Recommended High-Class Sushi Restaurants in Kyoto

Here are 5 high-class sushi restaurants in Kyoto that you'll definitely want to stop by after sightseeing.

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1. Matsudaya

Matsudaya is a sushi restaurant in the Hanamikoji area of Gion that has received Michelin stars. The interior is very Kyoto-like, with a stone-paved floor and a gleaming counter made from hinoki cypress contributing to the calm atmosphere. The chef, who taught himself how to make Edomae-style sushi, uses red rice vinegar to make the rice. He uses the best techniques, be it broiling, steaming, grilling, pickling, etc., to bring out the best flavors of the fish, and he pays close attention to detail. The menu includes pieces, meals, and omakase courses where the chef chooses what you'll eat. The recommended omakase course (starting at 13,500 JPY (excl. tax) for 14-16 pieces) offers seasonal ingredients chosen specially by the chef that you can enjoy to your heart's content. The pickled tuna with Japanese mustard is exquisite.

2. Matsuzushi

Matsuzushi, in Kyoto's Nakagyo area, is a restaurant that was beloved by Japan's famous author, Shotaro Ikegami. It's been a popular restaurant among gourmands for years. The interior is just 5 seats at a counter in a relaxed atmosphere. The menu is omakase (around 20,000 JPY) and offers fresh seafood procured that day. Their wares are attractive because they use the basis of Edomae-style sushi and add Kansai-style tastes to create sushi that's overflowing with originality. The soft, sweet vinegared rice and the flavorful ingredients make a perfect match so you can enjoy sushi that feels complete. Among them is the aburi mackerel sushi, which is broiled so the flavor of the mackerel is condensed to create a delicacy. This is a sushi restaurant you want to visit at least once if you go to Kyoto.

*Photo is for illustration purposes.

2. Matsuzushi

3. Matsumoto

Matsumoto, in Gion, is a representative sushi restaurant that has received a Michelin star. Every morning they receive seafood directly from around the country, mostly from Tsukiji Market. You can also taste ingredients here that you can only find in the Kansai area. This Edomae-style sushi is made using various techniques like kombu-shime (seafood is wrapped in kombu seaweed and refrigerated overnight), sujime (fish fileted into 3 slices is salted, washed, then drenched in vinegar), pickling, and boiling. The vinegared rice uses red rice vinegar and no sugar. There are two courses available for dinner, Edomae Sushi 17-18 Pieces (14,000 JPY (excl. tax)) and Edomae Sushi 12-13 Pieces and 3 Snacks (17,000 JPY (excl. tax)). For lunch, there is a slightly more reasonable plan of 13 pieces of Edomae sushi for 9,000 JPY (incl. tax), so please stop by!

4. Sushiiwa

Sushiiwa, near Higashi Honganji, is a restaurant where you can have Japanese cuisine, mostly sushi.
Since Steve Jobs once visited and said it was the most delicious sushi he'd ever had, many people visit from overseas. The restaurant focuses on using seasonal ingredients prepared so that their best flavors are drawn out. Also, they present the food beautifully, on dishware that represents the current seasons. They have a large wine cellar that holds plenty champagne and wine, so please have some with your sushi!
The omakase course starts at 8,000 JPY and 10,000 JPY at night. Sushi starts at 500 JPY for one piece.

*Photo is for illustration purposes.

5. Sushi Kassai

Sushi Kassai, in Karasuma, is a restaurant that offers sushi and a la carte dishes. They use rare ingredients for sushi, and many people visit not just to enjoy the sushi but also their meals. They have carefully selected sushi using ingredients like grouper, sea urchin, Japanese tiger shrimp, all of which are exquisite. The vinegared rice and ingredients are prepared to perfection. The a la carte dishes also have a wide variety, including grilled and stewed fish. The shore plover made in saikyouyaki-style (fish is pickled in sweet Saikyou miso, mirin, sake, and other ingredients and grilled) with ground cherries is popular. They have many dishes that go well with sake and shochu, so it's a restaurant recommended for people who want to leisurely drink and eat. A meal costs around 10,000 JPY per person.

*Photo is for illustration purposes.

Please satisfy yourself with delicious Kyoto sushi in between sightseeing!

*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: o-dat

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