July 9, 2017
The 10 Best Sushi Restaurants You Must Eat in Kyoto, Japan
In Kyoto, you’ll find a mixture of eastern and western style sushi. We’ve put together a list of sushi spots in Kyoto that covers the diverse styles. Enjoy the delicious sushi in Kyoto!
The first place we’d like to introduce is a traditional sushi restaurant called, Izuju. Located in Gion, Izuju’s unique storefront layout with a red curtain hanging over the lattice door makes it easy to find.
The sushi served here is mainly Kyoto style sushi, for example, you can find Gudi sugata sushi with sweet bream, a delicacy found in Kyoto, or Uebako sushi with small bream and sushi omelet that has maintained its form since the early 1900’s.
The most popular item in the menu is Saba sushi, mackerel pressed sushi. The mackerel is pickled which creates a rich, condensed flavor. Other items include, Namibako sushi made of grilled fish, rolled sushi, or inari sushi. It’s worth a visit while you are in Kyoto.
Address: 292-1 Minamigawa Gionmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Opening hours: 10:30 am – 7:00 pm
Closed on Wednesdays
Getting here: 8 mintues from Gion Shijo Station
Map: Map to Izuju
2. Tai Sushi
This historical restaurant located on the bustling street of Shijo Kawaramachi will be celebrating it’s 50th birthday soon. For 2000 yen, the sushi chef will serve you 8 pieces of nigiri. The seating is bar (counter) style, a very common layout in sushi restaurants, where you’ll be sitting across from the chef.
The chef will pick the best ingredients of the day and form a nigiri, and place it one at a time on your wodden plate. Since you are at the bar, you’ll be able to observe each piece of sushi being expertly crafted. This style of sushi restaurant is quite common in Japan.
At Tai Sushi, you can enjoy this experience at very reasonable price.
Name: Tai Sushi
Address: Shijo Kawaramachi, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Opening hours: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Getting here: 3 minute walk from Kawaramachi Station
Map: Map to Tai Sushi
This restaurant also serves daily chef’s choice. What makes this Sushi spot distinctive from others is the use of aged vinegar, more commonly known to Japanese people as the red vinegar. For this reason, sugar is not used to make sushi rice to really enhance the umami flavor that comes from the vinegar.
Here, the only item on the menu is the chef’s choice of the day. Prices will vary based on the number of sushi pieces included in the course. Lunch menu includes 9000 yen course or 12000 yen course.
Dinner starts at 14000 yen. Only fish delivered freshly from market that day will be used, so you won’t know what’s on the menu until you get there. It’s a fun surprise meal!
Did you know, there are two ways that nigiri is made? A rice portion of nigiri can be ‘soft’ or ‘tough’ to produce different flavors. At Sushi Matsumoto, they use the latter to enhance the flavor of the rice. It’s on the pricy side, but you won’t be disappointed with the quality!
Name: Sushi Matsumoto
Address: 570-123 Minamigawa Gionmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Opening hours: 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm / 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Open for lunch on Mondays and Thursday-Sunday
Getting here: 4 mintues from Gion Shijo Station
Map: Map to Sushi Matsumoto
4．Sushi Aburi Wasabi
This place can be mistaken for a bar, as the storefront is a bit unusual for a typical Gion. Nonetheless, it’s quite popular for its casual atmosphere. Aburi in Japanese, means grilled. As the name suggests, Sushi Aburi Wasabi offers a variety of grilled nigiri items.
There are a wide range of flavors such as, avocado nigiri, rolled sushi with saba (mackerel), mountain calf, and sour plum. They also offer salads and steaks for those in your party who are not too fond of sushi. Give this place a try for an unusual experience!
Name: Sushi Aburi Wasabi
Address: 108-3 Tominagamachi, Nawate, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Open 365 days
Map: Map to Sushi Aburi Wasabi
This restaurant is a true hidden gem! A bright blue marquee and antique gate will welcome you into Sushi Sakai. There are only 6 seats in the store so it’s always busy.
