15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

Publish-date: May 14 2018 Update-date: Nov 19 2018
Author: SAVOR JAPAN

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15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

Renowned as the most evocative townscape of the ancient capital, Kyoto, Gion is a favorite spot for tourists. This article introduces the best 15 izakayas (Japanese pubs) in the area.

1. Kyotomi

1. Kyotomi15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

Located at the end of a stone-paved path, which is typical of Kyoto, this popular restaurant specializes in kyo-kaiseki (Kyoto-style traditional Japanese course cuisine with tea). An expert in Kyoto cuisine, the head chef makes exceptional kaiseki cuisine that combines Kyoto's traditional recipes with new and unique ideas. From sashimi to grilled items and stewed dishes, seasonal ingredients are used to create the vibrant dishes that make up the course. Their kaiseki courses start from 5,000 JPY, and you can even have them tailored to your budget. You'll also find a remarkable lineup of alcoholic drinks like sake (Japanese alcohol) and shochu (another type of Japanese alcohol) that match divinely with Kyoto cuisine.

Kyotomi

Open: Lunch from 11:30 am (L.O. 1:30 pm), Dinner from 5:30 pm (L.O. 8:00 pm)
Closed: Monday
Average price: [Dinner] 8,000 JPY / [Lunch] 3,500 JPY
Address: 503-6, Washio-cho, Kodai-ji Kitamonzen Shimokawa-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

2. Shouan

2. Shouan15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

Enjoy top-quality alcohol and food in this traditional "kappo" (a Japanese restaurant with counter seats facing the kitchen, where the chef cooks in front of the customers). The dishes are made using wild-caught seafood that the owner personally selected at the market, fresh fish delivered from Kochi - where he came from - and organic vegetables from contracted farms in Kyoto. The [Chef's Course] starts with a delicious sakizuke (an assortment of small appetizers served at the beginning of the course), which shows off an excellent combination of ingredients and reflects the season or any annual events, and then goes on with lots of mouthwatering dishes, such as grilled and stewed delicacies.

Shouan

Open: Lunch 11:30 am - 3:00 pm (L.O. 2:00 pm), Dinner 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm)
*You must make a reservation to eat course meals (from 5,000 JPY for a minimum of 4 people) for lunch.
Closed: Sunday, 3rd Monday of the month
*Please inquire for summer holidays and the beginning and end of the year
Average price: [Dinner] 8,000 JPY / [Lunch] 2,500 JPY
Address: 18-11, Yamato-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

3. Gion Bansan Kyoshoku

3. Gion Bansan Kyoshoku15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

Housed in a Kyo-machiya (Kyoto's old merchant's house), this modern restaurant offers chicken dishes, tempura, and in the fall and winter, oden (assorted stewed food). The most recommended item is the [Nanatani Aka Ji-dori Sashimi Assortment (2,000 JPY)]. Nanatani Aka ji-dori (Nanatani Aka chicken) has a firm texture and strong umami (Japanese savory taste). They use chicken butchered that morning, so it's super fresh! This platter allows you to try even rare cuts. Also, don't miss the [Mixed Tempura Assortment (1,400 JPY)], served with 3 different salts - seaweed, flying fish, and matcha, or the [Grilled Vegetables Assortment (1,200 JPY)] that's made with seasonal Kyo-yasai (traditional vegetables from Kyoto).

Gion Bansan Kyoshoku

Open: 6:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:00 pm)
Closed: Sunday *May be open if the next day is a national holiday. Please inquire.
Average price: 6,000 JPY
Address: 95, Sueyoshi-cho, Yamato Oji-dori, Tominaga Higashi-iru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

4. Nakamura

4. Nakamura15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

Head here to taste ingredients carefully selected from across the country, grilled simply over charcoal. The only menu item is the [Omakase Course (7,000 JPY)], which is filled with seasonal flavors. For example, there's the [Chicken Breast Meat Appetizer 3-Kind Assortment] - accompanied by seasonal vegetables, you can taste the difference in the flavor of chicken breast when cooked at different temperatures with this dish. There's also the [Grilled Vegetables Assortment], where Italian and Japanese vegetables are seasoned as little as possible to maintain their original flavor. There are also over 20 types of sake. If you prefer wine, ask for a glass of that day's recommended wine.

