Kyo tsukemono are Japanese pickles that are made in Kyoto, Japan. The image of kyo tsukemono is one of simplicity and a refined taste. However, there is no exact definition of kyo tsukemono. Yet, pickles play a very important role in Japanese meals. It is often said that if tsukemono taste bad, the entire meal will be spoiled, no matter how delicious the other dishes are.
Clear water and fresh vegetables from Kyoto are essential in making kyo tsukemono. Softness is a key characteristic of the water in Kyoto. Furthermore, since the city lies in a basin surrounded by mountains, Kyoto is blessed with rich groundwater. That’s why many products—and arts—developed by using kyoto’s clean water. Just a few examples among food include sake, tofu (soybean curd), and kyo wagashi (Kyoto sweets); and most notable among the arts is sado (the tea ceremony).
Kyoto is also famous for its own unique, local varieties of vegetables. They are popularly known as “kyo yasai” in Japanese. Of course, these vegetables are grown with Kyoto water. Most kyo yasai have unique shapes or distinct flavors, and so they often cost more than other vegetables. Kyo yasai are therefore treated as high-grade vegetables in Japan, and so many first-class restaurants use them in their dishes.
Kyoto’s climate is also a key factor in the taste of Kyo tsukemono. From olden times, a special technique for preserving food was developed because Kyoto’s summers were so hot and humid, and foodstuffs would quickly spoil. Combined with this traditional technique, Kyo tsukemono are made from superb ingredients—clean water, vegetables, and Kyoto’s specific climate. The result is that kyo-tsukemono are regarded as one of the best varieties of pickles in Japan. No doubt, then make a good souvenir from Kyoto.