Godan Miyazawa

Regrets? I have a ton. Here's one: I didn't get to eat bear meat at Godan Miyazawa. Perhaps one of the drawbacks of the omakase (chef's selection) here is that there's no actual menu to provide information about what's being served. Trusting your chef ...

Nick Stock

There is elevator muzak and shopping channel muzak, but combine these two subgenres and you'll have a type of muzak so bland that even a computer would be embarrassed to claim ownership of it. Yet there's no avoiding this banal background music at Nick ...

Ajikyu

Reviewing restaurants is a slippery slope to overindulgence. That's why opting for lunch can be a safer bet than dinner. Not only are lunch reservations easier to come by and the bills easier on the wallet, but midday meals help to ensure you getting ...

Miyako Yasai Kamo Nasu

Miyako Yasai Kamo Nasu — a mouthful if ever there was one — is a chain of buffet restaurants offering all-you-can-eat vegetables for breakfast (¥490), lunch (¥880) and dinner (¥1,350). Various sorts of local, seasonal produce is on offer, including kamonasu (a Kyoto variety of ...

Muraki

There's a hobbit-in-the-Shire feeling in Muraki, a homely husband-and-wife run soba restaurant west of Kyoto city. The entrance is uncharacteristically marked not by traditional noren curtains but sliding wooden doors — the ki in Muraki is the Chinese character for tree or wood. The ...

Tsukijisay

Tsukijisay has been serving sushi since almost as long as nigiri (sushi with vinegared rice) has been around — the original restaurant is more than 125 years old, a time when this venerable fast food was still in its infancy. As the restaurant name ...

Rikichi

In 2000, Harvard political scientist Robert D. Putnam wrote "Bowling Alone," a book about the decline of community and rise of individualism in the U.S. I thought about the title of that book over lunch at Rikichi — indeed there was plenty of room ...

Kobushi

One of the differences between a restaurant chain and an independently owned restaurant is that the latter tolerates — even encourages — eccentricity. Kobushi, a popular ramen joint near Kyoto's municipal market can dress as it pleases, which might explain why there is a working ...

Sakuya

On a mundane street in northern Kyoto is an excellent soba restaurant called Nicolas. Farther down the road, tucked under a nondescript apartment block, is Sakuya, a kappo (counter-style restaurant), which serves a variety of traditional Japanese food. There is no menu to speak ...

Ippodo

Japanese tea can be beguiling and bitter. And the ceremonial tradition that surrounds it can be disconcerting and dull. The staff at Ippodo, a centuries-old tea merchant in Kyoto, may not go in for the rigidity of tradition, but they take their tea very seriously. To ...