10 Must-Visit Sushi Spots in Kyoto: A Culinary Journey Through Tradition and Innovation

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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Craving mouth-watering sushi in Kyoto? Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with a culinary journey through the top sushi spots this vibrant city has to offer. From traditional establishments serving up fresh nigiri to modern eateries crafting innovative rolls, we’ve got you covered.

Embark on a gastronomic adventure as we reveal the hidden gems and popular hotspots where you can savor the best sushi in Kyoto. Scroll down for reviews of our top picks, and get ready to indulge in a symphony of flavors that will leave you craving more.

Key Takeaways

  • When looking for the best sushi in Kyoto, focus on establishments like Sushi Matsumoto and Pontocho Kappa Sushi that prioritize quality ingredients and expert craftsmanship.
  • Explore hidden gems like Pontocho Kappa Sushi and Sushi Naritaya for authentic flavors and unique dining experiences off the beaten path.
  • Embrace the blend of variety and tradition at places like Sushi no Musashi and Ganko Sushi, where you can savor both classic and innovative sushi creations.
  • Indulge in a refined dining experience at Sushisei, known for its impeccable service, elegant ambiance, and top-notch sushi offerings.
  • Discover the charm of traditional sushi at Den Shichi Sushi and Kikyo Sushi, where authenticity shines through in every carefully crafted bite.

10 Best Sushi In Kyoto

best sushi in kyoto in a traditional restaurant

1. Sushi no Musashi JR Kyoto Station 8-jo Entrance

Sushi no Musashi JR Kyoto Station 8-jo Entrance, located at 8-3 Higashishiokojitakakuracho, Shimogyoku, Kyoto, is a popular sushi spot known for its quality and variety. The restaurant opens from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. It’s praised for its affordable prices, fresh sushi, and overall dining experience. It’s a great choice for a quick meal, especially for tourists due to its convenient location.

The restaurant accommodates families and offers wasabi-free options for children and has a rating of 4.0 based on 729 reviews. It’s highly recommended for sushi lovers visiting Kyoto.

2. Sushi Matsumoto

Sushi Matsumoto, located in Kyoto’s historic Gion district, is a Michelin-starred restaurant known for its fresh, high-quality nigiri sushi. The restaurant is recognized for its Edomae-style sushi, a traditional preparation method that enhances the natural flavors of the seafood. Unique features, such as the use of red vinegar in their sushi rice set their sushi apart.

The dining experience at Sushi Matsumoto is centered around the omakase menu, where the chef selects the day’s best offerings based on freshness and seasonality. The restaurant also offers a variety of traditional Japanese dishes and appetizers to complement the sushi[1].

Despite its Michelin star and premium dining experience, Sushi Matsumoto is noted for its relative affordability compared to other high-end sushi restaurants in Kyoto. Reservations are essential due to its popularity among locals and tourists alike.

3. Pontocho Kappa Sushi

Pontocho Kappa Sushi is a well-regarded restaurant in Kyoto’s historic Pontocho district. Known for its diverse menu, it offers a variety of sushi options, including vegetarian choices and traditional fish dishes.

The restaurant also serves other standout dishes like tofu skin, catering to a wide range of palates. Diners can enjoy their meal in a vibrant atmosphere with picturesque river views.

The restaurant’s interior allows diners to watch the chefs at work, adding to the authentic Japanese dining experience. Its location near the Kamo River enhances its appeal, making it a must-visit for those seeking an authentic taste of Kyoto.

4. Sushi Naritaya

Sushi Naritaya, located in Kyoto’s Arashiyama area, is a highly-rated sushi restaurant known for its fresh and delicious offerings. The restaurant has received positive reviews for its friendly staff, cozy atmosphere, and quality sushi, including a variety of seafood options. Customers particularly recommend the fatty tuna, eel, and freshwater Unagi sushi.

Sushi Naritaya is a family-run establishment that blends traditional and innovative sushi styles, using locally sourced seafood to ensure freshness. The restaurant is dedicated to showcasing Kyoto’s culinary heritage and offers a true taste of the region’s sushi offerings. Despite its high quality, it caters to diverse palates and is noted for its authenticity and support of local fishermen.

5. Sushi no Musashi

Sushi no Musashi in Kyoto is a popular sushi restaurant known for its extensive menu, affordable prices, and generous portions.

The restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere and excellent service, including wasabi-free options for children. It’s praised for its fresh sushi and value for money, making it a top choice for locals, tourists, and sushi enthusiasts alike. 

Many customers plan to return, highlighting the restaurant’s consistent quality and service. If you’re in Kyoto and craving sushi, Sushi no Musashi is highly recommended.

6. Ganko Sushi

Ganko Sushi is a renowned chain in Kyoto, appreciated for its quality sushi, decent value, and variety.

