One of the most popular destinations in Japan is Kyoto, a land where Japanese customs, landscapes, and traditional Japanese cuisine can be enjoyed. There are numerous restaurants around the city which serve amazing dishes and choosing which ones to visit is no easy feat. Here are some of the recommended restaurants to go to when in Kyoto!
Exclusive beef Donburi from Kamogawa Takashi
Kamogawa Takashi is a famous restaurant that is best known for their high-quality beef. Oumiushi, an acclaimed beef brand from Shiga prefecture is served in Kamogawa Takashi. Do not be deterred by this name, because Kamogawa Takashi is one of the shops where you can enjoy amazing Oumiushi for just 500 JPY (5 USD)!
There are two lunch menus available in Kamogawa Takashi - the “Kanjuku Oumiushi Sumibi Yakigozen” and “Oumiushi Yanagawa Don”. The latter is the famous high-class dish that costs only 500 JPY (5 USD). You will be served with a beef Donburi (Donburi is a type of Japanese dish with ingredients served on top of rice) together with home-made Miso soup. The fragrance and texture of the beef, together with the original sauce of Kamogawa Takashi is just fantastic.
The Oumiushi Yanagawa Don sells out quickly during lunch hour, so it is recommended that you have an early lunch at about 11 am to enjoy it.
鴨川たかし Kamogawa Takashi
Address: Kyoto-city, Chukyo-ku, Nakamachidori Takeya-cho, Agaru Suemaru cho 265-1
Access info: 5-minute walk from Keihan Ōtō Line / Jingu Marutamachi Station, 7-minute walk from Kyoto City Subway Tozai Line / Kyotoshiyakushomae, 10-minute walk from Keihan / Sanjo Station
Opening hours: 11 am - 2 pm, 5:30 pm - 11 pm
Fixed holiday: Tuesday
Contact: +81 75-231-6336
Warabeuta: what is Obanzai lunch?
Obanzai is a traditional Kyoto cuisine which have been served in homes since the olden days. Local ingredients such as seafood and vegetables that are in season are used to cook Obanzai dishes.
Warabeuta is one of the cafés in Kyoto where you can delight in delicious Obanzai lunch. The restaurant is located in a retro area and uses a building that was built over 80 years ago. The fashionable café blends in well with the streetscape. Among the various dishes available on the menu, it is recommended that you try the Warabeuta lunch. It is an Obanzai lunch with 9 types of different Obanzai such as croquettes and spinach which change according to season. This is a fantastic choice for a filling and delectable traditional Kyoto cuisine!
京町屋ごはん わらべうた Warabeuta
Address: 155 Okikucho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto-city
Access info: 2-minute walk from Keihan Sanjo Station 11 exit
Opening hours: 11:30 am - 5:30 pm
Fixed holiday: Monday & Tuesday
Contact: +81 75-771-9589
Great lunch in a national garden: Nakadachiuri Kita Kyukeijo Shokudo
Kyoto Gyoen National Garden is one of the tourist spots in Kyoto where you can enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes of Kyoto together with the Japanese-style garden. Located in Kyoto Gyoen National Garden resting point is an eatery called Nakadachiuri Kita Kyukeijo Shokudo.
Various dishes are available in this eatery, including curry Udon, and Kitsunedon (Donburi with deep-fried tofu). It is recommended that you try the Konohadon set where you will be served a Donburi with mushrooms, deep-fried tofu and scrambled egg together with soup. This fantastic Donburi is a famous menu in Kyoto that is often served in schools. Make sure you try the Konohadon to feel what it is like to be a Kyoto local!
中立売 北休憩所 Nakadachiuri Kita Kyukeijo Shokudo
Address: 3 Kyotogyoen Jokyo-ku, Kyoto-city
Access info: 8-minute walk from Kyoto Municipal Karasuma Imadegawa Station
Opening hours: 9 am - 4:30 pm
Fixed holiday: No fixed holiday
Contact: +81 75-211-6364
Edo-style soba from Minagawa
The Edo period spanned across Japan from year 1603 to 1868, giving rise to various historical events and traditional food as well. At Minagawa, a soba store located in the Kitashirakawa area, you can enjoy delicious Edo-style soba noodles.
The home-made soba noodles in Minagawa is available both hot and cold. Among the various menu available, it is recommended you try the Ajigasane. You will be served two different types of soba, both made from the same ingredients but with different proportions. Comparing the two different types of soba allows you to understand the effort and custom behind Japan’s soba culture. There are also other side dishes such as Obanzai available so do add Minagawa to your to-go list!
