A certain day in February, 1991. On this day in Arashiyama, Kyoto, the weather was clear but with a touch of snow. It was so cold that one could feel the stinging pain in one’s cheeks and hands exposed to the outside air… At such a time, what better way to enjoy a warm bowl of yudofu than to sit in a tatami room and slowly enjoy the view of a Japanese garden?
Saizan Soudou｜Arashiyama, Kyoto: vegetarian cuisine with a rush of reservations only for the set meal of yudofu (tofu) priced at 3,200 yen
On this day, we made a reservation at Saizan Soudou, which is located in a temple called Myochiin on the Tenryuji grounds. It is the oldest yudofu restaurant in the Sagano area.
There is a cooking area just past the entrance gate, and this is where the reception desk is located. When you tell them that you have a reservation, you will be guided to enter from the back of the building, so go through the courtyard and go up to the tatami room from the back porch.
A quiet lunch time inside Tenryuji Temple. Here’s what’s in the “Yudofu set meal (price: 3200 yen)” at Saisan Soudou, which attracts many tourists…
The only dish served here is the “Yudofu Set Meal” priced at 3,200 yen… but reservations are flooded with tourists, and on some days, there is even a long line of people waiting to get in. The dishes are served one after another as you take a seat, warm yourself by the charcoal fire, and take a rest with a cup of tea….
First, the sesame tofu. The tofu has elasticity, and when you put it in your mouth, it now feels sticky and clings to your tongue.
Next is another popular menu item at Saisan Soudou, the hiryutou. It is about the size of a soft tennis ball, softly deep-fried, but not collapsed, and keeps its shape well. When you take a bite, the dough that has absorbed the sweet soup stock and the dusty lily bulb create a soft and happy feeling in your mouth.
More to follow. Clockwise from the top are tofu sushi, eggplant dengaku, and dumplings with grated rape blossoms and sesame seeds. The dumplings combine the bitterness of the rape blossoms and the richness of the sesame seeds to create a rich taste that adults will love…I bet they go great with beer (though I don’t drink alcohol because it is a vegetarian dish).
One more dish before the main course. From the top left, there is the yam, then deep-fried yuba, and down to the shishito pepper tempura. You can enjoy two different textures: the yam is soft and fluffy, while the yuba is crispy. And there was actually another dish of deep-fried koya-tofu hidden under the yam. I just didn’t notice it, but it was a little surprise and made me feel like I was getting a good deal.
The dish is filled with silken tofu from Saga Tofu Morika, a famous restaurant that also supplies tofu to the famous Arashiyama Kitcho!
Then, the main course is Yudofu. This course ends with rice, soup, and pickles.
Three large slices of silken tofu are submerged in boiling kombu broth in an earthenware pot. It is difficult to see the size of the tofu in the picture, but these three slices probably make up about one tofu block.
You can tell from the picture how smooth the tofu is. It pops in your mouth, mixes with the kombu soy sauce dipping sauce, and spreads out, delivering a mild and elegant dashi flavor to your entire palate.
The role of tofu does not end here. Tofu heated over a charcoal fire is hot to the core, and as it passes from the mouth down the throat to the esophagus and then to the stomach, the heat is gradually transmitted to the cold body. This is exactly what is meant by “warming up from the core! It was a warming experience for both body and soul.
Vegetarian food for both Japanese in kimonos and foreign tourists with cameras! To get to Saisan Soudou in Arashiyama, Kyoto, walk 1 minute from the nearest station, Arashiyama Station on the Keifuku Electric Railway Line.
Now, here are the details of the store. Restaurant data is here…
Saizan Soudou Out of 5.
Address: 63 Ashinobaba-cho, Sagatenryuji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Phone number: 075-861-1609
Business hours: 11:30-17:00
Parking: No parking lot
Credit card payment: Not accepted (cash only)