10 Best Restaurants In Kyoto For An Unforgettable Culinary Journey

Gin Seah is the voice of AAB Kyoto. His journey in Japan began at age 11 in Miyazaki and led him through many cities including Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo. It was in Kyoto, rich with history and culture, that he found his second home.
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Indulge in a culinary journey through Kyoto’s vibrant food scene, teppanyaki restaurants, sake, and matcha. From traditional eateries serving authentic Japanese cuisine to modern hotspots offering innovative dishes, this list showcases the top dining destinations that will tantalize your taste buds. Uncover hidden gems and popular favorites that promise an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

Explore our carefully curated selection of Kyoto’s best restaurants below and savor the flavors of this enchanting city with sake, tempura, matcha, and meat dishes. Whether you crave delectable sushi, ramen, or kaiseki, these establishments are sure to impress even the most discerning food enthusiasts.

Scroll down for reviews of our top picks and embark on a delightful adventure through Kyoto’s culinary landscape.

Key Takeaways

  • Immerse yourself in the authentic flavors of Kyoto by trying traditional Kaiseki dining at places like Kikunoi and Tousuiro.
  • Experience a modern twist on Kaiseki cuisine at Giro Giro Hitoshina in Kyoto, blending innovation with tradition for a unique dining experience.
  • From the best Okonomiyaki at Nishiki Warai to Michelin-starred Kyoto cuisine at Nakamura, Kyoto offers a wide range of culinary delights to satisfy every palate.
  • Delight in the tofu hot pot at Yudofu Sagano or savor renowned ramen at Ippudo Ramen, showcasing the diverse and specialized food scene in Kyoto.
  • Immerse yourself in the riverside sushi dining experience at Pontocho Kappa Sushi, connecting with Kyoto’s rich culinary traditions and vibrant food culture.

10 Best Restaurants In Kyoto

a revered establishment dedicated to the authentic traditions of Kaiseki cuisine

1. Kikunoi – Traditional Kaiseki Dining

Established in 1912, Kikunoi is a revered establishment that meticulously preserves the authentic traditions of Kaiseki cuisine [1]. This culinary gem offers seasonal, multi-course menus that beautifully showcase Kyoto’s finest ingredients, providing an unparalleled dining experience for visitors and locals alike.

The restaurant’s commitment to excellence is exemplified by its prestigious three Michelin stars, a testament to the exceptional quality and artistry of its dishes. Each menu item at Kikunoi reflects the essence of Kyoto’s rich culinary heritage, with meticulous attention to detail in every preparation.

Guests can indulge in a gastronomic journey through intricate flavors and textures, from delicate sashimi presentations to exquisitely prepared meat dishes. The dining experience at Kikunoi goes beyond just food; it is a harmonious blend of taste, aesthetics, and cultural significance.

Kikunoi’s elegant ambiance and impeccable service further enhance the overall dining experience, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic taste of traditional Japanese cuisine in the heart of Kyoto.

2. Giro Giro Hitoshina: Innovative Kaiseki

Giro Giro Hitoshina is renowned for its unique take on traditional Kaiseki cuisine, blending innovation with authenticity. The restaurant offers diners an engaging experience by showcasing its culinary artistry through an open kitchen concept.

The interactive dining setup allows guests to witness the meticulous preparation of each dish, enhancing their appreciation for the chef’s creativity and skill. This transparency adds a layer of excitement to the meal, making it more than just a dining experience but also a form of entertainment.

The menu at Giro Giro Hitoshina is a reflection of the chef’s artistic flair, featuring creatively crafted dishes that not only tantalize the taste buds but also appeal to visual aesthetics. Each plate tells a story through its presentation and flavor profile, inviting patrons to embark on a gastronomic journey unlike any other.

With an emphasis on both tradition and innovation, Giro Giro Hitoshina has successfully carved out a niche in Kyoto’s competitive dining scene. By infusing modern elements into classic Japanese cuisine, the restaurant has garnered acclaim from locals and tourists alike for its bold approach to Kaiseki dining.

