10 Best Restaurants in Gion Kyoto

Food & Drinks in Kyoto
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Writer’s Profile

Misty Fujii is a Canadian who moved to Osaka, Japan, in 2019 and married her Japanese sweetheart. In 2022, they had a baby and moved to Fukui for the clean country air. She is a DJ who teaches English part-time and writes to share Japan with the world. She gets excited about collecting vintage vinyl records, food from all countries, travelling, and renovating her traditional Japanese house.

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Step into the enchanting world of Gion, Kyoto’s famed geisha district nestled between Yasaka Shrine and the Kamo River. Beyond the allure of geiko and maiko, Gion boasts a culinary scene as rich as its culture. The area is adorned with preserved machiya houses and takes center stage as a gastronomic haven. Now transformed into restaurants, these houses serve a delectable array of Kyoto-style kaiseki ryori and diverse international flavors. 

Hungry after temple explorations and geisha sightings? As you navigate the streets that breathe history, join us on a culinary journey! Let’s dive into the 10 best restaurants in Gion, Kyoto, ensuring your taste buds are as satisfied as your wanderlust.

1. Musoshin

Musoshin is a ramen triple threat with shops in Kameoka, Gion, and Takatsuki. The Gion spot, a magnet for globetrotters, pulls in 6,000 monthly visitors! Dig into their exquisite blend of robust, veggie-infused broth and handcrafted noodles, a testament to their noodle obsession since day one. Musoshin’s creative ramen showcases a rich, creamy symphony blending chicken, pork, and veggies. You can even join their noodle workshop in Gion, led by skilled Menshokunin ‘noodle chefs,’ and savor the fruits of your labor with a bowl of Musoshin’s finest.

2. Kobe Beef Steak Mouriya Gion

Mouriya is a Kobe heavyweight with over 130 years of wagyu wizardry, and you can experience their legacy in Gion! As pioneers of Kobe beef, they’ve carefully curated an A5-grade wagyu experience, tracing the lineage back to Hyogo Prefecture-raised Tajima Beef. The meticulous selection of beef mirrors the precision found in the restaurant’s service and interior, a masterpiece by a Kyoto designer. With counter seating overlooking the teppan hotplate, you can witness your meal’s transformation while basking in the finest ambiance. For a more intimate affair, the second-floor private room, offering courtyard views, is the ‘it’ spot for special celebrations. 

3. Gion Tanto

Gion Tanto is a cherished okonomiyaki establishment, radiating a timeless charm that seamlessly meshes with the traditional streetscape. Serving up Kyoto-style okonomiyaki, these savory pancakes are a popular Japanese soul food. The restaurant doesn’t stop there, the menu is vast, and the real showstoppers are the cloud-like tororo, negi-yaki and the robust tonpei-yaki. But what makes Gion Tanto extra special is that they also offer vegan okonomiyaki, and it’s rumored to be among the best!

4. Teppan Tavern Tenamonya

Teppan Tavern Tenamonya is the perfect spot for both meat enthusiasts and plant-based diners, a rarity in Japan! Run by a delightful couple who wear the chef’s hat with equal flair, this intimate teppanyaki spot offers high-quality A5 wagyu beef alongside vegetarian and vegan options, ensuring everyone at the table is in for a treat. With only a handful of tables and reservations a must, the cozy ambiance and friendly atmosphere create a memorable dining experience. The set menus featuring wagyu beef are crowd-pleasers. Still, you can also craft your meal with a la carte options, spanning grilled meats, fish, vegetables, and the teppanyaki classics like okonomiyaki and yakisoba. The English-speaking hosts make it an accessible spot for international visitors, yet the authenticity and local charm shine through, making Teppan Tavern Tenamonya a beloved spot adorned with messages and gifts from patrons worldwide. 

5. Gion Shirakawa Namisato

Photo via Facebook with permission

Gion Shirakawa Namisato breaks free from the stereotypical exclusivity of Kyoto’s cuisine. This restaurant in the heart of Gion invites you to savor Kyoto kaiseki without making reservations, offering a relaxed atmosphere and delicious food. Chef Takayuki Namisato’s creations are a visual and culinary spectacle, harmonizing with the traditional surroundings. Housed in a traditional Kyoto townhouse, Gion Shirakawa Namisato seamlessly blends the elegance of Japanese aesthetics with a laid-back ambiance, making it a perfect spot to immerse yourself in Kyoto’s culinary scene.

