Izakaya and sake specialists (they’re almost the same thing) are everywhere in Osaka. Spending an evening in an izakaya is one of the best ways to really experience this city – you’ll sample great food, meet the locals, and drink some fabulous sake or beer.
Akagakiya izakaya in Kyoto. – image © Florentyna Leow
There are quite literally thousands of izakaya in the city. You’ll find a high concentration of izakaya around every train station in town. They’re particularly abundant near Shin-Osaka Station, JR Osaka Station, Hankyu Umeda Station, Shinsaibashi Station and Tennoji Station. Here’s a list of our favorite izakaya in Osaka.
- Kikkoya (Downtown Kyoto; mid-range)
Eating out in Kyoto doesn’t have to be fancy, multi-course affairs all the time. We love obanzai places like Kikkoya in downtown Kyoto, which serve up homestyle cooking that’s heavy on the vegetables as well as flavour.
- Suiba Shijo Kawaramachiten (Downtown Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
For a fun, inexpensive night out with friends, try a standing izakaya like Suiba in Shijo Kawaramachi. Good, cheap food and drink – what more could you ask for from dinner?
- Jojo (Kyoto Station; mid-range)
A good casual izakaya (Japanese-style dining pub) within walking distance of Kyoto Station, Jojo is one of our favorite restaurants in the Kyoto Station area.
- Renkon-ya (Downtown Kyoto; mid-range)
Centrally located, friendly, and serves delicious homestyle food – what’s not to like about Renkon-ya? This izakaya in downtown Kyoto near Sanjo Station is a cozy little restaurant that’s popular with the locals.
- Akagakiya (Downtown Kyoto; mid-range)
If you’re into non-touristy dining, you’re in luck. Ultra-local Akagakiya near Sanjo serves up a slice of old-school Kyoto atmosphere along with its tasty izakaya classics.
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Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)