Today’s post is part 7 of the series Ki-Yan’s Kyoto – Washoku restaurants, café & shops featuring the extravagant izakaya-style bar Doyanen located in the northern part of Kyoto.
Just a reminder, in this series I am sharing with you some Washoku restaurants, cafes and shops located in Kyoto, which are introduced in my latest book Ki-Yan’s Kyoto Food & Art Explore Kyoto through the Artwork of a Japanese Pop Artist, an English-Japanese pictorial guidebook featuring the amazing mural art by a contemporary Japanese pop artist Ki-Yan (Hideki Kimura). Just before moving to Sydney, while still in Kyoto I encountered Ki-Yan and his spectacular artwork that eventually resulted in collaborating and publishing this book. You can find more information about the book and my other works at happydarumacreative.com
The book has recently become available in a number of Sydney’s bookstores, so check it out!
So, if you travel to Japan to Kyoto, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a different “face” of Kyoto – not only the delicious Japanese food in restaurants but also experience the dynamic, colourful, and contemporary yet still inspired by traditional art, unique murals by Ki-Yan!
If you are in the mood for a drink and want to visit an authentic Kyoto izakaya, but don’t know which one to choose? Here is my recommendation – you will find amazing art and enjoy an elaborate selection of izakaya foods in Doyanen!
Izakaya 居酒屋 (meaning ‘stay in sake shop’) is actually a hybrid of a bar and a restaurant, very popular in Japan, a kind of an eatery with a street-vendor-stall atmosphere, so you can enjoy not only your drink but also food. Doyanen really is a hidden gem among Kyoto izakayas: it’s reasonably priced and very popular among locals – students, women, Japanese salarymen and local social drinker as well. And definitely off the beaten path in terms of tourist izakaya routes!
The izakaya is located north of Shimogamo-jinja Shrine, only a 1 minute walk from Rakuhoku-koko-mae bus stop, if you take bus 206 from Kyoto Station. You won’t miss the entrance of Doyanen – it has an iconic Ki-Yan’s Koi carp motif on paper lantern.
Photo by K.Uchida
The long, narrow interior of Doyanen resembles ‘eels bed’ (unagi no nedoko) found in traditional Kyoto townhouses. Just left of the entrance you will see the huge mural with table seating at the counter – stools covered with fabrics featuring Ki-Yan’s motifs. But the art is not only on the walls, chairs and menu – you will find artist’s motifs on original plates, bowls and even on staff’s T-shirts!
As soon as you enter Doyanen, you will be completely overwhelmed by Ki-Yan’s world. The artist’s work here features almost all of his painting motifs of animals and plants, like peacocks, turtles, carps, white tigers, camellias, kiku chrysanthemums etc., but the women’s faces are a novelty and – at the moment – can only be encountered at Doyanen.
So for just a quick tour of Ki-Yan’s art, visit at least this place!
Photo by K.Uchida
Photo by K.Uchida
Doyanen’s menu is focused on fried foods – like karaage (fried chicken), korokke (Japanese deep-fried croquette) or ebi furai (deep-fried shrimp), but they serve also a variety of otsumami (Japanese snack) for your sake or beer – like edamame or kimchi to enjoy alongside the drinks.
Photo: Otsumami option – renkon (lotus root) tempura with shredded cabbage
The standard menu at Doyanen is oden (hotpot dish) often described as ‘Japan’s traditional winter fast food’, served in many varieties with different ingredients simmered in dashi broth. Oden is one of the oldest fast foods in Japan, with roots stretching back hundreds of years.
In Doyanen oden is served on glass plates with Ki-Yan’s “Sunflower” motif but is also available for takeaway.
Photo: Left – chikuzenni selection of vegetables simmered in soy-based dashi broth, right – takenoko-no tosani Tosa-style bamboo shoots simmered with bonito flakes.
Photo: Another oden selection: daikon, atsuage (thick deep-fried tofu) and suji (beef tendon)
Chef’s recommendation in Doyanen is kare-ramen (curry ramen) served in Ki-Yan’s design Koi carp bowls.
Another izakaya Doyanen’s popular dish – kushikatsu (skewered and grilled meat) with all sorts of ingredients and in many variations, also available as takeaway.
Did you know that Ki-Yan designed the ‘Four Gods of the Heian Period’ label in collaboration with the sake brewery Shuzo Sasaki? You can taste this sake here in original Ki-Yan glasses!
To sum up, the atmosphere and the unique mural art in Doyanen makes this place a great ‘Japanese experience’ if you are looking to get away from the tourist joints.
I hope you enjoyed this post and if you want more information about Ki-Yan and Washoku restaurants (more shop details, maps in English etc.) head on to get the book Ki-Yan’s Kyoto Food & Art, which is available in Sydney bookstores: Books Kinokuniya, MCA Store, Art Gallery of NSW, Gleebooks, Better Read Than Dead, The Cross Art + Books, Radio Free Alice and recently in Grand Days!
And for more info about the book visit: