Have a rest surrounded by nature in Kyoto’s Takao area at the tea house, Togano Chaya
This restaurant is in a calm spot right in front of Kosan-ji Temple in Takao. They serve such food items as soba and udon noodles, but they also have sweets and drinks, such as their kuzumochi, mochi cakes made from kuzuzo, served with kuromitsu syrup.
The restaurant is encircled by green leaves, and the beauty of it all is of such grandeur that you’re not going to forget the experience for the rest of your life. The restaurant is right next to the Kiyotaki River, so you can enjoy the cool river winds. You can forget about the hotness of the city center, and enjoy a relaxed and leisurely moment.
I recommend going to see the temples in Takao first, and then taking a break at Togano Chaya. It’s easy to relax here because the owner-chef of this restaurant does everything he can to make this kawadoko riverside experience as nice as possible for you. It almost feels as if time went by a bit slower at Togano Chaya than in the outside world.
When this dish is brought to the table, it still has a lid on it. But when you remove the lid, you’ll get to see a surprisingly big herring on top of the noodles and smell the pleasant smell of dashi. The herring is so soft it’s easy to cut into pieces with chopsticks. The soba, or buckwheat, noodles go very well with the tasty herring, so this dish will go down the hatch in a few minutes. Note that the pot its served in is very hot, so be careful.
Suzumi Gozen is only available in summer, and the best part about this meal set is that you get to try a little bit of everything. Each one of the dishes is carefully crafted, and they even look refreshing. For the reasonable price of 2,500 yen you get to enjoy such summer delicacies as grilled ayu sweetfish and kamo eggplant with miso glaze. Although the summers in Kyoto can be very hot, it is my heartfelt wish that you will enjoy a soothing kawadoko riverside dining moment with this Suzumi Gozen meal set.
Udon noodles and tempura
Cold udon noodles on a bamboo sieve are just what you need on a hot and humid day. The cold, springy, chewy noodles are exceptionally delicious. On top of the udon you have green onion, shiso, bonito flakes, and nori, and by eating these with the noodles you can enjoy the change in the taste.
The tempura is crisp, and made using such seasonal ingredients as pumpkin, eggplant, shishoto, and even shrimp. Note that the amount of udon noodles you get is quite a lot.
Warabimochi & Matcha cappuccino
/ ￥600 /￥500
Normally warabimochi is served cold, but in an unusual fashion, warabimochi at Togano Chaya is served hot. Because it’s served hot, you can enjoy a kind of melting, soft texture you don’t normally get with warabimochi. I recommend eating it with as much kuromitsu syrup (made from black sugar) and kinako (roasted soybean flour) as you can.
The crema on top of the matcha cappuccino is very soft, and the taste mellow. The taste of matcha is strong but the aftertaste clear. You can choose to have it cold or hot, depending on how you want it.