Kyoto summers are known for being hot and humid. As a result, Kyoto chefs have become masters at creating dishes that are refreshing and that bring relief from the heat. Check out this roundup of Kyoto's finest restaurants offering summer cuisine!
1. Nakagawa Sanjo Kiya-machi (Sanjo, General Japanese Cuisine, Japanese and Kaiseki Cuisine)
Kiya-machi is an area that retains the air of old Kyoto, and it's where Nakagawa Sanjo Kiya-machi was established to serve sublime hamo (pike conger) dishes. If you pass by this place on a hot summer's day, try ordering the [Hamo Otoshi], a classic delicacy of Kyoto's summer cuisine. This amazing and beautiful dish consists of parboiled hamo plunged in iced water to stiffen the meat and brings you the authentic taste of the fish. Note that the price varies based on what's in stock, so it is recommended that you inquire in advance.
Nakagawa Sanjo Kiya-machi
: Lunch 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm *Reservation required if more than 2 people, Dinner 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm)Closed
: MondayAverage price
: [Dinner] 11,000 JPY / [Lunch] 7,000 JPYAddress
: B1F, Forum Kiya-machi Bldg., 532-20, Kamiosaka-cho, Sanjo Kiya-machi-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
2. Minokichi Shijo Kawaramachi Branch (Kawaramachi, General Japanese Cuisine, Japanese and Kaiseki Cuisine)
Another classic food of Japan to boost your energy during the hot summer season is unagi (eel). If you want your fill of delicious unagi dishes, head to Minokichi Shijo Kawaramachi Branch, a historical restaurant that's been serving traditional flavors for over 300 years. The most recommended item is the [Unaju] (eel on rice in a lacquer box) (from 4,104 JPY). Their century-old secret sauce makes their fluffy and tender unagi unbeatable. Plus, this restaurant is located on the 8th floor, offering a stunning view of Kamo River (Kamo-gawa) and Mt. Higashi (Higashi-yama).
Minokichi Shijo Kawaramachi Branch
: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)Closed
: NoneAverage price
: [Dinner] 3,800 JPY / [Lunch] 2,000 JPYAddress
: 8F, Sumitomo Fudosan Kyoto Bldg. FOOD HALL, 68, Shin-cho, Shijo-dori Kawara-machi Higashi-iru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
3. Sowaka (Kawaramachi, General Japanese Cuisine, Seafood Izakaya, Creative Japanese Cuisine)
Kyoto has a variety of vegetables known as "Kyoto's traditional vegetables", and the most popular variety that is in-season in the summer is the round and sweet kamo nasu (eggplant). Sowaka is a Japanese restaurant that makes reasonably priced traditional dishes with seasonal ingredients, like the fragrant [Kamo Nasu Dengaku], where kamo nasu is fragrantly grilled. Enjoy the traditional flavors in an atmosphere that is cozy and somewhat nostalgic, with pop music of Showa era (1926-1989) playing in the background.
: [Tuesday - Friday] Lunch 11:30 am - 1:30 pm, Dinner 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)
[Saturday] Dinner 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)
[Sunday] Dinner 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm)Closed
: MondayAverage price
: [Dinner] 3,500 JPY / [Lunch] 700 JPYAddress
: 610-1, Nishi Daimonji-cho, Tominokoji-dori Shijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)More Details
4. Nishiki (Arashiyama, Japanese and Kaiseki Cuisine, General Japanese Cuisine)
Nishiki offers a casual environment where you can taste Japanese dishes made with different ingredients depending on the season. The quiet Japanese-style interior makes your food experience truly relaxing. In summer, you won't want to miss kamo nasu, a traditional vegetable of the area. Fresh eggplants, characterized by a firm, tender skin, and a meaty texture, are deep-fried until crisp. The miso used to dress them brings out their umami (Japanese savory taste), making it an excellent dish.
