Izakaya Kyoto – The 10 Best Izakaya in Town

You're in the mood for a drink and want to visit an Izakaya, but don't know which one to choose? Never fret, we've got you covered. Read on to find the best Kyoto Izakaya.

Exceedingly popular in all of Japan, Izakaya (居酒屋 literally meaning “to stay in a sake shop”) is a hybrid form somewhere between a restaurant and a bar. They offer an elaborate selection of foods, much better than in an ordinary bar, and are meant to be enjoyed over the period of a few hours. Locals usually visit Izakaya with their work colleagues or friends to drink (a lot) and enjoy some good food alongside it. 

If you’ve never heard of Izakaya, you should definitely give this great Japanese tradition a chance. We’ve selected the ten best Izakaya in the Kyoto city area for you to try and be inspired by. Be aware, however, that there are thousands of hidden gems out there, all waiting to be discovered. 

1. Waraiya Izakaya

Provided by Foursquare

Provided by Foursquare

About

Literally meaning “the shop of laughter”, this place is a very friendly Izakaya, situated quite centrally, just five minutes from Kawaramachi Station. Their menu has a focus on sashimi and yakitori, but they also serve some other Japanese dishes with a good selection of Japanese sake, wines and other spirits. This place is basically the perfect place to go with some friends to have a blast and not spend enormous amounts of cash in the process.

Opening hours

Mon-Sun  5pm – 11.30pm

Price range

low – moderate

Map view

Website

Waraiya

2. Kushi Hachi Izakaya

Provided by Foursquare

Provided by Foursquare

About

This place has multiple stores and focuses on “kushi-age” (deep fried skewers) and “kushi-yaki” (grilled skewers) with all sorts of ingredients and in many variations. They also serve sushi, rice dishes and salads in case you were craving something other than deep fried meat. This Izakaya is also located quite centrally, just two minutes from Shijo Station in central Kyoto.

Opening hours

Mon-Sat  5pm – 12pm

Sun  4.30pm – 11.30pm

Price range

low – moderate

Map view

Website

Kushihachi

3. Angie Izakaya

Provided by Foursquare

Provided by Foursquare

About

Angie has several stores in Kyoto and a great selection of sake – allegedly from 46 of the 47 prefectures of Japan. If you’re a hardcore fan, you can make a stamp card at Angie and stamp off the ones you’ve tried. The staff are great and sure to help you with selecting the right drink, should you have trouble making a choice. They have a great selection of fresh fish to compliment the alcohol. 

Opening hours

Mon-Sat  5pm – 2am

Sun  5pm – 12pm

Price range

upper moderate

Map view

Website

Angie

4. Apollo Izakaya

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Provided by Foursquare

About

Apollo is a great Izakaya with inventive dishes and quite a wide selection of fried and non-fried foods for you to try. It’s one of the quieter places with a slightly more luxurious atmosphere, reflected in the fantastic quality of the food. Stop by if you’re not on a tight budget and ready to have some great sake, amazing food and even better conversation. 

Opening hours

Mon-Sun  5pm – 12pm

Price range

upper moderate

Map view

Website

Apollo

5. Yakitori Izakaya Don

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Provided by Foursquare

About

With this Izakaya you get what it says on the label: lots of yakitori (grilled chicken skewers). It’s no secret to the Japanese that yakitori and beer are a magic combo, so you should definitely get in on the action. If you’re not a beer person, don’t fret: there is a selection of sake and the typical spirits, high-ball (whiskey based drinks) and more available at Yakitori Izakaya Don.

Opening hours

Mon – Sun  6.30pm – 3am

Price range

low – moderate

Map view

Website

Yakitori Izakaya Don

6. Gyukushibunzo Izakaya

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Provided by Foursquare

About

With a great interior, a perfect selection of wines and sake and delicious grilled skewers as the main attraction, Gyukushi Bunzo is a fantastic option for an evening drink and meal. Its location, close to Kamogawa (Kamo River), also means you can go for a stroll to walk it off if you overindulge a little.  

Opening hours

Mon, Wed – Sun  5pm – 12pm

Tue  closed

Price range

upper moderate

Map view

Website

Gyukushi Bunzo

7.  Itsuraku Izakaya

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Provided by Foursquare

About

Stylishly designed with plenty of traditional Japanese charm, Itsuraku is sure to win you over. Itsuraku offers high-quality yakitori, a special selection of trademark menu options and a lovingly curated selection of sake. 

Opening hours

Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun  5.30pm – 2am

Wed  closed

Price range

upper moderate

Map view

Website

Itsuraku

8. Kirakutei Izakaya

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Provided by Foursquare

About

Not far from the grounds of Kyoto’s Imperial Palace, Kirakutei is a very fairly priced Izakaya. They specialize in fish and grilled meat (I’m sure you’ve realized by now that these are very common Izakaya foods) among other great dishes. The great thing about Kirakutei is their use of super fresh ingredients – particularly fish – and their “special of the day” to try with one of their many sake varieties.  

Opening hours

Mon-Sun  5pm – 1am

Price range

upper moderate

Map view

Website

Kirakutei

9. Akamaru Izakaya

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Provided by Foursquare

About

Akamaru is a reasonably priced Izakaya and pretty much in the exact center of Kyoto. It’s a very bright and lively place that has multiple locations around Japan. You should definitely stop by Akamaru if you’re in the mood for some company as the seating concept is very communal. This place offers a standard Izakaya selection of foods and the all-popular varieties of sake, beer and high-balls you could want.

Opening hours

Mon-Sat  5pm – 12pm

Sun  5pm – 10pm

Price range

moderate

Map view

Website

Akamaru

10. Kurakura Izakaya

Provided by Foursquare

Provided by Foursquare

About

Kurakura is a quaint little place with both traditional floor seating and bar seat seats. They have a particularly wide selection of fish dishes, but offer many other kinds of foods as well. The slightly dim atmosphere with a lot of locals makes this place a great “Japanese experience” if you’re looking to get away from the tourist joints. The owners are very forthcoming and are sure to make the visit worth your while. This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for something in the vicinity of Kyoto JR Station.

Opening hours

Mon-Sat  5pm – 12pm

Sun  closed

Price range

upper moderate

Map view

Website

Kurakura

 

Kyoto Restaurants

For recommendations and advice on other Kyoto restaurants, check out our ultimate guide to Kyoto restaurants:

Kyoto Sightseeing

Samantha Khairallah

Samantha Khairallah

Originally from Switzerland, currently studying in Tokyo. With a wide array of interests, including travel, I'm passionate about what I write here at Compathy Magazine.



Related travel categories

# Kyoto Restaurants # What to Eat in Japan

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