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5 Selected Machiya Izakaya in Kyoto

This is an article for those who like to enjoy a nice dinner in the atmosphere of traditional Kyoto, but don’t want to spend too much money. We will introduce 5 recommended machiya (traditional type of townhouse) izakaya in Kyoto.


1. Yorozu Enraku

Yorozu Enraku is an izakaya reformed from a 120 year old machiya, which stands quietly at the back alley of Gion. Here, you can enjoy seasonal meals and Obanzai (local Kyoto dishes) at a comparatively cheap price. Their famous dishes are their homemade yuba tofu and sesame tofu. The taste of flavorful white sesame and the unique sensation will become addictive. Another recommendation of this store is the deep fried selection. The crispy Dried Squid Tempura is especially popular for its beautifully seasoned flavor and for being the perfect match for sake. The more you chew, the tastier it is. This is an izakaya bursting with energy, so it might be fun to visit with family and friends.


This is a stylish diner with a relaxing atmosphere, renovated from a traditional Kyomachiya building. This Japanese restaurant is popular for kamameshi (rice, meat, and vegetables served in a pot) that uses rice harvested with reduced agricultural chemicals, and charcoal-grilled dishes. There is a variety of kamameshi items on their menu like chicken and mushroom kamameshi, nameko mushroom and grated radish kamameshi, and other limited items with seasonal ingredients. Also, yuba (tofu skin) and yomogi fu (wheat gluten with mugwort) in a crispy pizza style is an arranged dish that uses ingredients from Kyoto. The thinly prepared dough made with yuba is topped with the raw fu, is baked for a crispy sensation. This delicious pizza cannot be experienced anywhere else. SPOON has many more stylish and delicious Japanese foods, and is a recommended diner to go to on a date.

3. Rojimon

Rojimon is an izakaya with counter seats where you can dine in view of the kitchen, and with private rooms in view of the courtyard where you can enjoy the sight of the seasons. It is popular for having a very Kyoto-like atmosphere. The charcoal-grilled dish that is served as a starter is very special. It is a very enjoyable dish made of vegetables and dried products that vary everyday that you grill yourself. Their popular dishes are the sashimi of the season and Namafu no Dengaku (wheat gluten with miso). They also have a western menu that goes well with wine, like the cheese fondue made with blue cheese, and the garlic toast with abalone paste. This diner can be visited alone, and it is also suitable for group dinners.

4. restaurant IRO

This is a restaurant that has a modern atmosphere with a mix of Japanese and Western styles. Restaurant IRO is very popular with young Japanese people, because they offer a reasonable izakaya menu as well as creative Japanese cuisine. Typical items on the izakaya menu, like black edamame beans, deep fried chicken and agedashi Kyo-tofu, can be enjoyed with local ingredients from Kyoto. One thing that everyone must try in this restaurant is the deep fried Guji. Guji is another name for Japanese tilefish, which is a representative Kyoto fish, and in this restaurant they serve it whole. The crispy surface and juicy flesh goes really well with beer and sake. This is a perfect place for those who would like to try food you can only taste in Kyoto.

4. restaurant IRO

5. Kyoya Kiyomizu Gion Shinbashi

At Kyoya Kiyomizu you can enjoy homely Japanese food like Kyo-oden and Obanzai. Both 1st floor counter seats where you can see the courtyard and the private rooms with an alcove are relaxing while retaining the Kyomachiya atmosphere. The specialty of this store is oden. The ingredients, like daikon radish and eggs stewed in either soy milk soup or black chicken soup, are soft and delicious. They also have traditional Japanese home meals like okara (soybean curd refuse) and kinpira gobo (burdock root cooked with sugar and soy sauce). This is a relaxing izakaya with soothing meals and a calming atmosphere.

It is definitely preferable to dine in restaurants with a traditional Kyoto atmosphere if you are in Kyoto. Please enjoy a wonderful evening at a machiya izakaya in Kyoto.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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Writer: Mayuka Ueno

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