Takocho – A Famous & Locally Beloved 130-year-old Oden Restaurant
Takocho is a long-standing oden restaurant sitting just outside Kyoto’s Gion district.
Since opening in 1882, Takocho has been loved by local Kyotoites, and during the chilly winter months, boasts constant lines out the door.
While oden is known for its rainbow of varied ingredients, Takocho takes it to the next level with different broths for each ingredient. The time each ingredient is cooked also varies, meaning that they’re all soaked to the core with the delicious oden broth. The fantastic flavors this method produces has captured the hearts of both Kyoto locals and out of towners alike.
The word tako in Takocho nowadays refers to “octopus,” but back in the day, it used to refer to oden restaurants. The original owner tacked on the first character of his name, cho, and that’s how the name Takocho came to be.
In addition to the name, there are little things all around the restaurant that give you a sense of just how rich the restaurant’s history is, including the toilet door that was painted by a regular of 50 years and the Taisho period shop curtain made specifically for Takocho that features a traditional Japanese painting.
Takocho is so beloved that it even has foreign regulars who make it a point to stop by whenever they’re in Kyoto.
Takocho only has counter seating, so we recommend going when you want to enjoy a night of oden with other adults. Takocho is also incredibly popular and you often have to wait, so it’s best to get there before open or only go when you have time to spare (reservations not accepted).
If you’re looking for legendary oden in Kyoto, then try Takocho!
When you first come to Takocho, the octopus is the first thing you should try.
The massive tentacle is slowly boiled over hours and features an undeniably surprising soft texture. Takocho’s octopus also lacks the tough to bite through texture characteristic of octopus and falls apart in your mouth like chicken. The mild sweetness of the dish also pairs perfectly with sake as well.
While the octopus is slightly more expensive than usual oden dishes, it’s sure to be a unique and memorable experience.
*Price may vary.
Atsukan – Warm Japanese Sake
Takocho’s atsukan is hot sake that’s warmed in a bain-marie like bath of hot water.
This drink pairs perfectly with a plate of delicious wintery oden and helps warm you from the core. At Takocho, the sake is warmed right next to the pot of oden in what’s called a “chirori.”
Whenever you order the sake, the chef kindly pours it into your cup, so it won’t just be the hot sake that warms your heart.
Takocho also has beer, oolong tea, sparkling water, green tea, regular water and both cold and room temperature sake.
*Price may vary.
Shrimp Taro (seasonal)
/ ¥800 - ¥1,200
Shrimp taro has a reputation in Kyoto as being an expensive, high-end ingredient. Shrimp taro doesn’t actually contain any shrimp, it merely resembles a shrimp. The unique-looking taro provides you with both the chewy texture of regular taro and the fluffy texture of potato. Takocho’s shrimp taro is soaked in oden broth and packed with sweet, sweet dashi deliciousness.
According to the owner, the round end of the potato has more nutrients and tastes better than the thin end.
Take a bite of both and see what you think!
*Price may vary.
Yuba Tofu Skin
Takocho’s yuba is made of soft, cream-like tofu skin wrapped in slightly harder tofu which is then boiled in dashi stock. The notably sweet and creamy soft tofu in the center is known as oboro-yuba. While it’s delicious, this variety of tofu can’t be produced in large batches so it’s not used very often.
Enjoy this very rare take on tofu with the delicious flavors of Takocho’s fragrant dashi stock.