When it comes to Japanese food, many people will think of sushi first. There are various sushi bars at different prices. If you want to try authentic sushi, then don’t forget to stop by for sushi in the old capital city of Kyoto. So, where to eat sushi in Kyoto to find best sushi in Kyoto and best omakase in Kyoto, Japan? Let’s check out our suggested top 10 best sushi restaurants in Kyoto, famous sushi restaurants in Kyoto and Kyoto sushi locations to find out the answer!
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Kyoto has always been a destination for tourists interested in learning about the traditional culture as well as appreciating the nostalgic atmosphere of Japan. By time visiting sacred temples and ancient castles, tourists should also replenish their energy with world-renowned sushi dishes of the country. In this article, we will introduce you to the best sushi bars in Japan’s old capital city of Kyoto.
Best sushi restaurant in Kyoto: Sushi Matsumoto
Sushi Matsumoto is located on Hanamikoji Street, Gion District of Kyoto. Sushi Matsumoto is the only sushi restaurant in Kyoto that received two stars in the Michelin Guide Kansai. This restaurant is decorated entirely with wooden furniture in order to create a warm sensation for diners. Sushi Matsumoto has only 7 seats surrounding the kitchen table along with a table for two next to it. Thus, you should make a reservation before arriving to avoid waiting as it may run out of seats. The owner and operator of Sushi Matsumoto is a really young and considerate chef. He received culinary training in Tokyo and acquired the skills of making Edomae sushi, after that he returned to Kyoto and started the restaurant in 2005.
This sushi restaurant only uses fresh ingredients selected from famous seafood markets such as fish from Tsukiji in Tokyo, as well as tilefish from Kyoto and octopus from Akashi in Hyogo. The sushi here is served following omasease style, which means you will enjoy sushi made from the freshest fish of that season. While typical sushi rice is often mixed with sugar and vinegar, sugar will not be added at Sushi Matsumoto. Red vinegar is used instead to provide a sweet taste. The sushi here tastes really soft and smooth.
You can enjoy Omakase sushi and see how the chef makes sushi right in front of your eyes. For drinks, there are more than 5 different types of Japanese sake for you to choose from, from light to heavy. This is the most recommended and frequently visited sushi restaurant by local people. If you ever stop by Kyoto, don’t forget to visit Sushi Matsumoto for freshly made, savory sushi.
Address: 570-123 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Telephone: +81 75-531-203
Hours: 12–1:30 PM, 6–9 PM/Tuesday: Closed/Wednesday: 6–9 PM/Sunday: 12–1:30 PM, 6 PM–12 AM
Where to eat sushi in Kyoto: Gion Sushi Tadayasu
This one-star Michelin Edomae-style sushi restaurant began serving guests on April 26, 2017 in Gion, Kyoto. Gion Sushi Tadayasu is a place where you can savor Edomae-style sushi prepared with fresh local ingredients. Chef Tadayasu Morita’s parents were fish dealers, and he wanted to work at a sushi restaurant as early as when he was a student in junior high. He earned a certificate in culinary arts by the time graduating from high school and soon began working at a sushi restaurant in Tokyo. Despite his extensive experience working at several well-known sushi restaurants in Tokyo, Morita continued to hold his dream of opening a sushi restaurant in Kyoto. As a result, Sushi Tadayasu was founded.
Using strictly selected ingredients from Tsukiji, Morita makes fish dishes based on his long-term experience. Depending on the kind of fish being processed, either of two types of rice vinegar will be used: One type is made with red vinegar. And the other is a mix of two different types, one of which is used for tuna. For the ultimate taste of all the elements, each fish will be served with a different type of rice. The lunch menu offers two options: 10 nigiri pieces for 6,000 yen and 13 nigiri pieces for 13,000 yen.
The restaurant also serves a variety of high-quality sake produced in Kyoto. Sake menu changes seasonally so that the wine flavor matches different sushi types. The restaurant has several rows of chairs by the kitchen so you can watch the chefs making sushi, or you can also choose to sit down and enjoy your food in private rooms. This authentic Edomae-style sushi restaurant is a must-see destination when traveling to Kyoto.
