HOME Kansai Kyoto Arashiyama, Uzumasa 18 Must-Try Restaurants in Arashiyama: Savor Everything from Classic Cuisine to Trendy Cafés with Scenic Backdrops
18 Must-Try Restaurants in Arashiyama: Savor Everything from Classic Cuisine to Trendy Cafés with Scenic Backdrops

18 Must-Try Restaurants in Arashiyama: Savor Everything from Classic Cuisine to Trendy Cafés with Scenic Backdrops

Date published: 8 March 2024

Arashiyama, known for its breathtaking scenery in Kyoto City, doubles as a culinary treasure trove, offering everything from Michelin-starred dining to cozy cafés.

Amidst the picturesque views of cherry blossoms or autumn colors, this guide will introduce you to 18 must-try restaurants, blending exquisite tastes with stunning backdrops, perfect for any gastronome exploring this historic area.

(Photos: LIVE JAPAN photos, Klook, kkday – Arashiyama: Kijuro Arashiyama, Tenryuji Temple Shigetsu, Shoraian, Kyoto Arashiyama Homemade Noodles Shin-Togetsu)

Table of Contents
  1. What Dining Options Are Available in Arashiyama?
  2. Restaurant Highlights Across Arashiyama
  3. 1. Arashiyama Station Area / JR Saga Arashiyama Station Area: A Variety of Restaurants and Snack Stalls Await
  4. 2. Hankyu Arashiyama Station Area: Quieter, Cozy Spots
  5. 3. Arashiyama Onsen Area: Numerous Hotels and Restaurants to Experience the Natural Charm
  6. 4. Takao (Sanbi) Area: More Light Eateries and Tea Houses, Perfect for Relaxing and Recharging After Viewing Autumn Leaves
  7. Recommended Activities and Experiences in Arashiyama

What Dining Options Are Available in Arashiyama?

Arashiyama is situated in the western part of Kyoto and offers breathtaking scenery all year round. Whether it's the cherry blossoms of spring, the refreshing bamboo groves of summer, the vibrant foliage of autumn, or the serene snowscapes of winter, this area has been a cherished tourist destination for centuries.

Arashiyama boasts a diverse range of dining options, from elegant kaiseki restaurants to traditional Japanese eateries, yakiniku joints, and even Michelin-starred establishments. Along the bustling shopping streets, you'll find cozy Japanese cafes and snack shops, offering a wide range of culinary experiences. Whatever your taste buds desire, Arashiyama is sure to satisfy.

Michelin-Recommended Eateries

Tenryuji Temple Shigetsu | Photo: Klook
Tenryuji Temple Shigetsu | Photo: Klook

Many travelers who visit Japan are keen on dining at some of the world's most renowned restaurants.

In the picturesque Arashiyama district of Kyoto, Unagi Hirokawa shines brightly with its Michelin star, renowned for captivating both locals and travelers with its sublime unagi (eel) dishes.

Yet, for those in pursuit of an elevated, serene dining experience that delves deep into Kyoto's culinary heritage, the Michelin-recommended Tenryuji Temple Shigetsu presents a compelling alternative.

Nestled within the serene environs of Tenryu-ji Temple, this establishment is a bastion of shojin ryori, the refined vegetarian cuisine rooted in Zen Buddhism.

Here, against the backdrop of meticulously tended gardens that offer a kaleidoscope of seasonal beauty, diners are invited to indulge in a meal that is as much a feast for the soul as it is for the palate, in an ambiance that epitomizes tranquility.

Kaiseki Cuisine

Kyoto Hamatoku | Photo: Klook
Kyoto Hamatoku | Photo: Klook

Kaiseki cuisine embodies adapting to the changing seasons, emphasizing the authenticity of ingredients, and showcasing the artisan's craftsmanship. Two kaiseki restaurants in the Arashiyama area are must-visits: Arashiyama Sakura and Kyoto Hamatoku.

At Arashiyama Sakura, don't miss their exquisite sea urchin clay pot rice, which is a true delicacy. Kyoto Hamatoku specializes in creative kaiseki cuisine, where every dish is beautifully presented with artistic flair, resembling works of art on your plate!

Japanese Cuisine

Shoraian | Photo: kkday
Shoraian | Photo: kkday

When you're in Kyoto, you must savor the most authentic Japanese dishes! When exploring Arashiyama, why not try Daizen, known for its Kyoto-style sushi?

Kyoto-style sushi uses more vinegar-marinated ingredients compared to traditional Edo-style sushi. Daizen's most famous dish is mackerel sushi wrapped in kelp, a true delight.

