October 2022: Please note Sujata has now permanently closed. Please see our Northern Higashiyama page for other places to eat in the district. See my list of Kyoto’s Best Restaurants for more eating inspiration. The list covers all cuisines and price ranges.
With reasonably priced lunch sets clocking in at under JPY1000 a pop, Sujata is a long-time favourite with Kyoto residents looking for homey vegetarian fare. Head here for nourishing lunches that won’t break the bank.
A plate of vegetable gyoza drizzled with vinegar and chilli oil. – image © Florentyna Leow
Sujata is a small, one-woman operation. It’s a narrow little shop with just two small tables and some counter seats on the ground floor – easy to walk right past if you’re not looking for it. The elderly Japanese lady behind the counter does everything from start to finish, so make sure you’re not in a hurry. This isn’t fast food. The meditation music in the background is oddly calming though, and you might find yourself drifting off as you wait for your food, noticing the sizzle of hot oil or the smells wafting from behind the counter.
The counter downstairs. There’s a second floor area, too. – image © Florentyna Leow
Her cooking sits somewhere at the intersection of Japanese and Indian home cooking. It won’t be fancy eating, but it is nourishing, honest fare. Think dishes like vegetable gyoza, vegetable ramen, spinach and tofu curry, cashew nut curry, and cold noodles topped with a veritable rainbow of sliced vegetables.
The menu and accompanying photos can also be found at the entrance. – image © Florentyna Leow
Cabbage and scallion-stuffed gyoza dumplings, crisp-edged from sizzling in the pan, arrive already drizzled with a tart vinegary sauce and chili oil. The whole affair is gently flavoured, managing to feel both healthy and comforting despite being pan-fried. You’ll find yourself wolfing them down.
Spinach curry with tofu. – image © Florentyna Leow
We also liked the spinach curry with tofu. Served with brown rice and a whole-wheat chapati, it’s warm, mildly spicy, homey, and very comforting. It doesn’t have the richness of a classic paneer – this is vegan, after all – but it’s flavourful enough that you might not miss the cheese.
The entrance to Sujata. – image © Florentyna Leow
With generous portions and lunches to be had below JPY1000, there are few vegetarian places in town with better cost-performance. If you have limited time in Kyoto, this isn’t a must-visit. But if you’re in the area – en route to the Silver Pavilion, or visiting Chion-ji Temple Handicraft Market held on the 15th of every month – and in need of vegetarian fare, Sujata is an excellent choice.
For more vegan and vegetarian choices, see our Best Vegan and Vegetarian in Kyoto page.
Name in Japanese:
96-2 Tanaka-monzen-cho, Sakyo-ku
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: noon-6pm
Saturday and Sunday: noon-5pm
2min walk from Hyakumanben Bus Stop, Kyoto City Bus 17 from Kyoto Station
Official site (Japanese and English)
More Restaurant Suggestions:
See my list of Kyoto’s Best Restaurants for more eating inspiration. The list covers all cuisines and price ranges.
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 - World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)