Kaiseki in Kyoto is a bucket list item for many foodies! Kaiseki ryori is one of Japan’s most famous traditional cuisines, so where better to get that than in Kyoto - an area famous for its deep traditions!
Kyoto is known for its beautiful scenery and deep history, but for many, it’s the food that keeps them coming back again and again. Today we’ll look at six famous restaurants for kaiseki in Kyoto that are preserving tradition and taste.
- Table of Contents
- 1. Kyoto no Ryotei Hachidaime Gihey: Traditional Japanese rice
- 2. Gion Iwamoto: Enjoy local Kyoto ingredients
- 3. Japanese Cuisine Sagano: A sense of Kyoto luxury
- 4. Tsudaro: The atmosphere of an old teahouse
- 5. Kaiseki Kinmata: History everywhere at this famous shop for kaiseki in Kyoto!
- 6. Kyo Cuisine Shigure: Feel the breath of nature and history
1. Kyoto no Ryotei Hachidaime Gihey: Traditional Japanese rice
You can’t talk about Japanese food culture without talking about white rice, and Kyoto no Ryotei Hachidaime Gihey offers the tastes of Kyoto with a focus on rice dishes. Of course, seasonal vegetables and fish are included and you can enjoy traditional Japanese rice along with a view of Kyoto.
A typical lunch menu includes the limited “Gihey's Silver Rice Three-color Meal” (2,264 yen), and the “Seasonal Sashimi Silver Rice Meal” (1,600 yen). There are about ten kinds of set meals in total as well as the delicious “Miyama Lullaby” egg and rice (191 yen). (All prices exclude tax.)
The restaurant has a rule that customers will never be given rice that finished cooking more than ten minutes before being served. Brothers Takashi and Koji Hashimoto manage Hachidaime Gihey and cook rice in a traditional clay pot, checking the taste carefully to ensure that it’s top quality “silver rice.”
There are English-speaking staff, and the menu includes English notation. Also, as a measure against the new coronavirus, Hachidaime Gihey only accepts lunch customers by reservation, but guests must arrive by 10:50am. The restaurant is also thoroughly disinfected with alcohol.
Japanese restaurant Hachidaime Gihey京の米料亭 八代目儀兵衛
- Address 296 Kitagawa, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0073
Access: 10-minute walk from Keihan Main Line Gion-Shijo Station
- Phone Number 075-708-8173
Hours: Lunch 11:00 - 14:30, dinner 17:00 - 19:30; *closed in February and June
2. Gion Iwamoto: Enjoy local Kyoto ingredients
Near Hanamikoji-dori in central Gion, you can find restaurants and cafés that serve both Japanese and Western dishes, and among those Gion Iwamoto has a particularly strong presence. Even as times and people's tastes change, the restaurant maintains its commitment to unique kaiseki cuisine for customers’ enjoyment.
“Daytime Kaiseki” is 6,600 to 12,100 yen per person, and “Night Kaiseki” is available from 12,100 to 22,000 yen per person. (All prices include tax and service charges.)
Meals featuring high-quality fish sashimi and local Kyoto vegetables allow diners to appreciate seasonal dishes and the flavors of Omi wagyu and Omi Shamo chicken are highly praised. Come taste the changing seasons of Kyoto!
- Address 570-127 Minamigawa, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0074
Access: 5-minute walk from Keihan Main Line Gion-Shijo Station.
- Phone Number 075-541-1188
Hours: Lunch 11:30 - 14:30 (last order 13:00), dinner 17:30 - 22:30 (last order 21:00); *store closed in January
3. Japanese Cuisine Sagano: A sense of Kyoto luxury
Japanese Cuisine Sagano is located in the Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto. Surrounded by temples and shrines as well as commercial facilities and financial institutions, it’s a hub for both sightseeing and business. There you can have a multi-course meal while enjoying an air of luxury.
The restaurant has a wide range of dishes to suit a variety of tastes. The “Nagomi Gozen” with abundant fish, vegetables, and meat (2,800 yen, weekdays only), and the “Gion Gozen” (3,800 yen) are affordable, leading recommendations.
“Hamo” is a delicious fish that is essential to Kyoto cuisine and in the hot summer months, the chef recommends “Hamo Hayashi Noodles” (1,800 yen). Dinners range from 6,000 yen to the 15,000 yen “Chef's Choice Kaiseki.” (All prices include tax and service charges.)
All Sagano staff wear masks, and guests are asked to do the same, use hand disinfectant, and have their temperature checked when entering. Tables are now widely spaced and the number of diners allowed to enter private rooms is limited.
Japanese Cuisine Sagano (in Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto)日本料理 嵯峨野
- Address Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto 2F, 630 Takahashicho, Shimogyou-ku, Kyoto 600-8096
Access: 3-minute walk from Karasuma Subway Line Shijo Station Exit 5 or a 5-minute Hankyu Kyoto Line Karasuma Station
- Phone Number 075-342-2163
Hours: Breakfast 7:00 - 10:00, lunch 11:30 - 14:30, dinner 17:00 - 21:00,
*Schedule of August 20207; subject to change.
