If you happen to be in Japan, why not try going to a restaurant which serves sake (Japanese alcohol) that goes great with food? This article will list 14 great restaurants in Kyoto that serve delicious sake.
1. Ibushiginkazuya (Kawaramachi)
This restaurant is essentially a sake and smoked meat bar. They regularly offer more than 90 kinds of sake, from seasonal to extremely rare brands. Challenge yourself through sampling a variety with their [3-Kind Tasting Set (1,200 JPY)]. Their smoked dishes, made with seasonal ingredients like oysters and black soybeans, are smoked using a variety of wood chips suited to that dish. The temperature and duration of heating are adjusted according to the ingredient to bring out its best taste. Aside from this, they also have unique delicacies like dried firefly squid, dried ray fin, and egg yolk tamari-zuke (pickles).
: 3:00 pm - 3:00 am (Food L.O. 2:30 am, Drinks L.O. 2:45 am)Closed
: None *Closed on January 1Average price
: 3,500 JPYAddress
: 1F, Eikichi Bldg., 276, Kita Kurumaya-cho, Kawaramachi-dori Sanjo-sagaru 2-chome Higashi-iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (map
2. Sobashusai Sakaean (Karasuma)
This restaurant lets you enjoy sake from all over the country, as well as dishes made with handpicked ingredients like duck, Kyo-yasai (traditional vegetables from Kyoto), and fresh fish. They have a wide variety of sake - from regular to limited-production brands. They also serve a variety of seasonal dishes that go well with cold sake. It's recommended to order dishes made with Kyoto duck meat. These can be enjoyed in various ways, such as tataki (lightly seared), smoked, and hot pots. Their [Basashi] (horse sashimi), made with meat directly delivered from Kumamoto, which is famous for basashi, is also popular. Their creative dishes, consisting of soba (buckwheat noodles) made in the restaurant every day, are also worth trying.
Open: Lunch 11:30 am - 3:00 pm (L.O. 2:30 pm), Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (Food L.O. 10:00 pm, Drinks L.O. 10:30 pm)
Closed: Monday *Except for the beginning of the year
Average price: [Dinner] 3,000 JPY / [Lunch] 800 JPY
Address: 2F, Satake Bldg., 571, Obiya-cho, Nishikikoji-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto ()
3. Ryosen (Karasuma Oike)
This is a restaurant where you can fully enjoy tasty Japanese dishes made with carefully selected ingredients and seasonings, along with the best sake. Their special sake is carefully stored up to the temperature set by a licensed sake sommelier. If you ask them for recommendations, they will select sake which perfectly matches the dish, season, and your favorite taste. Their excellent [Famous Stew Assortment (900 JPY)], consisting of stewed meat and vegetables, incorporates a dashi (broth) that has been used and added to since the restaurant's opening. Their [Fresh Fish Namero (850 JPY)], made by combining fresh fish and 4 kinds of miso (bean paste) together, is another dish that perfectly matches sake.
Open: [Weekdays] Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm), Dinner 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 10:45 pm)
[Saturday] Dinner 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 10:45 pm)
*Open if it falls on the day before a national holiday.
*Closed for lunch on Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays. Also closed every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, as well as during the beginning and end of the year.
Average price: [Dinner] 4,500 JPY / [Lunch] 1,000 JPY
Address: 293, Takoyakushi-cho, Oshikoji Muro-machi Nishi-iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
4. Wakashiro (Karasuma)
This restaurant warmly welcomes diners with a wide variety of seasonal Japanese dishes and sake, which range from the chilly sort to ones that are gradually heated with old-fashioned sake warmers. They have several drinking vessels from different eras that are changed according to the type of sake. They mainly rely on local produce, using carefully selected fresh fish and Kyo-yasai. Sake is a perfect match with their Japanese dishes, which saturate seasonal ingredients in bonito and konbu (kelp) broth, so why not come here to relish in this harmony?
Open: [Weekdays] Lunch 11:00 am - 1:30 pm, Dinner 5:30 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm)
[National Holidays, Day before National Holidays] Dinner 5:30 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm)
Closed: Sunday *Open if Monday falls on a national holiday, and closes the next Monday instead
Average price: [Dinner] 5,500 JPY / [Lunch] 1,500 JPY
Address: 218, Hashibenkei-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
5. Michiya (Karasuma Oike)
Here, you can enjoy various shellfish dishes with your sake. They have more than 20 kinds of sake from all over Japan that were personally selected by the chef for going well with shellfish, such as Soku from Fushimi, Kyoto. [Steamed Shellfish] is a popular dish which combines the aroma of shellfish and the flavor of sake. You can also try some rare shellfish, such as hard clams and black clams. The [Hamayaki] option, where you eat shellfish as you grill them on a piping hot plate, is recommended for those who like to slowly enjoy their sake.
