Top 11 Kaiseki Restaurants in Kyoto
No Kyoto trip is complete without a kaiseki meal. Where are the best kaiseki restaurants? Read on to discover the 11 best kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto.
In addition to its holy sites, Kyoto is famous for its kaiseki. After a brief explanation of what kaiseki is, we’ll present to you the 11 best kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto.
What is Kaiseki?
To put it simply, kaiseki is a traditional Japanese dining experience involving multiple courses. Various cuisines from kyo ryori to shojin ryori are sometimes served kaiseki style.
With a history of over 1,200 years, kyo ryori, or Kyoto cuisine, is highly refined. It places special emphasis on seasonal ingredients and subtle flavours for sophisticated, artful results and is synonymous with kaiseki.
Shojin ryori is vegetarian temple cuisine which dates back to Kamakura period (1185-1333). Again, shojin ryori is often heavily associated with kaiseki.
Without further ado, here’s the list (in no particular order):
1. Izusen (泉仙 大慈院店)
In the grounds of Daitokugi Temple, find Izusen. Why not top off your temple experience by enjoying a nice shojin ryori kaiseki here? If the weather cooperates, you can even eat in the garden.
Price: ~3,150 yen
Hours: Sun-Sat 11:00 am-4:00 pm
Closed: December 29th to December 31st
2. Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen (がんこ高瀬川二条苑)
This 400+ year-old establishment used to be a vacation home for a powerful merchant, but has since been converted into a beautiful restaurant that serves authentic Kyoto kaiseki. Additionally, Ganko Takasegawa Nijoen provides maiko (apprentice geisha) performances. Prepare to be entranced by the maiko as you enjoy your meal.
Price: Lunch 3,000-4,000 yen/Dinner 5,000-6,000 yen
Hours: Sun-Sat 11:00 am-9:30 pm
3. Gion Karyo
With English signs on the outside and English menus, Gion Karyo is incredibly foreigner friendly. As a result, it’s a great place to gently ease into the wonderful experience that is kaiseki. A typical meal includes marinated Spanish mackerel and tofu with cod roe and sea urchin.
Price: Lunch 5,000 yen/Dinner 10,000-13,000 yen
Hours: Thu-Tue 11:30 am-3:30 pm, 5:30 pm-11:00 pm
4. Kaiseki Mizuki
Despite being located in The Ritz-Carlton hotel, Kaiseki Mizuki offers surprisingly affordable and delectable lunch sets for 5,000 yen.
As would be expected of the Ritz-Carlton, the service is also impeccable and sommeliers are on hand to recommend a wine to complement your meal.
Price: Lunch 5,000-11,000 yen/Dinner 11,000-23,000 yen
Hours: Sun-Sat 11:30 am-2:30 pm (last order), 5:30 pm-9:30 pm (last order)
5. Kiyamachi Sakuragawa (日本料理 櫻川)
This Michelin star restaurant provides an intimate dining experience. Watch Chef Maeda masterfully prepare your kaiseki from the comfort of your counter seat, but be sure to make a reservation ahead of time as space is limited and demand is high.
Price: Lunch 6,000-8,000 yen/Dinner 15,000-20,000 yen
Hours: Sun-Sat 12:00 pm-3:00 pm, 5:00 pm-10:00 pm
Closed: Late December to early January
Address: 491 Kiyacho, Nakagyo, Kyoto 604-0961
6. Kodaiji Wakuden (高台寺和久傅)
Located near Kodaiji Temple, this two Michelin star restaurant started out as an inn before turning itself into the elegant kaiseki restaurant it is today. Kodaiji Wakuden uses only the freshest seasonal ingredients, so each season has a unique menu.
Price: Lunch 20,000-30,000 yen/Dinner 30,000-45,000 yen
Hours: Mon-Sat 12:00 pm-3:00 pm, 5:30 pm-10:00 pm
Closed: Sunday and late December to early January
7. Tagoto Honten (京料理 田ごと 本店)
Treat yourself to a nice kaiseki meal after shopping at the major department store (Takashimaya) across the street. This hidden gem serves authentic kyo ryori kaiseki and even bentos (lunch boxes) for those who’d prefer to dine picnic style.
Price: 6,300-12,600 yen
Hours: Sun-Sat 11:00 am-8:30 pm
8. Mashita (味舌)
Right in the centre of Gion, Mashita boasts a Michelin star for its exemplary traditional cooking. With a ton of experience under his belt, Chef Masahiro Mashita has perfected the art of preparing kaiseki. With the utmost respect for the craft, he carefully selects the best ingredients and arranges each dish exquisitely.
Price: Lunch 5,000-20,000 yen/Dinner 7,000-20,000 yen
Hours: Fri-Wed 11:30 am-2:00 pm, 5:00 pm-9:00 pm
9. Kyoto Kitcho Arashiyama
40,000+ yen for a meal!? At first glance, this may seem ridiculous. However, upon closer examination, it really isn’t. Boasting three Michelin stars, Kyoto Kitcho Arashiyama is perhaps the most famous kaiseki restaurant in Japan. A meal at this restaurant includes Kobe beef, fatty bluefin tuna and sake of the highest grade. Without a doubt worth every yen!
Price: Lunch 43,000-54,000 yen/Dinner 47,000-54,000 yen
Hours: Thu-Tue 11:30 am-3:00 pm, 4:30 pm-9:00 pm
Closed: Wednesday, December 26th to December 31st and January 3rd to January 9th
10. Kinmata (懐石・宿 近又)
Dating back to 1801, Kinmata is situated in a ryokan. 7th generation master chef Haraju Ukai uses and preserves traditional cooking techniques passed down to him – resulting in incredibly authentic Kyoto kaiseki.
Price: Lunch 10,000-15,000 yen/Dinner 20,000-30,000 yen
Hours: Thu-Tue 12:00 pm-1:30 pm, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
11. Ume No Hana Kyoto Karasuma (梅の花 京都烏丸店)
Most of the dishes at Ume No Hana Kyoto Karasuma consist of tofu. To keep it interesting, they are prepared in a variety of unique ways. In addition to its delicious tofu dishes, it’s affordable too. This restaurant will definitely turn you into tofu lover if you weren’t one to begin with.
Price: Lunch 2,000-3,000 yen/Dinner 5,000-6,000 yen
Hours: Sun-Sat 11:00 am-4:00 pm, 5:00 pm-10:00 pm
Closed: December 31st to January 1st
For recommendations and advice on other Kyoto restaurants, check out our ultimate guide to Kyoto restaurants: