Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Tōsuirō: The Best Place to Enjoy Kyo-Tofu Kaiseki Ryori

If you are after a nice traditional-style restaurant to taste the famous Kaiseki Ryōri in Kyoto’s city center, consider Tōsuirō (豆水楼). Apart from the seafood-based course menus, Tōsuirō also has a vegan or gluten-free Kaiseki in both of their restaurants in Kyoto called Rokuhara (六波羅). It is one of the best restaurants to enjoy Kyoto’s signature tofu dishes and seasonal vegetables. Every bite of the tofu dishes has a rich soybean taste. Tōsuirō is the place to discover how delicious a simple soybean product can be!

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Tōsuirō’s Kiyamachi Store

Tōsuirō’s main restaurant is on Kiyamachi-dori Street (木屋町通). It was renovated from an old house completed in the early 20th century. While there are normal table seats on the second floor, sit at the traditional-style tatami seats if possible. Unlike many traditional-style facilities, the lower table is built into the ground, giving you the legroom you need!

No matter which of Tōsuirō’s restaurants you visit, the ambiance is cozy and blissful. If you are lucky enough to sit at the counter seat, strike up a conversation with the friendly chef.

By watching how he prepares your food, you will know how passionate he is about cooking and the level of detail and effort he puts into his work.

Our Visit to Tōsuirō’s Kiyamachi Store

We visited Tōsuirō for dinner. The food offered by Tōsuirō was the best way to finish a day of exploration in Kyoto. While it was a bit of shame not able to see the river view of the Kamo River clearly, the lanterns were only lit at night! The atmosphere created by the lighting from these traditional lanterns was enchanting. It was something that you can only get in Japan’s traditional townscape.

The first thing we saw after passing through the restaurant’s wooden gate was a large covered wooden shoe case. We were led to our counter seats after leaving our shoes in the traditional-style shoe case and letting the staff know about our reservation. The incredible thing was that the staff remembered where we put our shoes and left them out by the time we were back at the entrance again!

And yes, those shoes on the floor are ours (^_-)-☆.

While waiting for the first dish to be served, we walked around the restaurant for a little exploration. The door to the veranda was accessible (confirmed with the staff). While the food wasn’t served there as the weather was too cold, we got a few photos of the Kamo River at night and the restaurant from a different angle.

The small garden, consisting of a small shrine, a water fountain, and a maple tree, was gorgeous (refer to the 3rd photo in the IG post).

Tōsuirō’s Vegan Kaiseki Course Menu: Rokuhara (六波羅)

As expected, the presentation and the taste of every dish were phenomenal. While 9,000 yen for a dinner course was certainly expensive, the experience was worth it. Although each dish was small, together, the dinner was really fulfilling.

But it would be great if the tofu skin rice portion could be bigger (refer to the second last photo in the IG post). While there was only rice, tofu skin, and seaweed in the bowl, its simple taste was amazing.

The most fascinating thing was how the Yu-tofu was served. At Tōsuirō, it is called Oboro Yu-tofu (おぼろ湯豆腐). The boiled tofu was served in a wooden electric container. The heated container kept both the tofu and the dipping sauce warm. Do you see the green teapot on the top left of the container in the photo above? The teapot wasn’t placed on it, but it was put into it! It was such an interesting sha

When the staff first brought out the Yu-tofu, there were already a couple of tofu in the hot water. The staff also told us that refills are available. But we were a bit hesitant to ask for it.

Fortunately, just as most tofu was gone, the staff brought out a plate of tofu and asked us if we would like more. Of course, we said yes! In fact, after that, we asked the staff for a few more times (´▽`*).

Because we were the first few groups of guests for the night, the staff brought out an entire plate of tofu. It looked just like a whole raw cheesecake (refer to the 2nd photo in the IG post)! Then she started scooping the tofu on her plate into the container.

Once you start eating the tofu, you will realize that the chopsticks that Tōsuirō provides are specially made. The tips are as narrow as needles, making it easy to cut the boiled tofu.

Tōsuirō’s Auspicious Decoration

We noticed the large decor hanging from the ceiling on the way out. If you look carefully, many 1,000 yen notes were a part of the decoration. Apparently, those aren’t toy money but real banknotes!

According to the staff, at the end of the year, the restaurant will bring the decor to the Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社). The money will be donated to the shrine, and the restaurant of the paper decoration is burnt as a part of the Japanese New Year tradition.

Then, a new auspicious decoration is put up. Of course, with real money attached!

Tōsuirō’s Gion Store

The restaurant in Gion was also renovated from an old house and is even older than the house in the Kiyamachi area. The house from the late 19th century also has a traditional storage, which was also transformed into a dining area. If you want to experience dining in a traditional storage, reserve early because there are only two tables!

Tōsuirō’s restaurants are the top choice in Kyoto to spend quality time over amazing food and services with your family and friends.

Tōsuirō’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • Tōsuirō Kiyamachi and Tōsuirō Gion Store are open from:
    • 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Saturday
    • 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays
    • Please arrive by 8 p.m. for dinner.
  • Tōsuirō Kiyamachi Store is a 5-minute walk from Kyoto City Subway’s Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae Station (京都市役所前駅).
  • Tōsuirō Gion Store is a 15-minute walk from Keihan’s Gion Shijo Station (祇園四条).

Tips:
☛ It is best to reserve a table in advance as Tōsuirō is popular.
☛ Arrive with an empty stomach. Although each dish isn’t big, there will be a lot of food.
☛ You can reserve the Kawadoko (川床) seats from early May to late September at Tōsuirō’s Kiyamachi restaurant. Although it will cost 1,500 yen more, dining on a platform built over the Kamo River is the best way to experience the Japanese dining culture in summer.

Important: Check with the restaurant in advance if they can accommodate children.

Discover Other Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Kyoto

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Click the photo for more information about Kyoto’s vegan-friendly restaurants.

Your visit to Kyoto may not just be about visiting Gion. The good news is the prefecture has other vegan-friendly restaurants close to spots in the rural area. While the options can be limited, there might be a restaurant close to where you want to visit serving delicious vegan or vegetarian dishes that satisfy your cravings!

Refer to our Guide to Kyoto’s Vegan-Friendly Restaurants for more information!

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