Address: 67-18 Kitashirakawa Yamadacho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto-city
Access info: 8-minute walk from Eizan Electric Railway main line Dasan station
Opening hours: 11:30 am - 3 pm, 6 pm - 9 pm
Fixed holiday: Wednesday, Thursday
Contact: +81 75-724-2340
Renowned Sakekasu Ramen from Genya
When brewing Japanese Sake, there will be leftover lees after the fermentation process. This leftovers are called Sakekasu and instead of disposing them, they are cooked and transformed into delicious dishes.
Genya is one of the famous Sakekasu ramen stores in Kyoto. Located in an area famous for Japanese Sake production, the Sakekasu Ramen was exclusive to winter during the olden days. It can today be enjoyed all year round and the delicious soy-sauce based ramen has a Sake fragrance, served together with char siu (roasted pork meat) and deep-fried tofu.
Address: Park Terrace Momoyama 1F, 698 Higashikumicho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-city
Access info: 10-minute walk from Keihan Fushimi-Momoyama station, 10-minute walk from Kintetsu Kyoto Line Momoyamagoryō-mae Station
Opening hours: 11:30 am - 7:30 pm
Fixed holiday: Thursday
Contact: +81 75-602-1492
Gorgeous Japanese garden and traditional cuisine
Kyoto is a place where you can fully appreciate the gifts of nature, both by viewing and eating. Hotel Shirakawain is a spot which makes the Kyoto experience a more memorable one.
Located close to popular tourist spots such as Meisho Garden, this is the perfect hotel for those who are planning to explore the shrines and temples in Kyoto. Shirakawain is famous for their marvellous dishes. Served at the restaurants are dishes cooked from the best seasonal ingredients. There are also bento available that you can enjoy while viewing the beautiful Japanese-style gardens!
Address: 16 Okazaki Hoshojicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto-city
Access info: 10-minute walk from the Keage subway station
Opening hours: 11 am - 2 pm / 5 pm - 8 pm
Fixed holiday: No fixed holiday
Contact: +81 75-761-0201
Ramen from all over Japan at Kyoto Ramen Koji
Different regions in Japan have their local ramen taste and comparing them is something many would love to do. Some places are famous for salt-based ramen while others for miso.
At Kyoto Ramen Koji located on the 10th storey of Kyoto station building, you can enjoy ramen from different regions of Japan such as Sapporo, Fukushima and Osaka. Of course, there are also Kyoto-style ramen available. One of the best shops there is Kyoto Ginkakuji Masutani which serves the Chuka Soba - Chinese-style noodles. The soft noodles are served in soy-sauce flavoured soup, accentuated by the fragrance of thick char siu.
京都拉麺小路 Kyoto Ramen Koji
Address: Kyoto Station Building 10F
Access info: Directly connected from JR Kyoto Station. 10th floor of Isetan department store
Opening hours: 11 am - 10 pm
Fixed holiday: Irregular holidays (Closed for renovation in June 2016)
Contact: +81 75-361-4401
Obanzai lunch in Kyoto Century Hotel
Kyoto Century Hotel is located conveniently just 2 minutes from Kyoto station by foot. Located there is the Japanese restaurant Kyoryori Rantei which specialises in traditional Kyoto cuisine.
It is most famous for the Obanzai set which are available in three types - Ume, Take and Sakura. Each set allows you to select your favourite Obanzai from over 30 selections, all cooked from the best seasonal ingredients. The Obanzai Set is available during both lunch and dinner time and the luxurious menu will definitely boost your love for Kyoto.
京料理 嵐亭Kyoryori Rantei
Address: Kyoto-city, Shimogyo-ku Higashishiokoji-cho 681
Access info: 5-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station
Opening hours: 11:30 am - 2:30 pm, 5 pm - 8 pm
Fixed holiday: No fixed holiday
Yuba cuisine from Yuba Ryori Higashiyama Yuuzu
The Yuba is a unique Japanese dish which is essentially Tofu skin. Though “Tofu skin” might not sound much like a fantastic food, Yuba Ryori Higashiyama Yuuzu has recipes that will turn that idea around.
At Yuba Ryori Higashiyama Yuuzu, you can enjoy various dishes such as the Yubagasane, where layers of Yuba are served together with seasonal vegetables and black beans. It is recommended that you try the “Tofu Nabe Gozen” set menu shown in the picture, where tofu and Yuba hot pot is served with rice and other Yuba cuisines. There are even Yuba sweets available in Yuba Ryori Higashiyama Yuuzu and this is the best place to enjoy traditional Kyoto cuisine.
