Nijo Castle (Nijo-jo) is an unmissable sightseeing spot if you're visiting Kyoto. Along with the Kyoto Imperial Palace, there are many sites to see in the surrounding area as well. Here is an introduction to 14 restaurants and izakaya (Japanese pubs) to go to after visiting Nijo Castle.
1. Minoriko (Japanese Cuisine, Karasuma Oike)
This place is a sophisticated, authentic Japanese cuisine restaurant. The ingredients they use vary daily and are selected by the keen-eyed owner and procured every day from the market. From choosing fishing grounds that have the best fish of the season to other measures, they guarantee that their customers can enjoy the best flavors of the seasonal ingredients. Make sure to look out for other special touches like the plates that help to enhance the flavors of the food, as well as the innovative presentation of the dishes. They have a large selection of sake (Japanese alcohol), with more than 100 different ones to choose from. It's possible for you to ask the chefs to make their recommended dishes rather than ordering from the menu.
: 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 11:00 pm)Closed
: SundayAverage price
: 10,000 JPYAddress
: 208-6, Koromonotana Nishi-iru Kamimyokakuji-cho, Oshikoji-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
2. Aoike (French, Marutamachi)
This French restaurant housed in a renovated Kyo-machiya (Kyoto's old merchant's house), has counter seats, from which you can observe the skills of the chefs as they prepare the food, on the first floor, while the second floor has spacious table seating. They use chairs made by a Northern European furniture maker, giving the place a modern, Japanese atmosphere. Central to the cuisine on offer is the seasonal vegetables harvested from local areas such as Kyoto and Osaka. Along with the chef's specialty, [Presse of Farm Vegetables], which is made using around 20 different kinds of vegetables, you are sure to enjoy the numerous other colorful dishes that they serve here.
: Lunch from 12:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm), Dinner from 6:00 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)Closed
: MondayAverage price
: [Dinner] 8,000 JPY / [Lunch] 5,000 JPYAddress
: 631, Takeyamachi-dori, Takakura Nishi-iru, Heinouchi-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
)More Details Reservation
3. En (Kaiseki, Imadegawa)
This restaurant is run by a chef who trained at several famous restaurants, including the long-established [Hyotei], a ryotei (traditional Japanese restaurant) that is said to represent Kyoto. Located in a quiet area close to Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, this restaurant has just 7 seats. Enjoy the uncompromised flavors created by the chef in a calm and relaxing atmosphere. From [Karasumi], a dish of salt-pickled mullet roe, to Japan's oldest cheese, [So], most of their modest cuisine is handmade from scratch. Though their food looks simple, their deep and nourishing flavors have earned this famous restaurant a lot of fans.
: Lunch 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (last entry at 1:00 pm), Dinner 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (last entry)Closed
: Thursday, Last Wednesday of the monthAverage price
: [Dinner] 15,000 JPY / [Lunch] 6,000 JPYAddress
: 589, Tatsumae-cho, Karasuma Ichijo-sagaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
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4. Epice (French, Demachiyanagi)
This is a restaurant housed in a renovated Kyo-machiya that was built over 100 years ago. The restaurant has an inner garden, so you can enjoy a view while savoring the authentic French cuisine (except for the counter seats). Vegetables play a major role in their dishes and include those that they procure from the morning market at Ohara, Kyoto, as well as vegetables harvested that morning from contracted farms. From the appetizers to the desserts, they have a healthy menu that features plenty of fresh, organic vegetables. Why not order one of the over 130 kinds of wine that they have in stock to accompany your meal?
: Lunch 11:30 am - 2:30 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm), Dinner 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 8:00 pm)Closed
: WednesdayAverage price
: [Dinner] 6,000 JPY / [Lunch] 3,000 JPYAddress
: 105, Teramachi-dori Imadegawa-sagaru, Shinnyodomae-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
)More Details Reservation
5. Oshin (Japanese Cuisine, Karasuma Oike)
This restaurant makes full use of the Kyo-machiya in which it's situated, surrounded by seasonal flowers and plants. As a butcher directly manages the restaurant, you can savor meat cuisine made using top quality A4 and A5 rank Wagyu (a type of high-quality beef) at a reasonable price. Their signature item is the wonderfully moist [Roast Beef]. Enjoy the tender texture and umami (Japanese savory taste) that fills your mouth with each bite. Their thick [Special Steak] is cooked according to your preference and is best to eat with a simple seasoning of salt, pepper, and wasabi.