3. Nishiki Warai: For the Best Okonomiyaki

Nishiki Warai is renowned for its savory Japanese pancakes, known as Okonomiyaki, prepared right at your table. With a vast array of toppings and fillings available, diners can create their own personalized Okonomiyaki to suit their tastes perfectly. The restaurant’s laid-back ambiance contributes to a delightful dining experience.

Nishiki Warai specializes in crafting delectable Japanese pancakes cooked fresh on-site and offers an extensive selection of quality ingredients for customizing Okonomiyaki. The restaurant also provides a casual setting ideal for enjoying a fun and interactive meal with friends or family.

Nishiki Warai stands out not only for its delicious offerings but also for the interactive element it brings to dining out. By allowing customers to participate in the cooking process, this restaurant elevates the dining experience beyond just great food; it becomes an engaging activity that adds value to every visit.

The restaurant, located at 〒604-8142 Kyoto City, Nakagyo Ward, Nishikiyokocho Street, Takakura West Entrance, Nishiuoyacho 597, Mizu Court Building 1F, is easily accessible from Hankyu “Karasuma” and Subway “Shijo” 16 exit, just a 2-minute walk from Nishiki entrance. It has a seating capacity of 76 and can accommodate a banquet of up to 20 people.

The restaurant operates from 11:30 to 15:00 (last order at 14:00, last drink order at 14:30) and 17:00 to 22:00 (last food order at 21:00, last drink order at 21:30) on weekdays. On weekends and holidays, it operates from 11:30 to 22:00 (last food order at 21:00, last drink order at 21:30). Please note that the operating hours may change depending on the situation.

Please note that the restaurant does not have a parking lot, and the day off is irregular. For more details, please contact the restaurant directly.

4. Nakamura: Michelin-Starred Kyoto Cuisine

Nakamura is a distinguished Michelin-starred restaurant in Kyoto, celebrated for its authentic Kyoto cuisine that embodies centuries of culinary tradition. The dishes at Nakamura are not just meals; they are meticulously crafted works of art that showcase the essence of Kyoto’s gastronomy.

The dining experience at Nakamura goes beyond food; it immerses guests in an atmosphere of refinement and sophistication, transporting them to the heart of traditional Kyoto culture.

From the delicate presentation to the exquisite flavors, every aspect is designed to provide a memorable and unparalleled culinary journey. It has consistently maintained a Michelin 3-star rating since 2011, a testament to its high-quality food and service.

With a focus on using seasonal and local ingredients, Nakamura ensures that each dish reflects the essence of Kyoto’s rich culinary heritage while embracing modern techniques for an innovative twist. This commitment to quality and authenticity has earned Nakamura its well-deserved reputation as one of the top dining destinations in Kyoto for those seeking an unforgettable gastronomic adventure.

For anyone looking to savor the true taste of Kyoto through a blend of history, artistry, and flavor, a visit to Nakamura promises an extraordinary dining experience that captures the essence of this ancient city’s culinary soul.

a kitchen that offers a unique fusion of Persian and Mediterranean flavors

5. Arash’s Kitchen: Persian and Mediterranean Fusion

Arash’s Kitchen offers a unique fusion dining experience by combining Persian and Mediterranean flavors into innovative dishes. The menu showcases a creative blend of ingredients from both culinary traditions, resulting in a fresh and exciting taste profile.

This restaurant stands out for its departure from the traditional Japanese cuisine often found in Kyoto. Diners can explore a diverse array of dishes that provide an alternative to the local fare, making it an excellent choice for those seeking something different.

The chefs at Arash’s Kitchen skillfully incorporate seasonal ingredients to ensure freshness and quality in every dish. This commitment to using the best produce enhances the authenticity of each Persian-Mediterranean fusion creation.

With its distinct style and variety of offerings, Arash’s Kitchen caters to individuals looking for a culinary adventure beyond conventional dining experiences. Whether you are craving familiar Mediterranean flavors or curious about trying Persian delicacies, this restaurant promises a memorable gastronomic journey.

6. Tousuiro: Tofu Kaiseki Experience

Tousuiro is renowned for its tofu-based Kaiseki meals, emphasizing the incredible versatility of tofu in Japanese cuisine. Each dish at Tousuiro is meticulously crafted to highlight the delicate flavors and textures of tofu, offering a true culinary journey for diners.

