure you’ll all feel full after eating here, and won’t have to worry about the cold anymore.
Kyoto Yakiniku HiroThis restaurant started out as a meat shop, but now it’s also one of the most famous Japanese BBQ places in Kyoto. Because the restaurant is run by a meat shop, you get to taste cuts that you wouldn’t normally see at a BBQ restaurant. Just watching the glowing red charcoal slowly grill the meat on the grill is enough to make one feel warm.
Because you can choose from so many different types of beef cuts, it’s hard to decide from where to start, so getting a set meal might be a good option. This is also one of the restaurant’s most popular menu items. I really like the one with green onion inside it, the taste is a lasting memory for me. The restaurant is in a building that used to be an inn, so it has a very traditional feel to it. So let’s enjoy some beef BBQ!
ToriyasaToriyasa is a hot pot restaurant by the Kamo River offering chicken hot pot. Their hot pot is called mizutaki, and it is a thick chicken based one, in which you have pieces of chicken, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, and other vegetables. The chicken is very soft and juicy, and the soup has a salty sweetness to it, and there’s nothing to complain about!
But before having the soup, please consider having some of their fried chicken. The juiciness of the chicken and the crispiness of the skin are exceptional. And the soup you drink after this is said to be good for your skin, so especially women should take care to drink at least one bowl of it!
GogyoGogyo ramen is located close to Nishiki Market, and they’re famous for how hot their soup is, and how big the flames are when they make the soup. The soup is black in color and has a slightly burnt taste to it, but the taste is also very unique. The flames are a great thing to upload to your favorite social media, so come to Gogyo, and you’ll definitely feel hot!
The black soup hides most of the noodles, and it was the first time for me to see noodles like this. The burnt taste is a bit bitter, but there’s a slightly sweet aftertaste to the soup, how interesting! Be careful when eating this ramen, as it’s so hot it can hurt your mouth if you’re not careful.
FumiyaFumiya is famous for their udon noodle hot pot, and because it’s located close to Nishiki Market it’s also very popular among foreign visitors to Kyoto. The bubbling hot pot is piping hot and makes you forget all about the cold. The noodles are chewy and there are a lot of them, and you also have mocha rice cakes and vegetables in the hot pot, and the price is very cheap at 670 yen. Not to forget that the staff is exceptionally friendly!
When it comes to udon noodles, you should also consider their udon noodles with tofu skin. The tofu skin sucks up the salty taste of the soup, and the soup, in turn, gets a bit of sweetness from the tofu skin. This makes the taste even better, and the noodle bowl is a surprisingly harmonious taste-experience. These udon noodles are not only hot but cheap, so they’re perfect for winter.
January and February are very cold in Kyoto, but once you have some piping hot food in front of you, it’s easier to bear the cold, and you also don’t have to suffer from hunger. The next step in this Kyoto winter-tour is going to be sake, and we’re going to be drinking the sake hot, in “atsukan” style!