Nakamura

Open: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 8:00 pm)
Closed: Monday
Average price: 10,000 JPY
Address: 2F, Gion Nawate White Bldg., 3-13, Benzaiten-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

5. Gion Mizuoka

5. Gion Mizuoka15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

This restaurant's Kyoto cuisine reflects the changing of the seasons. Updated on a monthly basis, the menu offers a wide range of chef’s specialties, made with seasonal ingredients and arranged beautifully. Their fresh seafood sashimi that you can season with bubbly shoyu (soy sauce) is highly recommended. As you bite into it, the foamy shoyu gives it a melt-in-the-mouth texture that you'll never forget. The superb [Kaori Miso no Yakimono] is another must-eat dish. It consists of grilled beef sirloin from Kyoto that's been marinated in a homemade miso made from sesame oil, Kujo scallions, and malted rice. It has a superb taste that's similar to roast beef.

Gion Mizuoka

Open: [Weekdays] Lunch from 11:00 am (L.O. 2:30 pm), Dinner from 5:00 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm)
[Saturday, Sunday] Lunch from 11:00 am (L.O. 2:30 pm)
Closed: Irregular
Average price: [Dinner] 10,000 JPY / [Lunch] 5,000 JPY
Address: 570-119, Gion-machi Minami-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
More Details
 Reservation 

6. KyoAsobi Gion District

6. KyoAsobi Gion District15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

This charcoal-grilled yakitori (grilled chicken skewer) restaurant stands in an alley of Shijo Hanami-koji. In its stylish interior, you can enjoy Kyoto's ji-dori, Kyo-yasai, ji-zake (Japanese local alcohol), and craft beer. Their signature dish is the [Gion Tsukune (from 170 JPY plus tax)]. It consists of meatballs made with finely hand-ground chicken, which are truly addicting, with a crispy outside and juicy, soft inside. The super tender [Yakitori Kushi (from 170 JPY plus tax)] are skewers of ji-dori grilled over charcoal. The tenderness and juiciness of the meat are just amazing! The slightly sweet special sauce, made by simmering a whole chicken, is another exquisite item.

KyoAsobi Gion District

Open: [Weekdays, Saturday] 6:00 pm - 3:00 am
[Sunday, National Holidays] 5:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Closed: Sunday
Average price: 3,000 JPY
Address: 270-4, Gion-machi Kita-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

7. Niku dokoro Gion Ryuan

7. Niku dokoro Gion Ryuan15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

In this restaurant’s private rooms, you can eat yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) and shabu-shabu (sliced meat parboiled with vegetables) made with top-quality meat, carefully selected by the owner, who has over 50 years of experience as a butcher. They source the best Tamura beef and Kobe beef (A5-ranked and grade no.11 or higher), which are known to be the highest grade Wagyu (a type of high-quality beef). You absolutely must try the [Ryuan Chateaubriand] - a super tender premium fillet with a fine texture and deep flavor - and the [Ryuan Loin] that will enchant you with its luxurious umami and aroma. You can also go for their shabu-shabu course, which includes Wagyu beef, Kyo-yasai, and mushrooms served with coarsely grated daikon (radish) and ponzu (citrus-seasoned soy sauce).

Niku dokoro Gion Ryuan

Open: Lunch 11:30 am - 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Closed: Thursday
Average price: 7,000 JPY
Address: 169, Tokiwa-cho, Kawabata-dori Shijo-agaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
More Details
 Reservation 

8. Musubi

8. Musubi15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

Despite being located in Gion, this is a good option for an affordable meal. Also popular as a snack, the [Ebi to Cheese no Pan Maki Age (800 JPY)] consists of shrimp, green shiso, and cheese rolled up in bread and fried. The saltiness of the shrimp and cheese matches divinely with the sour flavor of ketchup. For their dishes, they use seasonal organic vegetables grown on a farm in Nantan, Kyoto Prefecture. Raised with love and care, these vegetables manage to keep their authentic flavor, free of any bitterness.