The restaurant uses iPads for ordering, making it accessible for international visitors. It offers a diverse menu that caters to both traditional sushi enthusiasts and those seeking innovative fusion creations.

Ganko Sushi emphasizes sourcing the freshest ingredients, ensuring a flavorful experience whether you’re craving classic mackerel sushi or adventurous omakase courses.

With its reputation for quality, variety, and excellent service, Ganko Sushi is a favorite among locals and tourists seeking an authentic sushi experience in Kyoto.

7. Kyodashi Oinari Tsurigitsune

Established in 19-1 Yamatocho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyodashi Oinari Tsurigitsune stands out as a traditional sushi restaurant in Kyoto.

The restaurant is open from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM. It has received positive reviews for its Japanese cuisine. With each bite, customers are transported through time, savoring flavors that have been perfected over generations.

This establishment has gained popularity not only among locals but also with travelers seeking an authentic taste of Japan.

For those looking to immerse themselves in Kyoto’s rich gastronomic landscape, a visit to Kyodashi Oinari Tsurigitsune is more than just a meal – it’s an opportunity to partake in history and indulge in flavors that have stood the test of time.

8. Sushisei

Sushisei, located in a serene neighborhood in Kyoto, is part of Tokyo’s famed Sushisei chain. Known for its top-quality sushi, it’s considered a great value choice.

The chefs craft sushi showcasing Kyoto’s finest produce, reflecting the restaurant’s commitment to quality and tradition. Due to limited seating, reservations are recommended.

It’s located opposite the east side of the Daimaru Department Store and operates from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm on weekdays, and 11:30 am to 10:00 pm on weekends and holidays. A visit to Sushisei offers a memorable experience of Kyoto’s rich culinary tradition.

9. Den Shichi Sushi

Den Shichi Sushi is a quaint sushi bar located in a quiet neighborhood in Kyoto. This hidden gem is renowned for its warm hospitality and exceptional dining experience.

The restaurant prides itself on offering a rotating menu that showcases the freshest seasonal ingredients, ensuring that every dish bursts with flavor and freshness.

Guests can enjoy an intimate dining experience at Den Shichi Sushi, thanks to its cozy setting and counter seating arrangement that allows them to interact closely with skilled chefs.

The restaurant is a nice lower mid-range sushi restaurant with a local, rather than foreigner, clientele. It is located at 4-1 Saiintatsumicho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 615-0014. The opening hours are 11:30 am to 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm (Tue-Sun).

For those seeking not just a meal but an immersive culinary journey, Den Shichi Sushi stands out as a top choice in Kyoto’s vibrant food scene. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a meal at Den Shichi Sushi promises to be a memorable experience. 

10. Kikyo Sushi

Kikyo Sushi is a well-established sushi haven located in Kyoto. This restaurant stands out, boasting a dedicated following of food enthusiasts who appreciate its traditional approach to sushi making. The restaurant prides itself on preserving authentic techniques and flavors, ensuring that each bite delivers an immersive culinary experience deeply rooted in Japanese tradition.

The restaurant is known for its culinary experience and has a dedicated following of food enthusiasts. It is located at 43 Daimonjicho, Aburakojidori Marutamachi-Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, 604-0071. The opening hours are 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM. It has a high rating of 5.0 based on 451 reviews.

To elevate the dining experience further, Kikyo Sushi offers an extensive selection of sake meticulously curated to complement and enhance the rich flavors of their sushi creations. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, a meal at Kikyo Sushi promises to be a memorable experience.

plating of the best sushi in kyoto in a restaurant


You’ve now got the lowdown on the best sushi spots in Kyoto. From the traditional vibes of Sushi Iwa to the innovative dishes at Sushi no Musashi, there’s a taste sensation waiting for you at each joint. Whether you’re a sushi aficionado or just dipping your toes into the world of raw fish, these spots offer something for everyone. So, grab your chopsticks and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure through Kyoto’s sushi scene!

Ready to satisfy your sushi cravings? Head out to one of these top-notch eateries and treat your taste buds to an unforgettable experience. Remember, the best way to explore a city is through its food, so why not start with Kyoto’s finest sushi establishments? Enjoy every bite!

Frequently Asked Questions

What sets Pontocho Kappa Sushi apart from other sushi restaurants in Kyoto?

Pontocho Kappa Sushi stands out due to its traditional ambiance and riverside location, offering a unique dining experience along with fresh and authentic sushi delicacies.

Are there vegetarian options available at Ganko Sushi?

Yes, Ganko Sushi caters to vegetarians by providing a variety of delicious vegetarian sushi options made with fresh ingredients that will satisfy your taste buds.

Does Den Shichi Sushi offer any special seasonal dishes?

Den Shichi Sushi prides itself on incorporating seasonal ingredients into its dishes, offering unique flavors that change throughout the year. Be sure to ask about their current seasonal specialties during your visit.

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