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Sometimes it seemed to me that my whole week in Kyoto and Osaka was all about eating. And it started with the first dinner at Yakiniku Hiro Kyoto, a Japanese-style BBQ beef restaurant.
After an hour walking around Nijo Castle, the sky started to get dark and it was looking like rain was coming. We decided to take taxi to Kyoto Station and find a coffee shop before our early 5pm dinner reservation at Yakiniku Hiro, less than five minute walk from Kyoto Station.
Yakiniku Hiro Kyoto
Hiro is a Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) restaurant in Kyoto, you can find their website here. It is a chain restaurant with many locations throughout Kyoto. It came highly recommended by a friend for Japanese beef, especially wagyu beef. Before the trip we tried to book a dinner reservation at the original location (Senbon Sanjo), but it was not available for our dates. We ended up making an early 5pm dinner reservation at the Kyoto Station location for the first day of our trip.
Yakiniku means “grilled meat” in Japanese. The grilling is done at the table on a grill placed over the direct flame of charcoals, just like Korean BBQ that we often do at home in California. Yakiniku focuses on drawing out the natural flavor of the meat, so seasoning is often no more than a bit of salt, a squeeze of lemon, or a splash of dipping sauce after the meat has been grilled. Because the flavor of the beef is the focus, yakiniku requires high-quality ingredients as well as extra care such as not overcooking it and ruining the flavor and texture. I left the ordering to my friends, but did expect different cuts of beef. They ordered the daily special meat plate, as it was a great way to try different cut of wagyu beef.
The meal was surprisingly affordable. It cost less than $100 for the five of us. Maybe because we were didn’t order a lot. But everyone was definitely quite satisfied with the meal. Next time I would come here hungry, so that I could eat more beef, and try other interesting stuff on their menu, such as beef meat sushi, and maybe if I am brave enough, the Yukke – finely chopped raw wagyu beef and a raw egg (on second thought, maybe not).
If you are interesting in dining at Yakiniku Hiro Kyoto, be sure to make reservation on their website. Weekends and popular locations get booked weeks ahead. But with several locations around Kyoto, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one with an opening spot.
Wagyu beef is so good so tender, and most importantly so much more affordable in Japan than in California. We ended up finding two other places to have more wagyu beef during our trip — one is Otsuka in Arashiyama area of Kyoto, and the other is Yakiniku M Dotonbori in Osaka for their famous Matsusaka beef. Wow they both did not disappoint!