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Kyoto's Top 10 Restaurants in 2024: Sushi, Matcha Sweets, and More

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Kyoto is a city with a refined food culture. This article introduces local cuisine, such as obanzai, matcha sweets, sushi, and ramen. We also feature our recommended Kyoto restaurants, including one where you can enjoy a summer tradition called nouryo-yuka!

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Kyoto Restaurants with a Unique Food Culture

Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto developed a refined food culture by sourcing ingredients from all across the country. Authenticity and freshness are the core values of Kyoto cuisine.

Nishiki Market

Photo by Pixta

Moreover, it was believed that the food culture of Kyoto―a city with many temples―was influenced by the Buddhist worldview.

Instead of meat, fish, and ingredients that involved taking life, Kyoto's food culture was centered around vegetables. Various dishes originated from these beginnings, including yuba (tofu skin) made from soybeans and obanzai made from Kyoto vegetables. These famous dishes have been passed down from generations to the present day.

Kamogawa Nouryo-yuka

Photo by Pixta

This article introduces 10 restaurants attracting attention in Kyoto―a city where a sophisticated culinary culture has taken root.

In addition to Kyoto specialties, we feature a lively public market, a local summer traditionof resturants providing terrace seats facing the Kamogawa River, as well as the world's first tatami-floored Starbucks Coffee shop. We also report on places where visitors can enjoy Kyoto-esque hands-on experiences!

Table of Contents:

1. The History of Kyoto Cuisine
2. Sushi
3. Ramen
4. Kyoto Home-Style Cooking and Unique Food Experiences
5. Cafes
6. Recommended Accommodations
7. The Best Ways To Enjoy Your Kyoto Trip
8. Closing Words

Sushi in Kyoto

1. Gion Matsudaya: A Famous Michelin One-Star Restaurant

Gion Matsudaya is located in the shopping and entertainment district of Gion―where traditional streetscapes remain today. This sushi shop is famous for being a Michelin one-star restaurant.

You can enjoy Edo-style sushi, where the rice is seasoned with red vinegar and combined with toppings that have been seared and grilled for an added touch.

Gion Matsudaya, which attracts many overseas guests, has six reservation-only counter seats. The reservation site has multilingual support, so please book a seat in advance on your next Kyoto visit.

Why not enjoy some tasty sushi the owner-chef has poured his heart and soul into?

Address: Kyoto, Higashiyama, Gion-machi, Minamigawa 570-123 (Google Map)
Official Website: Gion Matsudaya

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2. Daiki Suisan Kaiten Sushi: Right Near Kyoto Station!

If you suddenly get the urge to eat sushi in Kyoto, we recommend heading to a kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi shop. You can enjoy reasonably priced, tasty sushi without making a reservation.

Daiki Suisan Kaiten Sushi is a popular conveyor belt sushi chain based in Kyoto.

The fish is brought directly from the dock and then prepared into sushi, which is known for its freshness and delicious flavor! The menu offers over 100 different items, with guests enjoying sushi starting at just 100 yen per dish.

Daiki Suisan has three locations in Kyoto: two shops in the Shijo area and one in Kyoto Tower Sando―a commercial complex that's directly connected to Kyoto Station.
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Kyoto Tower Sando Location
Address: Kyoto, Shimogyo-ku, Karasuma-dori, Shichijosagaru, Higashishiokoji-cho 721-1 B1F (Google Map)
Kawaramachi Sanjo Location
Address: Kyoto, Nakagyo-ku, Sanjo-dori, Teramachi, Higashi-iru, Ishibashi-cho 14-2 (Google Map)
Shinkyogo-ku Location
Address: Kyoto, Shinkyogoku-dori, Shijoagaru, Nakano-cho 545 (Google Map)
Official Website: Daiki Suisan (Japanese)

Ramen in Kyoto

3. Ramen Muraji: Sample Paitan Ramen in an Elegant Wooden House!

Ramen Muraji is a popular shop housed in an elegant wooden house where you can sample Paitan Ramen. It had a renewal opening in April 2023, attracting much attention ever since!

Tori Paitan refers to the rich-flavored soup made from chicken stock simmered until it breaks down into a milky broth. It doesn't have the strong smell of tonkotsu ramen (made from pork bones) and is characterized by its rich flavor and refreshing aftertaste.

Additionally, Ramen Muraji has an extensive side menu that includes fried rice (chahan) skillfully prepared on an iron griddle and matcha green tea ice cream.
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Address: Kyoto, Nakagyo-ku, Yanagi no Banba, Rokkakusagaru, Izutsuya-cho 404
Official Website: (Japanese)

4. Tenka Ippin Sohonten: A Popular Kyoto-Based Ramen Shop

Tenka Ippin is a popular ramen chain established in Kyoto in 1971. It currently has 220 locations throughout Japan.