The restaurant’s menu features an array of dishes that showcase the artistry of tofu preparation, from creamy tofu soups to crispy fried tofu skin delicacies. These creations not only appeal to vegetarians but also cater to those looking for a lighter dining option without compromising on flavor or experience.

Tofu enthusiasts and food connoisseurs alike will appreciate the attention to detail in every plate served at Tousuiro. The culinary experience here goes beyond just taste; it delves into the cultural significance and history of tofu in Japanese gastronomy, providing guests with a deeper understanding of this versatile ingredient.

For a memorable dining experience that celebrates the essence of tofu through innovative dishes and traditional techniques, Tousuiro stands out as a must-visit destination in Kyoto’s vibrant culinary scene.

7. Yudofu Sagano: Specializing in Tofu Hot Pot

Yudofu Sagano offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, perfect for savoring traditional tofu hot pot dishes. The restaurant prides itself on using fresh, locally sourced tofu that is carefully simmered in a flavorful broth, enhancing the overall dining experience.

For those keen on exploring authentic Kyoto tofu cuisine, Yudofu Sagano is an ideal choice. The focus on quality ingredients like soy sauce, daikon radish, and seasonal vegetables ensures each dish is packed with genuine flavors that represent the essence of Kyoto’s culinary heritage.

In addition, Yudofu Sagano uses Kyoto’s traditional Sagano tofu, which is carefully selected for its unique taste. Depending on the season, you can enjoy different dishes such as Yudofu in winter, Yudofu, and mustard tofu in summer, and chilled Somen noodles from Miwa.

The restaurant is located in Arashiyama, a place known for its scenic beauty. It has been serving its carefully crafted tofu dishes for many years, making it a special place for both regular and new customers. Please note that the restaurant’s operating hours may vary, so it’s recommended to check their website for the latest information.

8. Pontocho Kappa Sushi: Riverside Sushi Dining

Pontocho Kappa Sushi, a riverside gem in the heart of Pontocho, has been serving sushi for over 40 years. With its prime location overlooking the serene Kamogawa River, it offers a delightful dining experience. The restaurant’s focus on providing fresh sushi ensures a delectable seafood feast for visitors.

The restaurant offers a wide array of sushi options crafted from top-quality ingredients, guaranteeing an authentic and flavorful taste in every bite. With a total of 87 seats, including tatami mat seating, sunken kotatsu seating, and counter seating, it provides a relaxed atmosphere perfect for savoring sushi while taking in the breathtaking view of the river.

Pontocho Kappa Sushi accepts JCB, American Express, and UnionPay credit cards, and is entirely non-smoking. It also provides menus in English for foreign customers, making it a welcoming place for both locals and tourists.

Located at 160 Matsumotocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8013, Japan, the restaurant is just a 3-minute walk from both the Hankyu Kyoto Line’s Kawaramachi Station and the Keihan Main Line’s Gion-Shijo Station. It operates lunch service from 12:00 to 15:00 (last order at 14:30) on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. The dinner service is from 17:00 to 23:00 (last order at 22:30).

This riverside gem not only serves exceptional sushi but also elevates the dining ambiance to create unforgettable moments for patrons seeking more than just delicious food. Experience the fusion of exquisite cuisine and nature’s beauty at Pontocho Kappa Sushi.

9. Ukiya Pontocho Honten: Handmade Soba Noodles

Ukiya Pontocho Honten, nestled in Kyoto’s vibrant Pontocho area, specializes in artisanal soba noodles, a testament to Japan’s rich culinary tradition. Since its inception in 1929, it has exclusively served handmade soba made from 100% Japanese buckwheat.

The restaurant’s commitment to quality extends to its diverse menu, featuring dishes crafted from seasonal ingredients. This dedication ensures each meal not only delights the taste buds but also embodies Kyoto’s gastronomic heritage, making Ukiya Pontocho Honten a must-visit for soba enthusiasts.

Located next to the Pontocho Kaburenjo Theater, which is famous for the performance of the Kamogawa Dance, the restaurant has been pursuing delicious soba for three generations. Among Ukiya’s many restaurants, only this main branch offers soba year-round, made from 100% buckwheat flour sourced from Japanese farms.

