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By Leon Collier - 5 min read

10 amazing places to eat in Kyoto

Japan has a rich cultural heritage, and you’ll get a glimpse of this as a traveler looking for places to eat in Kyoto. The former Japanese capital has several restaurants that pay attention to the smallest detail, serving delicate ingredients that are elegantly cooked. Establishments throughout the city go all-out to offer customers high-end service and dishes. Many options are available in Kyoto, but here’s a list of 10 places you should definitely try out!

1. Sou

This restaurant is located in the Gion region, away from the city’s hustle and bustle, and offers one of the best gourmet experiences. It is a cozy and elegant establishment serving high-quality food, with Wagyu A5 being one of the best dishes featured on the menu. In case you didn’t know, only the best quality beef is given the A5 grade.

2. Chihana

This old restaurant opened in Gion in 1946 and is still a major destination for Japanese food lovers. The old restaurant is seemingly hiding on the side street of one of the busiest districts in Kyoto. If you’re interested in the Kaiseki experience, this place specializes in it! Chihana has a menu that shows the chef’s inventiveness, with each course more delicious than the one before it.

This restaurant prides itself on using the most delicate utensils and ingredients to prepare delicious meals served on a beautiful unfinished wood counter.

3. Hafuu

Hafuu is situated in one of the best residential areas in Kyoto. It has a very modern atmosphere which it combines with the Japanese cuisine tradition. This restaurant delivers an immersive culinary experience by pairing succulent seafood with delicious wagyu steak. Hafuu serves wagyu from the Kumamoto region – one of the few regions where cows graze freely in Japan, resulting in succulent meat. Wagyu meat is known to be incredibly tender with an intense buttery flavor, so if you’re a meat lover, Hafuu should be at the top of your list of food spots to visit in Japan.

4. Kyou-no-Jidoriya Aki

If you’re looking to enjoy some of the best produce from Kyoto, from beef and chicken to vegetables, then this restaurant is the ideal spot for you. It’s one of the perfect joints to enjoy a good lunch with different types of local dishes. This restaurant also pays attention to very fine details and cooks only fresh vegetables. In addition, Kyou-no-Jidoriya Aki serves only high-quality lean meat to their customers.

5. Obanzai Sakuragawa

This restaurant serves a classic homemade-style Kyoto “obanzai”. This type of cooking refers to making simple dishes from common ingredients. While it sounds simple, it still incorporates the strong sense of elegance Kyoto is known for. If you get the chance, you have to try it out!

6. Hatakaku

In terms of touristic attractions, Hatakaku isn’t only close to the Imperial Palace, it is also where one of Japan’s staple dishes – Botan nabe – was created. Invented by the former owner of Hatakaku over 100 years ago, this dish is now very popular all over Japan. At this restaurant, you can thus expect to taste the original recipe. To add even more to the experience, you will have the chance to sit around a traditional Japanese hearth while eating. Their staple dish consists of slices of boar arranged in the shape of a flower. This is a must-visit spot, especially if you are visiting in the winter.

7. Arashiyama Rilakkuma

The Rilakkuma Shop and Tea House is a very popular place, so make sure to book in advance. The first floor of this two-story building consists of a store where you can buy sweets, Rilakkuma branded toys or book yourself a table upstairs. People queue up to take photos with the Rilakkuma characters. The interior of the shop is very “kawaii” with all the honey-coloured merchandise and snacks you could dream of! You can even buy real honey here.

Upstairs is a cozy restaurant where you can sample various drinks, Western and Japanese snacks, curry, matcha soba and lots of other Japanese dishes reminding of the Rilakkuma characters.

8. Saijiki Toshigami

This restaurant serves dishes cooked with seasonal ingredients. It has both table seats and counter seats where you can be entertained watching the chefs cook while you eat your meal. They also serve several fresh seafood dishes for a luxurious dining experience.

If you are new to Kyoto, this is one of the best places to discover Japanese dishes in an affordable manner. English menus are available, and you can make reservations for their Omakase Course.

9. eX cafe Kyoto Arashiyama Honten

This restaurant is housed in a renovated traditional Japanese building with beautiful murals on the walls. You will find plenty of comfortable places to seat and have a meal. The specialty of this restaurant is the Hokuhoku Dango Set that features three skewers of yomogi and white dango accompanied by green tea. The set comes with a brazier and instructions on how to prepare dango yourself, roast it and add the toppings.

The food is delicious and affordable while the restaurant is quiet and relaxing.

10. Nishiki Warai at Nishiki Market

Nishiki Market is not really restaurant. It is a market in a narrow street full of over 100 restaurants and food stands. So, if you’re looking to sample all kinds of foods from Kyoto, this market is the place to go. The Nishiki market is a food and restaurant market, but one restaurant that stands out from the crowd is Nishiki Warai. It is the place for Kyoto’s best okonomiyaki – traditional Japanese pancake.

Unlike many restaurants, Nishiki Warai serves its okonomiyaki freshly cooked and provides a range of toppings to add to it. Although okonomiyaki is the signature dish this restaurant is known for, you can also order one of the best yaki-soba (fried noodles) there!

 

Kyoto has many restaurants serving different kinds of Japanese dishes to locals and travelers. If you ever find your way to Kyoto, do check out a few of the restaurants listed above and share your experience with your friends on the TWISPER app.

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About the author

Leon Collier is a blogger and academic writer from the UK who works with college papers online as one of the essay writers. He likes trying new subjects and is always focused on proving his worth in new and challenging writing areas. His hobbies are reading books and playing tabletop games with his friends. You can reach him via Twitter @LeonCollier12.