Japanese Cuisine in Nara
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Where to Eat in Nara : Best Restaurant Guide
- The city of Nara, with all its historic landmarks and charming deer, is a magnet for tourists all year round, so it is not short on dining options. From Sanjo Dori up to Nara Park, and past Naramachi, there are plenty of restaurants and types of cuisine to choose from. Mellow Café (Pizza) Mellow Café Mellow Cafe is located a couple of blocks from Sanjo Dori in the Konishi-cho district of Nara. On warmer days, you will find it to be like an oasis, just hiding in the back of a small shopping building shaded from the sun. The menu includes a long list of international dishes including Indian and Italian cuisine. The highlight at Mellow however is its stone-oven baked pizza, where you can watch the pizza making process through a window. Once you've gotten your pizza and side beverage, continue on to Nara Park. Mellow Cafe is open everyday from 11am to 11:30pm Mellow Café Shika no Fune (Japanese rice cooked in traditional oven) Shika no Fune Shika no Fune serves light yet filling daytime meals served with vegetables grown nearby. The light-filled space is the perfect place to start a relaxing morning. The meals are Japanese-inspired with a macrobiotic twist, all featuring local produce. Each item is handmade, and the rice is grown nearby and cooked inside a fire oven. There are four choices for lunch, including seasonal options, that offer both vegetarian and meat meals. The cafe is open from 8 am to 6 pm daily but stops serving meals once the rice runs out. Awa Naramachi (Japanese multi-course meal) Appetizer: Yamato traditional vegetables A farm located nearby is undergoing “Project Millet” where the main focus is on traditional Yamato vegetables. This farm produces 120 different kinds of vegetables and herbs, even producing Yamato beef and local sake. A famous shop that utilizes those ingredients and produces wonderful dishes is Awa Naramachi”.Naramachi's 140 year-old townhouse has renovated its interior to make the restaurant feel like a tradional Japanese house. A sense of calm and well being will be easily attained when one is relaxing and dining at Awa Naramachi. 5,000 yen course's main dish - Yamato beef rib roast Tanaka - Irori Dining (Japanese Charcoal Grill) Tanaka - Irori Dining Located just across from the world heritage site, Genkoji Temple, a Japanese style barbecue restaurant called Tanaka awaits your arrival. For dinner, we recommend a course where you get to eat the finest Yamato Japanese beef, fresh fish from the fishing port in Ishikawa Prefecture, and seasonal vegetables from farms in Nara. Similar to yakiniku, it's dealer's choice when it comes to how you want your meat grilled. Assortment of appetizers 7,000 yen main course - Specially selected Japanese black beef Harishin - Kaiseki (Japanese multi-course haute cuisine) Harishin Harishin is a long-established restaurant that has been in business for over 140 years. The current store is a former money-exchange house that's 230 years old! The room facing the courtyard is said to have been used for negotiations that took place with the samurai.Harishin offers multi-course meals at dinner time. If you make a reservation, you can eat a kaiseki cuisine which is unfortunately limited to one set per day. This is highly recommended by the owner. Kaiseki Kameya - Okonomiyaki (Japanese pan fried dish) Kameya - Okonomiyaki Kameya is located on Sanjo Dori around the corner from Sarusawa-ike Pond. If you appreciate teppanyaki-style food, English menus, and affordable prices, this is the place you're looking for. The best dish on the menu is the okonomiyaki, the Japanese version of a pancake popular in the Kansai region. Why not take a seat at the bar and watch the chefs do their thing? The food is delicious and the service is delightful. Kameya is open from 11am to 10pm. Kotaro Taiyaki (fish shaped cake) Kotaro Taiyaki Taiyaki is a popular sweet dessert in the shape of tai, or Japanese seabream. The inside is filled with azuki, or red bean paste, and served hot and fresh. For a quick pick-me-up, get some taiyaki from the local vendor. The small, ramshackle cafe serves fresh taiyaki and coffee and is run by the eccentric owner himself. He originally lived in a van at the foot of Mt. Fuji and now shares his stories with the patrons of the cafe. Kotaro Taiyaki Ajitei Yamazakiya - Chagayu (tea rice porridge) Ajitei Yamazakiya “Amitei Yamazakiya” is just a 5 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station; located in the Touhou shopping street, in the back of Yamazakiya Honten. It's a restaurant that focuses on Japanese cuisine, a Nara-zuke store founded early on in the Meiji era.A popular menu item is the “Chazen Gyoen”. Have a taste of what the Nara people would consider to be a breafast experience one must try when traveling through. This dish, with its highly fragant hojicha will make it feel like your raggedy bones have been revitalized. One plus is that all the dishes come with Yamazakiya's signature Nara pickles. Shorai Matsunooto (variety of Japanese dishes) 2F special seat A chef who studied architecture at university took it upon himself to renovate an 80-year-old townhouse and turn it into a restaurant. It is called Shorai Matsunooto.There's special seats on the 2nd floor that overlook a magnificent pine tree in the courtyard that's more than 300 years old. The restuarant's specialty dish is the Asuka Nabe, a local dish of the Asuka region.They have a long list of menu items, that includes a great selection of Japanese sake and wine. You can also grab a counter seat at the 1F bar if you'd prefer a quick drop-by. Asuka pot Kanakana (folk house café) Kanakana About 15 minutes on foot from Kintetsu Nara Station you will find the restaurant “Kanakana” quietly located in an alley far from the main street. Fun fact, it is a popular folk house cafe that is referenced quite a lot.The queues can get long in the daytime, but you can still enjoy the lunch menu in the evening, so try visiting after sunset if you have the time.The most popular Kanakana rice dish is something you can enjoy every time you visit. This menu item brings together Nara's best ingredients. Kanakana ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Shop & Dine at Shika no Fune in Nara
- Nara is best known for its historic temples and ancient history. Most visitors focus only on the preserved, bygone Nara, the ancient capital of Japan. However, the city is well set in modern times. Shika no Fune is a good example of modern Nara’s progress. The light-filled, multi-use space reflects Nara’s dedication to its local agriculture and people. Shika no Fune has three dining components to its space: Mayu, Kamado, and Saezuri. Mayu is a wooden house refurbished as a tourist office. The traditional home was built in the early 1900s, combining elements of Japanese and Western architecture. The house now contains a Nara tourist information office, offering Wi-Fi, maps, and bicycle rentals with an English-speaking staff. Mayu also has a library and gallery. The library is a comfortable room filled with books on Nara. The gallery is in a storehouse and features a rotating set of exhibitions dedicated to the city. Mayu is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. Kamado is the resident dining hall of Shika no Fune. The small restaurant serves breakfast and lunch in a wooden, light-filled cafe. Breakfast is served from 8 to 11 am. There are two set options, one large and one small, both featuring Nara produce in a Japanese-inspired macrobiotic meal. Lunch is served from 11 am to around 3 pm, or when the food runs out. The lunch options vary from meat entrees, such as pork and beef, to vegetarian eggplant and lotus root. Each meal is served with Kamado’s signature fire-oven-cooked rice. The restaurant also serves as a small sundries store, selling the natural products used in its food. Kamado is open from 8 am to 6 pm daily. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
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With a reputation almost as stellar as that of Kyoto, Nara is a must-visit for those searching for the remains of "traditional Japan." The largely green Nara city holds the majority of the prefecture’s treasures, such as the iconic Todai-ji Temple, in which a 15-meter tall Great Buddha sits, and Nara Park, where deer flock to befriend passersby. While mountains are by no means hard to come by in this area, for hiking with a reward, head to the Kii Mountains’ Yoshino district in spring, when the hillsides put on an impressive display of white and pink cherry blossoms.
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