: 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm)Closed
: None *Except the beginning and end of the year and ObonAverage price
: 6,500 JPYAddress
: 309, Muromachi-dori Oike-agaru, Oikeno-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
6. blanc pierre (French, Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae)
At this restaurant, you can have classic French cuisine in a casual environment. From appetizers made with plenty of seasonal Kyo-Yasai (traditional vegetables from Kyoto) to specialties containing foie gras produced in France, the numerous dishes on offer here are of a high standard that you would expect from a hotel. [Wagyu Hamburg Steak Filled With Foie Gras] is a superb dish where the juice of the meat and the fat from the foie gras gush out when you cut into it with a knife. You can have it with port sauce at lunch or truffle sauce at dinner.
: Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm), Dinner 5:30 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm)Closed
: TuesdayAverage price
: [Dinner] 5,500 JPY / [Lunch] 2,500 JPYAddress
: 577, Gokomachi-dori Ebisugawa-agaru, Matsumoto-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
7. LUDENS (Italian, Marutamachi)
Savor the Italian cuisine of this restaurant, made with high-quality Japanese ingredients, in the modern, Japanese atmosphere of a renovated Kyo-machiya that's around 100 years old. The menu consists of three different courses filled with the chef's recommendations. Part of it even includes unique items based on yakuzen (Chinese medicinal cuisine). They use carefully selected local ingredients, as well as those from nearby prefectures such as Shiga and Fukui. For the meat, the chefs themselves go to farms near Omihachiman, Shiga, to select their choice of Omi beef, which is a brand of Wagyu. Enjoy the umami of the lean meat!
Open: [Tuesday] Dinner 6:00 pm - 10:30 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)
[Wednesday - Sunday, National Holidays, Day before National Holidays] Lunch 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm (L.O. 1:00 pm), Dinner 6:00 pm - 10:30 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)
Closed: Monday *Additional 2 irregular holidays per month
Average price: [Dinner] 15,000 JPY / [Lunch] 4,800 JPY
Address: 560-8, Ainomachi-dori Nijo-agaru, Ebisu-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto ()
8. Ottimo (Italian Cuisine, Karasuma Oike)
This restaurant is tucked away in the corner of a residential area. Here, you can enjoy Italian cuisine made with ingredients like seasonal vegetables from the outskirts of Kyoto and fresh seafood caught around Ise, Mie Prefecture. For those who want lots of veggies, [Bagna Cauda of Seasonal Vegetables and Anchovy Sauce] is our recommendation. This is a dish where you can dip Kyo-Yasai and Western vegetables procured from contract farms in places like Kyoto, Shiga, in an anchovy-flavored sauce. Their [Margherita], made with springy, homemade dough, and [Bolognese], filled with umami of beef and herbs, are not to be missed.
: [Monday, Wednesday - Friday] Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm, Dinner from 5:00 pm (L.O. 11:00 pm), Cafe from 2:00 pm (L.O. 4:00 pm)
[Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays, Day before National Holidays] Dinner from 5:00 pm (L.O. 11:00 pm), Cafe from 2:00 pm (L.O. 4:00 pm)Closed
: TuesdayAverage price
: [Dinner] 5,000 JPY / [Lunch] 1,500 JPYAddress
: 1F, Imajin-kan, 480, Ryogaemachi-dori Nijo-sagaru, Kinbuki-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
9. Yakiniku Steak Iwai (Yakiniku, Marutamachi)
Usually, yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) restaurants in Japan have a grill in the middle of each table where the customers cook the food themselves. Things are a little different here, however, as the food, such as yakiniku and steak, is cooked in the kitchen and brought out on a piping hot ceramic tile. You still get to experience the excitement of yakiniku, as the meat sizzles as it's brought out, but you don't have to deal with the smoke and smell that usually accompanies yakiniku. Their homemade sauces made with a lot of effort and time are also exquisite.
Yakiniku Steak Iwai
: 5:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)Average price
: 4,000 JPYAddress
: 1F, Sasaki Bldg., 757-2, Minami Iseya-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
10. KYOU Karasuma (Shabu-shabu and Sukiyaki, Marutamachi)
This restaurant is in the basement of noku Kyoto, a hotel located a minute's walk away from Marutamachi Station. Here, you can sample some reasonably priced branded beef that was carefully selected by a chef who has many years of experience dealing with Wagyu. There are many ways you can enjoy the various beef on offer here, such as in a luxurious sukiyaki (hot pot stew) with plenty of Kyoto beef, steak of Omi beef, rare cuts and lean meat selected by the head chef, roast beef of carefully selected Wagyu, and shabu-shabu (sliced meat parboiled with vegetables).
