Here is our list of the best restaurants in Kyoto, divided by type of cuisine, with location and price range indicated to make it easy to choose.
Kaiseki at Kitcho © cityfoodsters
Here, I’ve chosen the best approachable restaurants in Kyoto. They’re all located in areas you’re likely to visit. Yes, in some cases there are better restaurants in Kyoto, but they’re not good for casual visitors to the city (ie, they’re inconveniently located, they’re too expensive or they’re difficult for foreigners to reserve or to enter). Barring the high-end fine dining restaurants, those listed here are places you can actually go to and enjoy, most without any reservations.
For information about Kyoto specialties, restaurant costs and where to find the best restaurants, see my What To Eat In Kyoto page. And if you’re on a budget, have a read of my favorite Cheap Eats In Kyoto.
Best Restaurants in Kyoto by Type of Cuisine and Genre
Best Affordable Sushi in Kyoto
- Sushisei (Downtown Kyoto; mid-range)
Sushisei is one of the best moderately priced sushi restaurants in Kyoto. They’re relatively comfortable with foreigners and it’s right downtown.
- Azuma Sushi (Southern Higashiyama; mid-range)
Eating sushi at a local neighbourhood joint doesn’t get better than this. For unpretentious, delicious sushi that won’t break the bank, head over to Azuma Sushi in Higashiyama.
- Den Shichi (Central Kyoto; mid-range)
One of the best and most approachable sushi bars in Kyoto, Den Shichi serves mouth-watering sushi in a classic sushi-bar atmosphere.
- For more about Kyoto sushi, see our Best Sushi in Kyoto page.
Best Cafes in Kyoto
- Café Bibliotic Hello! (Central Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
Even if it didn’t have this marvelously quirky name, I’d still love this uber-hip Kyoto café. It’s built into an machiya and the owner has some wickedly good design sense.
- % Arabica Higashiyama (Southern Higashiyama; budget)
This super-stylish coffee shop serves some of the best coffee in Kyoto and occupies a prime position on a lovely lane leading up to Yasaka-no-To Pagoda.
- Kurasu Kyoto (Kyoto Station area; budget)
Located just minutes from Kyoto Station, Kurasu Kyoto is a stylish cafe that serves excellent coffee. As a bonus, they’re very English-friendly too.
- For more about Kyoto cafes, see our Best Cafes in Kyoto page.
Best Child-Friendly Restaurants in Kyoto
- Ganko Sushi (Downtown Kyoto; budget to midrange)
This popular downtown sushi restaurant is spacious and has comfortable booths for families. Ganko Sushi serves not only the eponymous sushi, but just about every other Japanese dish as well.
- Ootoya Gohan-dokoro (Downtown Kyoto; budget)
The Ootoya chain is a casual restaurant that serves all the Japanese standards. It’s healthy, cheap and fast.
- For more about child-friendly restaurants in Kyoto, see our Best Child-Friendly Restaurants in Kyoto page.
Best Gyoza in Kyoto
- Tiger Gyoza Kawaramachi (Downtown Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
We don’t believe in being snobby about chain restaurants – some in Japan serve excellent food. One of our favourites is Tiger Gyoza Kawaramachi, where you can eat a wide variety of great dumplings. Whether they’re pan-fried, boiled, fried, or vegetarian, this place has it all.
- Gyoza Hohei (Southern Higashiyama; budget to mid-range)
Located smack in the middle of the geisha district of Gion, Gyoza Hohei serves fabulously garlicky dumplings to fuel you up after a long day of sightseeing. As a bonus, you might even see a local maiko or geiko enjoying a plate of gyoza, too.
- Kyoto Gyoza Bar Anzukko (Downtown Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
Anzukko, a gyoza bar located down a small alley near Sanjo Station, merits multiple visits. We love this pocket-sized slip of a restaurant for their excellent, inventive gyoza.
- For more about gyoza restaurants in Kyoto, see our Best Gyoza in Kyoto page.
Best Izakaya in Kyoto
- 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.
- For more about izakaya in Kyoto, see our Best Izakaya in Kyoto page.
Best Kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine) in Kyoto
- Kikunoi (Southern Higashiyama; expensive)
World-famous kaiseki restaurant Kikunoi in Southern Higashiyama is THE mecca for gourmands looking for some of the best fine dining in the city.
- Roan Kikunoi (Southern Higashiyama; mid-range to expensive)
The sister restaurant to Kikunoi in Southern Higashiyama, 2-star Roan Kikunoi in the heart of Gion is a more unorthodox but no less delicious take on classic kaiseki. Happily, it is also the more affordable of the two!
- Guilo Guilo Hitoshina (Downtown Kyoto; mid-range)
Located in a renovated warehouse south of Gion-Shijo Station, Guilo Guilo Hitoshina offers a delicious, modern take on kaiseki cuisine at ridiculously affordable prices.