Musubi

Open: 6:30 pm - 3:00 am (L.O. 3:00 am)
Closed: Sunday
Average price: 5,000 JPY
Address: At the end of 1F, Hana Katsura Bldg., 78-5, Sueyoshi-cho, Yasaka Shinchi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

9. Urutora

9. Urutora15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

This is a cozy restaurant with a lovely and welcoming proprietress. She makes first-rate home-cooked dishes using high-quality ingredients that she procures daily. For example, the [Ebi Imo no Uma Ni-age] consists of ebi imo (shrimp-shaped potato from Kyoto) that's boiled in dashi (broth) before being fried. It has a delicate flavor, with a crispy outside and soft inside that many love. Other recommended items are the [Dashimaki Tamago (650 JPY)] that uses delicious dashi extracted from konbu (kelp) and the [Grilled Young Chicken with Herb and Garlic], which is carefully cooked with spices, garlic, and herbs.

Urutora

Open: 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 11:00 pm)
Closed: Sunday, National Holidays
Average price: 4,000 JPY
Address: 2F, Sawaki Bldg., 375-8, Kiyomoto-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

10. Mamefuku

10. Mamefuku15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

This tiny izakaya has only 7 counter seats. Along with their carefully prepared dishes, they also serve a wide selection of alcoholic drinks like sake and shochu. The menu has an array of inventive dishes like the [Marugoto Tomato (600 JPY)], which is flavored with apricot alcohol to give it a sweet taste, and the [Mozzarella no Agedashi (750 JPY)] that consists of fried mozzarella dipped in a soup made from skipjack tuna dashi. To finish off your meal, don't forget to order the [Special Mamefuku Ramen (800 JPY)] whose beef bone-based soup is enriched with soy milk. It's dense, but the flavor is mild and light.

Mamefuku

Open: [Weekdays, Saturday] 5:00 pm - 4:00 am
*Open on Sunday and National Holidays if there are reservations
Closed: Sunday, National Holidays
Average price: [Dinner] 4,000 JPY / [Lunch] 1,000 JPY
Address: B1F, Gion First Bldg., 281-1, Gion-machi Kita-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

11. Tsubomi

11. Tsubomi15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

You can find this restaurant on a corner right after you enter a small alley north of Gion Koubu Kaburenjo. Homey and laid-back, it's a place where you'll be served seasonal cuisine full of sincerity, obanzai (Kyoto's traditional home-cooked side dishes), and delicious ji-zake. They also offer sashimi made out of super fresh fish caught that morning. Stuff your mouth with dishes like salt-grilled or simmered seafood, as well as tempura!

Tsubomi

Open: Lunch 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm), 5:30 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)
*Only 20 servings are available for lunch. Please inquire.
Closed: Monday
*Open if it falls on a national holiday. Irregularly open on Sunday.
Average price: [Dinner] 5,000 JPY / [Lunch] 1,500 JPY
Address: 2F, No. 3 Manji Bldg., 570-232, Gion-machi Minami-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

12. Cocoya Gion Yasaka Bettei

12. Cocoya Gion Yasaka Bettei15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

This restaurant with an inner garden is housed in a Kyo-machiya in a back alley. Here, you can enjoy plenty of dishes made with super fresh ji-dori. A classic order is their collagen-rich [Mizutaki Nabe] (hot pot where ingredients such as chicken and vegetables are boiled and dipped in a sauce like ponzu), which is slow-cooked for a whole day. You can also try their [Satsuma-dori Momo no Butsukiri Yukhoe], made with raw chicken thigh, which is rare in Kyoto. It's an unmissable delicacy that you can savor with a special sauce and freshly-laid ji-tamago (eggs from local chicken).

