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Hospitable Tempura at Yoshikawa Inn

Yoshikawa is a classical Japanese ryokan (inn) which has welcomed guests from around the world for over 50 years with hearty hospitality and highly-personalized services. However, there is more to know about Yoshikawa; they are renowned not only as a superior ryokan but also as a recognized fine restaurant specializing in tempura. Since 1964, Yoshikawa has served fine tempura and garnered a large number of both Japanese and international long-term fans.

Diners have two options where to enjoy their tempura at Yoshikawa. One is in the beautiful Japanese private room and the other is at an intimate counter seat. It is hard to choose, but if you prefer a cozier atmosphere and a closer look at how their experienced chef prepares each tempura the counter seats are a more attractive choice.

Only 11 seats surround the small kitchen where a master tempura chef stands inside dignifiedly alone. The course starts with beautifully arranged seasonal appetizers while the chef starts to carefully check the condition of the oil in the tempura pan. Crispy, steaming-hot fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables are served one after another with perfect timing: some dishes are classical while others are unique for their tempura ingredients but you have to see by yourself what they serve on the day. Compared to the Tokyo-style tempura, Kyoto (or Kansai) ones have lighter texture because the former uses sesame oil and the latter uses soya oil.

Watching the chef's speedy and precise movement in the kitchen and listening to the crackling sound of tempura is bound to engage a diner's curiosity. About a dozen different tempura are served in the course, but be careful not to fill yourself up because a savory rice bowl dish, either of Tendon (tempura rice bowl) or Tencha (tempura rice bowl in broth) will follow as well as fine Japanese sweets to bring to a close your special dining night at Yoshikawa.

Yoshikawa Inn: Restaurant: Lunch 11:00-13:30 (L.O.), Dinner 17:00-20:00 (L.O.); Reservation recommended; Tel: 075-221-5544; www.kyoto-yoshikawa.co.jp