Get to know Kyoto, as if it was your hometown

If you really want to get to know Japan, come to Kyoto. Here, age-old Japanese cultural traditions continue to thrive.
Not simply the famous kimono and geisha, but the philosophy of generations of forebears, philosophy that is alive
in the lifestyles of each and every person who makes Kyoto home even today in the 21st century.
Enjoy Kyoto brings you the essence of this city and its people.
We believe that this thousand-year-old culture can offer lessons about life and happiness for us all.

  • 06/22/2022
  • 08/08/2022

Shōyu: Inside the Barrel

The Secrets of Soy Sauce Dark, lustrous and fragrant— shōyu (soy sauce) is another one of Japan’s most commonly used seasoning brewed with kōji mold. Like miso, soy sauce also originates from China. One theory speculates that it was discovered when someone scooped up some residual  liquid on the bottom of a miso barrel to use  as a flavoring for food. Although soy sauce  and miso are produced with similar  ingredients, the two seasonings have very  different flavor profiles. Miso uses kōji mold  grown on steamed rice; soy sauce is also  fermented with the same magic mold but  cultured on steamed soybeans and roasted  wheat, which is what adds that unique aroma  and sweetness. To make shōyu, soybeans, wheat, salt, water and kōji are mixed together […]

  • 06/22/2022
  • 08/08/2022

The Paste to Boast About: Miso

Nothing is more comforting than sipping on a steaming bowl of miso soup. The obvious key ingredient here, miso, is a commonly used fermented paste made from soybeans, salt and rice kōji, a starter culture unique to Japan. Miso stems from ancient Chinese salt-cured soybeans, introduced to Japan some 1,300 years ago. It evolved into a paste-like form similar to what we have now by the medieval period, recognized as a source of nutrition among samurais and Zen monks abstaining from eating meat. The miso kept in the fridges of most homes today is store-bought. Until the breakout of the second world war, however, the average family would prepare their own homemade miso. Bragging to each other about their household miso was a daily occurrence, […]

  • 06/22/2022
  • 08/08/2022

Ingredients of a vital life

You are what you eat. We all know that a healthy, gut-friendly diet is the secret to good health and a strong immune system. Fermented foods play a crucial role in this, but how do we get enough of them in a busy lifestyle? There’s no end of ideas at Hakkō Shokudō Kamoshika. Run by owner Megumi Seki, Hakkō Shokudō Kamoshika (or ‘Kamoshika’ for short) is a café and grocery store within short walking distance of each other near JR Saga-Arashiyama Station. The shared lineage of the two is clear from the rows of glass jars of fermented and preserved foods lining the shelves in each establishment. Purple sauerkraut, whole Chinese cabbages, kombucha with an eerie resemblance to a jelly fish, and preserved raw eggs […]

  • 06/20/2022
  • 08/08/2022

Splendidly Stinky: The pick of local fermented pickles

No discussion of Japanese fermented foods would be complete without mention of the power of lactic acid bacteria, a friendly microbe found throughout nature. When fermented they have the ability to convert sugars into lactic acid, with probiotic effects that are highly beneficial to human health. Cheese and yogurt are well-known examples of lacto-fermented foods, but in the traditional Japanese diet the main source of these microorganisms is fermented pickles. Here we introduce some of Kyoto’s most distinguished varieties. Welcome to a stinky, sour world of pickles that are anything but humble! Shibazuke A perennial favorite pickled with a Japanese herb Shibazuke is a specialty of Ōhara, a village in the north-eastern mountains of Kyoto City. Folks here have been home-pickling shibazuke since the twelfth […]

  • 06/20/2022
  • 08/08/2022

Functionally Flavorful: The Japanese Art of Fermentation

The Japanese Art of Fermentation The recent worldwide trend of wellness has reawakened mainstream interest in fermented foods and drinks.Kombucha tea, originally from Mongolia, has surged in popularity over the past few years to become a staple of the health-conscious crowd. More recently, The Noma Guide to Fermentation co-authored by the co-owner of Denmark’s Noma, a Michelin-starred restaurant acclaimed for their wonderfully inventive dishes, caused something of a sensation. The trend also includes Japanese cuisine and its rich fermentation culture including Japanese saké, nattō beans and tsukemono pickles, to name a few. Issue 43 of Enjoy Kyoto takes a peek into the world of traditional Japanese fermented foods. The culture’s deeper than you might think. Komekōji, or cultured kōji mold on steamed rice. A key […]

  • 06/15/2022
  • 08/08/2022

Creative Kimonoing: A new wave of stylistic freedom

The designers behind the brand Modern Antenna believe that kimono shouldn’t be just for special occasions. With rule-breaking styles that are all about fun and fashion, this Arashiyama-based label is on a mission to re-establish Japan’s traditional garment as a casual wardrobe choice. Kimono as a tool of self-expression “The kimono is Japan’s traditional form of dress and yet I couldn’t find a single one that appealed to me. The venture started from my rebellious streak as a designer,” says the owner of Modern Antenna, Yoshihide Hirayama. Originally a graphic designer, Hirayama began designing kimonos in 2007 with his wife, Asako Yamamoto, a designer and illustrator. At the time, kimono sales were plummeting due to changing times and consumer demands, while makers stubbornly continued to […]

  • 02/10/2022
  • 08/08/2022

Shodō Artist Tomoko Kawao

Tomoko Kawao is one of the most high-profile shodō artists in Japan today. She began her practice of the art at age six, when her parents decided to make their tomboyish daughter take shodō lessons, in the hope that this might make her more meek and feminine. Although their hopes were dashed in the sense that she never lost her knockabout personality, these lessons her parents gave her the opportunity to discover her talent and find her true purpose in life. Another factor had an enormous influence on her life and career. Kawao battled illness throughout the six years she attended junior high and high school. Up until junior high school, she had been an active and sporty child, but her inability to participate in […]

  • 02/04/2022
  • 08/08/2022

Kojima Shōten: Kyoto-style Lanterns

The history of Kojima Shōten: The flame undying for 220 years. The history of Kojima Shōten, the venerable Kyoto lantern makers, stretches back approximately 220 years, to around the year 1800. In fact, while the oldest documents on record of Kojima Shōten date back to this time, it is believed that the store actually opened its doors even earlier. Indeed, around the time when Kojima Shōten first opened for business in the late 18th century, Marie Antoinette was executed, Thomas Jefferson was elected as the third President of the United States, and the ukiyoe artists Sharaku was wowing Japan with his woodblock prints. With this perspective, we can appreciate the weight of the history the Kojima family members have inherited. The lanterns crafted by Kojima […]

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