Places we went


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About the Authors

Ken Goldberg and Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg, Berkeley, California, USA—

You're writing a food blog?!

Yes! For other vegetarians to know that there are really great places to eat in Kyoto and Japan, and to tell people what a great time we had.

Being a vegetarian in Japan can be harrowing at times. If you eat fish, then every door is open for you. But if you're like us and you don't eat meat or fish, getting a good, nutritious meal in Japan requires extra legwork. It's an island nation: it will seem like there's fish in everything. But the exquisite vegetarian meals you'll find make the effort worthwhile.

The most essential ingredient for success is that the Japanese people you meet day to day are exceptionally friendly and helpful. It is abundantly clear that they want to help you out, and if they can they will. If you don't speak Japanese well, here's the secret: Ask for what you want, tell them what you don't, and trust them to work out the rest.

On our most recent trip to Japan, in October and November 2007, we found some great places to eat. We compiled recommendations from the Lonely Planet: Kyoto Guidebook (which thoughtfully highlights vegetarian options!), recommendations from Japanese colleagues (and the mother of a Japanese colleague), a few sites on the internet, and the very helpful concierge staff at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto. The rest we stumbled across on our own.

Since it was (fun but) difficult to accumulate this information, we figured it would probably be really useful to other vegetarians and travelers alike. So Kathryn and I spent the week after our trip creating this internet travel-blog.

Ken Goldberg is a Physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who has lived in Berkeley, California more than half his life. Ken is a lifelong vegetarian and a huge fan of the humble ceci bean (ひよこまめ [hiyokomame]), inari-zushi, and thick orange slices of kabocha.

Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg is a Berkeley writer, originally from Bethesda, Maryland, who's traveled and trekked her way around vast parts of the world, with long stints in Laos, China, and Australia. Kathryn's vegetarianism also began at an early age, and she's developing her own style of world cuisine nightly. If her shoes have to be comfortable, is it too much to ask they be shiny as well?

Ken: This was my 5th trip to Japan, and my first with Kathryn, so I did my homework and made a special effort to show her how amazing true vegetarian Japanese food can be.

My first few trips to Japan were kind of rough, and I'm sure I lost weight each time. But in 2004, I traveled around with some very gracious colleagues and ate in places large and small. A few words from my hosts to the waiter or chef, and amazing vegetarian dishes flowed from the Kitchen. I could barely keep up with the variety. It learned that it is possible to get great, fresh, healthy food.

We've done our best to be accurate with the information. An our opinions are just that and nothing more. If you see something that's wrong, please drop us a line and let us know.

We loved so many of the places we visited. Maybe, some of you will read this and visit our favorite places.

Most of the photos on this site were taken with a Canon SD870IS, a wonderful little camera. A few more were taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2.

Kathryn and Ken at Mikoan