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
    LiquorMuseum Pontocho
    #1 of 1,603 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 84 reviewsTripAdvisor (84)
    $ | Bar, Pub
    180-1 Zaimokucho, Kiyamachi Sanjo Sagaru, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8017 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #2
    Kobe Beef Steak Moriya Gion
    #2 of 16,177 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 309 reviewsTripAdvisor (309)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Japanese
    7-1 Yamatocho, Yamato Ojitori 4-jo Kudaru, Higashiyama-ku Gion Moriya Bldg., Kyoto 605-0802 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #1
    Okonomiyaki Katsu
    #1 of 483 Places to Eat in Ukyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 392 reviewsTripAdvisor (392)
    $ | Japanese, Asian
    1-4 Ryoanji Saigucho, Ukyo, Kyoto 616-8011 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #4
    Mezopotamia Kebab House
    #4 of 16,177 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 174 reviewsTripAdvisor (174)
    $ | Turkish, Fast Food, Middle Eastern
    501-14 Higashigawacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8046 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #5
    Sushi Naritaya
    #5 of 16,177 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 343 reviewsTripAdvisor (343)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Seafood, Sushi, Asian
    3-25 Saga Tenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo-ku West Park, Arashiyama Square, Kyoto 616-8385 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #2
    Premarche Gelateria
    #2 of 1,603 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 93 reviewsTripAdvisor (93)
    $ | Italian, Cafe
    308 Sanjodori Inokuma Nishiiru Ontomocho, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8331 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #1
    Tonshabu Hide, Kyoto Shijo Karasuma
    #1 of 730 Places to Eat in Shimogyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 127 reviewsTripAdvisor (127)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Asian
    226 Takazaimokucho Takakuradori Shijo Sagaru Maeda Bldg.2F, Shimogyo, Kyoto 600-8082 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #1
    Teppan Tavern Tenamonya
    #1 of 523 Places to Eat in Higashiyama
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 537 reviewsTripAdvisor (537)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, Japanese, Grill
    537-2 Minamigawa Giommachi Hiro Bldg. B1F, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0074 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #3
    Yakiniku Nikumon Shijo Omiya
    #3 of 1,603 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 477 reviewsTripAdvisor (477)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Steakhouse, Barbecue, Asian
    130 Nishiki Omiyacho Maison Dole Shijo Omiya 1F, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8365 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #4
    Restaurant Matsukiya, Kyoto Shijo
    #4 of 1,603 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 444 reviewsTripAdvisor (444)
    $$ | Japanese, Steakhouse
    28 Tachiurihigashicho Shijodori Fuyachonishi-iru, Shimogyo-ku 2F Sakizo Plaza Bldg., Nakagyo, Kyoto 600-8005 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #2
    Premium Pound Gion
    #2 of 523 Places to Eat in Higashiyama
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 139 reviewsTripAdvisor (139)
    $$ | Steakhouse, Japanese, Grill
    570-15 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0074 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #2
    Pizzeria Lugara
    #2 of 483 Places to Eat in Ukyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 67 reviewsTripAdvisor (67)
    $ - $$ | Italian, Pizza
    18-25 Setogawacho Sagatenryuji, Ukyo, Kyoto 616-8376 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #5
    Saishuan Shiraki
    #5 of 1,603 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 156 reviewsTripAdvisor (156)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Asian
    Funayacho Takeyamachi 420-3, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-0985 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #2
    Steak House Pound Shijo Kawaramachi
    #2 of 730 Places to Eat in Shimogyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 602 reviewsTripAdvisor (602)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Steakhouse, Grill
    81 Shincho Shijo-Dori Kobashi Nishi-Iru, Shimogyo, Kyoto 600-8001 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • Tajimaya DX, Shijo Karasuma
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 189 reviewsTripAdvisor (189)
    $$ | Japanese
    310-1 Uradeyamacho Yamamasu Nishiki Plaza 2F, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8155 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #3
    Hokuto
    #3 of 730 Places to Eat in Shimogyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 330 reviewsTripAdvisor (330)
    $$ | Japanese, Asian
    177 Higashisakaicho, Shimogyo, Kyoto 600-8217 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #16
    Arash's Kitchen
    #16 of 16,177 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1101 reviewsTripAdvisor (1101)
    $ - $$ | Turkish, Persian, Indian
    16-4 Shogoin Sannocho, Sakyo-ku 2F Sun Plaza, Kyoto 606-8392 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #17
    Yasakadori Enraku
    #17 of 16,177 Places to Eat in Kyoto
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 349 reviewsTripAdvisor (349)
    $ - $$ | Japanese, Asian
    594 Komatsucho Yasakadori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0811 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #6
    Masayoshi Kyoto Dining
    #6 of 1,603 Places to Eat in Nakagyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 119 reviewsTripAdvisor (119)
    $$ | Japanese
    45 Daikokucho Kawaramachi Sanjo-sagaru, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8031 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »
  • #4
    Chao Chao Gyoza Shijo Kawaramachi
    #4 of 730 Places to Eat in Shimogyo
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 208 reviewsTripAdvisor (208)
    $ - $$ | Chinese, Japanese
    312-1 Jumpucho Kawaramachidori Shijo Sagaru, Shimogyo, Kyoto 600-8021 Kyoto Prefecture
    Read More »

Explore More of Kyoto

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 6 Best Sedona Jeep Tours

Take a rollicking ride through Sedona's natural beauty in a rugged SUV.

Holly JohnsonJuly 16, 2019

The 12 Top Florida Keys Beaches

Relax on the sandy shorelines from Key West to Key Largo.

Gwen PratesiJuly 15, 2019

The 15 Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Take on the Big Easy with a stroll through its streets.

Lyn MettlerJuly 15, 2019

The 8 Best Charleston Ghost Tours

Experience the Holy City's history and haunts on one of these excursions.

Holly JohnsonJuly 12, 2019

The 5 Best Oahu Helicopter Tours

Tour this picturesque island from the air on one of these excursions.

John RodwanJuly 11, 2019

The 15 Best Los Angeles Tours

Maximize your time in Los Angeles with the insider tips and historical context provided by the best local tours.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 3, 2019

The 15 Best Las Vegas Tours

See a different side of Sin City – its attractions go beyond gambling.

John RodwanJuly 2, 2019

The 10 Best San Diego Boat Tours

Explore this coastal city's sights with a relaxing boat excursion.

John RodwanJuly 1, 2019

The 15 Best Nashville Tours

Engage with the city's country roots on one of these tours.

Lyn MettlerJune 28, 2019

14 Top Finger Lakes Wineries to Visit

Head to upstate New York's winemaking region for scenery, history and lots of vino.

Kyle McCarthyJune 27, 2019