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4 Kaiseki Restaurants in Kyoto You Have to Try

Erina Morgan

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Erina Morgan

Last updated : Jul 10, 20246 min read

Food & Drink

Kaiseki ryori, the grand cuisine of Japan, has an incredible amount of depth. This cuisine is the perfect fusion of visually appealing and delicately arranged food, served in an environment which has a uniquely serene ambience.

 

More than a type of food, this type of cuisine should be classified as an experience if anything, and it is an experience that can only be authentically savoured in a setting such as Kyoto. We recommend that during your visit to Kyoto, you book a meal at a kaiseki restaurant. The flavours and presentation of your meal will blow you away, and we guarantee it will be one of the highlights of your Kyoto visit.

Kichisen


Eloquently written on the restaurant's website is the following: "We should be happy if this Kyoto cuisine may, as it unfolds like the flow of an elegant poem, gladden your heart and invigorate your life". The meal, that is attentively refined to seasonal ingredients, will please your palate, and the setting of the restaurant in the tranquil Tadasu no Mori (Forest of Correction) will make your journey to Kichisen an experience in it of itself.

Address:5 Tadasu-no-mori (Morimoto-cho), Shimogamo, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto

Reservations: To make a reservation at Kichisen, please contact your hotel and request them to make a reservation for you. You will need to have them inform the restaurant of your desired date and time, number of people, menu preference and name. Details can be found here on the Kichisen website.

Access: The restaurant recommends that you access it by taxi. However, there are other means by which to get to the restaurant. If you arrive at JR Kyoto Station, it is 15 minutes by taxi and if you arrive at Imadegawa Station on the subway line, then it is 5 minutes by taxi.

Map:


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Kinmata


The area in which Kinmata restaurant and inn are located epitomizes a traditional Kyoto style ambience, and the inside of Kinmata even more so. At this restaurant, you will have the opportunity to dine in the beautiful polished wood rooms of the inn and experience a beautiful meal that will be fully explained to you by the English-speaking staff. The great thing about this restaurant is that there are many price point options for set meals at the inn, especially compared to the more firm price options at other establishments.

Kinmata also functions as a traditional lodging inn, so booking a night's stay here is an ideal way to experience all aspects of traditional Japanese culture; included in a night's stay here are 2 kaiseki meals.

For those of you who cannot make it to lunch or dinner, they serve a traditional Japanese breakfast as well. For a breakfast experience that does not include eggs, bacon and pancakes for once, you should surely check out breakfast here. An added bonus: no reservations required!

Below are a few examples of dishes that Kinmata serves (seasonal): 

Baked red snapper head
Steamed conger eel sushi
Steam dish with bracken, tilefish, lily roof


Address: Shijo-agaru Gokomachi nakagyo-ku Kyoto. JAPAN 604-8044

Reservations: Reservations are required for lunch and dinner. You will need to e-mail the restaurant at least 3 days in advance of your requested reservation date. The restaurant will e-mail you whether they can confirm the booking. Further information available on the Kinmata website.

Access: You can reach Kinmata by foot in about 10 minutes from the Shijo Station on the Subway Karasuma Line. If you are arriving at Kawaramachi Station from the Hankyu Line, it is 5 minutes by foot.

Hours:
Lunch: 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Dinner: 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Map:


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Roan Kikunoi


Seasons play a large role in all the details at restaurant Roan Kikunoi. Although it is common that most of the menus at kaiseki restaurants nationwide are modified according to the four seasons and availability of fresh ingredients during a particular season, Roan Kikunoi goes the extra mile and restyles the restaurant's interior each season to reflect the transition through renewed artwork, flower arrangements and other interior displays.

If you have any special dietary requirements for your meal, the restaurant indicates on their website that you can notify them beforehand, and they will make arrangements to ensure that your needs are met.

The course menu is printed in advance (in English) and most staff members are qualified to explain the dishes and ingredients utilized to you in English. Reviewers of the restaurant have indicated that the staff even prepare photos of the ingredients from their Encyclopedia, so you can fully be one with the dish presented before you.

The dishes at all the Kikunoi restaurants throughout Kyoto aim to incorporate modern gastronomic elements with traditional Kaiseki food preparation. Many diners have commented on the non-pretentious atmosphere of Roan Kikunoi, but by no means does this compromise the quality of the food served.

Some current items on the Winter menu are as follows:

Sea eel with rice
Kumquat sorbet with fruit jelly
Squid and scallions with miso dressing

Address: 118 Saito-cho, Shijo-sagaru, Kiyamachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
600-8012

Telephone: 81-75-361-5580

Price Range:
Lunch: 4200 – 10,500 yen
Dinner: 10,500-18,900 yen

Reservations: Required. Request your hotel concierge to make the reservation on your behalf: website Roan Kikunoi

Access: Roan Kikunoi is a 5-minute walk from Kawaramachi Subway station.

Hours:
Lunch: 12:00 to 12:30 pm
Dinner: 5:00 to 8:30 pm

Map:


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Kitcho Arashiyama Branch

This kaiseki restaurant is located in Arashiyama, a popular tourist destination in the Western outskirts of Kyoto that known for its stunning scenery, especially during the cherry blossom and fall foliage seasons. Of all the kaiseki restaurants mentioned in this post, this establishment is the most high-end of them all (as you may take notice of based on the prices listed below). The restaurant boasts seven private dining rooms with various sizes, all of which provide you with stunning views of either their rock or lush gardens. 

 

The service here is exquisite and attentive, and all the food is arranged and served in antique plates and bowls. Since this is a very popular restaurant amongst tourists and locals alike, make sure to book well in advance if you plan on dining here.

Address: 58, Susukinobaba, SagaTenryuji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 616−8385, Japan

Access:
15 minutes by foot from Arashiyama Station, Hankyu Arashiyama Line
20 minutes from JR Saga Arashiyama Station
6 minutes by foot from Keifuku Arashiyama Station
40 minutes by taxi from JR Kyoto Station(time may change depending on traffic)

The restaurant also has a parking lot with the capacity of five cars and if you plan on using the parking lot, you will need to contact the restaurant in advance.

Reservations: Required. Reservations should be made by emailing Kitcho Arashiyama

Hours:
Lunch: 11:30 am - 12:30pm 
Dinner: 17:00 pm- 18:30 

Map:


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Written by Erina Morgan

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GoWithGuide’s writers are passionate travel specialists sharing unique tips and essential information for global explorers.

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