Open: Lunch 11:30 am - 2:30 pm (L.O. 2:00 pm), Dinner 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm), Breakfast 7:00 am - 10:30 am (L.O. 10:00 am), Bar 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 11:00 pm)
Closed: Monday *If it falls on a national holiday, it'll be closed the following day
Average price: [Dinner] 6,000 JPY / [Lunch] 2,000 JPY
Address: B1F, Noku Kyoto Hotel, 205-1, Karasuma-dori Maruta-machi-sagaru, Okura-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto ()
11. Kokyu (Kaiseki, Demachiyanagi)
This is kaiseki (traditional Japanese course cuisine with tea) restaurant housed in a renovated old machiya (old merchant's house). Enter a world far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life as you walk through the front door and down a narrow corridor. An invigorating space will greet you at the end of the passage, featuring a plain wood counter. The menu changes monthly and consists of dishes that delicately represent the passing of the seasons. This restaurant is made with all factors to create the deep flavors of the restaurant, such as the skills of the owner, who trained at a famous Kyo-kaiseki (Kyoto-style kaiseki) restaurant, ingredients selected without compromising on quality, and the high-quality water pumped up from underground.
: Lunch 11:30 am - 2:30 pm (L.O. 1:15 pm), Dinner 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm (L.O. 7:30 pm)Closed
: Monday *There are some irregular holidaysAverage price
: [Dinner] 20,000 JPY / [Lunch] 8,000 JPYAddress
: 204, Seiryu-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
12. Tensho (Yakiniku, Marutamachi)
This is a restaurant where you can enjoy cuisine made with Kuroge Wagyu (a type of high-quality beef), mainly Omi beef. It has a Japanese atmosphere in which you can sit back and relax, similar to that of a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). There is a variety of seating options, from counter seats that you can enjoy even if you are alone, to table seats that are all located in private rooms, horigotatsu (sunken kotatsu table) rooms, and even a VIP room. Some recommendations from the yakiniku menu include offal and skirt of Omi beef. [Yaki Shabu] is a famous dish where thinly sliced meat is quickly grilled on a ceramic tile. They also have fresh Wagyu yukhoe, sashimi of Omi beef tongue - a rare item - and more!
: 12:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm)Closed
: IrregularAverage price
: [Dinner] 5,000 JPYAddress
: 323-4, Kurumayacho-dori Nijo-agaru, Shinnyodo-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
13. Michiya (Japanese Cuisine, Karasuma Oike)
At this izakaya, you can try shellfish cuisine from all over Japan, including unusual shellfish, while sipping on sake. All the ingredients used here are exceptionally fresh and are procured daily from places like markets. The [Sashimi Assortment] features popular standard shellfish, such as cockle, whelk, scallop, horned turban, and Alaska razor clam, along with high-grade shellfish, and is a must-try dish for any shellfish lover. [Hamayaki] is another popular item on their menu, where the shellfish is slowly grilled. Since they get their stock from various places, you can enjoy oysters all year round at this restaurant.
: [Monday - Thursday] Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm, Dinner 5:30 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)
[Friday, Satuday] Dinner 5:30 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)Closed
: Sunday *Open if Monday falls on a national holidayAverage price
: [Dinner] 5,500 JPY / [Lunch] 900 JPYAddress
: 478, Ryogaemachi-dori Nijo-sagaru, Kinbuki-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
14. Anagoya Noresore (Japanese Cuisine, Karasuma Oike)
This is an anago (a type of saltwater eel) specialty restaurant that uses anago procured directly from Awaji Island (Awaji-shima), Hyogo Prefecture. Anago from Awaji Island is a famous brand of fish that has long been served at various ryotei in Kyoto. From their vast menu, one recommended item is the sashimi, which is only available because of how fresh their stock is. Aside from that, there are many styles in which you can savor anago, like kabayaki (coated in a sweet and spicy sauce and grilled), shirayaki (grilled over open flame without any flavorings such as condiments and sauce), tempura, and hakomeshi (rice served in a box topped with simmered sweet and spicy anago).
: Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (L.O. 2:00 pm), Dinner 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm (Food L.O. 9:30 pm, Drink L.O. 10:00 pm)Closed
: IrregularAverage price
: [Dinner] 5,000 JPY / [Lunch] 2,500 JPYAddress
: 276/278, Aburanokoji-dori Nijo-sagaru, Nijo Aburanokoji-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map
If you're visiting the famous sightseeing spots around Nijo Castle, use this guide to help you decide on a place to eat!
Disclaimer: All information is accurate at time of publication.