Where to go in Kyoto and Shiga this season
Ukishima Garden Kyoto: Shojin-inspired, vegan cuisine in Kyoto
Everyone knows how difficult it is to find vegetarian and vegan food in Japan: that tofu soup might contain dashi made from bonito stock, or sweet potato tempura cooked in the same oil as for the meat and fish! But when in Kyoto, look no further than the lovely machiya restaurant Ukishima Garden, where everything they serve is fully vegan and organic!
The delectable flavours and gorgeous presentation of their shojin ryori-inspired cuisine will not disappoint! Shojin ryori refers to the type of meals found in Buddhist temples. Several of the dishes are gluten-free too.
You can also read more about the owner Naoko Nakasone in upcoming issue KJ91: Sustainability! Find our subscriptions here.
Ukishima Garden (MAP)
543 Asakura-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8074
Camellia Garden: Exquisite Japanese Tea Ceremony Experience
A short walk from Ryoanji Zen Temple, Camellia Garden is a 100-year-old property surrounded by peaceful gardens. Gain fascinating glimpses into the Way of Tea in an exclusive private session with one of their expert instructors. Book your visit here.
If you would prefer to join a group session, head to Camellia Flower on Ninenzaka Street. You may also need to book in advance depending on the time of year.
Kyokoyado Yasaka Yutone & Kyokoyado Muromachi Yutone: Luxurious boutique accommodation in Kyoto
Yasaka Yutone is a cozy, beautifully-renovated Kyoto townhouse. It is located in the backstreets of Gion district and a mere few minutes away from Yasaka Shrine, one of Kyoto’s iconic landmarks.
The hotel is designed to combine Japanese aesthetics with Western-style comforts, with plush bedding instead of futon. All ensuite bathrooms are fitted with aromatic cypress wooden baths for a thoroughly relaxing experience.
Sumptuous kaiseki multi-course dinners are on offer here, courtesy of new chef Aida-san, who was recently plucked from one of Gion’s exclusive ryotei restaurants. His creations are to die for.
Hotel Kyokoyado Yasaka Yutone
413 Minamimachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0824, Japan
Muromachi Street is historically where many kimono and Nishijin-ori fabric wholesalers were located, and this lovely guesthouse was formerly one such property.
There are only 7 rooms here, each tastefully decorated to preserve the character of the original building and and with their own unique touches. The furnishings are finely crafted and we especially covet their lounge chairs!
Muromachi Yutone prides itself on its cuisine: Meals here use only the freshest seasonal ingredients (including kyo-yasai, Kyoto’s famous veggie varieties), and always paired with an excellent saké.
Kanou Shoujuan — Sunai no Sato: Experience wagashi-making in rural Shiga
Wagashi traditional Japanese confections are delightful parcels of typically sweet red bean filling and enjoyed with matcha tea. They are delicate, artful creations that are often an expression of the seasons: like the budding of new green leaves in spring, or the emergence of fireflies in early summer.
Now, one of Japan’s most recognisable confectioners, Kanou Shoujuan, is offering wagashi-making experiences at their Sunai no Sato complex in Shiga: the neighbouring prefecture to Kyoto, and where the brand was born. Sunai no Sato itself is immediately adjacent to a sprawling orchard of plum trees which bloom in late February-early March. Gorgeous!
There are two class options are on offer here. You can take up the morning class, crafting three different varieties of sweet under the guidance of the knowledgeable staff, followed by a warming bowl of matcha, and this runs between 10:45~12:30. For a more leisurely session to include a beautiful, seasonal bento box lunch, this runs between 10:30~14:30.
There is also an opportunity to browse the shop for souvenirs before hopping back on the bus.
Be sure to reserve your place well in advance for this wonderful opportunity! A free shuttle bus departs from Ishiyama Station, just under 15 minutes away from Kyoto Station.
Kanou Shoujuan —Sunai no Sato (MAP)
4 Chome-2-1 Oishiryumon, Otsu, Shiga Prefecture 520-2266
Group classes held Tues, Thurs and Sat(*subject to change) 10:45 – 12:15
Reservations: 077-546-3131 (Japanese) or email@example.com (English OK)
www.sunainosato.com (Japanese only)
Papa Jon’s: The best NY cheesecake in Kyoto
Papa Jon’s is a firm KJ favourite, with many an editorial meeting held over scrummy cakes and milkshakes. Their gorgeous renovated machiya café on Rokkaku Street downtown was also featured in our Small Buildings of Kyoto book! (Now sold out and a second edition coming soon!)
Shokokuji Monzencho 642-4, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-0898
115 Horinouecho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8117
8-57 Yamabana Itchodacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8007
www.papajons.net/ (Japanese only)
KYOTO Butoh-kan: The world’s first theatre dedicated to Butoh avant-garde dance
Just off Sanjo Street in downtown Kyoto, Art Complex 1928 has renovated an Edo-period kura storehouse to create the Butoh-kan, an intimate performance venue of 8 seats. Butoh is a form of avant garde dance that emerged in Japan in the 1950s.
Among the performers here is a veteran of Butoh: Ima Tenko, who was a member of the renowned group Byakkosha which toured internationally. Each 45~50 minute performance is an immersive experience. Described as “a theatre of protest, an assault on the senses, bewildering, visually raw, emotionally overwhelming”, Ima Tenko dances accompanied by a live shamisen duo. Two other performers are also featured at the Butoh-kan, each with their own signature visuals and style.
Performances are scheduled regularly in the evenings on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 6pm and 8pm.
North on Koromonotana St. + Sanjo St. intersection, Nakagyo-ku Kyoto 604-8202
Performance schedule and tickets (9 seats only): www.butohkan.jp/