Address: 572-9 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Hours: 12–1:30 PM, 6–9 PM
Best sushi restaurant in Kyoto: Sushi Gion Matsudaya
Sushi Gion Matsudaya is a one-star Edo-style sushi restaurant situated at the end of a quiet alley on Hanamikoji Street, Gion District. The owner and head chef, Kazunori Matsudaya, has exceptional expertise and background as he learned culinary arts in New York for a year. He would like his guests to enjoy sushi with a full experience at the counter by watching, eating, and interacting.
At this restaurant, rigorous attention to detail and consideration is given to everything. For instance, low tables made of hinoki wood and large high-backed chair are all designed by the restaurant owner to provide comfort for the customers. The restaurant does not have a fixed menu, as Matsudaya only offers the best kind of fish of the day. The freshest fish is handpicked from major fish markets such as Tsukiji market or Nishiki market in Kyoto.
Matsudaya’s soft sushi rice will gently melt in your mouth as the chefs employ multiple professional techniques to deliver the best taste and delicacy of seafood. One must-try is caviar sushi, which will impress you with both its appearance and taste. Other dishes are also very well prepared and tasteful. Matsudaya only has 7 seats, suitable for those who want to enjoy sushi and sake in the traditional, unique atmosphere of Kyoto.
Address: 570-123, Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Telephone: + 81-75-561-3338
Hours: 5–10 PM
Best sushi restaurants in Kyoto: Nakaichi
Sushi in Japan is not affordable at all, a full sushi meal at a luxury restaurant will cost a considerable sum. For tight-budget tourists, this is difficult if they would like to enjoy sushi. But coming to Nakaichi, visitors won’t be worried about the checks anymore.
Nakaichi restaurant offers a wide selection of sushi at an extremely affordable cost. Tourists can enjoy the food they love and watch the chefs show off their cooking skills at the same time. Located in Gion, Sushi-kappo Nakaichi serves great sushi in exquisite surroundings. The trout dish from Biwa Lake here is skillfully crafted from local ingredients. Biwa masu ikura tastes a lot like salmon caviar, and it’s a truly rare dish. Fresh sashimi is served with soy sauce and ginger, delivering a truly delicious taste without the stinky sense.
You can expect to see the chefs prepare sushi for you while waiting. Interact with him and you can request which part of the fish to be prepared for your sushi upon your preference. Nakaichi always utilizes freshly caught fish every day to provide an original high-quality dish of sushi. The restaurant is really popular for its food and services, so it’s always crowded. Thus, make sure to reserve a table before coming.
Address: 570-196 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Telephone: +81 75-531-2778
Hours: 12–2 PM, 4:30–10 PM
Izuju is an over-100-year-old traditional sushi restaurant located next to the temple of Yasaka. The thing is this place is not famous for the common Nigiri sushi. The restaurant is designed in a traditional style, with a red curtain covering the door and a slightly lower door frame. There is a bar next to the kitchen where you can eat while watching the chefs make sushi.
Inside is a cozy pantry with several small tables. The first thing you should know about Izuju’s Kyozushi is that sushi will taste best without soy sauce. Spices are not present on the table but will be provided in case you ask for them. The restaurant staff said that soy sauce would overpower the taste of sushi, especially the sweetness of rice.
Here, they mainly use mackerel instead of tuna as usually seen in other restaurants. You should try saba-zushi with chub mackerel and sushi kelp. The chub mackerel is not a delicately flavored fish, but wrapping it with kelp and sweet rice will help make it less tang. Hakozushi or box sushi is another kind of Kyoto sushi where fish and rice are pressed into wooden box-shaped molds, often complemented by pike conger casserole in the summer and Spanish mackerel casserole in the winter.
The inarizushi is made from sweet rice wrapped in a pack of beans, which taste super delicious. You can also choose hako box sushi in which seafood or vegetables are pressed into sweet rice with a wooden frame, including sea mushroom and shimeji mushroom. If you have to wait too long in line, you can also ask for a takeaway.
