Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 14.07.07

You’ve probably seen girls (and sometimes guys) taking pictures in restaurants and maybe you read their Twitter or Facebook updates about the good food they eat around Japan. Maybe you’re one of these foodagraphers. I wouldn’t blame you, in fact, I’ve done the same. Japanese food, everything from lunch-boxes to sweets, is often not only delicious looking, but is also often displayed in cute and fashionable ways.

But lately, social media and the restaurant review site Tabelog have been taken by storm by the updates and comments about three Kyoto sushi restaurants, due to their innovative menu and their ability to attract those squealing, cell-phone holding, Japanese women (and men?) by making their food undeniably cute.

(pronounced ah-oom)

Open: 12:00PM-21:00PM
189 Ubayanagi-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto


Image: Tabelog

Although the spelling of the name suggests something more pregnancy-related to English speakers, don’t worry, it’s just a sushi restaurant- well, I don’t want to down-play it- it’s a one-of-a-kind sushi restaurant. They serve something they like to call teorimaki-zushi (hand-woven sushi). They’re playing with words, changing the usual temaki-zushi (literally, hand-roll sushi), which is sushi-rice and ingredients rolled up in a sheet of nori (seaweed), but adding in “ori” meaning “weave”. They probably did this to emphasize the idea that you are weaving together a variety of flavors into one bundle of deliciousness.

Their premise is serving you a variety of fish, other ingredients and condiments beautifully displayed on a single plate. Then, with a bowl of vinegared rice and some nori, you can set to work to make your own creations.

The food has girls swooning:

“It looks like an artist’s palette of sushi ingredients!”

“It’s all so cute that it makes my heart ache!”

“By wrapping the sushi in different ways, using condiments in different ways and using flavors that I’ve never had in sushi before – I made one new discover after another.”

“Wondering how these new combinations would taste together made me really excited to try each one!”


Image: Tabelog


Image: Tabelog

Gion Mametora

Open: 11:30AM-2:00PM/ 5:00PM-9:00PM
570-235 Gionmachi, Minamigawa, Higashiyama, Kyoto


Image: Tabelog

In Japanese mame means “bean,” so when I first saw mame sushi, I was half expecting sushi with soybeans instead of fish, but that’s just silly. What the “bean” actually refers to is the cute, petite bean-like size of each piece of sushi they serve. Displayed on a platter, the half-sized sushi bites are a colorful treat for your eyes and you’re able to taste more varieties before getting full.

The girls are going wild:

“Mametora has a really Kyoto-esque atmosphere and the food is just so cute.”

“It’s half the size of normal sushi, so even a Maiko (Geisha apprentice common to Kyoto) could fit one in her small, puckered mouth.”

“The assortment of colors and the mini-size makes you feel like you’re looking into a jewel box. We girls gush over this kind of stuff.”

“They all looked so cute and small, I couldn’t decide which one to try first!”


Image: Tabelog

▼ They also serve mini-dishes of small foods.


Image: Tabelog


Open: 11:30AM-3AM
55 Kamigamo Imaigaharacho, Kita Ward, Kyoto


Image: Facebook (Kashiwai)

Kashiwai takes yet another approach to making sushi more stylish. Their specialty is sushi made and displayed to look like traditional Japanese confectionary. Japanese sweets are often balls of mochi (rice cakes) with red-bean filling or a decorative topping. So instead of rice cakes, this place uses sushi rice and instead of red-bean, they use fish or other sushi ingredients.

Because of the traditional Japanese spirit behind this sushi, it’s a good fit with Japan’s cultural capital of Kyoto. Also, since it’s near the Kyoto bullet train station, they offer a carry-out bento for you to take on the train.

“It looks so much like wagashi [Japanese-style sweets]- very Kyoto-esque.”

“The sushi is perfectly round and only about 5cm (2in) wide. I was going to eat it with my chopsticks, but I couldn’t help myself and just popped it into my mouth with my fingers!”


Image: Facebook (Kashiwai)

They also have something they call, “O tanuki-san,” sushi wrapped in oba, a sheet of dried tofu. You may be familiar with inari-zushi, which is named after the fox-god and is rice stuffed in a sheet of fried tofu. So this restaurant changed up the tofu and renamed it after one of Japan’s other favorite animals, the tanuki, or raccoon dog.

“When I ate the O tanuki-san sushi, it was the first time I ever experienced such a texture! The sushi rice inside was delicious! The two flavors delicately mingled so it was a great experience to eat it!”

“The toppings were perfectly done in Kyoto taste and image.”


Image: Facebook (Kashiwai)

Sushi-lovers, foodagraphers, squealing girls, and people who just want to try something new, will all definitely get their money’s worth at any of these three restaurants. They not only make their food cute, but it seems like they are pretty innovative with the flavors and new creations they come up with. Now is the hard part: deciding which restaurant to try first!

Source: Naver Matome
Top images: Tabelog 1, 2, Facebook (Kashiwai)