Available at JR Kyoto Isetan! Five Bento Selections by Famous Kyoto Restaurants
The food department on the B2 floor of JR Kyoto Isetan has a large selection of products carefully selected from around the country. Here are five recommended bento boxes from famous ryotei restaurants in Kyoto.
What is JR Kyoto Isetan?
JR Kyoto Isetan is a department store with unwavering popularity thanks to its great location directly connected to Kyoto Station, and its wide selection of products. It also has an abundance of stylish shops as well as restaurants to satisfy foodies. It has a wide selection of Kyoto souvenirs as well, and is always crowded with locals and tourists.
Niden, which is located near Nijo Castle, has a longstanding history dating back to 1757. It was a shidashiya (a shop that cooks and delivers dishes and bento boxes based on orders) for years, and has become famous around the country since establishing a restaurant in 1966. At JR Kyoto Isetan, it sells limited-availability seasonal bento boxes such as the Niden Kobako (3,456 JPY (incl. tax)). Niden Kobako is a two-tiered bento box with simmered food and chirashizushi (a type of sushi with a variety of ingredients on top of vinegar rice). The contents change monthly.
*The image is of another type of bento box by Niden. It is different from Niden Kobako.
Izuu is also a long-established shop dating back to 1781. Its specialty, Saba Sugatazushi, which is famous around the country, is a labor-intensive item in which halves of fatty mackerel caught in the waters near Japan are marinated in salt and rice vinegar and kept in a refrigerator with ice overnight to lock in the flavor. The mackerel is then placed on top of vinegared rice that is formed into a log, and then wrapped in kombu seaweed. The kombu umami flavors are transferred to the mackerel and vinegared rice, giving it a rich yet delicate flavor. The flavors change with time, so you can enjoy the transformation.
In addition to the one serving of Saba Sugatazushi (2,430 JPY (incl. tax)) that is cut into pieces, and the Saba Sugatazushi (4,860 JPY (incl. tax)) uncut log, items such as Futomakizushi (3,024 JPY (incl. tax) for one), and Kyo Chirashizushi (3,564 JPY (incl. tax) and up) are available.
3. Murasakino Wakuden
Murasakino Wakuden was initially established as a ryokan inn in about 1870. It was eventually reborn as a ryotei restaurant and is now famous throughout the country as a long-established ryotei restaurant.
At JR Kyoto Isetan, the restaurant sells bento boxes such as Murasakino (3,240 JPY (incl. tax)), which is filled with ingredients from the land and sea, and Tai Chirashi (2,700 JPY (incl. tax)), which centers on thinly sliced red sea bream. These bento boxes can be enjoyed both for their delicate appearance and refined flavors.
Shimogamosaryo, established in 1856, is a long-standing ryotei restaurant near the World Heritage Site, Shimogamo Shrine, known for the Aoi Matsuri festival. A variety of bento boxes that enable you to casually taste the flavors of this famous restaurant is available at JR Kyoto Isetan. The Aioi Gozen (2,160 JPY (incl. tax)) in the image is a bento box with a colorful display of a variety of different dishes. It is popular as a bento box that represents the season.
The last bento boxes we introduce are by Tagoto, a long-established Kyoto cuisine restaurant with a history of more than 120 years. Tagoto operates several restaurants in convenient locations such as around Kyoto Station and in the Shijo area. At JR Kyoto Isetan, they sell such bento boxes as Ume (2,160 JPY (incl. tax)), a two-tiered bento box filled with colorful dishes, and Daifuku (1,620 JPY (incl, tax)), which is compact but has a good balance of such items as tempura and simmered food. These seasonal bento boxes will delight both the eye and the palate.
*The image is of another bento box by Tagoto. It is different from either of the bento boxes introduced in the text.
Well-established ryotei restaurants in Kyoto may have the image of being expensive and hard to get into. These bento boxes will allow you to enjoy the tastes of Kyoto ryotei restaurants for reasonable prices, since meals there usually cost anywhere between several thousand yen and 20,000 yen. They are popular among the Japanese as a casual way to experience ryotei food. Please give them a try!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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