This hole-in-the-wall shop in Gion sells only two things: gyoza (Chinese friend dumplings) and beer. The gyoza are the best in town.
The name of this shop – Senmonten – means specialty shop in Japanese (okay, they write it with different characters just to be difficult), and they certainly are specialists: they serve only fried gyoza and frosty mugs of draught beer. Okay, maybe the owners can be convinced to sell you the odd glass of Chinese spirits, but basically it’s a dumpling and brew joint, and that seems to keep the regulars plenty happy.
The gyoza are prepared according to some secret Chinese process – they’re perfectly crispy on the outside and the scallion-flavored pork inside is juicy and delightful. Best of all, they’re bite size, so you can just pop them one at a time into your mouth. You order them in pallets of 20 and it’s easy to put down 40 or more at a sitting (there’s a sign on the wall listing the record number consumed at a single sitting – it was about 150 last time we checked).
Higashi-gawa, Hanamikoji Shimbashi kudaru, Higashiyama-ku
Closed Sunday, national holidays, Obon and new year holidays
Non-smoking area: No
7min walk from Gion Shijo Station, Keihan line
Official Website (Japanese)
Read customer reviews of Senmonten on TripAdvisor
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
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)