Kennin-ji Temple in Higashiyama district is allegedly the first Zen temple built in Kyoto. In the south of the temple, a two-star Japanese restaurant named Kenninji Gion Maruyama first opened its doors in 1998.
Born in Kyoto in 1949, Chef Yoshio Maruyama, the proprietor of the restaurant, trained at Kodaiji Doi (presently known as Gion Doi) for 10 years and served as a chef at Kikunoi (presently known as Kikunoi Roan) in Kiyamachi and Kodaiji Wakuden. Then, he opened Gion Maruyama in 1988 and Kenninji Gion Maruyama in 1998. Named after his family name, both restaurants gained immense popularity and received two stars.
“It is natural flavors that I value the most, not seasonings,” Chef Maruyama says. As indicated by these words, he places importance on bringing out the true flavors of ingredients. In order to tingle the taste buds of guests with natural flavors, the shrewd chef carefully selects ingredients. They are combined with seasonal ingredients, such as chub with roe and bamboo shoots in spring, sweetfish and wild conger pike from Awaji in summer, sweetfish with roe and matsutake mushrooms in autumn, and Taiza crab (snow crab) and puffer fish in winter, so that guests can enjoy the real pleasure of Kyoto cuisine that celebrates seasonal flavors.
The chef not only respects the good old traditions of Kyoto cuisine but also pays attention to tableware and decorations, including hanging scrolls, flowers, and ornaments, to sprinkle dishes with a new seasoning –– a sense of beauty. Thus, he sees Kyoto cuisine as a composite art and continues to evolve it.
As a restaurant for special occasions, Kenninji Gion Maruyama offers champagnes for toasts, such as Ruinart and Bollinger, splendid wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux, and flamboyant wines from the Kenzo Estate in California. On the sake list, Aotake Sake, the restaurant’s specialty that features Japanese sake brewed by Tamanohikari in Kyoto and served in a green bamboo container, enjoys great popularity for its fresh scent of bamboo.
Facing Yasaka Street, Kenninji Gion Maruyama has an elegant appearance, with a drop-off porch. Inside the restaurant, there are six private rooms that can be furnished with a horigotatsu-style table (low table over a hole in the floor) or a dining table and chairs. Some rooms can also serve as tea rooms to hold tea parties.
Kenninji Gion Maruyama is the perfect place to celebrate anniversaries and other special occasions with your family, friends, and colleagues or entertain business clients. Please enjoy the real pleasure of Kyoto cuisine in a relaxed setting at the restaurant while relishing the beautiful view of the garden.
* The availability of this webpage does not guarantee that the restaurant presented provides services in English, unless otherwise stated. Please be aware that English services may also depend on staff availability at the restaurant.
A 15-minutes walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Main Line