If you’re craving a hearty meal, hit up Donguri Kyoto Ekimae in front of Kyoto Station. This restaurant has been serving okonomiyaki to the hungry masses since 1977, with a special emphasis on using locally-sourced ingredients in their dishes.
Donguri Kyoto Ekimae – image © Chris Rowthorn
Aiming for number one is a lofty goal, but that’s what Donguri has been striving for since 1977 – to become the top okonomiyaki shop in Kyoto. Whether or not they succeed in that endeavour we’ll leave to you to decide; what’s certain is that the okonomiyaki is good enough to warrant repeat visits. We often head to the branch near Kyoto Station for convenience.
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”!
Donguri serves a more local Kyoto take on okonomiyaki known as betayaki, which is pretty similar to the pancake-like Kansai style but thinner. Their negiyaki, or green scallion pancake, is well worth ordering too – the batter is just there to hold the masses of chopped Kujo scallions together.
Part of what makes their okonomiyaki so tasty is their insistence on using quality, locally-sourced ingredients. Almost every ingredient used is from Kyoto, whether it’s the flour, Kujo green onions, Kyoto vegetables, soy sauce, and tofu. The hearty portions don’t hurt either. Each okonomiyaki is generously sized. It’s best if you’re eating with other people so you can share and try a variety of items on the menu!
Best of all, eating at Donguri won’t burn a hole in your pocket. The average meal here shouldn’t set you back more than JPY1500–JPY2000 per person (we’re being generous here), and you’ll leave pretty stuffed to boot. Travelling on a budget never tasted so good.
For more Kyoto okonomiyaki choices, see our Best Okonomiyaki in Kyoto page.
Name in English:
Donguri Kyoto Ekimae
Name in Japanese:
191 Higashisakai-cho, Karasuma-dori-Shichijo-sagaru, Shimogyo-ku
Non-smoking area: No
5min walk from JR Kyoto station Karasuma central gate
Official site (Japanese)
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.
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- 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)