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The quintessential tourist image of Kyoto cuisine is one of a refined “bento” (boxed lunch) containing all sorts of small treats, but heavy on fish, tofu and vegetables, with much attention devoted to presentation and tastes that are sublime, but not overpowering. Certain Kyoto vegetables like “kujo negi” green onion form the base of many local dishes, while Kyoto tofu is famous throughout the country for its quality.

But one food item not traditionally associated with Kyoto is beef. While Kobe beef is world famous and along with Omi and Matsuzaka beef is considered Japan’s finest, sparking spirited debates among fussy foodies over the merits of each, the idea of visiting a Kyoto restaurant for a thick steak, or even an excellent “shabu-shabu” or sukiyaki dinner with local beef, is not yet on the tourist list of must-do things while in the ancient capital.

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