Credit

Courtesy of Piriya Photography/Getty Images

What to Eat in Kyoto

Kyoto is famous for its kaiseki ryori style of dining, a traditional and formal way of eating; shojin ryori, composed strictly of vegetarian dishes and inspired by the diet of Buddhist monks; obanzai (Kyoto home-style cooking); and other popular Japanese fare such as ramen, sushi and udon. And, as in any large city, there is a variety of international cuisines. For those looking to try a kaiseki meal, head to the Pontocho and Gion districts of Kyoto. Budget travelers beware: Traditional kaiseki dinners can be expensive. To enjoy a kaiseki meal without blowing your budget, consider a breakfast or lunch instead. Kaiseki restaurants often offer a sample of their dinner selections at half the price for breakfast or lunch.

Tofu, a local Kyoto specialty, is a common ingredient in shojin ryori and can be found in many local restaurants. Look for yudofu, soft tofu simmered with vegetables in broth on menus, a very popular dish. Meanwhile, foodies shouldn't miss the Nishiki Market in central Kyoto to see and sample all sorts of local delicacies, including tsukemono (Japanese pickles), wagashi (Japanese confections) and plenty of fresh fish.

While you're enjoying your meal, keep a few etiquette rules in mind: Never pass food with chopsticks or use them to point at things on the table; passing food with chopsticks is a big faux pas only reserved for funeral rituals. Equally rude: sticking your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice. If you're done with your chopsticks, simply place them sideways on your plate.

Find the Best Restaurants in Kyoto

  • #1
    Trattoria Macedonia Yuki
    #1 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 106 reviewsTripadvisor (106)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Pizza, Mediterranean, Sicilian, Southern-Italian, European
    615 Darumacho, Nakagyo-Ku Sunflower Miyukicho 1F, Kyoto 604-0962 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #2
    Bar LiquorMuseum Pontocho
    #2 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 113 reviewsTripadvisor (113)
    $ | Bar, Pub
    180-1 Zaimokucho, Kiyamachi Sanjo Sagaru, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto 604-8017 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #3
    Gyotako Kyoto
    #3 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 179 reviewsTripadvisor (179)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Fast Food, Asian, Street Food
    545-3 Nakanocho, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto 604-8042 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #4
    Premarche Gelateria
    #4 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 101 reviewsTripadvisor (101)
    $ | Italian, Cafe
    308 Sanjodori Inokuma Nishiiru Ontomocho, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto 604-8331 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #5
    Pizzeria Lugara
    #5 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 114 reviewsTripadvisor (114)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Pizza
    18-25 Setogawacho Sagatenryuji, Ukyo-Ku, Kyoto 616-8376 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #6
    Kobe Beef Steak Moriya Gion
    #6 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 404 reviewsTripadvisor (404)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Japanese, Asian
    7-1 Yamatocho, Yamato Ojitori 4-jo Kudaru, Higashiyama-ku Gion Moriya Bldg., Kyoto 605-0802 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #7
    KOBE BEEF Niyama TEPPANYAKI (since 1955)
    #7 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 345 reviewsTripadvisor (345)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Grill
    84-1 Nakajimacho, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto 604-8004 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #8
    Sushi Naritaya
    #8 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 423 reviewsTripadvisor (423)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Seafood, Sushi, Asian
    3-25 Saga Tenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo-ku West Park, Arashiyama Square, Kyoto 616-8385 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #9
    Teppan Tavern Gion Tenamonya
    #9 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 637 reviewsTripadvisor (637)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, Japanese, Grill
    537-2 Minamigawa Giommachi Higashiyama-ku Hiro Bldg. B1F, Kyoto 605-0074 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #10
    Okonomiyaki Katsu
    #10 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 443 reviewsTripadvisor (443)
    $ | Japanese, Asian
    1-4 Ryoanji Saigucho, Ukyo-Ku, Kyoto 616-8011 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #11
    Tonshabu Hide, Kyoto Shijo Karasuma
    #11 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 486 reviewsTripadvisor (486)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Asian
    226 Takazaimokucho Takakuradori Shijo Sagaru, Shimogyo-Ku Maeda Bldg.2F, Kyoto 600-8082 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #12
    Yasakadori Enraku
    #12 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 442 reviewsTripadvisor (442)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Kappo
    594 Komatsucho Yasakadori, Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto 605-0811 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #13
    Kurasu
    #13 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 117 reviewsTripadvisor (117)
    $ | Cafe
    552 Higashi Aburanokojicho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8235 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #14
    Premium Pound Gion
    #14 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 183 reviewsTripadvisor (183)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Japanese, Grill
    570-15 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto 605-0074 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #15
    Saishuan Shiraki
    #15 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 243 reviewsTripadvisor (243)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Asian, Healthy
    Funayacho Takeyamachi 420-3, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto 604-0985 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #16
    Pontocho Yakiniku Yamakawa Honten
    #16 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 92 reviewsTripadvisor (92)
    $ - $$ | Barbecue, Japanese, Steakhouse, Asian
    137-7 Wakamatsucho Pontocho, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto 604-8011 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #17
    Mezopotamia Kebab House
    #17 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 210 reviewsTripadvisor (210)
    $ | Turkish, Fast Food, Middle Eastern
    501-14 Higashigawacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8046 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #18
    Restaurant Matsukiya, Kyoto Shijo
    #18 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 500 reviewsTripadvisor (500)
    $$ | Japanese, Steakhouse
    28 Tachiurihigashicho Shijodori Fuyachonishi-iru, Shimogyo-ku 2F Sakizo Plaza Bldg., Kyoto 600-8005 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #19
    Matsuzakagyu What’s Kyoto Muromachi
    #19 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 513 reviewsTripadvisor (513)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Steakhouse, Barbecue, Asian, Kaiseki
    477 Eboshiyacho, Muromachi Sanjo-Dori Kudaru, Nakagyo-Ku, Kyoto 604-8165 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #20
    Banimatar
    #20 of 15,975 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 181 reviewsTripadvisor (181)
    $ - $$ | Cafe
    13 Kinugasa Somoncho, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8363 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »

Explore More of Kyoto

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.