As one of the top tourist cities in Japan, Kyoto’s perfect balance of ancient culture together with its bustling, exciting cosmopolitan atmosphere creates an environment which caters to even the most famous foodies and culinary professionals. If you are interested in exploring some of the most iconic, local treasures in Kyoto, check out the below restaurants that highlight elegance in simplicity through culinary innovation, which is deep rooted in rich provincial tradition.

Nishi Market
kyoto nishi marketOnce the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto continues to host the most creative foods of the country which range anywhere from interesting seafood concoctions to a spectrum of noodles that are too delicious for you to even put in words. Takoyaki, or these fluffy balls of eggy batter studded with boiled octopus, ginger and spring onion, is without a doubt one of the top culinary masterpieces to try at any of Japan’s many street food markets. Although originally from Osaka, these octopus balls have actually become national food staples that are available in almost any outdoor food market in the country.

The topping of these delicious octopus balls is a creamy sauce, similar to mayonnaise, which offers a nice contrast to the crunchiness of these deep fried treats. Takoyaki is then decorated with some tuna flakes to layer on another set of flavors that allow you to appreciate the tangy richness of the octopus. If you are looking to try one of these notorious octopus balls, it is generally known that some of the best are found at  Kyoto’s Nishiki Market, where you are able to experience Japanese street food as if you were a local of this ancient city, just a bullet train away from the modern day capital, Tokyo.

Tofu House
If you’re interested in experiencing the more rural, breathtaking nature just outside of Kyoto, Shoraian, a picturesque tofu temple peacefully hides amidst the famous Arashiyama mountain range a little west of the city. The journey to the famous tofu house is one that is from a quaint, dream-like fairy tale that somehow made it way into reality. Visitors, locals and culinary innovators continue to be drawn to this restaurant, which fundamentally exhibits the elegance of Japanese culture, both in terms of ambience and cuisine.

It is only right that this well-known, culturally authentic tofu temple would make the most  Due to the stunning location and prestige of the restaurant, the menu can be a little pricey, so it is best to dine at the tofu temple during lunchtime when you appreciate everything at a considerably lower price. The meal starts off with a creamy, burrata like tofu complemented with plum wine that pairs nicely with the rich soy staple. After this course, two other treats worthy of nothing are the pocket sized eggs accompanied by a lovely Japanese calligraphy poem and tofu hot pot simmering with delicious, homemade broth.