The shop is proud of its original soup broth made by slowly simmering chicken stock and ten kinds of vegetables. The full-bodied, rich flavor can't be experienced anywhere else, making this one of its attractive features.

Tenka Ippin got its start as a food stall, then opened its first store (Tenka Ippin Sohonten) near Enkoji Temple―a place famous for its autumn foliage. While there are 25 locations in Kyoto, why not visit the history-filled Tenka Ippin Sohonten?

Address: Kyoto, Sakyo-ku, Ichijoji, Tsukida-cho 94, Maison Shirakwa 1F (Google Map)
Official Website: Tenka Ippin Sohonten (Japanese)

Food Experiences Unique to Kyoto

5. Nishiki Market: Kyoto's Leading Gourmet Street

Nishiki Market, located in the Shijo area, offers various ingredients and cuisine, including vegetables, fresh fish, side dishes, and confections. As a result, it's often referred to as Kyoto's Kitchen and one of the city's leading gourmet streets.

Starting with Iyomata, a long-established sushi shop with a history spanning 400 years, this 400-meter-long shopping street is lined with over 120 shops. These shops convey Kyoto's food culture to the present day.

Kyo-Yuba Yubakichi is a shop handling a Kyoto specialty called yuba (bean curd skin). The shop was established over 200 years ago.

This yuba is made using a traditional method with Japanese soybeans and fresh groundwater from the Nishiki area.

There are essentially two types of yuba: fresh yuba, which can be consumed as is, and dried yuba typically added to hot pot dishes.

On the shop's official website, there are instructions on how to cook yuba. We recommend purchasing yuba as a souvenir to prepare at home!
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Address: Kyoto, Nakagyo-ku, Nishiki Koji-dori, Kogomachi, Nishi-iru, Kajiya-cho 213 (Google Map)
Official Website: Yubakichi

6. Ushi no Hone: Summer Terrace Seats by the Kamogawa River

One of the charms of summer in Kyoto is nouryo-yuka, a local tradition that lets guests enjoy an outdoor meal on a restaurant's terrace overlooking the Kamogawa River.

In 2023, 90 eating establishments along the Kamogawa River carryied out this tradition from May 1 until the end of September.

One of these shops is Ushi no Hone Honten.

Savor various cuisines while feeling the pleasant breeze from the Kamogawa River. Starting with the shop's popular menu of beef stew, they also serve tempura, fresh sashimi, and Kyoto vegetables.

At Sofudo Ushi no Hone, their sister store, guests can enjoy the tradition of dining at a Kamogawa River terrace in slightly more casual surroundings.
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Address: Kyoto, Nakagyo-ku, Ponto-cho, Sanjokudaru, Wakamatsu-cho 137-12 (Google Map)
Official Website: Ushi no Hone

7. Gyatei: A Popular Shop Serving Kyoto Home-Style Cooking!

Obanzai is Kyoto's home-style cuisine using seasonal ingredients. Although there aren't any specific recipes, dishes are generally prepared with simple, timeless seasonings that bring out the original flavor of the ingredients.

Gyatei is a popular restaurant where you can sample this colorful home-style food. It's just three minutes on foot from Togetsukyo Bridge, one of Kyoto's many famous spots.

The menu changes seasonally, so guests can look forward to new dishes and flavors whenever they stop in for a visit.

Address: Kyoto, Ukyo-ku, Satenryuji, Tsukurimichi-cho 19-8 (Google Map)
Official Website: Arashiyama Gyatei


8. Saryo Suisen: A Shop Specializing in Uji Matcha Sweets

Kyoto is one of Japan's main matcha green tea growing areas.

Uji matcha has a characteristically smooth taste with minimal bitterness. It has been loved for centuries as a Kyoto specialty. A must-try in Kyoto―the home of matcha―is confections made with Uji matcha.

Saryo Suisen is an Uji matcha sweets shop with two locations in Kyoto.

Uji matcha, considered the highest rank among matcha green tea, takes center stage on the shop's extensive menu. It's used in many items, including parfaits and matcha lattes featuring 3D latte art where characters appear to jump out at you!
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Takatsuji Honten (Main Location)
Address: Kyoto, Shimogyo-ku, Takatsuji-dori, Higashi Boraiin, Higashi-iru, Inari-cho 521, Kyoto Takatsuji Building 1F (Google Map)
Karasuma Oike Location
Address: Kyoto, Nakagyo-ku, Ryogaemachi-dori, Oshikojiagaru, Kinbuki-cho 461, Karasuma Oike Medical Mall 1F (Google Map)
Official Website: (Japanese)

9. Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya: Relax on a Tatami Floor!

Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya

Starbucks Coffee Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya sits along Ninenzaka, which leads to the UNESCO World Heritage site Kiyomizudera Temple. Visitors at this popular Starbucks location can experience the atmosphere of a traditional Japanese home.

