Shokudo are all-round restaurants, and they’re a good way to have lots of different food choices in a single place. Here’s our list of the best shokudo in Kyoto.
Daigin restaurant in Kyoto – image © Chris Rowthorn
Whether it’s tempura, sushi, sukiyaki, or unagi, after spending a little time in Japan, you’ll notice that a disproportionate number of restaurants here tend to specialise in a single dish, or particular genre, of food. The quality of meals at these places is usually high, but the drawback of dining there is the lack of choice. This can make dining out rather tricky if you’re eating with other people in groups, when a variety of dietary preferences might have to be taken into consideration.
Enter the shokudo. This literally translates as ‘canteen,’ but an easier way to understand this would be like an all-round restaurant serving a wide variety of food. The shokudo is an ideal place to visit when you want more choices at mealtime. It’s especially true when you have young children to cater to! Don’t expect gourmet food, but most shokudo dish out serviceable to decent food.
Here are some shokudo we like in Kyoto.
- Ganko Sushi
Ganko Sushi is known for its sushi, but they also serve just about every other kind of Japanese food. It’s touristy and often crowded, but the food is pretty good.
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)
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.
- Daigin Shokudo (Northern Higashiyama)
Daigin Shokudo is a great shokudo near Ginkaku-ji Temple. It serves the standard noodle and rice favorites. It’s a good choice for a meal when exploring Northern Higashiyama.
- Goya (Northern Higashiyama)
A great place to eat near Ginkaku-ji Temple, Goya is an Okinawan-themed restaurant with excellent food, cool music and comfortable seating.
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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)