: [Monday - Thursday] Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm, Dinner 5:30 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)
[Friday, Saturday] Dinner 5:30 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)Closed
: Sunday *Open on Sunday if Monday is a national holidayAverage price
: [Dinner] 4,000 JPY / [Lunch] 800 JPYAddress
: 478, Kinbuki-cho, Ryogaemachi-dori Nijo-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, KyotoMore Details
6. Nakamura (Gion-shijo)
This restaurant serves delicious charcoal-grilled dishes made from carefully selected ingredients. They regularly serve more than 20 kinds of sake carefully selected from all over Japan. They also serve a variety of wines, including ones from Japan, France, and Italy. The only item on the menu is the [Chef's Recommended Course], where you get to taste the owner's recommendations at that time. Take, for example, their [Assortment of 3 Chicken Breast Appetizers] that uses Amakusa Daio (a brand of chicken from Kumamoto). This brand is best known for its grainy, fine texture and fat that doesn't leave an aftertaste. Depending on how heated up it gets, the taste of the meat differs.
: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 8:00 pm)Closed
: MondayAverage price
: 10,000 JPYAddress
: 2F, Gion Nawate White Bldg., 3-13, Benzaiten-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, KyotoMore Details
7. Minoriko (Karasuma Oike)
This restaurant serves authentic Japanese cuisine. Their sake selection is not to be taken lightly, as it has more than 100 different delicious brands! Just tell them your preferences, and they'll pick the best sake to suit your meal. The menu always has at least 3 courses recommended by the chef. The ingredients that they use are personally purchased by the keen-eyed and vastly experienced owner. They serve excellent dishes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients and go great with sake. Even the appearance of the dishes is special, with colorful arrangements and beautiful plates conveying each season to the fullest.
: 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 11:00 pm)Closed
: SundayAverage price
: 10,000 JPYAddress
: 208-6, Kamimyokakuji-cho, Koromonotana Nishi-iru, Oshikoji-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, KyotoMore Details
8. Shiki-no-aji Hamacho (Sanjo)
This restaurant allows you to bask in the subtle harmony between sake and Japanese food, which mainly uses seasonal fish. They regularly serve more than 15 kinds of sake, which were carefully selected from all over the country. From Kyoto's Eikun to Yamaguchi's Dassai, they offer many famous Japanese brands! To supplement their drinks, they serve seasonal dishes centered around Japanese cuisine. They have a great selection of both satisfying courses and à la carte dishes. It's recommended to try the classic [Fresh Conger Flame-grilled on Binchotan (1,000 JPY)], in which conger eel - usually used for sashimi - is grilled over binchotan (high-quality white charcoal) and enjoyed with seasonings like wasabi salt, skipjack tuna flavored with ume (pickled plum), or vinegared miso.
Open: 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)
Average price: 5,000 JPY
Address: 448-2, Ebisu-cho, Kawara-machi Sanjo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto ()
9. Nagomi Ikeyan (Fujinomori)
This restaurant, which serves creative cuisine, is located in Fushimi - an area that's known as Kyoto's "drinking capital". Their selection of sake consists mainly of ji-zake (local sake) from Fushimi. Have a sip of some seasonal sake like hiyaoroshi (a mellow sake made by letting newly made sake mature for a summer) or namazake (unheated fresh sake) while sitting on a sake barrel. It's highly recommended to pair the alcohol with their [Sashimi Assortment (1,680 JPY)], which uses fresh seafood directly delivered from Ise. Another option is the [Charcoal-Grilled Pork Loin (large for 1,300 JPY)], which is made by fragrantly grilling pork from Miyazaki Prefecture with binchotan.
: Lunch 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, Dinner 5:30 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 22:30 pm)Closed
: WednesdayAverage price
: [Dinner] 3,000 JPY / [Lunch] 1,000 JPYAddress
: 1F, Lumiere Fujinomori, 15, Fukakusa Kareki-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, KyotoMore Details
10. Japanese Restaurant Tsugu (Shijo)
This is a restaurant where you can enjoy sake with delicious dishes made by the owner, who trained at a well-established Japanese restaurant. This restaurant has sake to fit anyone's taste, as a variety - from dry to sweet-tasting sake - are carefully chosen by the owner-chef from all over the country. The menu comprises of various dishes made with a combination of new and traditional techniques that enhance the flavor of the ingredients. Casually enjoy authentic and thoroughly crafted Japanese food, such as Kaiseki (traditional Japanese course cuisine with tea) courses that are packed full of seasonal ingredients and à la carte dishes, here.
