Often called “Japanese pizza”, okonomiyaki is actually very different! Here’s our recommended okonomiyaki restaurants in Kyoto to try it yourself.
Okonomiyaki in Kyoto: TheNUshutter / Shutterstock.com
Okonomiyaki is often translated in English as ‘Japanese pizza.’ However, this is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more like a thick, grilled pancake-slash-frittata, with all kinds of ingredients held together by a nagaimo (mountain yam) and wheat flour batter. In terms of toppings, anything goes: shrimp, squid, pork, even cheese. That’s all part of the name – “grilled as you like it,” or “okonomi”!
While okonomiyaki is more popularly associated with neighbouring city Osaka, there are a number of excellent restaurants in Kyoto where you can enjoy this dish. It’s inexpensive, unpretentious, and delicious. Unless you have gluten allergies, this is certainly a must-try. (But even then, there are one or two gluten-free options out there!) These are a few okonomiyaki spots in Kyoto we love.
- Oagari (Southern Higashiyama; mid-range)
Located a hop and skip south of Yasaka Shrine, Oagari in the Gion district might seem touristy, but it’s no run-of-the-mill okonomiyaki restaurant. Top-notch cooking at incredibly reasonable prices, accompanied by a solid selection of sake – what’s not to like?
- Donguri (Downtown Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
If you’re craving a hearty meal, hit up Donguri. This restaurant has been serving okonomiyaki to the hungry masses since 1977, with a special emphasis on using locally-sourced ingredients in their dishes.
- Yamamoto Mambo (Kyoto Station area; budget to mid-range)
Beloved by locals, Yamamoto Mambo is a family-run okonomiyaki joint that’s a good bet for a hearty meal. Their flavourful, iron-griddled dishes are fantastic washed down with drinks.
- Chibo (Kyoto Station Area; budget to mid-range)
Located in the Kyoto Avanti mall south of Kyoto Station, Chibo is a reliable, failsafe option for okonomiyaki. The pancakes are awesome, they have a kid’s menu, and it’s English-friendly too.
- Warai (Downtown Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
For some seriously fun eating, try the okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancakes cooked on a griddle at your table) at Nishiki Warai, just steps from Nishiki Market.
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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)