If you love beef, there are few better places on the planet to eat it than in Japan.‘Wagyu’ is typically associated with Kobe beef outside of Japan, but the word literally just means ‘Japanese beef.’ Once you arrive in Japan, you’ll realise there’s much more than Kobe beef in the world of wagyu – that’s just one of many different varieties and grades of domestic beef here!
Sukiyaki in Kyoto: norikko / Shutterstock.com
Wagyu is best eaten in ways that highlight the quality and taste of the beef. Sukiyaki is a particularly great way to enjoy wagyu. Sukiyaki is best described as simmered beef and vegetables in a sweet-savoury soy sauce.
Here’s a short list of sukiyaki restaurants we like in Kyoto:
- Mishima-tei (Downtown Kyoto; mid-range to expensive)
For some good sukiyaki, try this reliable old specialist in the Teramachi Shopping Arcade.
- Tochigiku (Kibune; mid-range to expensive)
An elegant riverside restaurant in Kibune, Tochigiku is a great spot for lunch after hiking across the mountain.
- Hyakushokuya Sukiyaki Senka (Central Kyoto; budget)
Hyakushokuya Sukiyaki Senka is unusual in that they sell just 100 portions of their delicious sukiyaki set lunches per day. You’ll have to go early to pick up a ticket. Otherwise, the cost-performance is unbeatable, especially for good wagyu!
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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)