Japanese Restaurant Tsugu
: 5:30 pm - 1:00 am (L.O. 12:00 am)Closed
: IrregularAverage price
: 5,000 JPYAddress
: 468, Kannondo-cho, Nishiki Koji-sagaru, Muro-machi Shin-machi no Aida, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (map
11. Gokomachi ONO (Kawaramachi)
This restaurant will greet you warmly with a wide variety of sake and Japanese food made with seasonal ingredients. In addition to 30 standard brands, they also serve around 10 limited brands from all over the country. This restaurant lets you enjoy the flavor of each season. Their most popular dish is [Oden] (a type of hot pot dish), which goes well with sake. You can really taste the umami of its dashi, which is soaked into the ingredients, such as radish, tofu, and soft-boiled eggs. The restaurant's specialty is [Kamameshi] - rice with other ingredients cooked and served in a small earthenware pot.
Gokomachi ONO (Kawaramachi)
: 5:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)Closed
: WednesdayAverage price
: 3,500 JPYAddress
: 423, Dainichi-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, KyotoMore Details
12. Rojimon (Karasuma Oike)
This izakaya (Japanese pub) feels like a hideout for adults who wish to rest from the busyness of a city. It is housed in a renovated machiya (traditional Kyoto-style townhouse). Equipped with private rooms with a view of the courtyard and relaxing sofas, this elegant izakaya lets you enjoy Kyoto's distinct sake with creative Japanese meals that incorporate some Western and Chinese elements. Their [Obanzai] (traditional home cooking of Kyoto) that uses seasonal ingredients like Kyo-yasai is perfect to have with alcohol. Their dried food, which is directly delivered from all over the country, is another great option. You can eat it while grilling it on a charcoal grill.
: [Weekdays, Saturday] 5:30 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:15 pm)
[Sunday, National Holidays] 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:15 pm)Closed
: IrregularAverage price
: 4,500 JPYAddress
: 71, Shinmei-cho, Shimachi-dori Aneyakoji-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (map
13. Torisei Honten (Fushimi-momoyama)
This yakitori (grilled chicken skewer) restaurant is directly managed by a well-established sake brewery that has been in business for 340 years. Housed in a refurbished 100-year-old sake brewery, this restaurant lets you enjoy delicious chicken dishes and alcohol at reasonable prices. Next to the restaurant is the sake brewery itself, known for being the only place where you can drink unprocessed sake, which has a deep yet mellow taste that you will surely enjoy. If you go here during winter, try tareguchi, which is a seasonal sake with a bit of carbon dioxide left after fermentation. They also have a lot of satisfying dishes to accompany sake, such as yakitori with a special sauce and oyako-don (rice bowl dish with chicken and eggs).
: [Saturday, Sunday] 11:00 am - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)
[Tuesday - Friday] 11:30 am - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)Closed
: Monday, National HolidaysAverage price
: [Dinner] 3,500 JPY / [Lunch] 1,000 JPYAddress
: 186, Kamiaburakake-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, KyotoMore Details
14. Kyoto Ebisuya Kitaoji Eki-mae Branch (Kitaoji)
This relaxing restaurant has a friendly atmosphere. The owner is a sake enthusiast who carefully picks sake from all over the country, meaning that they also serve choice sake like Kyoto's Jurakudai and Shiga's Soma no Tengu. They also have season-limited sake and dishes that can be enjoyed by anyone. Among these, their [Oden] is the most popular for its simple yet rich taste. Their [Sashimi Assortment] is another must-try. It uses fresh fish, particularly raw tuna, that were purchased from an excellent fish dealer at the market.
Kyoto Ebisuya Kitaoji Eki-mae Branch
: 5:00 pm - 12:30 am (L.O. 12:00 am)Closed
: IrregularAverage price
: 2,500 JPYAddress
: 2F, 82-2, Koyama Higashi Ono-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, KyotoMore Details
Although they are all called sake, they taste quite different. Visit a restaurant that specializes in sake and try to compare some yourself!
Disclaimer: All information is accurate at time of publication.