[Kyoto]Healthy and Delicious! Try the Tofu When You Visit Kyoto



A Time-Tested Tradition—Kyoto Tofu

In its simplest form, tofu is made from only three raw ingredients: soybeans, nigari (a by-product of salt-production), and water. As insignificant as the water may seem, water is actually a key ingredient in tofu-making and can change the flavor profile entirely. It just so happens, that water from Kyoto makes notoriously delicious tofu. 
From long ago, craftsmen in Kyoto have been making tofu from the region’s spring water, which is  soft water and therefore ideal for tofu. 

Kyoto tofu is considered so special, it even has its own name—Kyo-dofu. It has a light sweet flavor and a noticeably soft texture that sets it apart from other tofu, earning it a special place in many people’s hearts and stomachs.

Kyoto’s Outstanding Tofu Cuisine

Besides being delicious, Kyo-dofu is a star ingredient in traditional Buddhist cuisine—known as Shojin Ryori—which is completely vegetarian. Tofu’s high nutritional value makes it an indispensable part of many Japanese meals and it can be eaten in a variety of ways. Here are some of Kyoto’s more popular tofu dishes:

Yudofu–Small blocks of tofu boiled in a mild kelp broth. 
After it is heated through, the tofu is then dipped in soy sauce or ponzu (a tangy sauce made of citrus and soy) and topped with condiments like green onions, grated daikon radish, and spices.

Tofu dengaku–Skewered and grilled rectangular pieces of tofu, which are finished off with a rich miso-based glaze.
Yuba –Best described as tofu skin, this smooth and delicate type of tofu is made by heating soy milk and selecting only the thin layers that form on top. It is often eaten in soup, fried until crispy, or eaten raw in place of sashimi.

Tofu Restaurants to Visit in Kyoto

Most Kyoto restaurants will have at least one dish on the menu that includes tofu. However, if you truly want to savor Kyoto’s unparalleled tofu cuisine, visit a restaurant that specializes in tofu, like …

Tousuiro or Yudofu Takemura. 

Tousuiro has two locations, one in Kiyamachi, which features riverside outdoor dining in temperate months, and one in Gion, where you can dine in a refurbished sake warehouse for an unforgettable experience. This fine-dining restaurant originally specialized in yudofu, and takes the tofu theme above and beyond. The restaurant uses some form of tofu or other soy-based ingredient in each and every course, like the tempura batter which substitutes soy milk for egg, resulting in a light crispy coating. 

Reservations are recommended but they can also accommodate walk-ins The Gion location offers gluten-free dining in vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Those requiring a non-vegetarian gluten-free meal should reserve at least 3 days in advance.


Kiyamachi location
Address: 517-3, Kamiosakamachi, Sanjo Agaru Kiyamachi St, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 11:30 am –3:00 pm (last kitchen order 2:00 pm) & 5:00 pm –10:00 pm  (last kitchen order 9:00 pm)
Sundays & holidays 11:45 am –3:00 pm  (last kitchen order 2:00 pm) & 5:00 pm -9:30 pm (last kitchen order 8:30 pm)
Closed: New Year holidays and while setting up kawayuka terrace

Gion location
Address: 38-1, Bishamonten-Cho, 4 Matsubara-Agaru, Higashioji, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 11:30 am – 3:00 pm  (last kitchen order 2:00 pm) & 5:00 pm –10:00 pm (last kitchen order 9:00 pm)
Sundays & holidays 11:45 am – 3:00 pm  (last kitchen order 2:00pm ) & 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm  (last kitchen order 8:30 pm)
Closed: New Year holidays

Yudofu Takemura is located in Arashiyama near the entrance to the famous bamboo forest. 
This family run establishment boasts recipes passed down through three generations of chefs. Unique attention is paid to their signature yudofu, which is lightly simmered at the table and cooked to the perfect texture. The lightly flavored soup and house-made dipping sauce are made from the country’s finest ingredients. 

Yudofu Takemura

Address: 48-7 Sagatenryuji Kitatsukurimichicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City
Hours: 11:00 am – 7:30 pm  (last kitchen orders 6:30 pm)
Closed: Thursdays
Website (in Japanese):



Maisie McPherson
Originally from the United States, Maisie has called the Kansai region of Japan home for nearly two decades. She enjoys seeking out the charms of life in Japan and sharing that information with visitors from overseas. She also loves marveling at retro architecture and design from the Showa period, exploring Japanese gardens, and is always up for a night out in a lively izakaya.