- Kitcho Arashiyama Honten (Arashiyama; expensive)
For over-the-top spare-no-expense kaiseki, Kitcho Arashiyama is THE place to go in Kyoto.
- For more about kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto, see our Best Kaiseki in Kyoto page.
Best Japanese Tea and Sweet Shops in Kyoto
- Kasagiya (Southern Higashiyama; budget)
The most atmospheric little tea house in Kyoto, we never pass this way without stopping in for a hot cup of matcha tea and a sweet.
- Kagizen Yoshifusa (Southern Higashiyama; budget)
Kagizen Yoshifusa is a traditional sweet shop in Gion with a serene tea room where you can enjoy traditional sweets with cups of thick matcha tea.
- Saryo Housen (Central Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
You’d have to know where to go to find Saryo Housen. One of the city’s finest shops for tea and sweets is located in the suburbs of Central Kyoto, and it’s well worth seeking out.
- For more about Japanese tea and sweet shops in Kyoto, see our Best Japanese Tea and Sweet Shops in Kyoto page.
Best Kissaten in Kyoto
- Smart Coffee (Downtown Kyoto)
Retro kissaten Smart Coffee in Teramachi Shopping Arcade not only serves fantastic coffee, their egg sandwiches are also killer. Sparing some time for breakfast or tea here is a no-brainer!
- Otafuku (Downtown Kyoto)
For a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto, drop by Otafuku in Kawaramachi. Though it’s right in the heart of the city, you’ll be whisked away to another world in this retro kissaten.
- For more about kissaten in Kyoto, see our Best Kissaten in Kyoto page.
Best Okonomiyaki in Kyoto
- 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.
- For more about okonomiyaki in Kyoto, see our Best Okonomiyaki in Kyoto page.
Best Ramen in Kyoto
- Ramen Muraji (Southern Higashiyama; budget)
For a surprisingly good bowl of ramen in relaxing surroundings in the heart of Gion, you can’t go wrong with Muraji. But be prepared to wait unless you go off peak.
- No Name Ramen (Downtown Kyoto; budget)
This ultra-hip ramen joint might seem gimmicky at first, but one taste of the ramen and you’ll know that it’s the real deal.
- Towzen (Central Kyoto; budget)
If you’ve always avoided ramen because you’re vegetarian or vegan, you no longer have to worry. Towzen serves up one of Kyoto’s most delicious bowls of soy milk ramen, and it’s completely vegan!
- For more about ramen in Kyoto, see our Best Ramen in Kyoto page.
Best Resutoran-gai in Kyoto
- Takashimaya (Downtown Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
The elegant seventh floor Takashimiya Resutoran-gai (restaurant floor) is a great place to eat while exploring downtown Kyoto.
- Daimaru (Downtown Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
The Daimaru Department Store Resutoran-gai (restaurant floor) is a good collection of Japanese and international restaurants in the heart of downtown Kyoto.
- Eat Paradise (Kyoto Station Area; budget to mid-range)
The best collection of restaurants in Kyoto Station, Eat Paradise is our favorite place for a sit-down meal before getting on a train or exploring the area.
- For more about resutoran-gai (food courts) in Kyoto, see our Best Resutoran-gai in Kyoto page.
Best Shojin Ryori (Japanese Buddhist vegetarian cuisine)
- Shigetsu (Arashiyama; mid-range)
Inside the grounds of Tenryu-ji Temple, Shigetsu is a great place to try traditional Japanese Buddhist cuisines, also known as shojin-ryori.
- Izusen Daiji-in (Central Kyoto; mid-range)
Looking for a vegan meal in beautiful surroundings? Try a shojin-ryori lunch at Izusen Daiji-in in Daitoku-ji Temple. Their gorgeous and elaborate meals are sure to be a highlight of your visit to Kyoto.
- Ajiro Honten (Central Kyoto; mid-range to expensive)
Whether you’re vegan or not, gourmands should head to Ajiro Honten near Myoshin-ji Temple to enjoy gorgeously cooked, multi-course Buddhist temple vegan meals. One of their claims to fame: they’re the longest running vegan restaurant in the city to keep their Michelin star.
- For more about shojin ryori in Kyoto, see our Best Shojin Ryori page.
Best Shokudo/All Round Restaurants in Kyoto
- Ootoya Gohan-dokoro (Downtown Kyoto; budget)
The Ootoya chain is a great new addition to the Kyoto eating scene. It’s casual and healthy and there’s a great picture/English menu.
- Asuka (Southern Higashiyama; budget to mid-range)
A homey shokudo (think Japanese diner) on the main Higashiyama tourist trail, with an English menu and a friendly staff.
