Michelin Star Restaurants Kyoto – Your Guide to the Best of the Best

Kyoto boasts more than 174 Michelin star restaurants, but which are the best? Read on to find out the 16 best Michelin star restaurants in Kyoto.

Michelin Star Restaurants Kyoto

The famous Michelin Guide awards restaurants with prestigious stars based on the quality of their food as well as the status of “Bib Gourmand” for those that combine excellent quality with value for money.

Although known for its temples and shrines, Kyoto is no slouch when it comes to food – boasting 174 Michelin star restaurants. Of these, we’re here to introduce you to 16 of the very best.  

Kyoto’s best Michelin star restaurants (in no particular order):

1. Yonemura (レストランよねむら)

Yonemura

Provided by Foursquare

Located in Gion, Yonemura is the epitome of East meets West. Chef Masayasu Yonemura expertly blends Japanese and French ingredients to create dishes the like of which you’re unlikely to have tasted before. Their sirloin filet with wasabi and soy sauce is certainly worth the steep price.  

Status: 1 Star

Price: Lunch 8,000 yen/Dinner 18,000 yen

Hours: Wed-Mon 12:00 pm-3:30 pm, 5:30 pm-11:00 pm

Closed: Tuesday and late December to early January 

Address: 481-1 Kiyoicho, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0821

2. Sushi Matsumoto (鮨まつもと)

Sushi Matsumoto

Provided by Foursquare

Unlike conventional sushi, this Michelin-starred restaurant doesn’t season its sushi rice with sugar, opting for salt and red vinegar instead. This creates a distinctive flavor unique to the restaurant, which, combined with the freshness of the fish, really makes this restaurant stand out among stiff competition. Due to its popularity and limited seats, be sure to make a reservation through your hotel concierge before stopping by this restaurant.   

Status: 1 Star

Price: Lunch ~10,000 yen/Dinner ~20,000 yen

Hours: Thu-Mon 12:00 pm-2:00 pm, 6:00 pm-10:00 pm/Wed 6:00 pm-10:00 pm

Closed: Tuesday, mid-May, mid-August and late December to early January

Address: 570-123 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0074

3. Motoï

Motoi

Provided by Foursquare

Situated in an old Japanese house, the traditional exterior hides the chic, modern interior you’ll find at Motoï. 

The chef, Motoi Maeda, handpicks his ingredients each morning to create incredibly fresh, high-quality dishes, including suppon (soft shell turtle) and roast pigeon.       

Status: 1 Star

Price: Lunch ~8,000 yen/Dinner ~15,000 yen

Hours: Fri-Tue 12:00 pm-1:00 pm, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm

Closed: Wednesday and Thursday

Address: 186 Tawarayacho, Tominokoji Nijo Sagaru, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-0952

4. Hana-Kitcho (Hana吉兆)

Hana-Kitcho

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Newly renovated in 2010, Hana-Kitcho consists of three floors each designed with a different theme, though an overall traditional ambiance pervades. In addition, Hana-Kitcho serves exquisite kaiseki (traditional Japanese multi-course meal) which includes salmon and lobster. Come here for a truly authentic Japanese experience!

Status: 1 Star

Price: Lunch 4,000-30,000 yen/Dinner 6,000-30,000 yen

Hours: Sun-Sat 11:30 am-3:00 pm, 5:00 pm-10:00 pm

Closed: Late December

Address: 3-2 Yamatocho, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0802

5. Kichisen (吉泉)

Kichisen

Provided by Foursquare

Located near Shimogamo Shrine, this three Michelin-starred restaurant boasts the most authentic Kyoto kaiseki in the whole of Japan.

Once an Iron Chef contestant, Chef Yoshimi Tanigawa not only expertly crafts each dish but also arranges them like art. Allow your eyes and mouth to feast on this beautifully presented meal.  

