Traditional Industries of Kyoto refers to industries planned and produced primarily within the district of Kyoto City which make products that are closely connected to traditional Japanese culture and lifestyles through the use of traditional techniques and methods.
Kyoto is blessed with high-quality ground water that is well-suited to making sake, and the brewing of sake in Kyoto is said to have begun when Heian-kyo was built. Notably, when large amounts of rice began to be brought in through the Fushimi port built in the Edo period, production areas for sake began forming around Fushimi, and when railroad tracks came to the area in the Meiji period, Kyoto sake was transported across Japan and became famous nationwide.
Kyoto sweets can be broadly divided into the categories of fresh sweets, semi-baked sweets and dry sweets, but they can also be divided into the more narrow categories of formal sweets used ceremonially, seasonal sweets, fresh sweets and dry sweets used in the tea ceremony, and present sweets used as souvenirs by tourists and locals, depending on their use and origin.
Kyo-tsukemono (Pickled vegetables)
800 years ago, Kenreimon’in Taira no Tokuko, the wife of emperor Takakura, famous from the Tale of the Heike, retired to the Jakko-in temple in Ohara. It is said that at that time local villagers offered pickled summer vegetables with perilla to her in consolation. There are many types of Kyo-tsukemono, but Kyoto-produced vegetables are used as much as possible, and they are prepared in the traditional way.
The origins of Kyoto cuisine can be traced back to yusoku-ryori cuisine passed down in the imperial family, honzen-ryori, centered on samurai clans, shojin-ryori, which was born from the meals of priests at Buddhist temples, and kaiseki-ryori, which developed together with the tea ceremony. These types of cuisine grew together and over a 1200 year period fused to form the Kyoto cuisine of today. It is defined as cuisine in which one tastes the season with one’s five senses (the visual beauty, the aroma, the flavor, the sensation on one’s skin, and the heart).