- Hisago (Southern Higashiyama; budget)
Hisago is a good restaurant near Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kodai-ji Temple and Ishibei-koji. It’s not much to look at, but the noodles and rice dishes are tasty.
- For more about shokudo in Kyoto, see our Best Shokudo/All Round Restaurants in Kyoto page.
Best Soba/Udon in Kyoto
- Omen Ginkaku-ji Branch (Northern Higashiyama; budget to mid-range)
Just down the hill from Ginkaku-ji Temple, Omen is one of our favorite restaurants in Kyoto. They serve some of Kyoto’s best udon noodles.
- Honke Owariya (Downtown Kyoto; budget)
Located in an atmospheric old wooden building, Honke Owariya is arguably the best soba restaurant in all of Kyoto.
- For more about soba and udon in Kyoto, see our Best Soba/Udon in Kyoto page.
Best Sukiyaki in Kyoto
- Mishima-tei (Downtown Kyoto; mid-range to expensive)
For some good sukiyaki, try this reliable old specialist in the Teramachi Shopping Arcade.
- For more about sukiyaki in Kyoto, see our Best Sukiyaki in Kyoto page.
Best Tempura in Kyoto
- Kyo Tominokoji Tempura Yoshikawa (Downtown Kyoto; expensive)
Yoshikawa Tempura serves Kyoto’s best tempura in a beautiful old wooden building built around a sublime Japanese garden.
- Tempura Endo Yasaka (Southern Higashiyama; expensive)
How many tempura places can you name that have been in business for more than 100 years? Tempura Endo Yasaka has been deep-frying food with flair for the last century – with tempura this good, it’s no wonder they’re still around.
- Tenyu (Downtown Kyoto; expensive)
Fresh ingredients superbly deep-fried in crisp batter – what’s not to like about tempura? Tenyu near Kyotoshiyakushomae Station has some of the best in Kyoto. Head over there to have your idea of tempura redefined.
- For more about tempura in Kyoto, see our Best Tempura in Kyoto page.
Best Tofu Cuisine
- Tosuiro (Downtown Kyoto; expensive)
If you think you know tofu, think again! The artisans at this branch of a famed Kyoto tofu restaurant chain do more with tofu than you’d have thought possible.
- For more about tofu cuisine in Kyoto, see our Best Tofu Cuisine in Kyoto page.
Best Tonkatsu in Kyoto
- Katsukura Sanjo Main Shop (Downtown Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
Widely known as Katsukura, this restaurant’s tonkatsu is a cut above many places: the pork is excellent, and the sauce is homemade. Plus, the Sanjo main shop in downtown Kyoto serves tasty crab croquettes and chicken cutlets – perfect when not everyone wants to eat the same thing!
- Tonkatsu Butagorira (Central Kyoto; budget)
The oddly-named Tonkatsu Butagorira serves up some super-crispy batter – encasing juicy pork loin cutlets, of course! Eating this cheap and cheerful meal is best paired with a visit to nearby Nijo Castle.
- For more about tonkatsu restaurants in Kyoto, see our Best Tonkatsu in Kyoto page.
Best Unagi in Kyoto
- Kane-yo (Central Kyoto; mid-range)
Kane-yo is one the best places in Kyoto to sample unagi (eel). The place positively oozes “old Kyoto” charm and the unagi is delicious.
- Unagi Hirokawa (Arashiyama; mid-range)
Unagi Hirokawa is an excellent Michelin-starred grilled eel specialist located on the main street of Arashiyama. But be warned: Book ahead or wait hours in the queue.
- Pontocho Izumoya (Central Kyoto; mid-range)
Located along the Kamogawa River, Pontocho Izumoya has been serving up deliciously tender and smoky eel for over a century now. As a bonus, it’s pretty tourist-friendly, too.
- For more about unagi in Kyoto, see our Best Unagi in Kyoto page.
Best Vegan/Vegetarian in Kyoto
- AIN SOPH. Journey Kyoto (Downtown Kyoto; budget to mid-range)
A vegan meal in downtown Kyoto has never been easier to find. Just head to Ain Soph Journey right off Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade. The food is decent, but their desserts are even better – we recommend the pancakes and chocolate gateau.
- Izusen (Central Kyoto; mid-range)
Looking for a vegan meal in beautiful surroundings? Try a shojin-ryori lunch at Izusen in Daitoku-ji Temple. Their gorgeous and elaborate meals are sure to be a highlight of your visit to Kyoto.
- For more about vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Kyoto, see our Best Vegan/Vegetarian in Kyoto page.
Best Yakitori in Kyoto
- Bajitofu (Downtown Kyoto; mid-range)
You won’t have to wander far out of downtown Kyoto to find great yakitori. Bajitofu is a centrally-located izakaya serving some of the best in town. Reservations recommended.
- For more about yakitori in Kyoto, see our Best Yakitori in Kyoto page.
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
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world