Kyoto Gastronomy: Kyoto Vegetables-Kyoyasai/京野菜

I have just come back from a 3-day “holiday” in Kyoto, a touristic spot famed all over the world.
Kyoto does have its own gastronomy, what with the untold number of temples of different religions and sects.
Vegetables have been the staple of the city for a long time and when they are grown in Kyoto they are simply called “Kyo-yasai” (“kyo” for “Kyoto” and “yasai” for “vegetables”).
There are officially 41 traditional varieties of them including 21 with a registered brand/controlled appelation and 43 more varieties have also been recently recognised as such.

One way to discover them if you do not have the opportunity or time to discover vegetable fields is to visit the long and narrow Nishiki/錦 covered market in Central Kyoto.

Unfortunately, in my own view, the market has turned into a crowded touristic spot with all the pitfalls bound to open under your feet.
The real Kyoto vegetables are the minority and you need to understand Japanese to discern what is real and what is “fake”. I even found anorexic wasabi imported from South Korea!
Moreover, so-called Kyo-yasai are increasingly being grown away from Kyoto, especially in Shizuoka where the single town of Iwata grows 80% of all “ebi-imo”, one of the most representative vegetables of the famed city!

But there is another way to discover those celebrated vegetables for the pleasure of vegans, vegetarians and vegans!
About lunch time or before dinner time, just walk past the restaurants lining the side and back streets!

All izakayas and restaurants proud of their vegetables will display them outside for all to see!

They make for great souvenir photographs to show back home!

For a closer view!
Do you recognize any?

Even in front of Italian restaurants!

Placed in front of the outdoors menu board…

For a more distant view to discover the small Japanese restaurant at lunch time!

In front of another busy Japanese restaurant at night!

But this was my favorite!

Lined between a small cabbage garden and a great queue of Japanese sake!

I hope this will give you another idea as to how visit Kyoto!


Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

4 thoughts on “Kyoto Gastronomy: Kyoto Vegetables-Kyoyasai/京野菜”

  1. Thank you, Robert-Gilles. It’s very interesting, but you have just confirmed my decision to skip Kyoto for at least the first two visits to Japan 😉 I have never been particularly attracted to Kyoto as THE touristic spot. Frankly I am on of those visitors (never called myself a tourist!) who prefer to walk the streets, observe local people, breath in the atmosphere, sip drinks, taste food and who would give 20 visits to temples for just one guided tour of a small sake or miso producing place or a “visit” in a traditional izakaya 😉 Moreover, now I have just noticed, with horror, that I would almost feel there as if I hadn’t moved from Switzerland: they also have decorative cabbages!!! (Here a bit of music from a Hitchcock’s film would be perfect instead of !!!!).


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