The shop's interior exudes Japanese touches, starting with the tatami seats where guests are kindly asked to remove their shoes and the garden reflecting Japan's tea ceremony culture. Of course, guests can enjoy delicious food and drinks.

The following MATCHA article introduces how to best enjoy this shop, which inevitably draws a crowd. Please feel free to check this article out!
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Address: Kyoto, Higashiyama-ku, Kodaiji Minamimon-dori, Shimokawara, Higashi-iru, Masuya-cho 349 (Google Map)
Official Website: Starbucks (Japanese)

10. WIFE & HUSBAND: Enjoy a Picnic Beside the Kamogawa River!

At WIFE & HUSBAND, a coffee shop where they do in-house roasting, you can enjoy a picnic beside Kyoto's Kamogawa River.

The shop has also attracted much attention after the American actress Lily Collins reportedly visited during her Kyoto vacation.

Picnic-goers receive a basket filled with a coffee tumbler, some sweets, cups, and a tablecloth. Reservations aren't required, but this special service is limited to six groups per day. For an additional charge, they provide straw hats and chairs (summer only) that will further enhance your picnic mood!

If you're interested in knowing what's on the picnic menu, please check the cafe's official website (some English).
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Address: Kyoto, Kita-ku, Koyama Shimouchi, Kawara-cho 106-6 (Google Map)
Official Website: Wife & Husband (some English)

Have Food Culture Experiences at These Kyoto Hotels!

Next, we'll introduce Kyoto accommodations that offer food culture experiences unique to Japan.

Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto

Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto

Pictures courtesy of

For travelers seeking something more deluxe on their much-anticipated Kyoto excursion, we recommend Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto.

Sitting on the property with a distinguished and storied history, this luxurious five-star hotel is adjacent to Nijo Castle―built in 1603 by the then-shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Guests can have breakfast while gazing at the expansive garden that captures Kyoto's four seasons. Then at Chakyo, the hotel's tearoom, you can enjoy matcha green tea prepared right before your eyes!

Overseas visitors have commented favorably that this was the best Kyoto hotel they ever stayed at with delicious food.

Some guests also noted that the subway station was somewhat far away. However, it's about 10 minutes on foot from Karasuma Oike Station and three minutes away from Nijojo-mae Station.

Book a room at Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto on!

Book a room at Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto on agoda!

REF Kyoto Hachijoguchi by VESSEL HOTELS

REF Kyoto Hachijoguchi by VESSEL HOTELS

Pictures courtesy of

For visitors interested in staying at a superb hotel but are on a budget, we highly recommend REF Kyoto Hachijoguchi by VESSEL HOTELS.

It's conveniently located three minutes on foot from JR Kyoto Station. Guests receive a complimentary welcome drink of green tea from a long-established Kyoto tea shop. Breakfast is also served on traditional Kyo-yaki porcelain tableware.

Some overseas visitors commented that the guest rooms were on the small side. On the other hand, there were comments on the amazing-tasting breakfast and the hotel's ideal location for sightseeing.

Book a room at REF Kyoto Hachijoguchi by VESSEL HOTELS on!

Book a room at REF Kyoto Hachijoguchi by VESSEL HOTELS on agoda!

Enjoy Your Kyoto Excursion Even More!

Kiyomizu Temple Area

Photo by Pixta

Kimono Rental

To further enhance your Kyoto trip, we recommend wearing a kimono or yukata (summer kimono) during your sightseeing excursions.

Kimono rentals are a highly popular and in-demand activity. But no need to worry! If you go on to the experience reservation site, klook, you can reserve one ahead of time!

We also suggest placing a napkin over your lap during meals to prevent the kimono from getting dirty.

Click here to make a kimono rental on klook!

On-Location Photo Service: Capture Precious Memories on Film!

A popular way to create lasting memories of Kyoto is booking an on-location picture service with professional photographers.

Capture My Japan (Japanese Instagram) is staffed by many multilingual photographers who are anxiously waiting to take some amazing photos on your behalf.

MATCHA is currently offering a 3,000-yen discount coupon (English) for Capture My Japan.

Click here for a 3,000 yen Capture My Japan discount coupon (English)!

Enjoy Kyoto's Cuisine to the Fullest!

What did you think of today's article?

We introduced some must-visit Kyoto spots, including the 400-year-old Nishiki Market, a tatami-floored Starbucks Coffee shop, and a cafe visited by a celebrity.

Please use today's article as a reference when enjoying Kyoto food culture experiences!


Written by



Tokyo, Japan

Editorial assistant at MATCHA since 2022. I'm from Tokyo, and I often go to parks on weekends to see nature and dogs.

I have loved international exchange since I was a child, and during my university years I studied abroad in San Jose, USA. Now, I'm really enjoying discovering new things by seeing Japan from the perspective of a tourist visiting Japan.

Hobbies: Walking, coffee, art, movies, traveling
Favorite places: Shibuya, Yoyogi Park, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Isshiki Beach, Aso in Kumamoto
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