: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm (L.O. 7:00 pm)Closed
: TuesdayAverage price
: [Dinner] 7,000 JPY / [Lunch] 5,000 JPYAddress
: Kanyuchi, Saga Nakanoshima-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)More Details
5. Oyone (Karasuma, Japanese and Kaiseki Cuisine)
Hamo is the fish of Kyoto. It is particularly fatty and tasty during the summer months. The authentic flavors of Kyoto are very important to Oyone where you can enjoy amazing hamo-based dishes throughout the summer season. Above all, be sure to try the [Hamo Shabu Course] (10,000 JPY)], available only from June to September. This course meal allows you to enjoy a shabu-shabu (sliced meat parboiled with vegetables) of ingredients like Kyo-yuba (Kyoto style tofu skin) and tofu from Kyoto, mibuna (a type of mustard greens), and namafu (wheat gluten) together with hamo, as well as hamo chinmi (delicacy of hamo), hamo otoshi (parboiled and plunged in iced water). This spread is a must-try for all hamo lovers.
: Lunch 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm) *Reservation required, Dinner 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)Closed
: Sunday, National HolidaysAverage price
: [Dinner] 10,000 JPY / [Lunch] 5,000 JPYAddress
: 230, Shinmei-cho, Ayanokoji-dori Takakura Nishi-iru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)More Details
6. Hamakiku (Kawaramachi, General Japanese Cuisine, General Izakaya, Japanese and Kaiseki Cuisine)
If you're in a mood for some seasonal Kaiseki (Japanese banquet with alcohol) typical of Kyoto, try Hamakiku, a famous restaurant hidden in an alley. Besides enjoying hamo, a classic ingredient in Kyoto's food culture, you can sit by the counter and observe the mastery with which the chef fillets the bony hamo. If you want to try different preparations of hamo, order their specialty called [Hamo Kaiseki (from 10,000 JPY)]. The hamo otoshi included in this course matches divinely with its wasabi and shoyu (soy sauce) dressing! Enjoy this top-class, fluffy delicacy and its unbelievable umami.
: Lunch 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Dinner 5:00 pm - 9:00 pmClosed
: WednesdayAverage price
: [Dinner] 10,000 JPY / [Lunch] 3,000 JPYAddress
: 352-4, Shimo Osaka-cho, Kawara-machi Shijo-agaru Misujime Higashi-iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
7. Gion Rakuraku (Gion-shijo, General Japanese Cuisine, Japanese and Kaiseki Cuisine)
Despite being located in Gion Hanamikoji, an area of Kyoto generally considered upper-class, Gion Rakuraku is actually a casual place where tourists and solo diners can easily enjoy Kyoto cuisine. Its appeal is mostly due to the course meals that vary from month to month, like the [Hiru no Omakase (4,500 JPY plus tax)] for lunch and the [Yoru no Omakase (from 6,500 JPY plus tax)] for dinner. The [Sakizuke], served at the beginning of any course, is a must-eat. This [Sakizuke] is a voluminous dish made with seasonal fish and vegetables, often seasoned with a refreshing vinegar-based marinade, that will whet your appetite even in summer.
: Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (L.O. 2:00 pm), Dinner 5:30 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)Closed
: WednesdayAverage price
: [Dinner] 8,000 JPY / [Lunch] 3,800 JPYAddress
: 570-122, Gion-machi Minami-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)More Details
8. Sakaiman (Karasuma Oike / General Japanese Cuisine)
Established in 1863, this historical eatery has never ceased to offer traditional flavors and techniques for 6 generations. Customers from the all over Kansai, including Kyoto itself, have enjoyed their [Hamo-zukushi] since it's conception by Sakaiman's 4th generation chef. It consists of 7 delicacies, including hamo somen (noodles) included in the cover charge, soup of hamo bone dashi (broth), thin sashimi, Yanagawa-style hamo nabe (hot pot), and even a zosui (rice soup) to finish off your meal. This course menu offers hamo in all its forms as well as displaying the chef's exquisite skills as he fillets the fish until there's only skin left.
: Lunch 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm), Dinner from 5:00 pm (L.O. 7:00 pm)Closed
: Tuesday, last Monday of the monthAverage price
: [Dinner] 13,000 JPY / [Lunch] 13,000 JPYAddress
: 248-2, Daionji-cho, Nijo-dori Muro-machi Nishi-iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)More Details
9. Kyoshoku Fuji-ya (Karasuma Oike, General Japanese Cuisine, Creative Japanese Cuisine, General Izakaya)
A typical machiya (old merchant's house) of Kyoto with a Japanese modern twist, Kyoshoku Fuji-ya serves superb and elaborate, creative Japanese dishes. Each carefully selected item is prepared so as to boost its authentic flavor. A dish you have to try is the [Go-enseki Course] (5,400 JPY - 6,900 JPY). This course allows you to savor an abundance of seasonal products. The [Seasonal Grilled Vegetables] is made up of rare summer vegetables like taro stem grilled to perfection, enhancing the original flavor and resulting in a truly excellent delicacy.