ゆば料理 東山ゆう豆 Yuba Ryori Higashiyama Yuuzu
Address: Kyoto-city, Higashiyama-ku, Gioncho minamigawa 570-218
Access info: 5-minute walk from Keihan Line Gion Shijo station
Opening hours: 11 am - 3 pm, 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Fixed holiday: Thursday and Sunday afternoon
Contact: +81 75-532-1019
Amazing Kyoto lunch in a university
The restaurant Tawaya is another fantastic place to enjoy Obanzai. The Tawaya Nijou Branch is located in Ritsumeikan University, one of Kyoto’s top universities.
Over 20 selections of Obanzai are available in Tawaya Nijou Branch where you can enjoy in a delightful buffet style. Main dishes such as meat, fish and pasta/curry are also served. The wide variety of Obanzai available makes this the ideal place to enjoy a Kyoto-style lunch. Apart from that, you can purchase curry made from Kyoto’s local ingredients which are great as souvenirs too.
Tawawa二条店 Tawawa Nijou branch (Ritsumeikan University Shujaku campus)
Address: 7F Ritsumeikan University Shujaku campus, 1, Nishi no Kyo Shujakucho, Chukyo-ku, Kyoto-city
Access info: 3-minute walk from JR Nijo station
Opening hours:11 am - 2 pm
Fixed holiday: nil
Original Inari Sushi from Bineizaka Inari Kyo
The Inari Sushi is a type of Sushi where rice is wrapped in deep fried soybeans called Aburaage. Bineizaka Inari Kyo is a café located near Gion where you can enjoy their unique Inari sushi called the Koinarisan.
The Koinarisan is a small Inari sushi filled with various ingredients such as sesame and sour plum. It is recommended that you try the Koinarisan Set menu where 8 different types of Koinarisan are served together with side dishes and miso soup. There are also seasonal dishes available at Bineizaka Inari Kyo and this is one of the most fashionable cafés where you can delight in traditional Kyoto cuisine!
美寧坂INARI京 Bineizaka Inari Kyo
Address: Kyoto-city, Higashiyama-ku, moon-cho 21-2
Access info: 2-minute walk from Higashiyama Yasui bus stop
Opening hours: 11 am - 6 pm
Fixed holiday: Thursday
Contact: +81 75-708-8678
Addictive Saba Sushi from Masugataya
Masugataya is a restaurant located in the Demachi Masugata Commercial District and this restaurant is said to be the origin of Kyoto’s famous local cuisine, Saba Sushi. Saba is a type of luxurious fish that has been loved by the locals since the olden days.
High-class Saba Sushi tends to cost a bomb, however, at Masugataya, you can enjoy the Saba Sushi and Udon set for just 1,000 JPY (9.8 USD)! Chewy soy-sauce based Udon is served together with the fragrant Saba Sushi, making it one of the best places to enjoy Saba fish at a reasonable price.
Address: 179 Nishincho Masugatadori Demachi Nishiiru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-city
Access info: 5-minute walk from Keihan line Demachiyanagi station, 3-minute walk from Kawaramachi Imadegawa city bus stop
Opening hours: 12 pm - 6 pm
Fixed holiday: Wednesday
Contact: +81 75-231-4209
Cheap full-course Japanese cuisine at Bistro Nozomi
A full-course Japanese cuisine is usually expensive and not something that most people will get to enjoy. Yet, they are one of the best things about Kyoto. Bistro Nozomi is the ideal place where you can enjoy the fantastic meal at an affordable price.
Located near popular tourist spots such as Gion and Yasaka Shrine, Bistro Nozomi is in a vintage building that blends in well with the Kyoto streetscape. A small Japanese-style garden is located in the restaurant too.
There are several courses available in Bistro Nozomi which can be as cheap as 1,000 JPY (9.8 USD). Various seasonal dishes are served in the course, ranging from seafood to vegetables. There are also sweets served at the end of the meal such as Matcha ice cream. It is a great place to enjoy a quiet traditional Japanese cuisine while viewing the beautiful garden.
創作料理とおすし季味 Bistro Nozomi
Address: 315-20 Kamiyanagicho Shimogyo-Ku, Kyoto-city
Access info 5-minute walk from Kyoto Shijo Karasuma station
Opening hours: 11:30 am - 2 pm / 5 pm - 11 pm
Fixed holiday: No fixed holiday
Contact: +81 75 361 0802
A wide variety for everyone
From cheap and budget Japanese cuisine to luxurious ones, Kyoto is filled with choices which promise extreme satisfaction. The wide choices of Japanese cuisine and sweets available in Kyoto is bound to excite you, so make sure you find some time to visit these shops!
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