Suzuya

Last year, Suzuya celebrated its 70th anniversary, making it one of the oldest kissaten (traditional coffee shops) in Kyoto. To the best of my knowledge, only Salon de The Francois — which opened in the interwar period — pips it for longevity. From outside, it's ...

Gi Han Ebisu Do

Restaurateur and chef Yoshiyuki Gi has spent a lifetime working in Chinese restaurants. He grew up in the kitchen of his parent's eatery in Yokohama's Chinatown before working his way through Chinese restaurants in Japan and onto China. When he returned to Japan, he ...

Togenkyo

Togenkyo is a cafe curated to the nth degree. Being so self-conscious, even self-indulgent, could be a turn off, but Togenkyo has its charms. Opened in 2010, the overriding design theme is retro: the tables have little stands for old-school lighters and coffee is brewed ...

Izuju

When you live in a tourist mecca like Kyoto you tend to avoid the major attractions. However, having a visitor in town provides a good excuse to join the horde and get into tourist mode: taking over footpaths, meandering slowly along backstreets and taking ...

Ajiro

I ate my lunch at Ajiro in the company of a bewildered farmer with a comical Donald Trump-like mop of hair. But looks were the least of his concern; rather it was a bull that had got the better of him, escaping from the ...

Soba Dokoro Sasaki

Soba Dokoro Sasaki is worth a stopover if you're heading north into Kyoto's hills to catch the trees in their autumnal colors. It's billed as a soba restaurant, but there's plenty of udon and tempura dishes on the menu, too. Your best bet is ...

Tempura Endo Yasaka

After reading the recent review by Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold of Tempura Endo's Beverly Hills restaurant I thought it was high time I went to the original. Tempura Endo Yasaka in Kyoto is housed in an ornate wooden teahouse south of Gion; ...

Sarasa Nishijin

Sarasa Nishijin is a sentō (bathhouse) — well, it used to be. But using the past tense here belies how much of its old spirit still lives on. The waters may have drained away — replaced by sofas, tables, chairs and people lounging about ...

Hyakushokuya

Hyakushokuya, "100 meal shop," makes 100 meals a day — and that's it. The daily challenge for staff is to make and serve them as fast possible, so that they can take the rest of the day off. It seems that this is typically ...

Moriwaki

One of my favorite occasions to eat out in Japan is after returning from a long trip abroad. I have learned to empathize with those Japanese tourists who can't wait to get home and eat Japanese rice after a whirlwind tour of Europe. But, incidentally, ...