If you want to try something very traditional and delicious in Kyoto, you’re probably going to have matcha tea or kaiseki cuisine, but remember that there is a third choice: yudofu (boiled tofu)! Water quality in Kyoto is very good, which is why the tofu made here has an especially rich taste and delicate texture. You dip the tofu in soy sauce and ginger paste before eating, making the sweetness in the tofu even more present. You may get addicted to this taste, it’s so good. Almost everything is made with tofu at yudofu restaurants, even the desserts, so you really get to taste all kinds of different types of tofu. Arashiyama is an area especially famous for its many yudofu restaurants. So come find out what makes this simple dish so captivating! It’s time to join Vanessa on her journey to find the best tofu in Kyoto!
Nanzenji Junsei is like you can probably gather from its name, located close to Nanzen-ji Temple, and it’s one of the most esteemed yudofu establishments in Kyoto. The restaurant also has a study room called the Junsei study, which has a long history behind it and has been registered a culturally important property by the Japanese government.
At the restaurant they have a big and beautiful Japanese garden, so you get to eat your tofu while you appreciate the beauty of nature. The tofu dishes are made using different methods, but all of them retain the original taste of the tofu.
Okutan Nanzenji has a very quiet and traditional feel to it. Right after you step in, you’re greeted by elegant Japanese feel of the restaurant and the Japanese garden. The Japanese feel of the restaurant goes all to way to their seating, of which most is on tatami mats.
The thick cuts of tofu here have a strong and rich scent of soybeans to them, and when dipped into sauce and scallions you’re served with it make for a refreshing, delicious tofu-experience with a little bit of sourness from the scallions to balance it all. They also offer sesame tofu, which is my favorite, because of the rich taste in it reminding me of the shabu shabu sesame sauce. If you like tofu, keep the name of Okutan in your mind, as they also have a restaurant near Kiyomizu Temple.
Yudofu Sagano is a restaurant located in the popular tourist area of Arashiyama, but it’s in a quiet alley, in a traditional Japanese house. I really like the look of the restaurant, both outside and inside, since it’s so traditional. They also have a big garden, and it’s easy to relax here because there are usually not that many tourists at it.
You get all kinds of dishes in their sets, so the table in front of you will be covered by small bowls and plates. The soft tofu just melts in your mouth, and the delicate texture is a joy to bite to. You get a tofu pudding to finish this wonderful tofu-extravaganza. This restaurant is located close to Arashiyama, so its location is really good.
You can also find Saga Tofu Ine in the always busy tourist area of Arashiyama, and from their second-floor seats, you get to view the beautiful Arashyiama mountain while you eat your tofu. You get the dishes here in Japanese “teishoku” style, meaning you get them all at once, and you do get to eat a lot of tofu.
Besides the tofu, they also have a yuba rice bowl, yuba, of course, being tofu skin. The sauce of this rice bowl is so good it’s hard to stop eating. The tofu, in contrast, has a very light and elegant taste.
The last restaurant is inside Ryoan-ji Temple, and is called Seigenin. You can sit on tatami mat and enjoy the beautiful scenery while you eat the yudofu hot pot. There is something stately and dignified about this restaurant because of its location inside a temple.
This restaurant differs from the others in that their yufodu doesn’t only contain tofu, but it’s a hot pot with Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, and fu (wheat gluten), and you even have rice and other small dishes, so remember to come hungry to this restaurant!
|Vanessa[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]|