Food and dining in Nara allow the unique opportunity to explore Japanese history through food, with many of the dishes here dating back hundreds of years. At one point, Nara was the centre of the culinary culture in Japan, and even today you can try iconic dishes like kuzumochi, or rice cakes covered with sweet bean paste. You can try Miwa somen, a special noodle dish with a delicate flavour. Kakinoha-zushi is a unique cured fish wrapped in persimmon leaves. Narazuke is a type of pickle made with the byproducts of sake production, while chagayu is a famed dish of rice porridge made with tea. 

Some of the most popular restaurants in Nara include Yamatonosanzoku in the city centre, with an outstanding sake selection. To try locally made tempura, head for Tempura Kitchomu in Tomigaoka, but be sure to reserve your table in advance. For an authentic experience with an open kitchen, head for Aji no Tabibito Roman in Tsurumai-higashimachi. Not all Nara restaurants serve outrageously expensive food. Tourists on a tight budget can enjoy good meals at many downtown venues that serve good value set lunches. In the old days, it was hard to find a non-Japanese restaurant in Nara but things have changed a lot lately as a fair number of visitors are willing to spend more time in Nara and not just treat it as a 1-day destination. Dining in Nara introduces you to the ancient capital’s offerings of tempting local delights. These range from speciality sushi known as Kaki-no-hazushi to unique noodles like kudzu and a very thin wheat somen noodle, together with masterfully crafted wagashi sweets. Nara is a go-to destination for authentic Japanese dining experiences – sushi bars and noodle houses aren’t hard to find. For variety, hit the Higashimuki Kitamachi area in the heart of Nara which has burger houses and Italian trattorias thrown into the mix.

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