Street Food at Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street Near Nijo-jo Castle (World Heritage Site) in Kyoto!
[Local College Students Tell All!] Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street – located near Nijo-jo Castle, a World Heritage Site in Kyoto – is a shopping area for locals and students. Below are some local street foods, izakaya (Japanese-style taverns), cafes, and restaurants. Enjoy the amazing food and atmosphere at Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street!
Sep 25 2017 (Dec 25 2019)
What is the Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street?
Spread out around Sanjo Street, Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street is a long shopping street sandwiched in-between Horikawa Street in the east and Senbon Street in the west. It contains West Japan’s largest arcade (total length of 800m), with 185 stores currently open, including cafes and general stores. It is a perfect place to enjoy the local atmosphere of Kyoto.
Below are 8 of the most popular street food stores among local college students!
This is a takeaway store specializing in taiyaki that is located near the west entrance of the shopping district. This shop is popular for its taiyaki (130 yen). Taiyaki is a fish-shaped pancake filled with azuki beans (red beans). In addition to the basic red bean flavor, they also have custard and caramel flavors. Their other popular menu item is takoyaki, which are round balls of dough stuffed with diced octopus (starts at 6 pieces for 340 yen).
This is a uji tea specialty shop that is also famous for their matcha (powdered green tea) soft serve ice cream (180 yen). Matcha ice cream is well-known around Kyoto, and this was the shop that started to sell it for the first time in Japan. Enjoy their matcha ice cream made with a traditional recipe!
3. Japanese Dish Amitatsu
Japanese Dish Amitatsu transforms from a fresh fish shop during the daytime into an izakaya during the evening! It is a very popular local restaurant where you can enjoy a variety of dishes, such as sashimi (raw sliced fish) and skewers, at a reasonable price. The tables in the restaurant were remodeled from old beer boxes, and the entire restaurant has a street stall atmosphere. Their skewers with fried fish and vegetables are recommended (starts from 100 yen per skewer).
4. Ran Hotei
Ran Hotei is a tea house that was started by a Canadian, Randy Channell, who's well-known in Kyoto as a tea ceremony expert. It serves matcha dishes such as matcha smoothies, matcha carbonated water, and matcha sweets. It is located inside an old-style Kyoto house (kyomachiya) that was renovated into a Japanese tea house with a Japanese-Western atmosphere. On the 2nd floor of the building, they run tea ceremony courses (3,500 yen per person) where you can experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, make your own matcha tea with a small bowl, and even learn about the history of tea ceremonies from Channell himself (reservations required)! There are many overseas customers, and they offer English support.
5. Gomaya Crepe-Do
Gomaya Crepe-Do is a sesame crepe shop. They have a variety of crepes, including the black sesame cream crepe (400 yen) in the photograph and Kyoto vegetable crepe sandwiches. Apart from crepes, they also have many sesame-based dishes, such as golden sesame ice cream and sesame lemonade. Everything is healthy and tasty! You can eat on the premises or takeaway!
6. Premarché Gelateria
Premarché Gelateria is a gelato and natural food shop that recently opened in April 2017. They have several types of gelato, such as vegan and dairy-free, with many using traditional Japanese ingredients (tofu, charcoal, matcha, etc.). Among them is the recommended vegan TM Ninja (500 yen), which has a very unique flavor. The ingredients used in it were chosen based on the concept of "what a ninja would've eaten back in the day". The ingredient list includes organic soy milk, black rice, black sesame, black quince, and so on. It’s a "ninja taste" made from healthy ingredients with a high nutritional value. If you eat it, maybe you too will be strong like a ninja?!
This is a popular cafe that has been operating at Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street for 10 years. It recently moved to its current location and had a renewal opening in 2016. The inside of the cafe has a warm and relaxed atmosphere. It mainly serves Italian cuisine, along with takeaway pizza and sweets that are made using seasonal ingredients. Next door is their sister store, Sarasa Yakigashi Kobo, which is a sweets studio and bakery where you can enjoy beautiful cakes!
Sanjowakasaya is a well-established traditional Japanese confectionery shop that is located just east of the shopping district. Their specialty confection is Gion Chigo Mochi (starts from 388 yen for 3 skewers), which got its fame from the Kyoto Gion Festival. Since ancient times, Gion Chigo Mochi was believed to invite blessings and exclude misfortune. They are made by kneading together rice flour, sugar, and syrup with white miso, coating the resulting mochi (sticky rice cake), and then serving them on skewers. They are very popular souvenirs!
Kyoto Sanjo Shopping Street has plenty of things to eat, including many things that haven't been mentioned, such as croquettes and Japanese sweet breads. Enjoy your browsing and try plenty of delicious Japanese food!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.