Kyoto Landmark: Gion Shijo Station

Gion is a traditional and popular district in Kyoto nestled in between the Kamo River and Yasaka Shrine. To this day, Gion is still known as a geisha town, and visitors can spot geisha and maiko slipping into taxis or walking to their work. Gion-Shijo acts as the main train station for visitors traveling from Kyoto station. Luckily, the area is packed with restaurants, cafes and various eateries both affordable and indulgent, offering some of the best in Kyoto cuisine.

Restaurant Mimiu
Mimiu is best known for its dashi broth, which is cooked daily with domestic ingredients. The dashi broth is then added to their signature noodle dishes. Udon-suki is their most popular menu item. The chewy and thick noodles combined with seasonal vegetables are dipped into the dashi based soup and can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. The noodle bowls can be paired with donburi, or rice bowls, to create a set meal. Tempura and oyakodon are popular additions for hungry customers. In the winter, the udon is served in a hot pot and shared in groups.

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Restaurant Wabi-ya Koreki-do

Wabiya Korekido is available for both affordable set lunches and indulgent gourmet dinners. Using the finest ingredients, Wabiya specializes in yakitori and other chicken dishes. Diners can order a la carte or through the chefs recommended set course. The set menu, available in English, offers a taste of everything. Their hearty oyako-don, a chicken and egg rice bowl,  is their star dish, and featured in their 1500 JPY lunch set. For dinner, traditional yakitori skewers and their homemade chicken soup make up a filling course set. Their chicken soup is also available for purchase.
The small restaurant only seats about a dozen people at most. The atmosphere has a local and traditional feel, and is located on a quiet cobblestone street in Gion. The chef recommended dinner course, with eleven dishes, starts from 7500 JPY. 

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Restaurant Oku

Oku offers lunch and dinner sets and unlike most restaurants in Gion, is open in the afternoon for desserts and tea. The meals are served in set courses, kaiseki style. Both lunch and dinner offer multi-plate options featuring seafood. The dishes are traditional Kyoto style, with mild seasonings that make the natural flavors of the ingredients stand out. For visitors who need a quick afternoon pick me up, Oku offers traditional desserts served alongside green tea. The desserts are intricately created, with seasonal ingredients and natural decorations. Ice cream parfaits and shaved ice are popular items in the warmer seasons.

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Oku is open from 11:30AM to 9PM and is closed on Tuesdays. The lunch set, offered from 11:30AM to 2:30PM, starts from 3500 JPY. The dinner set, offered from 5PM to 9PM, starts from 6500 JPY.

Restaurant Tsukigase

Kyoto is infamously known for having some of the hottest summers in Japan. Locals can cool down by indulging in kakigori, or Japanese style shaved ice. Tsukigase specializes in light and refreshing desserts, from kakigori to anmitsu, a bowl of jelly and fruit. The shop has been selling their traditional sweets since 1926. Diners can choose their style of shaved ice, from green tea flavor with a red bean topping or a creamy scoop of ice cream. The shaved ice is soft and flaky, a blessing of snow on a hot summer day. Small souvenirs and to go cups of anmitsu are also sold, perfect to take to the nearby Kamo river.

Tsukigase is open from 12PM to 7PM and is closed on every Wednesday and the first Thursday of the month. Kakigori and anmitsu start from 810 JPY. 

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Restaurant Kyosendo

For a sweeter option, the rice cracker shop Kyosendo offers parfaits, soft cream and chewy dango. There are plenty of options for dessert, however, the matcha parfait is the most popular item. The parfait is topped with a tea leaf rice cracker, chanoha senbei, a specialty of the shop. Matcha from Uji is baked into the cracker, creating a unique flavor only found at Kyosendo. The parfaits are multilayered, featuring both vanilla and matcha ice cream, and can be topped with pieces of dango, jelly or red bean. Diners can also have a side of matcha tea to finish off dessert. Don’t forget to pick up the tea leaf rice crackers for friends and family back home.

The Kyosendo cafe is open from 10:30AM to 8PM. The matcha parfait start from 1080 JPY. Five bags with ten crackers each start from 324 JPY

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