Cocoya Gion Yasaka Bettei

Open: [Weekdays, Saturday, Day before National Holidays] 6:00 pm - 3:00 am (L.O. 2:30 am)
[Sunday, National Holidays] 6:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)
Closed: Irregular
Average price: 4,000 JPY
Address: 434-2, Rinka-cho, Hitosujime-sagaru, Shinbashi-dori Higashi Oji Nishi-iru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

13. Tsukadanojo Kyotosanjoohashi Branch

13. Tsukadanojo Kyotosanjoohashi Branch15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

Come here to taste the cuisine of Miyazaki Prefecture - an area of Kyushu blessed with seas and mountains, a warm climate, and fertile land. The restaurant's mission is to use ingredients that tell the story of the producers, like vegetables and southern fruits grown by contract farmers, seafood caught in the sea of Hyuga, and traditional condiments. The ji-dori that they breed themselves with the help of a partnered farm, Miyazaki Ji-tokko, has a rich taste and umami. The luxuriously charcoal-grilled [Momo-yaki (medium costs 1,220 JPY plus tax)] has a simple yet strong flavor and is their flagship dish. They also have a wide variety of wine to accompany your chicken, such as Tsuno wine from Miyazaki Prefecture.

Tsukadanojo Kyotosanjoohashi Branch

Open: [Weekdays] 5:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:00 pm)
[Saturday] 4:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:00 pm)
[Sunday, National Holidays] 4:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm)
Closed: None
*Please inquire regarding the beginning and end of the year
Average price: 3,500 JPY
Address: 4F, Sanjo Forum Bldg., 110, Nakajima-cho, Sanjo-dori, Kawara-machi Higashi-iru Naka, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

14. Yatai Zushi Gion Hanamikoji-cho

14. Yatai Zushi Gion Hanamikoji-cho15 Unmissable Izakaya Around Gion, Kyoto

Lively like a food stall, this izakaya serves authentic sushi prepared by skilled artisans. Although extreme attention is paid to the flavor, size, and freshness of the sushi ingredients, their sushi is sold at incredibly reasonable prices - starting from 59 JPY (plus tax) for 1 piece of nigirizushi (hand-formed sushi). They also offer several creative dishes that blend Japanese and Western elements. The [Chicken Wings Karaage] (deep-fried chicken wings), a classic delicacy from Nagoya, tastes delicious with beer. Every day from when the izakaya opens until 7:00 pm, draft beer (medium), barley shochu, sake, chu-hi (shochu highball), and soft drinks are half price!

Yatai Zushi Gion Hanamikoji-cho

Open: 5:00 pm - 3:30 am (L.O. 3:00 am)
Closed: None
*Please inquire regarding the beginning and end of the year
Average price: 2,700 JPY
Address: 244-2, Nakano-cho, Yamato Oji Higashi-iru, Shinmonzen-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

15. Yuki Gion Branch

15. Yuki Gion Branch

This izakaya is managed by Okamura Honke - a sake brewery from Shiga Prefecture with 150 years of history. This means that you can enjoy delicious sake at bargain prices. The menu also includes lots of dishes that go well with sake. You'll find a lineup of different items that change every season, like fresh fish served as sashimi, grilled, or deep-fried, and a la carte delicacies made with seasonal vegetables.

Yuki Gion Branch

Open: [Monday - Friday] 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:15 pm)
[Saturday, Day before National Holidays] 5:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:15 pm)
Closed: Sunday, National Holidays
Average price: 2,001 JPY - 2,500 JPY
Address: 111-1, Tominaga-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Map)
Source: hitosara (Japanese)

Now you know where to stop by for a drink and delicious food after exploring Gion!

Disclaimer: All information is accurate at time of publication.

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Publish-date: May 14 2018 Update-date: Nov 19 2018
Author: SAVOR JAPAN

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