Funatsuru’s history stretches back into the 1800’s where its journey of specializing in fresh seafood all began. The name originates from ‘funa’ (a type of freshwater fish) and part of the founder’s name, Tsuruzaburo Tanaka. Funatsuru then expanded into a large Japanese inn and restaurant in 1922 which greatly influenced the restaurant culture of Kyoto, as it didn’t have the ‘all-important’ garden view, but instead a beautiful view of the Kamogawa River.
As a result of its increasing popularity, Funatsuru expanded again by adding a five-story annex in 1934 and has since been highly acclaimed as a large-scale work of architecture and registered as a tangible cultural property of architecture.
Funatsuru is located in one of Kyoto’s scenic places and is in the heart of the area. Its beauty works simultaneously with the Higashiyama Mountains; an area embraced with enchanting hidden temples and neighborhoods that are rarely visited.
Another beautiful quality is the pure and clear Kamogawa River which is beautifully adorned with cherry blossoms in spring and colorful foliage in autumn. Many people embrace its beauty by enjoying dinner by the riverside or taking part in the summer’s fire festival.
It’s also close to so many heritage sites; Kyoto Imperial Palace, Heian Shrine, Maruyama Park, Higashi Honganji, and Yasaka Shrine to name a few.
Funatsuru’s concept of dining is centered on French cuisine. On top of this, there is a long-standing tradition in Kyoto to have restaurants over the river in summer for people to enjoy delicious French cuisine away from the summer heat – this tradition is called ‘Kawayuka’.
The executive chef, Kunikazu Nakayama, has high standards and only serves top quality French dishes. He spent 10 years building his career in France and won several awards in domestic French cuisine competitions, he also bagged a gold in the ‘Mayor of Paris Award’. You can enjoy this tradition of Kawayuka from May to Sep and inside the restaurant from Oct to Apr. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.
Funatsuru’s history of 140 years and its authentic and aesthetic value in the city has made it a timeless space for many gatherings – for both locals and visitors of Kyoto. It truly is a remarkable ‘Landmark of the Kyoto cityscape’.