Dubbed the home of Japanese cuisine, Kyoto is packed with restaurants that are definitely worth a visit. Below are 10 delicious restaurants that you must try out of the myriad of Japanese cuisine spots in the area.
Miyamasou is a long-established restaurant built in 1895 that is tucked away in the Ainosato area, in the tranquil mountains far from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is a ryori-ryokan (Japanese traditional inn that is centered on cuisine) where you can also stay the night.
Their signature dishes are “Tsumikusa Ryori” (cuisine that uses herbs and vegetables) - dishes that use locally harvested edible wild plants and mushrooms, river fish, wild birds, deer and wild boar. You can enjoy rustic yet refined, flavorful and nutritious dishes that incorporate seasonal ingredients from the mountains.
Price range: Around 19,000 JPY and up for lunch, and around 32,000 JPY and up for dinner
2. Kikunoi Main Branch
Kikunoi is a famous restaurant that was founded in 1912. It has been given three stars by the Michelin Guide, while its two branches in Kyoto and Tokyo have two stars each, so this restaurant is widely known as a 7-star spot.
You can enjoy kaiseki ryori (traditional Japanese course cuisine), which takes on the flow of tea ceremony, in a space that is in tune with the four seasons - from the design of the dishes and rooms, to the view of the garden and the arranged flowers. Savor elaborately prepared dishes that preserve tradition.
Price range: 10,000 JPY and up for lunch, and 16,000 JPY and up for dinner
3. Honke Tankuma Main Branch
Founded in 1928, Honke Tankuma is a luxurious traditional Japanese restaurant with one Michelin star. This restaurant does not add anything deemed unnecessary, and scrapes off what is not needed in order to mazimize the taste of the fine ingredients that they use in their dishes, creating traditional Japanese dishes through simple and finely honed skills.
The menu offers courses with dishes that change every season. You can even dine at the raised platform on the bank of the river outside from May to September.
There are staff who can speak English. You can consult with them regarding Halal and vegetarian courses, as well as dishes that adhere to the beliefs of your country or religion.
Price range: Around 5,000 JPY and up for lunch, and around 15,000 JPY and up for dinner
Hashinaga is a popular restaurant where you can enjoy authentic Japanese dishes in a casual environment. Because they offer reasonably priced Japanese-style courses that change every season, and it has been on the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand for three consecutive years, they have been earning rave reviews from customers inside and outside Japan, with emphasis on the great value for money.
Here, the ingredients being used in the dishes have all been through careful scrutiny by expert eyes. You can savor dishes that draw out the delicious taste of ingredients in season, such as organic vegetables grown in Kyoto and fresh fish from Seto Inland Sea.
Price range: 2,200 JPY and up for lunch, and 4,000 JPY and up for dinner
Uokeya-U is a famous restaurant of unagi (eel) dishes in the atmospheric Gion area. Their signature dish is the U-oke, a dish of kabayaki unagi (eel grilled with soy sauce-based sauce) and rice in a cedar tub. This dish can be ordered for three to five persons, and each person takes as much as they want from the tub.
After broiling the unagi over Bincho charcoal (a type of high-grade charcoal) until deliciously aromatic, it is steamed with natural water and then grilled with a special sauce. Try its melt-in-your-mouth texture and delicious taste that earned the restaurant a Michelin star.
Price range: Around 3,000 JPY and up for lunch, and around 5,000 JPY and up for dinner
Mankamerou is a well-established restaurant that was founded in 1722. They accurately adhere to the style of “yusoku ryori” (banquet cuisine) that had been served in events and rituals of the Imperial Prince and other noblemen in Kyoto from long ago. Dining here will let you taste elegant cuisine with a modern flare that stay true to the traditions and techniques of the genre.
How about trying the ancient food culture of Kyoto through elegant food arrangement and deep flavors? This restaurant has two Michelin stars.
Price range: Around 6,500 JPY and up for lunch, and around 20,000 JPY and up for dinner
Boasting a history of about 450 years, Hyotei is a luxurious traditional Japanese restaurant that is considered to be the pinnacle of Kyoto cuisine. It is famous both in Japan and abroad for such accomplishments as getting three Michelin stars for seven years in a row. You can dine in peace in any of the five elegant buildings, such as the prized chaya (teahouse) that has preserved its appearance from the time the restaurant was founded.
You can enjoy traditional kaiseki ryori that was born out of the spirit of tea ceremony. The dishes incorporate the finest ingredients in season. Experience the essence of Kyoto cuisine that is characterized by the fusion of the dishes with all elements, such as the design of the dishes and the room, as well as the landscape of the garden.
You can consult with them regarding a vegetarian menu and dishes that comply with your country or religion.
Price range: 23,000 JPY and up (incl. tax and service charge) for lunch, and 27,000 JPY and up (incl. tax and service charge) for dinner
Kinobu is a luxurious traditional Japanese restaurant with one Michelin star that has been in business for 80 years. They serve kaiseki ryori filled with seasonal ingredients here.
The dishes are based on traditional Japanese cuisine, but they also incorporate techniques that use fond and bouillon, so the taste has multiple layers. Savor the robust flavors with wine that has been carefully selected by a sommelier.
There are staff who can speak English. You can consult with them regarding a vegetarian menu and dishes that comply with your country or religion.
Price range: Around 6,500 JPY and up for lunch, and around 17,000 JPY and up for dinner
Mokubee is a restaurant with one Michelin star, offering courses that can fit your budget. Every morning, the owner of the restaurant goes to the market, buying only the ingredients that meet his standards after carefully examining them.
Enjoy seasonal dishes that incorporate new elements while preserving the traditions of Japanese cuisine. You can relax while dining at a counter seat or in a private room at this restaurant that exudes an elegant vibe.
Price range: Around 6,000 JPY and up for lunch, and around 12,000 JPY and up for dinner
10. Gion Sasaki
Gion Sasaki is a popular two Michelin star restaurant where you can enjoy thrilling “gastronomic entertainment”. With the counter as the stage, they captivate customers with their genres of ingredients and cooking methods that cross borders, and their performance that stimulates the five senses.
The menu consists of the omakase (dishes decided by the chef) courses for lunch and dinner only. While the dishes are based on the traditions of Japanese cuisine, you can still relish a lot of innovative dishes, such as dishes cooked in a pizza oven, which can cook ingredients while keeping the moisture locked in.
There are staff who can speak English.
Price range: 6,000 JPY and up for lunch, and 24,000 JPY and up for dinner
The restaurants featured in this article are famous spots that represent Japan. Make sure to visit them and experience how wonderful they are.
*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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