Apr. 03, 2020 UPDATE
Story & Recommendation
Taste the Four Seasons in This Japanese Restaurant with Two Michelin Stars
Japanese kaiseki restaurant Wagokoro Izumi is a five minute walk from the subway Shijo station. Walk the Bukkoji-dori street to the east and you will get there in no time. You will know the restaurant from their dark green noren fabric dividers that have the Japanese text “和ごころ泉”(Wagokoro Izumi) written in white on them. The chef of Wagokoro Izumi trained for 13 years in the famous kaiseki restaurant Sakurada. Thanks to the chef’s work, Wagokoro Izumi has gotten two Michelin stars two years in a row. Inside the restaurant they have a Japanese style private room with a view to the inner garden, counter seats and table seating resembling those of a high grade ryokan(Japanese inn). The scrolls on the walls and the tablewares used in the restaurant change according to the seasons, the whole restaurant thus reflecting the four seasons of Japan. The specialty of Wagokoro Izumi is their hassun platter that is almost a work of art in itself. The hassun platter brings out the deeply seasonal essence of Wagokoro Izumi by skillfully using vegetables in season and bringing out the seasonal Kyoto traditions in the dishes. When brought in front of you, the hassun platter is sure to raise shouts of joy from around you with its beauty. The hassun platters are literally masterpieces. Wagokoro Izumi is a kaiseki restaurant in downtown Kyoto that you have to try if you visit Kyoto! *Wagokoro Izumi is reservation-only and they only take reservations through a concierge.
Dinner kaiseki / ￥11,300 | ￥16,950 | ￥20,340
The courses include eight dishes and two desserts. Using ingredients in season and expressing the four seasons beautifully is what makes this restaurant special. The allure of this restaurant comes from the visual beauty and surprising novelty of their dishes. From the plates and bowls chosen to bring out the beauty of the dishes, to the hassun platter that is sure to daze patrons with its looks and taste, all this from start to finish will be a Japanese cuisine experience you won’t forget.
A Classic – Salt-Grilled Ayu from Lake Biwako
One of Wagokoro Izumi’s classic dishes is their salt-grilled ayu. There are two things that make this salt-grilled fish a classic. The taste coming from the unique way in which the fish is grilled and the beauty of the presentation of the dish are something you can only experience at Wagokoro Izumi. Fresh ayu caught at Lake Biwako is grilled slowly for an hour. This seals in the tastes and the fat and gets rid of the fishy smell usually present with ayu. Grilled this way the fragrant ayu is steaming-hot and soft inside, but the skin is left crunchy. The ayu is presented in a way that makes it look like it is back swimming in the river. The presentation of this dish is exquisite. *Salt-grilled ayu is a seasonal item on the menu, usually available in the first half of November.
Wagokoro Izumi / 和ごころ泉 / ￥1,530
Wagokoro Izumi also puts a lot of effort into their drinks menu, sake(rice wine) by itself taking a three pages. This time we had some Wagokoro Izumi / 和ごころ泉. This Japanese rice wine named after the restaurant is a rare treat you can only taste here. The mild and clean taste make it go well with the food. If you have a chance to eat at Wagokoro Izumi, we heartily recommend you try this sake.
How to Order
As the restaurant places a great emphasis on the seasons, the menu changes a little for every season and month. The restaurant’s special, hassun platter, especially changes a lot according to the season. This means that every time you visit, you will get a completely new and amazing experience with a new presentation and new ingredients!
- Order Tips -
If you want to leave the choosing of the sake to the restaurant staff, ask them for the "Osake" and "Omakase".