Address: 605-0073 Gionmachi Kitagawa 292, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Telephone: +81 75-561-0019
Hours: 10:30 AM–6 PM/Wednesday and Thursday: Closed
Where to eat sushi in Kyoto: Gion Mametora
Gion Mametora sushi restaurant located in Higashiyama, Kyoto is one of the most famous sushi chains in the city. The restaurant serves kaiseki ryori, a menu based on seasonal ingredients. However, its specialty is mamezushi – a small, round, bite-sized type of sushi. Also known as ‘maiko-zushi’, it was originally created for Maiko (Kyoto’s trainee geisha) so they could easily eat sushi without opening their mouth too wide. Each piece is also prepared to eat as is without the need for soy sauce. Otherwise, mame sushi is also available. This is a colorful sushi dish because the plate consists of many pieces of sushi.
The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m to 2:00 p.m and guests can choose from two sets. The small set only offers a single appetizer, soup, deep-fried vegetables, a few pieces of mamezushi, and a sweet Japanese dish with hot tea for 4,200 yen. The larger set is similar, except there are more appetizers, which will cost you 6,000 yen. Mametora is reopened in the evening for dinner from 5:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m. They have two dinner menus including mamezushi for 8,800 to 12,000 yen and three kaiseki menus for 10,000 to 20,000 yen. Beer, sake, whisky, soju, and soft drinks are all reasonably charged between 500 to 900 yen.
The restaurant is located in a beautiful two-story traditional wooden building on Hanamikoji-Dori Street in Gion. The interior is beautifully decorated and there are many seat options; you can book a table near the window to see the garden next door. The restaurant has a couple of English-speaking employees. If you’re a foodie and don’t want to miss out on fresh sushi, don’t forget to stop by Mametora.
Address: 570-235 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Telephone: +81 75-532-3955
Hours: 11:30 AM–3 PM, 5–8:30 PM
Best sushi in Kyoto: Sushi no Musashi
Sushi no Musashi is a conveyor sushi restaurant established in 1977 and now has two branches in Kyoto. Aiming to become a simple restaurant specializing in fresh ingredients since its opening, Sushi no Musashi offers a fresh and genuine sushi taste at a reasonable price. You can eat more than 50 types of sushi including standard tuna and salmon sushi from $1 ~ $2 per plate at this restaurant. Located at Kyoto Station, Musashi serves over 50 types of sushi on a conveyor belt.
What sets Musashi apart from other sushi restaurants is that Musashi provides handmade sushi made by sushi chefs in a kitchen surrounded by a conveyor belt. Carefully selected fish, seaweed, and wasabi are used to make the sushi. The great thing about Musashi, apart from the taste and quality of sushi, is that you can try them at a reasonable price.
If you want to experience conveyor sushi at Kyoto Station, you must pay a visit to Musashi. If you want to have sushi at your hotel, you can also get a sushi box here. There are many different selections, such as sushi rolls with several fish and vegetables, and Kyoto’s special sushi called Osh Oshizushi. They are all really fresh and delicious, and you can ask for a takeaway. If you would like to enjoy a variety of sushi that is reasonably priced and still fresh, this restaurant is definitely the best choice.
Address: 440 Ebisucho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Telephone: +81 75-222-0634
Hours: 10:30 AM–9:45 PM
Best sushi in Kyoto: Sushi Kappa
If you want to have a simple dinner at a place with the best atmosphere in Kyoto, Pontocho, you should go to Kappa Sushi restaurant. Kappa Sushi is a nationwide sushi chain and all sushi dishes are served for only 100 yen.
When you hear the name Kappa Sushi, you may think of the conveyor restaurant chain of the same name, but this restaurant doesn’t have the vibe of a chain restaurant at all. This restaurant gives you the feeling as you’re enjoying food at a high-end restaurant, with a chef making sushi at the counter in front of you.
The waiters at the restaurant are also very friendly and welcoming. The restaurant is located opposite Kamo River, giving it an open dining space. There are five types of fresh sashimi on Kappa Sushi’s most popular menu. The sashimi is savory, made of egg yolks and whites together with whole shrimp, which is then beautifully presented.
You can also choose from a menu of rich Chutoro tuna, sea urchins, shrimp, and other sushi. The fish is rich, fresh, and delicious. The restaurant’s signature is Edomae sushi, which uses fresh seasonal ingredients. Tasty tilefish and tuna sushi are highly recommended dishes. The sushi rice is cooked with Kyoto’s Chidori vinegar. Enjoy delicious sushi while admiring the stunning views of Higashi Mountain at Ponto-Cho Kappa Sushi.