: Lunch 11:00 am - 2:00 pm *Reservation required by 6:00 pm of the previous day, Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)Closed
: IrregularAverage price
: [Dinner] 6,000 JPY / [Lunch] 4,000 JPYAddress
: 656-1, Seimei-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
10. Izakaya Itsuraku (Kawaramachi, Gion-shijo, Japanese Cuisine)
Izakaya Itsuraku is a popular place where you can enjoy all the delicious products of Kyoto, like Kyo-Yasai (traditional vegetables from Kyoto), tofu from a historical tofu shop, and organic brown rice. They also serve amazingly good sashimi. Don't miss their [Osashimi 3-kind Assortment] (from 1,750 JPY). Sashimi of seasonal fish delivered from all over the country will give you a taste of Japanese summers.
: 5:30 pm - 1:30 am (L.O. 1:00 am)Closed
: IrregularAverage price
: 4,000 JPYAddress
: 1F, Yasaka Bldg., 217, Nabeya-cho, Kiya-machi Shijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
11. Minori (Sumizome, Fujinomori, Japanese Cuisine)
The owner of Minori, who trained at a famed historical restaurant, prepares dishes with fresh and seasonal ingredients carefully selected and stocked every morning from the market. The most appreciated one is the [Omakase Kaiseki] (traditional Japanese course with tea) (from 5,000 JPY), a tasty and voluminous course you can order only upon prior reservation. The [Akagai to Kujo Negi no Sumiso] included in this course will make you truly perceive the typical flavors of the season. Moreover, since the restaurant was established in a renovated old Kyo-machiya, the atmosphere inside, as well as the sophisticated tableware, offer a pleasant experience to the sight as well.
: 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm)Closed
: MondayAverage price
: 5,000 JPYAddress
: 527, Fukakusa Sujikaibashi Kata-machi, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)More Details
12. Ichiya (Uzumasa, Japanese Cuisine, Izakaya, Seafood Izakaya)
Ichiya offers a cuisine based on premium ingredients specifically selected by the owner himself at the market every single morning. If you're a fan of seasonal flavors, try their [Sashimi] and [Nitsuke] of fresh seasonal fish. In the luxurious [Sashimi], the chef uses his skills to cut and arrange fresh seafood with perfect mastery. [Nitsuke] is fish stewed with different seasoning for each fish, depending on what best matches its fats and texture, so it's a new discovery every season.
: 5:30 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 11:00 pm)Closed
: Tuesday, 2nd and 3rd Monday of the monthAverage price
: 4,000 JPYAddress
: 5-5, Uzumasa Kainichi-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)More Details
13. Seiwaso (Fushimi, Japanese Cuisine)
In the Fushimi area of Kyoto, you can find a nice restaurant where you can enjoy the changing of the seasons called Seiwaso, which offers dishes made with the finest selection of seasonal ingredients. The menu is made of course meals only. The most recommended course is the [Kaiseki Ryori (from 10,000 JPY)], and it is composed of colorful and umami-rich dishes like [Hassun], [Mukozuke], and [Nimono Wan]. The [Mukozuke] is especially good because it's made with seasonal seafood from various parts of Japan combined with a particular soy sauce. It's a new way of enjoying seasonal fish. In addition, all the private rooms face a beautiful Japanese garden that adds an aesthetic aspect to your experience.
: Lunch 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm), Dinner 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 7:00 pm)Closed
: Monday *Open if it's a national holiday, closed for summer and winter holidays and at the beginning and end of the yearAverage price
: [Dinner] 15,000 JPY / [Lunch] 8,000 JPYAddress
: 8, Fukakusa Echigo Yashiki-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)More Details
That's it! Kyoto has all types of restaurants serving refreshing delicacies and energy-boosting dishes that you will long for even on the hottest of days, as well as places that offer cooling scenery. Find a restaurant that suits you best and enjoy your summer in Kyoto!
Disclaimer: All information is accurate at time of publication.