Honke TorihatsuーHave a Classic Japanese Hot Pot in Kyoto

When I go to Kyoto, I would definitely like to enjoy delicious Japanese food in a distinctively Japanese space. To fulfill the wish, I went to the long-established restaurant “Honke Torihatsu.”

Honke Torihatsu is a long-standing chicken restaurant that has been in business for over 140 years in Kyoto. People all around Japan go there for its delicious food and warm hospitality, and it is loved by many people across generations.

One of the notable things about the restaurant is its dining space. Every single room in the building, which looks like an old Japanese hotel, is decorated with valuable art pieces that makes the dining experience a bit more special. The urushi lacquer tables placed in the Kyoto-style tatami rooms are also a valuable item as there are no longer any craftspeople who can make them. At Honke Torihatsu, each room is limited to one party, so you can enjoy the quaint space all to yourself.

The restaurant offers three kinds of hot pot dishes: “Mizudaki,” “Torisuki,” and “Kamonabe.” Torisuki is a type of sukiyaki with chicken, which is not a widely-used ingredient of sukiyaki in recent times. Kamonabe is a hot pot with wild duck sourced from Niigata Prefecture, and it is available only during winter. Both of them are very popular. All three of them are full course meals, so you can take time for about three hours and enjoy the dishes.

This time, we decided to have Mizudaki, which is what Honke Torihatsu is famous for. The appetizers include seasonal dishes such as persimmon dressed with mashed tofu and sweet potato simmered with soy sauce and sugar, as well as burdock wrapped in chicken ham and pickled celery, offering both traditional and new tastes. I also enjoyed black sesame tofu and chicken breast spring rolls. The harmony between the crispy skin, green onion miso, green shiso leaves, and moist chicken breast of the spring rolls is amazing.

And now, onto the main dish, Mizudaki. The first thing is the soup. The delicious milky white soup, mixed with ginger juice, Japanese pepper, and salt, courses through my body. The secret soup full of nutrients tastes so good that many people drink a bit too much of it before they know it. The chicken is tender and falls off the bones easily as it is preboiled. It has an amazing texture that gets even more tender the longer it is cooked. The chicken itself is tasty, but I recommend that you dip it in a generous amount of house-made ponzu sauce. To finish off with the rice porridge is so good that you can eat it even if you are full. Conversation with the server is also enjoyable, so you might feel that you want to stay even a bit longer.

Mizudaki / ¥7,300 (Price including tax and serve charge: ¥8,990)

The restaurant is where you can enjoy both the traditional Japanese atmosphere and exquisite Mizudaki. A wonderful and relaxing dining experience is waiting for you in Kyoto.

■DATA Honke Torihatsu Address: 428 Ebisu-cho, Kawaramachi Nishiiru, Anekoji-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto Opening hours: [Wed-Sat] Dinner/4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. [Sunday & Holidays] Dinner/4:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Days Closed: Mon. and Tue. (May have temporary closure, have summer and winter vacations.) Tel. 075-231-4861 Official website: http://www.kyoto-torihatsu.com/ Instagram: @honke.torihatsu_offcial

(Information as of January 2024.)