Mar. 13, 2023 UPDATE
Eat, drink, and play in Kyoto – in Nanzen-ji and Okazaki!
Part 3

Start enjoying the delicious cuisine of Kyoto from Nanzen-ji & Okazaki!

After a hard day of sightseeing, the best way to reward yourself is to have something delicious to eat. In the areas of Nanzen-ji and Okazaki, there are many great restaurants popular also with the locals, from such Japanese staples as udon noodles to the fine cuisine of kaiseki, so there is something for everyone. This area is most famous for yudofu (boiled tofu), which is something most tourists want to try at least once if they come to this area. This time I have four restaurants for you, two of them offering yudofu, and the others offering an interesting take on kaiseki cuisine. These restaurants are sure to satisfy you, no matter how demanding a foodie you are!
Nanzen-ji Sando Kikusui
Nanzen-ji Sando Kikusui
On an alley close to Nanzen-ji Temple, you can find Kikusui, a ryokan with an extremely Kyoto-like feel to it. After you enter its gate, you get to see a breathtakingly brilliant green garden. The traditional feel continues all the way inside, and outside of the ryokan you get to also enjoy a chisen kaiyu-shiki style pond garden, so there is a lot to enjoy here besides the food too.
For lunch, this restaurant offers both Japanese and western cuisine, made using the best seasonal ingredients, and each dish served is like a work of art. The rice here is by the famous Hachidai Megihee, so you can be sure of its taste, and it’s so good it’s almost addicting. In the picture, you can see the western-Japanese lunch set that lets you enjoy many different-but-equally-delicious tastes.
There is a definite warmth to Monk, a restaurant that lets you enjoy pizza and other delicious dishes in a somewhat communal atmosphere. The restaurant is not that big, which adds to the feeling here. The fresh ingredients are picked by the chef himself, every day, from Ohara, an area in northern Kyoto, and the menu changes daily in accordance with the best vegetables available just that day.
The pizza oven is fired using real wood, and it makes the whole restaurant feel warm and cozy. The fixed menu here culminates on a pizza, which is an unlike climax to a meal in Kyoto. However, I’m sure that once you take a bite out of this pizza, you’ll want to come to have it again. There is something really addictive about the experience at Monk!
Nanzen-ji Junsei
Nanzen-ji Junsei
Kyoto is famous for yudofu, and Nanzen-ji Junsei is a famous restaurant in Kyoto. It’s located close to Nanzen-ji Temple, as you probably could gather from its name, and it’s a popular restaurant among the worshippers going to the temple. The taste of its tofu is very strong, as they use carefully chosen domestic soybeans.
The yudofu here is served to you as a part of a set meal, but the main part of the meal is yudofu, which has a creamy taste to it, and after you dip it in the sauce, it becomes a melting sensation in your mouth. You also get crispy tempura, grilled bean curds, sashimi, and other dishes, so you’re sure to leave this restaurant behind you feeling satisfied, both in the portion sizes and the different, but delicious, tastes.
Okutan Nanzen-ji
Okutan Nanzen-ji
The feeling at Okutan is incredibly traditional, as this restaurant is the oldest one specializing in yudofu in Kyoto, and the traditional Japanese building it’s located in is surrounded by a beautiful, elegant Japanese garden. So enjoy a luxurious moment with yudofu and notice the change of the seasons in Kyoto!
creamy tofu
The white, soft, creamy tofu, after being dipped into the restaurant's special sauce that has been passed from chef to chef, is a fresh but strong taste sensation with the fragrance of soybeans. They also have grilled bean curds and sesame tofu, which taste completely different from normal tofu, so you get to learn a lot about tofu here. The dishes may look simple, but there is a definite depth to the taste, and you get to try many different yummy Japanese things!
No matter whether you’re having yudofu or enjoying something with more Western influences in it, you can still taste the deliciousness of the ingredients in the dishes of these restaurants. When you add the nice atmosphere of these restaurants to that equation, you have something really great in your hands. So when you come to the areas of Nanzen-ji and Okazaki, be sure to eat out at these delicious restaurants!

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