Additionally, tofu hotpot is a must-try specialty when in Arashiyama. At the renowned establishment Shoraian, you'll experience the purest and most delicate flavors of tofu.

Meat Dishes (Yakiniku & Shabu Shabu)

Kijurou Arashiyama | Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000538
Kijurou Arashiyama | Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000538

Japanese wagyu is prized for its even marbling and delicate texture, and many restaurants draw lines of customers waiting to taste it.

But if you're looking to avoid the lines and still want to savor high-quality wagyu and Japanese domestic beef, we recommend Kijurou Arashiyama! Their lunch offerings like the "Wagyu Yakiniku Rice Bowl" and the "Wagyu Sirloin Steak Rice Bowl" are absolute gems. Enjoying the tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef while enjoying the serene Japanese garden views is the epitome of indulgence!

Cafés & Japanese-style Desserts

YOJIYA CAFÉ|Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000629
YOJIYA CAFÉ|Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000629

With its breathtaking natural surroundings, Arashiyama offers countless picturesque views that are simply impossible to see all in one day! Luckily, the area is filled with numerous cafes and dessert shops, providing the perfect opportunity for weary visitors to rest and recharge before continuing their exploration.

BREAD, ESPRESSO& Arashiyama Garden is a charming bakery and coffee shop housed in a traditional Japanese house, with a delightful atmosphere. And of course, there's the well-known % ARABICA Kyoto Arashiyama, a must-visit for those looking to taste Instagram-famous coffee!

Additionally, YOJIYA CAFÉ offers elegant, delicate flavors with its premium matcha ice cream, while eX cafe Kyoto Arashiyama Main Store allows customers to experience roasting rice cakes over charcoal grills—a fun, delicious, and uniquely Kyoto experience! Lastly, if you're a fan of Rilakkuma, you can't miss out on Arashiyama Rilakkuma Tea House!

Snack and Stroll Spots

CHAVATY|Phot: LIVE JAPAN article a2000539
CHAVATY|Phot: LIVE JAPAN article a2000539

A visit to Arashiyama isn't complete without exploring the vibrant Arashiyama Shopping Street, a lively hub known for its myriad of souvenir shops and delightful snack stalls.

It's the perfect spot for indulging in casual browsing and enjoying tasty bites on the go. Among the standout attractions is CHAVATY, a beloved milk tea specialty store that quickly became famous for its long queues.

CHAVATY tempts with its bottled tea lattes and a selection of desserts, including ice cream and macarons, all infused with the finest matcha and hojicha for a truly refreshing tea experience.

Not to be missed is the SNOOPY Chocolat Kyoto Arashiyama Store, a haven for chocolate enthusiasts. This store offers an exquisite array of chocolates, creatively blended with Japanese ingredients, and a variety of Italian gelato flavors. It's a unique spot for visitors to indulge in delicious treats while soaking up the lively atmosphere of Arashiyama.

Shojin Cuisine

Tenryuji Temple Shigetsu | Photo: Klook
Tenryuji Temple Shigetsu | Photo: Klook

Arashiyama is home to numerous temples, among which Tenryu-ji Temple is one of the most iconic. Mentioned earlier, Tenryuji Temple Shigetsu is operated directly by the temple, and offers a type of vegetarian cuisine known as shojin ryori.

Shojin ryori is a dietary practice developed by Zen Buddhists to balance the body and mind during meditation. It features seasonal ingredients including wild vegetables herbs gathered from the mountains, making it very healthy and suitable for anyone looking for lighter fare.

Restaurants Within Onsen Facilities

Hanaikadae Japanese Inn | Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000756"
Hanaikadae Japanese Inn | Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000756"

Beyond the captivating natural beauty that defines Arashiyama, lies a lesser-known secret that makes it a sanctuary for relaxation and culinary delight: its hot springs.

Nestled near the gentle streams of Arashiyama, a selection of onsen facilities beckons travelers to immerse themselves in a night of serene bathing experiences. This unique combination of soaking in natural hot springs while enjoying meticulously prepared cuisine offers a comprehensive renewal for both the body and spirit.

Establishments such as Kadensho, Hanaikada, and Tougetsutei stand as pillars of this luxurious offering.

These traditional inns, set against the picturesque backdrop of Arashiyama, provide not just a dip into the rejuvenating waters, but also an opportunity to feast on the finest Japanese dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients from Kyoto.

As the scenery shifts from season to season, visitors are treated to a feast for the senses, ensuring a profound escape from the hustle and bustle of your trip.