6. Gion Mikaku

Step into Gion Mikaku, and you’ll quickly realize that appearances can be deceiving. Despite its unassuming exterior, this stylish eatery is a culinary powerhouse, boasting an impressive menu featuring some of Japan’s finest Kobe beef cuts. Beloved by locals, lauded by food bloggers, and holding a stack of five-star reviews, Gion Mikaku offers a reasonable price tag for an extraordinary dining experience. Sink your teeth into the velvety Kobe beef and relish the mouthwatering wagyu cuts, all while being treated to excellent service. With an exclusive focus on female beef bred in Mita city, Hyogo prefecture, Gion Mikaku emphasizes the distinct taste of authentic Japanese wagyu. 

7. Izuju Sushi

Wally Gobetz, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED via Flickr

At Izuu, wooden walls, tables, and chairs create an atmosphere that echoes traditional Japanese charm. Operating since 1781, Izuu stands tall as a Kyoto legend, specializing in Kyo-sushi. The show’s star is undoubtedly the saba sushi, a Kyoto favorite crafted by placing vinegar-pickled mackerel atop rice flavored with vinegar. While many Kyoto sushi joints offer saba sushi, Izuju’s rendition is renowned for its high-quality flavor, with kelp to elevate the taste. Beyond saba, Izuu treats patrons to exquisite inari and warm steamed sushi, encouraging adventurous combinations with set options. 

8. Gion Tempura Tensou

Gion Tempura Tensou stands as a culinary epicenter in the heart of Kyoto, drawing patrons from around the globe. A serene Kyoto-style townhouse beckons, full of ambiance and seamlessly blending tradition with a sleek counter setup. Specially crafted Kyoto tempura and locally sourced vegetables take center stage, creating seasonal masterpieces. From spring’s bamboo shoots to summer’s Fushimi togarashi and Yamashita eggplants, autumn’s Kyoto turnips to winter’s Horikawa burdock, every bite celebrates Kyoto’s bounty. 

9. Ikariya Shokudo

Ikariya Shokudo in Kiyamachi emerges as the epitome of a locally-inspired townhouse bistro. Revamped from a century-old machiya, the interior exudes a stylish charm with a distinctly Kyoto vibe. Culinary delights await, courtesy of chefs versed in the nuances of Italian and French cuisine, to tantalize taste buds with dishes crafted from the freshest seasonal ingredients. Nestled along the scenic Kamogawa River, locals and tourists flock to their beloved Kawayuka, an outdoor riverside terrace in the summer. Scoring a reservation here is like winning a culinary lottery; it is competitive yet undeniably worth the effort!


Stepping through lattice sliding doors at Gion Yamagishi, you’re greeted by a serene space with a beautiful wooden counter and a courtyard garden. Dispelling the formality of traditional kaiseki, Gion Yamagishi, led by top restaurateur Takahiro Yamagishi, unveils a tempting a la carte menu, from salt-grilled tilefish to suppon hot pot. The lunch menu introduces casual yet high-quality offerings, including chirashizushi bowls and udon noodles. At the same time, dinner unfolds with omakase courses followed by a selection from an extensive menu of 50 dishes. Remember to admire the exquisite Japanese pottery as you eat a truly unforgettable yet unpretentious meal. 

With so many incredible dining options in Gion, feel free to book a tour to dig in with an expert! 

Japan Wonder Travel Food Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan. 
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are traveling in, our knowledgeable and friendly guides will happily take you to the best spots! 
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need some help! 

Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market Food and Drink Tour
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo where you will have the chance to try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake along with your friendly English speaking guide! 

tsukiji tour

Shinjuku Bar Hopping Tour: Experience Tokyo’s Nightlife in Izakaya
Check out the best spots in Shinjuku while bar hopping through the lively and vibrant area. Try some delicious local food and drink as you explore the narrow yet photogenic alleys that the town has to offer. Experience Japanese izakaya culture and drink in Shinjuku like the locals!


Explore Nishiki Market: Food & Culture Walk
If you’re looking to learn more about the culture and the local cuisine of Kyoto, this is the perfect tour for you! Take part in this Kyoto food and drink tour and explore the 400-year-old market and the surrounding areas.

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