4. Tsudaro: The atmosphere of an old teahouse
Tsudaro is on Hanamikoji-dori in a building used to be a teahouse where geisha and maiko would dance and perform during the Taisho era, and you can still feel the historic sense of Japanese culture. Part of that history and tradition, of course, is the world of Kyoto kaiseki cuisine which you can enjoy here in Gion’s gorgeous atmosphere.
Seasonal vegetables and fish are put to good use in daytime and evening dishes that are selected and prepared with the discerning tastes of the owner, Masayuki Murata. At dinnertime, shakuhachi and shamisen performances will make you feel as if you’ve taken a step back in time.
Coronavirus prevention measures include thorough alcohol disinfection, staff members wearing masks, and limited seating availability (bar seating is closed).
On the 1st floor, geisha and maiko welcome guests to Tsudaro while shakuhachi and shamisen play in a dreamlike setting.
- Address 570-121 Minamigawa, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0074
Access: 5-minute walk from Keihan Main Line Gion-Shijo Station
- Phone Number 075-708-2518
Business hours: lunch 11:30 - 14:00, dinner 18:00 - 20:00, bar 18:00 – midnight; Sundays and holidays 18:00 - 23:30 (last order 22:30); closed Wednesdays and third Tuesday of the month
5. Kaiseki Kinmata: History everywhere at this famous shop for kaiseki in Kyoto!
Kyoto is a complex city with many large and small streets and Gion is especially complicated. One side street, Gokomachi-dori, is home to Kaiseki Kinmata, which is found in a traditional “Kyomachiya” house with a history of more than 200 years.
From June through September, private room kaiseki lunches start from 8,000 yen and dinners from 13,000 yen. There are plenty of seasonal vegetables and seafood included in soups, deep-fried dishes, and more. A counter seat mini kaiseki lunch course is also available for 6,000 yen and vegan and vegetarian guests are accommodated as much as possible. (All prices include tax)
Starting from July 1, 2020, two types of take-out only lunches are available for 5,000 and 7,000 yen, respectively (excluding tax) so you can enjoy the authentic seasonal tastes of Kyoto even in your hotel room.
Currently, in light of the coronavirus, a new local delivery meal is also being offered for 7,800 yen (tax and delivery charge not included; end date of service undecided).
Kinmata has staff who can speak English and free Wi-Fi. To protect against the new coronavirus, any surface touched by customers including door knobs and tables are disinfected with alcohol or hypochlorous acid, and counter seats are appropriately spaced.
The building tells a long history and is said to be a “national tangible cultural property.” If you want a first-hand experience of Japan's history while dining, be sure to visit.
Kaiseki Kinmata懐石 近又
- Address 407 Dainichicho, Nakagyou-ku, Kyoto 604-8044
Access: 10-minute walk from Karasuma Subway Line Shijo Station or a 5-minute walk from Hankyu Kyoto Line Kawaramachi Station
- Phone Number 075-221-1039
Hours: lunch 12:00 - 13:30, dinner 17:30 - 19:30, closed Wednesdays
6. Kyo Cuisine Shigure: Feel the breath of nature and history
Maruyama Park is a popular place for Kyoto citizens to relax. In spring, it’s a bustle of activity in celebration of the blooming cherry blossoms, while fresh greenery in early summer and beautiful autumn colors keep visitors coming back throughout the year. Kyo Cuisine Shigure is a well-known place for kaiseki in Kyoto that's on the north side of the park.
The recommended meal is the “Shigure Gozen” for 6,400 yen (tax included) and there are also kaiseki courses named “Snow,” “Moon,” and “Flower” for 8,200 yen, 9,200 yen, and 10,200 yen, respectively. In winter, hot pot dishes like “Shigure Nabe” (4,000 yen) and “Chanko Nabe” (5,200 yen) will warm you.
The menu is available in English and Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), and there are English-speaking staff and free Wi-Fi. If requested when making your reservation, vegetarian and halal meals can be prepared.
As a measure against the new coronavirus, customers are asked to wear masks when entering and disinfect their hands with alcohol. After diners leave, the restaurant is thoroughly disinfected, and the physical condition of employees is closely monitored.
Various bento boxes (take out lunch boxes) start from 2,400 yen, so you can enjoy your meal in the beauty of Kyoto’s parks, including the nearby Gion weeping cherry tree. Founded in 1913, Shigure has been a bastion of Kyoto cuisine that for over 100 years. Come enjoy the combined feeling of kaiseki in Kyoto, nature, and history!
Even though they all serve “kaiseki cuisine,” these restaurants have their own unique styles and tastes that have been passed down through the years and there’s a different appeal to each. Be sure to visit Gion and experience the tradition of kaiseki in Kyoto!
Written by Manabu Kato, Dali Corporation
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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