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Kyoto

Hyotei

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Experience the formal intricacies of real Kyoto kaiseki at this 300-year-old restaurant. Originally a tea house, the restaurant emerged from the austere tea ceremony 170 years ago. With exquisitely prepared and presented food and impeccable service by elegant kimono wearing ladies this multi course meal is very expensive but also a very memorable experience. Hyotei has been awarded three Michelin stars and reservations are as important as the dress code.

  • Opening Hours: 11:00 – 21:00, closed 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month
  • Location: 35 Nanzenji, Kusagawa machi, Sakyo-ku
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 771 4116
  • Cuisine: Traditional Japanese
  • Price Range: Lunch / Dinner: luxury
  • How to get there: Just north of the Kokusai Koryu Kaikan, 10-minute walk from Keage Station on the Tozai Line.
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Kakutani

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This family-run restaurant has won many followers since it first opened over 100 years ago. Kakutani specializes in udon and soba, including the popular nabeyaki udon. Even though there is no English-language menu it is easy to order as most dishes are on display in the restaurant; just point out the one you like.

  • Opening Hours: Lunch only 11:00 – 14:30
  • Location: 39 Sanno-cho, Shogoin, Sakyo-ku
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 771 2934
  • Cuisine: Japanese Udon / Soba
  • Price Range: Affordable
  • How to get there: Northwest of the Higashi-oji and Marutamachi intersection
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Omen

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While traversing the Philosopher’s Walk stop in to Omen for some great quality, inexpensive home-style cooking. The house specialty called omen is a serving of thick white noodles served with a bowl of hot broth and a platter of seasonal vegetables and roasted sesame seeds. The mackerel sashimi is also raved about. A lunch set menu poses the best deal and takes the trouble out of ordering. Happy waiters in happi coats add to the lively, casual atmosphere.

  • Opening Hours: Fri – Wed 11:30 – 22:00
  • Location: 74 Ishi-bashi-cho, Jodo-ji, Sakyo-ku. Just south of Ginkaku-ji
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 771 8994
  • Cuisine: Japanese home-style
  • Price Range: Lunch: affordable, Dinner: pricey
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Sagenta

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Kibune is located in the mountains of northern Kyoto and Sagenta is one of a line of restaurants that places dining platforms over a nearby stream during the summer months. To dine over the gentle stream surrounded by the green summer foliage is a wonderful experience. Sagenta has delicious nabe hotpot dishes during the fall and winter months as well as excellent kaiseki lunches year round. The biggest highlight of this restaurant however is the noodles which are served with a great gimmick. Chilled noodles flow down a bamboo spout from the kitchen to a boat-shape trough; you catch the noodles from the trough as they float past and enjoy them with the dipping sauce, mushrooms and green onions that accompany the noodles. Reservations are essential.

  • Opening Hours: Daily. Closed sporadically in winter
  • Location: 76 Kibune-cho, Kurama, Sakyo-ku
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 741 2244
  • Cuisine: Traditional Japanese
  • Price Range: Lunch: affordable, Dinner: pricey
  • How to get there: Eizan Electric Railway on the Kurama Line from Demachiyanagi Station to Kibuneguchi Station, then a 30-minute up hill walk, or arrange to have the restaurant shuttle bus pick you up.
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Yamabana Heihachi-Jaya

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This 400-year-old inn is most famous for its kamaburo clay steam bath and most patrons opt for this most relaxing activity before slipping into a cotton kimono and retiring to the dining room. The restaurant is famous for its duck hot pot which is only served during the winter months. In summer the mugitoro bento includes mountain potato salad served with barley rice. Year round the restaurant offers an excellent kaiseki dinner with all the trimmings. Reservations are essential.

  • Opening Hours: 11:00 – 21:00
  • Location: 8-1 Kawagishi-cho, Yamabana, Sakyo-ku
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 781 5008
  • Price Range: Lunch / Dinner: luxury
  • How to get there: Karasuma Subway Line Kitayama Subway Station, or Eizan Line Shugakuin Station
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Asuka

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Many people go to Asuka Restaurant for its selection of teishoku. This set meal is composed of a main item, a bowl of rice, a bowl of miso soup, and a bowl of Japanese pickles. Teishoku is usually considered a better deal than ordering food from the a-la-carte menu. Still, there are many choices on Asuka’s menu, including Kyoto-style noodle dishes. English-language menu available.

  • Opening Hours: 11:00 – 23:00, closed on Mondays
  • Location: Located near the museums and Heian Shrine in Okazaki Park, Kyoto.
  • Tel: +81 (0)75 751 9809
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • How to get there: Asuka is just a few steps from the northern exit of Higashiyama Station on the Subway Tozai Line
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