Strolling through the famous streets of Higashiyama District, you’re surrounded by traditional buildings with shops on either side selling local specialities, and souvenirs as well as many food vendors filling the streets with incredible smells.
In the well-known area of Ninensaka is Okutan Kiyomizu, a food vendor in Higashiyama that sells vegan items! They’re a restaurant with a separate side window selling vegan street snacks!
Let me tell you more about Okutan Kiyomizu in Higashiyama District and what you can get to go!
On the way up to Kiyomizudera Temple, you will come across Okutan Kiyomuzu on your right. This restaurant is one of the oldest tofu restaurants in Kyoto serving vegetarian meals with beautiful views of elegant Japanese gardens. It’s reservation only and usually has a month-long wait so make sure to book in advance!
But don’t worry if you didn’t make a reservation or simply want a quick snack because you can still experience some tofu-based items from Okutan Kiyomizu.
On the right of the store, before you get to the restaurant entrance, you’ll see a big sign saying とうふまんじゅう (tofu manju). You may have to ring a bell at the storefront to get the attention of the server.
The space is very simple and traditional – clayed walls, timbered floors and accents of wood throughout. The buns are steamed right there in the big metal steamer.
Street food menu at Okutan Kiyomizu
This was my second time getting the buns from here, the first time I visited (March 2023) they only had the steamed buns on offer but this time (May 2023), they had a couple of new things on offer which was nice to see!
As well as the steamed buns, they had two types of tofu balls, (careful, one uses fish stock) and a soy latte all available to take out and enjoy : )
Tofu Manju – ¥250 (£1.44/ $1.78)
Tofu ball- ¥250 (£1.44/ $1.78)
Soy Latte – ¥400 (£2.53/ $3.13)
Tofu Manju | とうふまんじゅう
This steamed tofu manju is served hot straight from the steamer and is so pillowy soft! The bun is delicate and fluffy and filled with okara (the remaining soy product from the production of soy milk and tofu) as well as small shreds of vegetables. These buns have a subtle and slightly sweet taste, it’s the perfect street food!
The two times Jonny and I have visited, we have each ordered two Tofu Manju’s. Biting into these little buns is so satisfyingly glorious!
¥250 (£1.44/ $1.78)
Tofu ball | トーフボール
This was the first time we had ordered these tofu balls and were unsure if they would be sweet or savoury as the board didn’t come with a lot of information. But we were curious so ordered them and looked forward to what would come out!
For ¥250, we got three very chewy and sweet balls covered in brown sugar syrup and kinako powder (soybean powder). These balls were similar to a doughnut, they had been deep fried and had the most incredible bite and chew to them!
¥250 (£1.44/ $1.78)
Things that are close by
- Explore the famous Higashiyama District
- Kiyomizudera Temple
- Yasaka Pagoda
- Kogaiji Temple
- Gion District
Other vegan options close to Okutan Kiyomizu
V= Vegan, VO= Vegan Options
- Kasagiya | traditional tea house with vegan wagashi (tea sweets) | V | 1 min walk
- Starbucks, Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya | VO | 1 min walk
- Okutan Kiyomizu | VO | restaurant is just next door
- Ikkyu-an | VO | 11 min walk
- Okabeya | VO | 5 min walk
- Cafebar Mokumoku | VO | 4 min walk
How to get to Okutan Kiyomizu
Kyoto-Shi, Higashiyama-ku, Kiyomizu 3-340 (at Ninensaka), Kyoto, Japan, 605-0862
Shijo Keihan – 17 min walk
Gion-shijo Station – 17 min walk
Kiyomizu-Gojo Station – 18 min walk
Monday – Friday 11:00 – 16:30
Saturday & Sunday 11:00-17:00
It can be a little hard to navigate the famous streets of Higashiyama as a vegan. Although there is a lot of food on offer, we’re unable to eat at most places. Luckily there is this cafe with vegan options as well!
So it was very nice to come across this small and unassuming store selling the perfect street food for you to enjoy whilst exploring Higashiyama. Come and grab a tofu manju and be delighted by the soft texture and delicate taste!
This is just one of the great places you can try in Kyoto. Want to know where else to go in the area? Have a look here!