Kansai Tofu Festival celebrates minimalist flavors in picturesque surroundings


On Oct. 2, Tofu Day (a less chocolatey variation on Valentine’s Day) will be celebrated outside traditional restaurant Kiyomizu Junsei Okabeya in eastern Kyoto, close to Kiyomizu Temple. Tofu made with soybeans from all over Japan will be celebrated, tasted and given awards for its minimalist aesthetic, variety of flavors and healthy nutrients.

Seven cities from the Kansai area will each present a special tofu dish for the Kansai Tofu Gourmet Battle. Osaka’s entry will be tofu fondue, while Shiga will present tofu sushi — and you, the visitor, get to vote on which city has created the tastiest dish while retaining that simple elegance.

The restaurant and its picturesque courtyard were designed in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) by architect Goichi Takeda and are designated Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan.

Besides the wide range of complimentary tofu eats (from sweet and salty snacks to tofu tea), a make-your- own-tofu workshop will be held for all visitors, supervised by tofu professionals. It’s an ideal day out for tofu lovers or for vegetarians looking for a little rare variety.

Kansai Tofu Festival will be held on Oct. 2, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Kiyomizu Junsei Okabeya, 2-239 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, near Kiyomizu-deramonzen. Admission is ¥300. For more information, visit www.kansai.mytofu.jp or call (075) 361-0068.