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4 Best Kaiseki Restaurants in Kyoto

best kaiseki restaurants in kyoto
Hotpot of fresh nori, bamboo shoots, abalone, and abalone liver sauce at Kikunoi | Image Courtesy of City Foodsters / Flickr

Looking for the best kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto? Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi-course grand cuisine, an elevated style of dining combining meticulous preparation and conscientious presentation of food only experienced at gourmet restaurants, luxury hotels, and high-end establishments. In Kyoto, you can find numerous kaiseki restaurants to satisfy your cravings for authentic Japanese dish that goes beyond the usual staples like sushi, miso soup, and udon noodles. With kaiseki restaurants, it’s not just about the food but also the one-of-a-kind dining experience you’ll never forget while in Japan. Here are the top best kaiseki restaurants in Kyoto that you should visit:

1. Gion Matayoshi

Located in the Gion district, as the name suggests, Gion Matayoshi was launched in 2008 by an Okinawan head chef. The space is compact yet comfortable for your friends or family to enjoy your meal and have a conversation. Gion Matayoshi’s selection of dishes includes seasonal specialties such as a variety of seafood from Hokkaido as well as the chef’s chosen specialties from his hometown. Adding an extra flair to this kaiseki restaurant is the slew of new tastes that accurately mirror the vibe of the season. But no matter what season you visit, you’re definitely in for a treat.

Location: 570-123 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0074

Opening hours: Opens daily at 12-1 pm and closes at 6-8 pm

Price range: 11,000 yen to 24,200 yen

2. Sagano at Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto

A luxury kaiseki restaurant sitting comfortably inside posh Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto, Sagano offers a traditional grand course of meals for diners that enjoy sightseeing while keeping it in business. Surrounding Sagano is an abundance of temples and shrines and financial institutions and commercial facilities. This kaiseki restaurant offers a wide selection of dishes, from staples to the chef’s recommended Hamo Hayashi noodles. Even the most refined taste will certainly enjoy Sagano’s menu.

Location: Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto 2F, 630 Takahashicho, Shimogyou-ku, Kyoto 600-8096

Opening hours: Opens at 7-10 am for breakfast, 11:30 am-2:30 pm for lunch, and 5-9 pm for dinner (closed on Wednesdays)

Price range: 1,800 yen to 15,000 yen

3. Wagokoro Izumi

If you’re looking for a traditional Japanese restaurant, Wagokoro Izumi is a great option. Located just a stone's throw away from Shijo Station on the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line, it’s convenient and easy to find especially for first-time visitors in Kyoto, where you can find must-visit tourists attractions in Kyoto like Nishiki Market and Shinkyogoku Shopping Street. One thing that makes this kaiseki restaurant special is achieving two Michelin stars in less than 6 years of operation. Wagokoro Izumi offers classic multi-course meals showcasing seasonal ingredients and delicacies. Its owner, who happens to be the head chef, personally chooses the freshest ingredients from their select producers. Inside the restaurant are counter seats and private rooms for your choosing.

Location: 634-3 Nioitenjincho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8414

Opening hours: Opens at 12-2:30 pm and closes at 6-9:30 pm (closed on Mondays)

Price range: 6,600 yen to 17,250 yen

4. Kikunoi

Wrapping up this list is the best kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto, Kikunoi - a restaurant that has been around since 1912. Its three Michelin stars prove it’s got an exceptional cuisine for you to try out, served in spacious private quarters that overlook a well-manicured garden, giving you an exclusive space to enjoy your meal. Kikunoi is located just a few minutes' walk from Kawaramachi Station in Shimogyo where a food and cultural experience come together.

Location: 118 Saitocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8012

Opening hours: Opens daily at 11:30 am to 1:30 pm for lunch and 5-7:30 pm for dinner

Price range: 14,000 yen to 22,000 yen

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