Kii Peninsula restaurants

Top Choice Cafe in Kōya-san


This chill spot – more Goa than rural Japan – with great wooden beams serves vegetarian dishes like tofu cheesecake that seem indulgent compared to temple food. Come after 11am for the daily lunch plate, only served…
Seafood in Kushimoto


The speciality here is ochazuke, a bowl of rice and toppings over which hot tea is poured. Everyone's here for the popular katsuo ochazuke (¥1450), topped with raw katsuo (bonito), a local speciality, marinated in a…
Tofu in Kōya-san


Kadohama specialises in goma-dōfu (sesame tofu) prepared several ways. The lunch sets come beautifully presented in bamboo baskets with eight small dishes around a larger one – evoking the eight-lotus-petal symbolis…
Izakaya in Tanabe


In the warren of tiny restaurants called Ajikoji ('Flavour Alley') near Kii-Tanabe Station and the tourist-information center, this boisterous, family-run izakaya is famous for its ebi-dango (shrimp-paste balls) and…
Shokudo in Shirahama


This very popular local shop does excellent teishoku (set meals) with sashimi (raw fish), yaki-zakana (grilled fish) and more.
Shokudo in Hongū

Kumanoko Shokudō

This new restaurant – the only place in Hongū serving regularly after dark and naturally a gathering spot – dishes up small plates made with local ingredients, such as river fish, free-range eggs and venison, paired…
Vegan in Hongū

Cafe Bonheur

An unexpected treasure at Hongū's southern end is this vegan cafe in a former post office (with the wooden floors and clapboard walls to prove it). It does lunch plates with curry, tofu, salads, and bagel sandwiches…
Japanese in Shingū


With its cluster of private rooms and regulars' personal whisky bottles kept on the shelves, Tensui has a local vibe, but it has happily embraced the trickle of overseas travellers passing though on the Kumano Kodō.…
Cafe in Kōya-san

Kōmi Coffee

A cosy and convenient pit stop for curries, sandwiches and apple pie near the entrance to Oku-no-in. Its namesake coffee comes from a small-batch roaster in Hokkaidō.
Shokudo in Kōya-san


Of course not everyone in Kōya-san follows a monk's diet: locals love this tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet) shop, a five-minute walk beyond the Oku-no-in bus stop. Look for the yellow roof.