World-famous kaiseki restaurant Kikunoi in Southern Higashiyama is THE mecca for gourmands looking for some of the best fine dining in the city.
Kikunoi Main Restaurant – image © Chris Rowthorn
Many people with more than a passing interest in Japanese fine dining will have heard of Kikunoi Main Restaurant, otherwise known as Kikunoi. Helmed by chef Yoshiro Murata, the third generation kaiseki chef of this restaurant, a meal here is nothing less than a sublime experience and a certain highlight of your visit to Kyoto.
While many Japanese restaurants do take pride in their ingredients and place a great deal of emphasis on the attention to detail, this is magnified at an institution like Kikunoi. Eating at Kikunoi is experiencing classic kaiseki at its finest. Dinner, lasting several hours, is a parade of small, exquisite dishes that represent nothing less than a distillation of the passing seasons.
If it’s spring, you can be sure it’s one of the best bamboo shoots you’ll taste; if you’re here in autumn, you may well have the finest matsutake mushrooms and wagyu beef of your life. Familiar and traditional classics like tilefish with sticky rice and ginger broth, or an assortment of sashimi, are taken to greater heights in the hands of Kikunoi’s skilled chefs. All other renditions may, unfortunately, taste paltry in comparison.
Naturally, all this comes at a price. The average lunch here hovers around the vicinity of JPY25,000, while dinner can go up to a whopping JPY65,000+ if you’re really splashing out. Reservations are essential and can only be made through Tableall or your hotel concierge. It may not be a casual destination for everyone, but it will be a kaiseki experience to remember.
For more Kyoto kaiseki choices, see our Best Kaiseki in Kyoto page.
Name in English:
Kikunoi Main Restaurant
Name in Japanese:
459 Shimokawara-cho, Shimokawara-dori-Yasakatoriimae-sagaru, Higashiyama-ku
noon-12:30pm, 5pm-7:30pm (entering)
Closed 1st and 3rd Tuesday
Non-smoking area: Yes
8min walk from Higashiyama Yasui Bus Stop, Kyoto City Bus 206 from Kyoto Station
Official site (English)
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 Suica 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