Kyoto has dozens of fantastic yakitori restaurants. Here is our pick of Kyoto yakitori restaurants that are affordable, friendly, and delicious.
Yakitori in Kyoto: decoplus / Shutterstock.com
If you eat meat, it’s hard to argue with skewered, charcoal-grilled chicken. In Japan, this is known as yakitori. The chicken is grilled with either a soy-based tare sauce or salt. Yakitori can be as cheap and cheerful as you please, making a fantastic accompaniment to alcoholic drinks of all sorts. On the other hand, yakitori can be elevated to a veritable art form, given the kind of attention to detail you find in rarefied French restaurants to make the best chicken you’ve ever tasted in your life.
Something that distinguishes Japanese yakitori is the sheer variety of chicken parts available. Eating just thigh and breast is passe; if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try neck meat (seseri), reba (liver), sunazuri (gizzard), tsukune (meatball), or nankotsu (cartilage)?
Kyoto has dozens of fantastic yakitori restaurants. These are just a few that are affordable, friendly, and delicious.
- Torito (Downtown Kyoto; expensive)
This is “haute yakitori” – dynamite yakitori (various bits of chicken cooked on skewers) in fashionable surroundings.
- 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.
- Chabuya (Downtown Kyoto; mid-range)
For smoky, charcoal-grilled yakitori with a dose of retro atmosphere, head over to Chabuya in downtown Kyoto. We love the “special meatball” and the fried chicken cartilage!
- Wabiya Korekido (Southern Higashiyama; mid-range to expensive)
Wabiya Korekido is a restaurant in Gion that serves top-notch oyakodon (chicken-and-egg rice bowl) at lunch and fabulous yakitori at dinner. If you can’t decide what time to head there, don’t choose – just go twice.
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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)