I plan to sleep late and get out of bed in time for lunch every day. So I'm skipping breakfast and the extra stomach fill that normally would be. In between lunch hour and dinner hour I plan to snack every day at some unknown local shop I pass while I stroll downtown Kyoto on my sightseeing. I am open to tips on local specialities I should try and also where I should try it in Kyoto. The time between lunch and dinner is also when I will be doing all my tourist sightseeings of temples and the local culture in Kyoto. Then I have the lunch and dinner reservations for each day before I plan to snack at the seafood restaurant/bar/Izakaya Yamashita after dinner every day. I am not entierly sure about Yamashita and if it is the kind of place which is suitable for that kind of plan. Is it a place where you can just drop in or do you need a reservation? I am going just to snack and have a few drinks after dinner. I do not have the capacity for any menus or full cources there after both lunch, mid day snacking and dinner. I want my regular hangout spot in Kyoto for this late snacking to be a seafood place with focus on shellfish and crustaceans over fish. You know oyster (preferably bellon), sea urchin, scallop, prawn, razor clam, percebes, abalone, sea snail, different type of crab, different type of lobster, langoustine, crawfish, sea cucumber, all types of shells and clams etc. and of course a nice selection of sake or wine. I would appriciate feedback if Yamashita is a place suitable for this or if someone maybe have alternatives or other suggestions if Yamashita is not suitable.
From what I understand this is Yamashita:
I would be interested in the current seafood ranking in Kyoto on Tabelog if someone could help me to a link showing that. I don't know how to do it myself. Sorry.
Then we have the lunch and dinner reservations I hope to make. I don't know how hard these restaurants are to reserve. I will only find out when I start trying. So eventually this list might have to change once I start, but this is at least the preliminary list I initially want to try to do. As usual I am very interested in feedback on the listed restaurants and their quality, on your thoughts on them and possible alterntives. I know there is some great knowledge among you out there, so any feedback would be highly appriciated.
As you can see there are no sushi restauarnts listed for Kyoto. It seems to me that the quality of the sushi restaurants are better in Tokyo and Osaka and that it might be better to focus on sushi there and instead spend most of my time on kaiseki here in Kyoto.
The top priority restaurants I want to go to in Kyoto are Kitcho Arashiyama Honten, Kikunoi Honten, Kichisen, Mizai, Gion Suetomo and Gion Sasaki. All are kaiseki restaurants. I hope to make all dinner reservations. These were all highly recomended by Shinji Nohara as his favourite restaurants in Kyoto. They are all listed in the Michelin guide with three stars except Gion Suetomo which has two stars and Gion Sasaki which has one stars. The entire trip to Kyoto was originally based on the fact that I had the Tokyo branches of the restaurants Kitcho and Kikunoi on my restaurant list for Tokyo and Shinji suggested that it would be better to visit the main restaurants in Kyoto since Kyoto was just a short ride with the Shinkansen away from Tokyo. Additionally Shinji describes Gion Suetomo as his top favourite restaurant in Kyoto. Gion Sasaki he describes as super conservative yet very inventive and Mizai as also very inventive. Both Shinji and I like inventive and contemporary cuisine. Kitcho of course is extremely expensive and some might find it is not much of value in dining there. I am not going to argue about that, but will just add that I am going to try to reserve it to experience it once in my lifetime. The cost doesn't really matter that much for a once in a lifetime experience.
Other than that I also would like to dine at kaiseki seafood restaurant Ogata for dinner where I am hoping to special order the Taiza crab if its not on the regular menu at the time I will be there and hope that will be possible.
Additionally I will try to reserve Hyo-tei, Nakamura, Chihana (all Michelin three star restauarnts), Yonemura (one Michelin star main office of a restaurant I also want to visit in Tokyo), Sojiki Nakahigashi (two Michelin stars) and Akazaki Tsuruya (two Michelin stars but used to have three) as lunch reservations. All of these are also kaiseki restauarnts. When I write kaiseki restaurants here it doesn't mean that they all are traditional ryori kaiseki restauarnts. Some of these are very inventive and serve kappo kaiseki meals. It will be a mix. Akazaki Tsuruya used to be an inn inn for members of the Houses of Lords and Representatives on the occasion of the enthronement of Emperor Showa, held at the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
Additionally I want to mix it up with a dinner meal at the french restaurant Misogigawa (not listed in the Michelin guide but seems highly regarded on bento.com), lunch at the Italian restauarnt Il Ghiottone (not listed in the Michelin guide but highly regarded on the web and on Tabelog) and a lunch meal at the suppon specialist restaurant Daiichi. Suppon is one of the specialities of Japan I would like to sample while I am there. Daiichi in Kyoto was chosen as the best option I have found on my research in all three cities I will visit (Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo). If you have options in Kyoto or the other two cities which you consider better I would very much appriciate that input.
From this list there is one lunch spot and one dinner spot too many for the number of days I will stay in Kyoto. So I will need to remove two restaurants from the mentioned list. Any suggestions to which I should remove?
The research tools I have used to identify where I want to dine have been this very fine forum, the website Tabelog, the Michelin guide, the outstanding website Bento (thanks Robbie), the advice of The Tokyofixer Shinji Nohara and a lot of googling on blogs and articles on the web. My knowledge are certain to be full of holes though and I might have missed some very significant restaurants that I definetly should have added to achieve my goal of dining at the best and most significant restaurants in Kyoto. So I am hoping for your contributions by passing along recomendations, corrections, replacement advice and general information about my choices or other alernatives that you might think of as helpful.
If anyone should be in Kyoto and wants to meet, the most easy spot to find me would be to go to Yamashita late evenings or just send me an e-mail to email@example.com. I will stay at either the Ritz Carlton, the Grand Hyatt or the Mume. I have not decided yet. I also plan to stay one or two nights at a high end Kyoto ryokan. I have not given any thought to which ryokan yet. I will not dine at the ryokan while I stay there because my dining schedule is already full.