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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
    LiquorMuseum Pontocho
    #1 of 1,555 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 73 reviewsTripAdvisor (73)
    $ | Bar, Pub
    180-1 Zaimokucho, Kiyamachi Sanjo Sagaru, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8017 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #1
    Okonomiyaki Katsu
    #1 of 472 Places to Eat in Ukyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 378 reviewsTripAdvisor (378)
    $ | Japanese, Asian
    1-4 Ryoanji Saigucho, Ukyo, Kyoto 616-8011 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #3
    Kobe Beef Steak Moriya Gion
    #3 of 16,085 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 280 reviewsTripAdvisor (280)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Japanese
    7-1 Yamatocho, Yamato Ojitori 4-jo Kudaru, Higashiyama-ku Gion Moriya Bldg., Kyoto 605-0802 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #2
    Tonshabu Hide, Kyoto Shijo Karasuma
    #2 of 1,555 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 78 reviewsTripAdvisor (78)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Asian
    226 Takazaimokucho Takakuradori Shijo Sagaru, Shimogyo-ku Maeda Bldg.2F, Nakagyo, Kyoto 600-8082 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #5
    Mezopotamia Kebab House
    #5 of 16,085 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 159 reviewsTripAdvisor (159)
    $ | Turkish, Fast Food, Middle Eastern
    501-14 Higashigawacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8046 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #3
    Premarche Gelateria
    #3 of 1,555 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 93 reviewsTripAdvisor (93)
    $ | Italian, Cafe
    308 Sanjodori Inokuma Nishiiru Ontomocho, Nakagyo-ku, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8331 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #7
    Sushi Naritaya
    #7 of 16,085 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 328 reviewsTripAdvisor (328)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Seafood, Sushi, Asian
    3-25 Saga Tenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo-ku West Park, Arashiyama Square, Kyoto 616-8385 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #1
    Premium Pound Gion
    #1 of 491 Places to Eat in Higashiyama
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 125 reviewsTripAdvisor (125)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Japanese, Grill
    570-15 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0074 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #4
    Saishuan Shiraki
    #4 of 1,555 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 140 reviewsTripAdvisor (140)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Asian
    Funayacho Takeyamachi 420-3, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-0985 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #5
    Restaurant Matsukiya, Kyoto Shijo
    #5 of 1,555 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 423 reviewsTripAdvisor (423)
    $$ | Japanese, Steakhouse
    28 Tachiurihigashicho Shijodori Fuyachonishi-iru, Shimogyo-ku 2F Sakizo Plaza Bldg., Nakagyo, Kyoto 600-8005 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #11
    Banimatar
    #11 of 16,085 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 124 reviewsTripAdvisor (124)
    $ - $$ | Cafe
    13 Kinugasa Somoncho, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8363 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #2
    Teppan Tavern Tenamonya
    #2 of 491 Places to Eat in Higashiyama
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 519 reviewsTripAdvisor (519)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, Japanese, Grill
    537-2 Minamigawa, Giommachi Hiro Bldg. B1F, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0074 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #1
    Hokuto
    #1 of 691 Places to Eat in Shimogyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 326 reviewsTripAdvisor (326)
    $$ | Japanese, Asian
    177 Higashisakaicho, Shimogyo, Kyoto 600-8217 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #6
    Tajimaya DX, Shijo Karasuma
    #6 of 1,555 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 187 reviewsTripAdvisor (187)
    $$ | Japanese
    310-1 Uradeyamacho Yamamasu Nishiki Plaza 2F, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8155 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #15
    Arash's Kitchen
    #15 of 16,085 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1091 reviewsTripAdvisor (1091)
    $ - $$ | Turkish, Persian, Indian
    16-4 Shogoin Sannocho, Sakyo-ku 2F Sun Plaza, Kyoto 606-8392 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #7
    Yakiniku Nikumon Shijo Omiya
    #7 of 1,555 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 418 reviewsTripAdvisor (418)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Barbecue, Asian
    130 Nishiki Omiyacho, Nakagyo-Ku Maison Dole Shijo Omiya 1F, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8365 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #8
    Masayoshi Kyoto Dining
    #8 of 1,555 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 110 reviewsTripAdvisor (110)
    $$ | Japanese
    45 Daikokucho Kawaramachi Sanjo-sagaru, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8031 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #18
    Premium Pound Sanjo Kiyamachi
    #18 of 16,085 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 431 reviewsTripAdvisor (431)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Grill
    424-1 Ebisucho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8005 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #19
    AIN SOPH. journey Kyoto
    #19 of 16,085 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 138 reviewsTripAdvisor (138)
    $ - $$ | Cafe, Healthy
    538-6 Nakanocho, Shinkyogokudori Shijo Agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8042 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #1
    Adachi
    #1 of 355 Places to Eat in Kamigyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 119 reviewsTripAdvisor (119)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Asian, Deli
    Sembon Marutamachi Higashi Iru, Kamigyo-ku, Kamigyo, Kyoto 602-8158 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »

Explore More of Kyoto

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