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Food Lover's Guide to Kyoto

By Viator, February 2018

5 137 Reviews | Add your review

The capital of traditional Japanese dining, Kyoto has a food scene as rich as its history. The local cuisine, known as Kyo-ryori, is defined by delicate flavors and many vegetarian meals. To experience it, here are some can't-miss dishes and activities for foodies.

Must-Try Dishes
The word obanzai refers to home-style cooking with a bent toward seasonal ingredients, and a typical obanzai ryori meal comprises several small, simple dishes prepared skillfully to highlight natural flavors. There's also kaiseki ryori, a traditional multi-course fine dining experience. Shojin ryori, strictly vegetarian dishes developed by Buddhist monks, can be sampled on the grounds of the city's temples.

Meanwhile, seafood plays a starring role in many restaurants, with dishes like sushi, fried fish cakes, saikyo-zuke (miso-marinated fish) and Japanese pike conger eel, a popular summer item in the region. A bento box is a great way to try several dishes at once; these can include pickled vegetables, miso soup, tempura, fish, rice and kinpira gobo, a side dish of root vegetables simmered in a sweet soy sauce.

Kyoto is also famous for its sweets, especially mochi, sweet pastel-hued rice cakes, and wagashi, a traditional Japanese confection made from a variety of ingredients and often served with green tea.

Must-Do Experiences
  • Put your finger on the pulse of the city's foodie culture with a tour of the 400-year-old Nishiki Market and its 130 food shops and stalls.
  • Learn how to prepare regional dishes or popular Japanese fare during a cooking class in a local home.
  • Set aside time for a traditional Japanese tea ceremony or sake tasting and brewery tour (Beverages are just as important in Kyoto as food).
  • Spend an evening dining with a geisha at a private restaurant, a uniquely Kyoto experience.
  • Join a food walking tour to get to know one of Kyoto's vibrant neighborhoods such as Arashiyama or Kamogawa and sample Japanese treats along the way.

Tours & Tickets

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Arashiyama and Sagano Walking Food Tour, Kyoto, null
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Arashiyama and Sagano Walking Food Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 35 Reviews

Maybe you have seen a picture of a Bamboo grove in Japan once in your life. This is the highlight of Arashiyama, an area where ancient aristocrats had their ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $94.50
Kyoto Cooking Class, Sake Tasting and Nishiki Food Market Walking Tour, Kyoto, Food Tours
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Kyoto Cooking Class, Sake Tasting and Nishiki Food Market Walking Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 68 Reviews

Explore the Nishiki Food Market and learn how to make a home-cooked Japanese meal on this Kyoto culinary walking tour. With a knowledgeable guide, learn about ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $129.30
Nishiki Market and Gion District Cultural Walking Food Tour, Kyoto, Cooking Classes
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Nishiki Market and Gion District Cultural Walking Food Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 25 Reviews

Get an excellent introduction to the cuisine of Kyoto with this small-group guided tour of the city's best food spots. Start at the deliciously vast ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $90.00
Small-Group Nishiki Market: The Heart of Kyoto Cuisine, Kyoto, Market Tours
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Small-Group Nishiki Market: The Heart of Kyoto Cuisine

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Sample Kyoto’s best flavors on this 3-hour tour of Nishiki Market. This market boasts some of Kyoto’s best food purveyors as well as specialty Japanese ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $114.30
Private Sushi and Tempura Cooking Class at a Local Kyoto Home, Kyoto, Food Tours
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Private Sushi and Tempura Cooking Class at a Local Kyoto Home

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 7 Reviews

Perfect the art of home cooking in Kyoto with this private tempura and sushi-making class! You’ll be picked up from your hotel by a friendly guide who ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $149.34
Cook an Authentic Japanese lunch including Hot Pot and Okonomiyaki in a Local Home, Kyoto, Cooking ... 
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Cook an Authentic Japanese lunch including Hot Pot and Okonomiyaki in a Local Home

Join your hosts Koji and Kaori for a private, authentic cooking lesson and delicious lunch in their modern home in a quiet neighborhood just north of Kyoto’s ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $37.80

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