Before we begin exploring the best restaurants in Kyoto, we should look at the potted history of this great Japanese city.
The Kyoto basin was first settled in the 7th century, and by 794 it had become Heian-kyō, the capital of Japan. Like Nara, a previous capital, the city was laid out in a grid pattern modelled on the Chinese Tang dynasty capital, Chang’an. Although the city was to serve as home to the Japanese imperial family from 794 to 1868 (when the Meiji Restoration took the imperial family to the new capital, Tokyo), the city was not always the focus of Japanese political power. During the Kamakura period (1185–1333), Kamakura served as the national capital, and during the Edo period (1600–1867), the Tokugawa shōgunate ruled Japan from Edo (now Tokyo).
Best Restaurants in Kyoto
Kyōto, city, seat of Kyōto fu (urban prefecture), west-central Honshu island, Japan. It is located some 30 miles (50 km) northeast of the industrial city of Ōsaka and about the same distance from Nara, another ancient centre of Japanese culture. Gently sloping downward from north to south, the city averages 180 feet (55 metres) above sea level. Kyōto fu is at the centre of Kinki chihō (region). The city is one of the centres (with nearby Ōsaka and Kōbe) of the Keihanshin Industrial Zone, the second-largest urban and industrial agglomeration in Japan.
9 Best Restos and groovy sushi places
Kyoto’s restaurant scene is wide ranging. From elaborate kaiseki fine dining, to tiny neighborhood ramen and gyoza shops, you’re bound to find places that fit your style or mood. It’s also the place to try the unique Kyoto-style sushi, which is made with cured fish instead of raw, fresh fish.
That said, on this page I show and describe 12 of the best places to eat in the city, categorized by budget. Once read you should have a good idea about where to go to taste some of the city’s most delicious foods.
Where to Eat in Kyoto
And here we are, the last post in the Kyoto Series: Where to Eat in Kyoto. If you are planning a trip to Kyoto and haven’t caught up on my pre-vacation planning series yet, I wrote a post on where to stay in Kyoto for the first time, Best Coffee Shops in Kyoto and Things to do in Kyoto. I also did the same series for Tokyo as well if you wanted to read those!
And it goes without saying that later never comes and because I don’t prepare for my trips it’s hard to gather thoughts to post about it later. And now it’s like a win-win for me and hopefully helpful for any of you that are planning a trip to Japan.
Food you MUST try
For an introduction to Japanese cuisine, I always recommend starting with Kyoto food. But what to eat in Kyoto, you might ask?
Well, I will get to detailing the best Kyoto foods after a short introduction. Located in the heart of the Kansai region, Kyoto is considered a focal point for traditional Japanese cuisine.
We experienced a lot of good food in Japan, but Kyoto was the city which offered us the most diverse dishes. Now we understand why Kyoto is sometimes referred to as Japan’s culinary capital.
If you are wondering what to eat in Kyoto, you might find it difficult to figure out where to start. We tried a lot of interesting, peculiar and region-specific Kyoto snacks and Japan’s old capital city was also the place where we spent much more money on food than, say in Tokyo. Was it worth it? Absolutely!
50 Best Places to Eat
Kyoto is one of the most popular cities to visit gaining the attention of both Japanese and foreign tourists alike. Known as the ‘temple city‘ there’s endless sightseeing to do, with that you’re probably going to work up a big appetite!
Kyoto has much to offer with its culinary delights, like trying a traditional multi-course ‘kaiseki’ or its famous Green Tea desserts. Whatever your taste buds are in the mood for you will want to check out these 50 Best Places to Eat in Kyoto! For a complete itinerary check out the Budget Traveller’s Guide to One Week in Kyoto.
Kyoto City Guide
Kyoto is a beautiful city nestled within the mountainous terrain of Japan. With over 1600 temples and shrines, you will never run out of things to see. Having a solid plan is required, the major sights are scattered along the outskirts of town. Two or three jam-packed days are the minimum to see the best of what Kyoto has to offer. In addition, the city also makes the perfect hub to explore surrounding cities like Osaka, Nara and Himeji.
Kyoto has a great train and bus system. Using the main station, you can easily access each district of the city. After arriving in an area, you will need to walk or cab to each attraction. I was averaging a walking distance of 10-15 km per day; some of the mountainous areas will require a lot of stair climbing. Each day offered a brand new experience that kept me wanting to explore every inch of the city. Kyoto was my favourite destination in Japan and I cannot wait to go back.
Best Cheap Eats
Kyoto was the most expensive place we went to in Japan. We stayed in the Gion area and when we were looking for restaurants everything was way out of our price range. After a lot of research and a lot of walking we did eventually find some cheaper places to eat.
Here are Yasmine’s best ones:
- Udon Sanshiki
- Kyoto Gogyo
Streets of Kyoto
If you want to see a bit of “classic Japan” or “classic Kyoto,” then walking the streets of Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka is something you will probably want to highly consider!
This area can be good for seeing some traditional Japanese architecture, finding some Japan souvenirs and gifts, and you can even take part in a tea ceremony.