Visit a traditional tea house for a taste of culture and history
As Japan’s ancient capital, Kyoto also features a vast number of traditional establishments. A sterling example is Hiranoya, a venerable thatched roof tea house located in the Arashiyama area on the west side of the city. Two specialties available here are ama-zake, or sweet sake, which is actually very low in alcohol content and made using the lees from sake brewing. It’s highly pungent, slightly sweet and fortified, the perfect drink for a cool day. Hiranoya also offers ayu-chazuke, a special dish of ayu (Japanese sweetfish) that’s been glazed and reduced whole in a miso sauce, served over rice with a pot of green tea dashi, which is poured over the fish and rice to create a delectable umami-rich porridge. Hiranoya also offers cups of matcha tea with a Japanese sweet for a reasonable price, and in the traditional back rooms, a full kaiseki spread is available for anyone who wants an unforgettable Kyoto culinary experience.