October 2022: Please note Seike Nishijin has now permanently closed. Please see our Nishijin page for other places to eat in the district. For alternative Kyoto tofu choices, see our Best Tofu Cuisine In Kyoto page.
For a yuba and tofu kaiseki that truly passes muster, visit Seike Nishijin. Their multi-course meals will reconfigure your entire understanding of tofu and soy products. Happily, they’re also willing to cater to vegetarians if notified in advance. Reservations recommended.
Seike Nishijin – image © Chris Rowthorn
Kyoto is one of the best cities by far in Japan to eat soy milk-based foods. Whether it’s yudofu (tofu hotpot), freshly made yuba (soymilk skin), or a variety of different tofus, you’ll find fantastic renditions of them in this city. One of the best places for a yuba and tofu kaiseki – a multi-course meal themed around soy milk products – is Seike Nishijin.
In a single meal here, you’ll experience a wider spectrum of textures and tastes than one might think possible from the humble soybean. You’ll begin with a shot glass of chilled soy milk, followed by a chaser of kumiage yuba, a creamy snowball-like mound of soy, with a little shoyu moistening its bottom.
A particularly memorable dish at Seike Nishijin is yuba ‘steak,’ sheets of it sautéed in butter until puffed and golden, calling to mind salty soy Rice Krispies of a sort. You’ll also try soy milk soup, which changes seasonally, and an outstanding soy milk hotpot that begins as liquid and finishes as a custardy tofu. Their creamy tofu pudding is a light and perfect finish to this feast.
A reservation here for contingency’s sake would not hurt. This is easily done on their website in English. An additional bonus, if you are unaccustomed to sitting on the floor, is that this entire restaurant consists of table seating.
They also cater to vegetarians with advance warning. If you are vegetarian but okay with animal products like butter and cream, make sure you specify this in your booking. The tofu pudding will be replaced with fruit otherwise! To convey this, paste the following text into the booking form: ベジタリアンですが、生クリームとバターはOK。肉・海鮮はNGです. (I am vegetarian but able to eat dairy products. I do not eat meat or seafood.)
For more Kyoto tofu choices, see our Best Tofu Cuisine In Kyoto page.
Name in English:
Name in Japanese:
234 Yakushi-cho, Omiya-dori-Imadegawa-sagaru, Kamigyo-ku
Non-smoking area: Completely Non-Smoking
1min walk from Imadegawa Omiya Bus Stop, Kyoto City Bus 101 from Kyoto Station
Official site (Japanese)
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world