Status: 3 Stars

Price: Lunch 8,000-12,000 yen/Dinner 14,000-30,000 yen

Hours: Sun-Sat 12:00 pm-2:30 pm, 6:00 pm-10:00 pm

Closed: Late January and late August

Address: 5 Morimotocho, Shimogamo, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-0805

6. Kappo Sakamoto (さか本)

Kappo Sakamoto

Provided by Foursquare

This restaurant was founded in 1977 by Keisuke Sakamoto who dedicated his life to perfecting Kyoto cuisine. Under his careful supervision, his son Ryuta Sakamoto has now taken over the reins.

This Kyoto kappo (counter-style) restaurant combines traditional with modern cooking, resulting in menu highlights like the famed “furi-yuba” (tofu skin).    

Status: 1 Star

Price: Lunch 5,000-10,000 yen/Dinner 13,0000-20,000 yen

Hours: Sun-Sat 12:00 pm-2:00 pm, 5:00 pm-10:00 pm

Closed: N/A

Address: EF Building 1F, Gion Sueyoshicho, Higashi, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0085

7. Kyoryori Nakamura (京料理 一子相伝なかむら)

Kyoryori Nakamura

Provided by Foursquare

Dating back to 1827, this restaurant and its dishes has been honed to perfection. The result is near unbeatable Kyoto cuisine and impeccable service.       

Status: 3 Stars

Price: Lunch 16,000-22,000 yen/Dinner 22,000-27,000 yen

Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00 pm-2:00 pm, 5:00 pm-7:30 pm (last admission)

Closed: Sunday and late December to early January

Address: Tominokoji Oike Sagaru, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-8093 

8. Kikunoi Honten (菊乃井 本店)

Kikunoi Honten

Provided by Foursquare

Established in 1912 in Gion, Kikunoi Honten pays the utmost attention to the seasons. Chef Yoshihiro Murata uses only the best seasonal ingredients for its kaiseki, and the interior of the restaurant is decorated according to the time of year. 

The hospitality is also exemplary. Each private room is equipped with its own toilet and a view of the garden. Kikunoi Honten will also be more than happy to doggy bag your leftovers.  

Status: 3 Stars

Price: Lunch 4,000-8,000 yen/Dinner 15,000-30,000 yen

Hours: Sun-Sat 11:30 am-1:00 pm (last admission), 5:00 pm-8:00 pm (last admission) 

Closed: Every 3rd Wednesday of the month and late December to early January

Address: 459 Shimokawaracho, Shimokawara-dori Yasakatoriimae Sagaru, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0825

9. Sushi Gion Matsudaya (寿し 祇園 松田屋)

Sushi Gion Matsudaya

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Chef Matsuda Kazunori combines the best of Kansai and Tokyo sushi for brilliant, unique dishes.  

Kazunori’s motto is “make the people of the world smile with sushi” which he successfully achieves day in and day out. Satisfaction guarenteed. 

Status: 1 Star

Price: 14,000-22,000 yen

Hours: Tue-Sat 6:00 pm-11:00 pm/Sun 12:00 pm-2:00 pm, 6:00 pm-11:00 pm

Closed: Monday and late December to early January

Address: 570-123 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0074

10. Ajiro (阿じろ)

Ajiro

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Located near Myoshinji Temple, Ajiro’s dishes are based on shojin ryori (vegetarian temple food). Chef Yoshitaka Senoo serves some of the best roasted eggplant and tofu skin dumplings in Japan.  

Status: 1 Star

Price: Lunch 3,000-11,000 yen/Dinner 6,000-11,000 yen

Hours: Thu-Tue 11:00 am-9:00 pm

Closed: Wednesday

Address: 28-3 Teranomaemachi, Hanazono, Ukyo, Kyoto 616-8014

11. Nanba (祇園なん波)

Nanba

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Off the main street of Gion, Nanba is difficult to find. Hunt down this hidden gem, however, and you’ll be rewarded with a lavish kaiseki meal. Son of fishmongers, Chef Osamu Nanba specializes in fish. As a result, his tuna (maguro), bonito (katsuo), squid (ika) and sea bream (tai) sashimi is incredibly fresh.