The restaurant is open from 11:30 to 16:00 and 17:00 to 21:00, with the last order at 20:30. It is closed on Mondays, except when it is a national holiday, in which case it will be closed the next day. The restaurant offers an English menu and accepts VISA, JCB, and Diners Club cards.

The restaurant has received positive reviews on TripAdvisor, with customers praising the quality of the food, the service, and the atmosphere. The restaurant’s signature dish is Uki Soba, a unique and original Soba dish that is served with whipped raw egg (namatamago) and natto3.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, Ukiya Pontocho Honten offers a unique dining experience that showcases the best of Kyoto’s culinary heritage.

10. Ippudo Ramen: Mastering The Art Of Tonkotsu

Ippudo Ramen in Kyoto, specifically the Ippudo Kyoto Porta Store, is celebrated for its inviting atmosphere and dedication to the art of ramen-making, offering a unique dining experience with its signature tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen.

Renowned for its rich, flavorful broth and perfectly cooked noodles, Ippudo prides itself on using high-quality ingredients to craft dishes that reflect the depth of Japanese culinary tradition.

The restaurant is conveniently located at 〒 600-8216 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto City, Shimogyo Ward, Karasuma Dori Shio Koji Sagaru, Higashi Shio Koji Cho 902, Kyoto Porta, “East Area.” It operates from 11:00 to 22:00 every day, with the last order being taken 30 minutes before closing.

The restaurant offers a variety of ramen dishes, including Extreme White Circle Original Flavor, Extreme Red Circle New Flavor, and Extreme Spicy Noodles. It also provides a range of services, such as credit card and IC card payment options, foreign language menus, and child seats.

A visit to Ippudo provides diners not only with a meal but an immersion into the culture of ramen, making it a top choice for those seeking to explore the essence of this beloved Japanese dish.

So, whether you’re a local or a tourist, Ippudo Ramen in Kyoto is a must-visit for a taste of authentic Japanese ramen.

one of the best restaurants in Kyoto offering a diverse culinary landscape combining the traditional Kaiseki dining of Kikunoi with innovative Japanese cuisine


Kyoto boasts a diverse culinary landscape, offering traditional Kaiseki dining at Kikunoi and innovative twists on Japanese cuisine at Giro Giro Hitoshina. From savory Japanese pancakes at Nishiki Warai to tofu specialties at Tousuiro and Yudofu Sagano, each restaurant provides a unique culinary journey.

For international flavors, Arash’s Kitchen blends Persian and Mediterranean cuisine, while Pontocho Kappa Sushi offers sushi by the serene Kamogawa River. Ukiya Pontocho Honten serves artisanal soba noodles, and Ippudo Ramen invites guests to savor tonkotsu ramen.

In Kyoto, dining is an adventure that showcases the city’s rich culinary heritage, ensuring every meal is an unforgettable experience.

Explore these culinary gems in Kyoto and let your taste buds guide you through a delightful journey of flavors and traditions. Plan your visit to these top restaurants and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Kyoto’s vibrant food culture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kaiseki dining?

Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese meal that highlights seasonal ingredients and exquisite presentation. It often includes appetizers, sashimi, a simmered dish, a grilled dish, and dessert served in small portions to showcase flavors and textures.

How does Nishiki Warai stand out for Okonomiyaki?

Nishiki Warai offers the best Okonomiyaki in Kyoto by combining high-quality ingredients with skilled preparation techniques. Their attention to detail in creating this savory pancake dish ensures a delightful culinary experience for visitors seeking authentic flavors.

Why should one visit Nakamura for Kyoto cuisine?

Nakamura stands out as a Michelin-starred restaurant renowned for its exceptional Kyoto cuisine. With a focus on using fresh local ingredients and innovative cooking methods, Nakamura provides diners with an unforgettable gastronomic journey through traditional Japanese flavors elevated to perfection.

Why choose Tousuiro for a unique tofu kaiseki experience?

Tousuiro specializes in offering guests an immersive tofu kaiseki experience that showcases the versatility of this ingredient in various culinary forms. From delicate appetizers to comforting main courses, each dish at Tousuiro highlights the artistry and creativity behind tofu-based cuisine while providing unparalleled taste sensations.

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