This Shop in Kyoto Has Mastered the Art of Making Handmade Tofu
No wonder there's always a line in front of the store!
42 Sagashakado-fujinokicho, Ukyo District, Kyoto City
Open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except Wednesdays or the following day if it falls on a Japanese holiday.
How to get there: It is a 15-minute walk from Randen Arashiyama Station
Since the founding of the late Edo period, Sagatofu Morika has seriously been devoted to the craft of making handmade tofu. The store is so famous that it even appeared in novels written by Yasunari Kawabata and Ryotaro Shiba. Its most popular product, Saga Tofu, is smooth and firm, like soft tofu.
Saga Tofu was born after the war, when a shortage of general bittern (used as a coagulant) prompted the fourth generation to use sumashiko powder (gypsum). They got this idea after referring to a Chinese recipe. Unlike bittern powder, which tends to harden proteins and leave out water, sumashiko powder retains moisture and keeps a unique soft texture.
The Saga Tofu (¥443) has a smooth but firm texture.
Kunio Morii, the sixth generation owner, said that, “Because 80-90% of tofu is water, we’re very particular with the kind of water that we use, in the same way that we’re selective of our soybeans. Soft water pumped from underground the site is an indispensable raw material. The protein of the beans is moderately extracted and the texture and flavor are adjusted.”
The original recipe for tofu has gained quite a reputation and has long been a favorite in temples and restaurants around the area. In addition to this product, we recommend you buy the Kinugoshi (soft tofu) and Karashi Dofu (mustard tofu), which are only available this season.
The Kinugoshi (¥443, summer-limited product) has a refreshing grated blue citrus flavor.
The summer-limited Karashi Dofu (¥162) is also popular.
Hiryuzu (deep-fried tofu mixed with thinly-sliced vegetables) (¥222) contains plenty of ingredients such as freshly-baked lily bulbs and moist gingkos.
The store’s Hiryuzu, which is made of tofu dough, is also sought-after. This product doesn’t use frozen food, only carefully selected raw ingredients. Early in the morning each day, they put the gingkos in hot water to peel their skin. The lily bulbs are gently cut one by one with a knife and softened.
The boiled lily bulbs and gingkos are wrapped with dough kneaded through their own manufacturing method.
The shop’s dough is kneaded with carrots, burdock, black jellyfish, black sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and other ingredients. It is given its sticky consistency through yam. Then, it is deep-fried twice, so the contents are fluffy and the surface is crisp.
At the store, try sprinkling some salt on the freshly-fried Hiryuzu and eat is as a snack. We also suggest you try it soaked in dashi filled with boiled food.
The Hiryuzus are fried gently at low temperature, then deep-fried twice at high temperature.
“You can enjoy freshly-fried Hiryuzu every time you visit the store. Please feel free to drop by whenever you feel hungry after touring Arashiyama. It’s delicious even if you cook it at home!” says Morii.
You can even watch the chef making tofu at the store.
The shop is in front of the Seiryo-ji Temple. It is close to famous temples such as Daikaku-ji Temple and Nison-in Temple. Take note, though, that there is usually a line, even on weekdays.
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Kansai Walker™ (5 September 2019)