Their signature dish is ‘mix-don’, a bowl of rice loaded with a mix of fresh seafood. The fish is seasoned with their secret ingredients and makes this dish a real treat! You might have to wait in line, but it’s well worth it.
Address: 592 Nishiuoyacho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Opening hours: 11:00 am – 6:30 pm
Closed: Irregular holiday
Getting here: 6 minute walk from Kawaramachi Station
Map: Map to Sakai
Located in a small alley, you’ll find a red traditional lantern hanging from a door, that’s Tomisushi. Nigiri here is reasonably priced ranging from, 30 yen to 400 yen, per piece. This store houses both bar-style seating, and also tables to accommodate larger parties.
The signature here is tuna, unagi (eel), and anago (congar eel). The brined tuna is to die for. They also serve whatever fish is in season, in addition to the regular menu.
Address: 578-5 Nakanomachi, Shijo, Shingyokudori, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Opening hours: 5:00 pm – 12:00 am
Getting here: 3 minute walk from Kawaramachi Station
Map: Map to Tomisushi
Located in Kisshoin area in Minami Ward, Isshin is one of the few sushi restaurants in the area. You’ll be able to spot it from its dark blue curtain with white font. The popular item here is Kaisen Don (seafood rice bowl) loaded with salmon and tuna, and Kyoto style giant prawn chirashi.
It’s also reasonably priced at 1000 yen! The restaurant has both bar style seats and tabled seating for families and large groups. Highly recommended!
Address: 14 Miyanohigashicho, Kisshoin, Minami Ward, Kyoto
Opening hours: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm / 5:00 pm – 12:00 am
Closed on Mondays
Getting here: 14 minute walk from Nishioji Station
Map: Map to Isshin
Steve Jobs has given this restaurant the stamp approval when he claimed ‘it was one of the best sushi he’s had in his life.’ This place is visited by both domestic and international sushi enthusiasts.
The menu includes a chef’s special, nigiri of the day, typical sushi, sashimi platters, and a variety of small dishes. Lunch starts at 8000 yen and dinner is from 10000 yen. If you want to do it Jobs style he ordered, ‘Oma maguro’ and choose toro (fatty cut), the best part of the tuna. Highly recommended!
Address: Ainomachi, Nishiminamikado, Shimojuzuya, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto
Opening hours: 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm / 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Closed on Mondays
Getting here: 8 minute walk from Gojo Station
Map: Map to Sushiiwa
This restaurant has an Izakaya style atmosphere and is famous for its tuna sushi rolls (Tekka maki in Japanese). You’ll be surprised with the generous portions, especially for the price – it only costs 980 yen for a pile of sushi rolls!
Another item worth mentioning is saba (mackerel) sushi, which is also reasonably priced at 1300 yen.
Small dishes like buttered scallops and crab miso go really well with sake. The restaurant is suitable for large groups or if you are looking for a lively night with friends.
Name: Genpachi Sushi
Address: 41-6 Jyuraku Minamicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Opening hours: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Friday – Sunday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Getting here: 6 minute walk from Nijo Station
Map: Map to Genpachi Sushi
Matsu Sushi is a popular spot in Kyoto. The sushi here is very traditional, yet they can’t be called either Edo style or Kyoto style. Texture is so important for sushi and the chef here has perfected it.
You’ll get to enjoy nigiri and rolls made with fish delivered freshly that day, and all accompanied by a wide selection of sake. Renowned novelists have known to frequent here. If you are a sushi enthusiast, this is the place to go.
Name: Matsu Sushi
Address: 432-1 Jumonjidori, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Opening hours: 1:00 am – 7:00 pm
Getting here: 5 minute walk from Karasumi Station
Map: Map to Matsu Sushi
Enjoy sushi in Kyoto!
There are no shortage of sushi spots in Kyoto. Many of the places listed here offer not only delicious sushi, but a number have a unique atmosphere for a truly memorable experience. Don’t miss out on one of these exceptional sushi spots in Kyoto!