Status: 1 Star

Price: Lunch 5,000-16,000 yen/Dinner 8,000-16,000 yen

Hours: Sun-Sat 11:30 am-2:00 pm, 5:00 pm-10:00 pm

Closed: Every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month

Address: 4-jo Hanamikoji Higashiiru, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0073

12. Ryozanpaku (梁山泊)

Ryozanpaku

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Whiskey aficionado and Chef Kinichi Hashimoto believes in breaking the rules of traditional kaiseki. As a result, Hashimoto combined his two passions (whiskey drinking and cooking) into a unique kaiseki where each dish is accompanied by a drink of whiskey. Come here for a novel experience!      

Status: 2 Stars

Price: Lunch 5,000-20,000 yen/Dinner 13,000-33,000 yen

Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00 pm-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-10:00 pm 

Closed: Sunday, public holidays and January 3rd to January 8th

Address: 5-2 Yoshidaizumidonocho, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8301

13. Hyotei

Hyotei

Provided by Foursquare

Near Nanzenji Temple, this 400+ year-old establishment started as a tea house that eventually evolved into the 3 Michelin-starred kaiseki restaurant it is today. Hyotei’s kaiseki consists of its famed egg (tamago) and fish skillfully prepared by Chef Eiichi Takahashi.

Don’t forget to adhere to their strict dress code or risk losing your seat here. 

Status: 3 Stars

Price: Lunch 20,000-37,000 yen/Dinner 24,000-37,000 yen

Hours: Sun-Sat 11:00 am-7:30 pm

Closed: Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month and late December 

Address: 35 Kusakawacho, Nanzenji, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8437

14. Shigetsu (天龍寺 篩月)

Shigetsu

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UNESCO World Heritage Site Tenryuji Temple is home to one of the best vegan restaurants in Japan. Enjoy a nice shojin ryori meal at Shigetsu as you admire stunning views of the Sogen Pond Garden (Sogenchi Teien).    

Status: Bib Gourmand

Price: 3,000-7,000 yen

Hours: Sun-Sat 11:00 am-2:00 pm

Closed: October 30th 

Address: 68 Sagatenryujisusukinobabacho, Ukyo, Kyoto 616-8385

15. Nicola (蕎麦屋 にこら)

Nicola

Provided by Foursquare

Situated in a nondescript building, you wouldn’t have realized that Nicola holds one Michelin star. You also wouldn’t have realized that Nicola serves soba (buckwheat noodles). Why Nicola? It was named after Chef Koichi Numata’s hero Nicolas de Stael, a painter.   

Numata and his wife wake up early each morning to hand make their soba noodles. They then add these noodles to ingredients inspired by a myriad of cuisines from Italian to Chinese. Come here for one of a kind soba!   

Status: 1 Star

Price: 1,500-6,000 yen 

Hours: Thu-Tue 11:30 am-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-9:00 pm 

Closed: Wednesday, every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month and January 1st

Address: 69-3 Itsutsujicho, Chiekoin-dori Itsutsuji Agaru, Kamigyo, Kyoto 602-8446

16. Kyoboshi Tempura (京星)

Kyoboshi Tempura

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Right in the center of Gion is this 60+ year-old tempura bar. Unlike conventional tempura, Chef Sakakibara doesn’t use eggs in his batter. That combined with their family secret oil makes for flavorful tempura. To top it off, Kyoboshi Tempura serves ice cream drenched in a special liqueur at the end of the meal for ultimate, if unconventional, satisfaction. 

Status: 1 Star

Price: 13,000 yen

Hours: Mon-Sat 6:00 pm-10:00 pm

Closed: Sunday and late December to early January

Address: 347-93 Gionmachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0073

Kyoto Restaurants

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

Kyoto Sightseeing

C. Akira

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# Kyoto Restaurants # What to Eat in Japan

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