Kyoto Convention Bureau
During its reign as the Imperial capital, delicacies from all over the country were brought to Kyoto to tantalize the palate of the Emperor and his court. That pride in fine dining is still visible today in the wide variety of Kyoto restaurants. The quality has been recognised formally by such prestigious publications as Zagat and Michelin Guides. Kyoto is the world's most starred city (second only to Tokyo).
Types of Restaurant
Eating establishments range from cheap noodle bars and kisaten coffee shops where a satisfying meal costs just a few hundred yen to more extravagant places serving the most formal cuisine. There is a lot of evening fun to be had an izakya bar where good food comes reasonably priced with the sake and beer. Equally there are familiar international fast food chains, casual diners called family restaurants and international ethnic eateries providing the comfort of home. A phenomenon that is particular to Kyoto is the refurbishment of historic timber machiya town houses for use as bars and restaurants that cater to all from formal to chic to casual. Hot summers in Kyoto make yuka terraces over the Kamo river a refreshing way to enjoy the evening. Restaurants can be found throughout Kyoto city with the highest concentrations around Shijo-Kawaramachi, Teramchi Dori, Shinkyogoku, Kyoto Station and main tourist areas.
Dining in Kyoto gives you the opportunity to experience formal Kyoto Kaiseki Ryori, a many-course meal made from seasonal dishes, famous Kyoto tofu, yuba (related to tofu), fu (wheat gluten), mizu-taki chicken, obanzai (Kyoto home-style cooking), and Shojin Zen vegetarian menus; as well as well-known favourites such as tempura, sushi & sashimi, noodles, okonomiyaki & takoyaki, sukiyaki & shabushabu, yakiniku & teppan yaki dishes grilled on hot plates or over charcoal, eel dishes, and Japanese confectionaries. You might also like to try locally produced vegetables that all come with the Kyoto marque.
International foods are also plentiful due to a significant expatriate population. From Indonesian to Brazilian, Vietnamese to French, there is certain to be a taste of whatever country Kyoto visitors call home.
Most restaurants have pictorial menus, English listings, plastic models of food outside, or all of the above to help the international traveller enjoy their Kyoto culinary experience.
For some suggestions on dining locations in Kyoto, please refer to the resources below.
- KCB Download Centre
Download PDF Kyoto Restaurant Guide
- Kyoto Visitor’s Guide
Monthly magazine that lists seasonal highlights, restaurants, and more in great detail giving visitors the knowledge of a local
- Kyoto Restaurant Association
Kyoto restaurants listing
- Kyoto Official Travel Guide
Up to date and practical information for travellers to plan a complete experience of Kyoto
- Kyoto City Tourism Association
- Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO)
Guide to eating out in Japan, types of restaurants and points on etiquette