You may look down on school cafeterias, but actually lately Japanese university cafeterias offer high-quality meals at student prices for excellent cost-performance that has become a hot topic among foreign travelers! You can go there as though you would a regular restaurant, so it's recommended that you try it. Here are 4 university cafeterias in Kyoto and Osaka that you can check out.
This is a casual restaurant part of Doshisha University, a school that was established in 1875. The famous interior designer Yasumichi Morita designed the interior so it's so stylish you wouldn't realize it's a school cafeteria. For lunch you can enjoy many reasonably priced and delicious meals, like the Salisbury steak lunch (Salisbury steak plate plus rice or bread, 600 JPY (excl. tax)). For dinner they offer main dishes like Roasted Okutamba Chicken Thigh in Robert Sauce (900 JPY (excl. tax)), pizza, pasta, and more for a varied menu. This is a perfect place for people that want to enjoy stylish meals at the low prices you can only find at a school cafeteria. If you visit for lunch on a sunny day, you can enjoy the terrace seats!
Business hours: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
(Lunch time: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm/Dinner time: 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm)
1. Hamac de Paradis Kanbaikan (Doshisha University)
Kyoto University is, along with Tokyo University, one of Japan's hardest national public universities to enter and it's known for its free school tradition and for having many Nobel Prize winners among its alumni. The clock tower by the main entrance that was built in 1925 has a French restaurant on the first floor called Restaurant La Tour. During lunch they have 3 types of courses, such as Lunch Course A (1,620 JPY (incl. tax)), that you can choose from, and at dinner time they have options like Dinner Course A (3,240 JPY (incl. tax)), as well as ala carte dishes. The drink menu is also varied and includes different types of wine, but you can try the three kinds of Kyoto University Brand Beer (each 860 JPY (incl. tax)) for a unique experience. You can spend a leisurely time in this relaxed, historical atmosphere.
Business hours: Lunch - 11:00 am - 3:00 pm/Dinner - 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
2. Restaurant La Tour (Kyoto University)
This is another cafeteria in Kyoto University. Across from the clock tower that houses Restaurant La Tour is the cafe-restaurant Camphora. In order for students to feel comfortable eating there, the atmosphere is casual, the portions are large, and the prices are low. Both the lunch and dinner menus are from 577 JPY - 682 JPY (incl. tax)), so it's extremely reasonable! The 24th university president loves curry, so he created Kyoto University's famous Souchou Curry that's served here. ("Souchou" means university president.) Lunch time gets very crowded because it caters not just to college students but to locals and their families. Try to come when you have some time and try to avoid the rush hour. Be aware that it closes at 3:30 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays!
Business hours: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm/11:00 am - 3:30 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays
(Lunch time: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm/11:00 am - 2:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays)
3. Camphora (Kyoto University)
One of the leading private universities in the Kansai area is Ritsumeikan University. On the Osaka Ibaraki campus, there is a facility opened to the public called Ritsumeikan Ibaraki Future Plaza that has a hall and a library in it among other things, as well as a cafeteria on the first floor called GARDEN TERRACE LION. It's a little expensive since lunch runs for about 1,000 JPY, but during lunch there's all-you-can-eat freshly baked bread and a salad bar so it's very popular. In the evening it's used as a restaurant-bar, and since the restaurant is managed by a beer company, there are 5 types of draft beer available. This restaurant can be used for parties and gatherings, so it's a very hospitable space that doesn't seem like a cafeteria. It's considered a cafeteria that's very easy to use for non-students.
Monday-Friday: Lunch - 11:00 am - 3:00 pm/Dinner - 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Saturday, Sunday, Holidays: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
All of these cafeterias have their unique characteristics. It would definitely be fun to take a peep at the lifestyle of the students in Kyoto and Osaka as you enjoy a reasonable lunch or dinner.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.