Restaurant Highlights Across Arashiyama

1. Arashiyama Station Area / JR Saga Arashiyama Station Area: A Variety of Restaurants and Snack Stalls Await

Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000533
Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000533

The Arashiyama Station and JR Saga Arashiyama Station serve as the gateway to the Arashiyama area. Heading to any of Arashiyama's attractions, you'll likely start your journey by getting off at one of these stations.

Both stations are located in the heart of Arashiyama's tourist district, with famous landmarks like the Togetsukyo Bridge, the iconic Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tenryu-ji Temple all within walking distance.

The popular Sagano Scenic Railway station is also nearby. This line offers scenic views of the river and the changing seasons along the way.

The street from the stations to the Togetsukyo Bridge is a bustling shopping street, always abuzz, and you'll often see rickshaws weaving through the crowds of tourists from all over the world, creating a lively atmosphere. And, of course, there's no shortage of souvenir shops and restaurants lining the street.

If you're looking for Kyoto-style souvenirs or a place to dine, just take a stroll down the shopping street, and you're sure to find something worthwhile.

There's a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, including Michelin-starred Unagi Hirokawa, popular snack stalls like Nakamura-Ya and Sagano Croquette, traditional tofu hotpot restaurants Yudofu Sagano and Yudofu Takemura, as well as YOJIYA CAFÉ Sagano Arashiyama Store, and many more. You won't have trouble finding something to eat; the challenge will be deciding!

Tofu Cuisine

Meat Dishes

Cafés and Desserts

2. Hankyu Arashiyama Station Area: Quieter, Cozy Spots

Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000533
Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000533

Positioned to the south of Arashiyama's main tourist hub, Hankyu Arashiyama Station serves as a crucial access point for visitors exploring this scenic area, much like its counterparts, Arashiyama Station and JR Saga Arashiyama Station.

For those staying near the Hankyu Railway line, such as at Kawaramachi Station or Shijo Kawaramachi Station, opting for the Hankyu line to reach Hankyu Arashiyama Station offers a seamless journey to the heart of Arashiyama's attractions.

Despite its location across the Togetsukyo Bridge, a brief stroll connects the station to the bustling Arashiyama shopping street, bridging the gap to key sights like Tenryu-ji Temple, the Sagano Scenic Railway, and the Arashiyama Monkey Park with ease.

The architecture of Hankyu Arashiyama Station itself commands attention, mirroring the traditional Kyoto townhouse style and featuring the delicate touch of Japanese paper (washi), inviting visitors into a realm of historical charm amidst Arashiyama's natural beauty.

This area's more residential character lends a serene atmosphere, distinct from the busier locales of Arashiyama. Though dining options are fewer, gems like Arashiyama SAKURA, offering Kyoto-style kaiseki; Dashi to Kome MUKU ARASHIYAMA and Tempura Matsu, for authentic Japanese cuisine; and kyocafe chacha, a quaint café, stand ready to enrich your visit with culinary delights.

Kaiseki Cuisine

Healthy Cuisine

3. Arashiyama Onsen Area: Numerous Hotels and Restaurants to Experience the Natural Charm

Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000756
Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000756

For those new to the hot spring experience and eager to immerse themselves in this quintessential Japanese tradition, Arashiyama presents an idyllic setting. The hot spring facilities here are enveloped in tranquility, harmonizing with Arashiyama's captivating landscapes, providing a soothing backdrop for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Conveniently situated near various train stations in Arashiyama, many of the hot spring hotels are easily accessible on foot, making them perfect for visitors staying in the area or those on a day trip. Several offer day-use hot spring options, allowing even short-term visitors the luxury of a hot spring soak without the need for an overnight stay.

Arashiyama also boasts a rich culinary scene to complement its hot spring offerings. Delicacies range from Shoraian's tofu dishes and the sophisticated kaiseki meals at Arashiyama Kumahiko and Kyosuiran, to the comforting home-style cuisine at Kawazaki Restaurant Kameyamaya, and the refined soba noodles at Arashiyama YOSHIMURA and Seisyuan.

Moreover, establishments affiliated with the renowned Tougetsutei Ryokan, such as Togetsutei Annex Shofukaku and Hanaikada, along with the luxurious Kyoto Suiran Luxury Collection Hotel, invite diners to enjoy lunch.

Guests opting for an overnight stay have the added treat of indulging in exquisite kaiseki dinners at these hotels, elevating their Arashiyama experience with both bathing and culinary excellence.