Address: 2 Nishikyogoku Higashio Marucho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
Telephone: +81 50-5488-1706
Hours: 12–3 PM, 5–11 PM/Tuesday to Friday: 5–11 PM
Kyoto sushi locations: Ganko Takasegawa-Nijoen
Famous kaiseki restaurant Ganko Takasegawa-Nijoen. Ganko Takasegawa-Nijoen was originally the residence of the Edo era’s business magnate Suminokura Ryoi and then Prime Minister Yamagata Aritomo during the Meiji era. This historic building has played a similar role for 200 to 300 years. The restaurant has a spacious Japanese garden that anyone hardly finds in the middle of Kyoto. Contrary to the impressive garden, the food is refined for a delicate taste.
The sashimi here is delicious, made from freshly caught fish of the day, which perfectly blends in with other elements. The thinly sliced fish with Ponzu and Momiji-Oroshi, a seasoning made of Daikon-Oroshi mixed with special slightly spicy peppers, provides a combination of hot and sour flavors that brings out the best taste of Sashimi fish. You can also select the tempura, which is popular among foreign visitors.
There are multiple components, including jumbo shrimps and crispy lotus tubers, and it’s great to have with dashi broth-flavored Tentsuyu. The above sushi dishes are affordable, hence, they become an easy choice for tourists. But you get much better sushi if you pay a little extra for the a la carte menu.
Address: 98 Nakajimacho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto
Telephone: +81 75-223-3456
Hours: 11 AM–9 PM
Kyoto sushi locations: Sushi Wakon
Sushi Wakon is a sushi bar at Four Seasons Kyoto founded by Chef Rei Masuda, who was awarded two Michelin stars for his six-seat Tokyo sushi bar opened in 2015 in Tokyo after nine years of working at Sukiyabashi Jiro. Sushi Wakon was introduced along with Four Seasons Kyoto in 2016.
The restaurant utilizes only the best ingredients available daily from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. It offers a superb omakase sushi menu of dishes specially selected by Chef Masuda, with a focus on seasonal ingredients and harmonious decoration of cooked dishes and nigiri sushi.
Besides, there are also a variety of premium Japanese sake and red wines for you to enjoy while having sushi, all carefully chosen to become the perfect accompaniment to sushi. The restaurant has a traditional wooden bar that accommodates up to ten guests as well as two private rooms where you can comfortably sit in groups of eight and four people. Families are welcome to use the private rooms as they are the best to have children come along. Moreover, the waiters are able to converse in English and Chinese. This restaurant is a place where you can enjoy dedicated, attentive customer service on top of an authentic Japanese sushi meal with fresh ingredients.
Address: 445-3 Myoho In Maekawa Cho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto
Telephone: +81 75-541-8176
Hours: 11:30 AM–2 PM, 5:30–10:30 PM/Monday and Tuesday: Closed
To make your visit to Kyoto complete, don’t forget to enjoy delicious traditional sushi meals at 10 famous sushi restaurants in the old capital city of the country.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, to and from Kyoto you can refer to
- Private Kansai International Airport Transfers (KIX) for Kyoto
- Limousine Bus Transfers between Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Osaka or Kyoto
- Shared Night Bus Transfers from Kyoto to Tokyo
- Private Kansai Airport (KIX) Transfers to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Uji, Kobe, or Arima
- Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass (1 Day/2 Days, Kyoto Pick Up)
- Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass 1 Day/2 Days (Pick up at Osaka)
- Randen + Subway 1 Day Pass
- Kyoto Temples & Shrines Day Tour from Osaka: Fushimi Inari-taisha, Arashiyama, Kiyomizu-dera & More
- Kyoto Perfect Day Tour from Osaka or Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera, Fushimi Inari-taisha, Arashiyama & More
- Kyoto and Nara Day Tour from Osaka/Kyoto
- Kyoto Afternoon Tour from Osaka
- 4G Prepaid Sim Card (JP Airports Pick Up) for Japan
- 4G WiFi (Japan Pick Up) for Japan
- JR Pass for Whole Japan (7, 14, or 21 Days)
Are you looking for more Kyoto travel guide and top things to do in Kyoto: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Kyoto travel blog — The fullest Kyoto travel guide blog for a budget trip to Kyoto for the first-timers.