Tofu Cuisine

Shojin Ryori (Buddhist Vegetarian Cuisine)

Soba Noodles



Newly Opened in 2023

Newly Opened in 2023

Brother TofuArashiyama Main Store is the first Mapo Tofu shop in the Arashiyama area, specializing in "Sichuan-style Mapo Tofu," cooked using Kyoto tofu, secret spicy oil, and homemade sauce. Another option, "Yuzu Mapo Tofu," uses Kyoto-produced white miso and yuzu seasoning, offering a spicy but not-too-spicy flavor. When paired with 8 different side dishes, the taste is incredibly rich and aromatic.

Information and photo source:PR TIMES

Arashiyama Brother Tofu
  • ・Address: 2F Arashiyama Matsumoto Building, 37-3 Sagatenryuji Tsukurimichi-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8384
    ・Hours: 11 AM - 6 PM
    ・Access: Randen (Keifuku) Arashiyama Station: 1 minute walk; JR Saga-Arashiyama station, 5 minutes walk; Hankyu Arashiyama Station: 5-minute walk

4. Takao (Sanbi) Area: More Light Eateries and Tea Houses, Perfect for Relaxing and Recharging After Viewing Autumn Leaves

Takao Kinsuitei | Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000682
Takao Kinsuitei | Photo: LIVE JAPAN article a2000682

Renting a car in Japan enhances your travel flexibility and convenience, especially when exploring picturesque regions like Arashiyama.

For those venturing to Arashiyama in the captivating seasons of spring or autumn, driving along the scenic 10.7-kilometer Arashiyama-Takao Parkway becomes an unforgettable experience, offering unparalleled views of cherry blossoms or vibrant maple leaves.

The Takao area, celebrated for its stunning natural beauty, is home to three revered temples nestled on mountains adorned with the poetic "尾" (meaning "tail") in their names—Jingo-ji Temple on Mt. Takao, Saimyo-ji Temple on Mt. Makino, and Kozan-ji Temple on Mt. Togano.

This trio, known as "Sanbi," showcases a harmony of historical and natural allure, with each season bringing its unique charm, from spring blossoms and autumn hues to lush greenery in early summer.

Notable viewpoints like the Hozukyo and Shobugaoka Observatories offer breathtaking vistas of the area's natural splendor. For those preferring public transport, a JR bus from Kyoto Station to "Togano" provides access to Kozan-ji Temple's hiking trails. Along the way, the Ogurasan Cafe offers a restful stop with panoramic views of the Hozukyo Gorge.

Near Kozan-ji Temple, the historic Togano-no-Chaya tea house, with over 130 years of history, invites visitors to enjoy traditional refreshments like soba noodles and warabi mochi.

For a unique dining experience, establishments like Momiji-ya and Takao Kinsuitei along the Kiyotaki River offer "Kawadoko" dining—alfresco meals enjoyed beside the flowing river, merging culinary pleasure with the serene beauty of Kyoto's outskirts.

Riverside Dining Experience

Recommended Activities and Experiences in Arashiyama

To fully immerse yourself in Arashiyama's atmosphere, consider booking experiences designed to delve deeper into Japanese culture. Don a beautiful kimono and stroll through the bamboo groves, capturing picturesque moments amid cherry blossoms or autumn leaves.

You can also enjoy a serene boat ride along the Hozugawa River or hop aboard the scenic Sagano Scenic Railway. These activities are fun ways to experience the area, so don't miss out!

In Kyoto's Arashiyama area, you'll find a wealth of delightful dining options ranging from traditional Japanese cuisine and tofu specialties to kaiseki fine dining and cozy cafes.

Thanks to its relaxed atmosphere and Kyoto's local charm, these eateries are beloved by international visitors. Here, you can not only treat yourself to sumptuous meals but also savor Kyoto's elegant dining culture amidst Arashiyama's enchanting natural scenery.

Whether you're a seasoned traveler with an interest in Japanese culture or a food connoisseur seeking culinary delights, Kyoto's Arashiyama area is sure to please! If you plan to visit during peak seasons like spring or fall, it's highly advisable to make reservations at your desired restaurants in advance!

(The information in this article is based on March 2024 data. For the latest updates, please refer to the respective official websites.)

Written by:

Wong Man Yee

Wong Man Yee

Man Yee has been residing in Tokyo since 2016. With a keen interest in Japanese travel and translation, she holds JLPT N1 and Kanji Kentei Level 2 qualifications. She has explored all 47 prefectures of Japan and penned over 300 articles to date. Skilled in discovering novelties in lesser-known suburban areas of Japan, she writes from a Hongkonger's perspective, aiming to boost their popularity and revitalization. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling to different Japanese cities and has a penchant for Japanese curry shops, having visited over 100 of them across Japan.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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