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Kyoto is one of the prime tourist destinations in Japan as it boasts plenty of unique experiences and sights. It’s famous for having the more traditional aspects of Japanese tradition, and it boasts a hidden gem – it serves some of the best sushi in Japan! Come and discover it.
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Japan has popularised numerous local dishes and delicacies to the world. You may be able to try and taste these popular Japanese delicacies in the Japanese restaurants in your locality. However, there is no better place to experience Japanese cuisine than in its country of origin. This is the reason why people around the globe are flocking in Japan every year just to have a memorable and satisfying food experience.
One of the most popular and favorite Japanese foods of all time is sushi. And if you are planning to come and visit Japan to have a food trip or to try some traditional foods in the country like sushi, one of the best sushi destinations for you is going to be Kyoto. Kyoto is known to have the best sushi in Japan and is a great destination to try authentic but affordable Japanese sushi.
Kyoto has countless sushi shops, so you may ask, “Where should I go in Kyoto?” Well, here are some of the must-visit unique, affordable, and higher grade sushi places in Kyoto:
Kyoto is popular for its unique style of sushi called Kyozushi which tastes sweeter compared to other sushi varieties and does not need to be dipped in soy sauce. It’s often eaten on the days of big festivals in Japan. If you are up for trying a distinct Kyoto-style sushi, here are some of the top Kyozushi places in Kyoto:
The last one on the list, Izuju, is one of the most mentioned when it comes to Kyozushi. It’s definitely a place where you can enjoy traditional Kyoto flavors and try out the distinct and original Kyoto sushi. This sushi place has proudly served authentic Kyozushi for more than a century now. Not only is the food very popular and renowned for its unchanging quality and taste, the shop itself prides itself in its traditional interior design. However, there’s very few seats and they don’t take recommendations so you’ll have to make a visit to see if you can get a seat!
Are you worried about what to order? In Sushi Iwa, you can leave it all up to the chef himself because he knows best what to serve you. The courses in Sushi Iwa range from 8000 to 30000 yen which always include a satisfying serve of sushi. But there are a la carte options on the menu as well, where you can choose from a variety of sashimi and such. Sushi Iwa also guarantees that all of the sushi that they serve are made using the only best quality of ingredients, the freshest fish. Sushi Iwa became more popular after Steve Jobs visited the place and claimed it was the best sushi he’s ever had. If you eat here, you can say that you’ve had the same thing as Steve Jobs!
Only a walking distance from Nishioji Station is Sushi Tokoro Isshin.This place is best known for its kaisendon for only 900 yen. Kaisendon is a sushi bowl with a variety of sashimi on top. Aside from kaisendon, Sushi Tokoro Isshin is also known for its chirashizushi, a dish made from cutting the ingredients and scattering them on top of the sushi rice. It is recommended by 87% of people on Retty, a restaurant ranking service in Japan, showing how popular it is!
And last is a super instagrammable type of sushi called temarizushi. Temari is a type of traditional handmade embroidered ball. And these cute sushi bites look a little like temari because instead of being long like normal sushi, they’re round. And at Gion Mametora, they come in this simple wooden box that allows the colors of the sushi to stand out, so you can take the cutest photos before eating each delicate piece.
Sushi no Musashi is labeled as the best conveyor belt sushi in Kyoto and it is pretty accessible as there’s 2 branches, one in JR Kyoto Station and another near Sanjo Station. This place guarantees using the freshest ingredients and you can even see the chefs actually preparing the sushi in front of you which gives off a safe and comfortable feeling. Sushi no Musashi also offers “sushi to go” if you don’t want to wait in long queues because this place is packed with so many sushi lovers both foreigners and locals.
For a quick Japanese lesson - 炊きたて (takitate - rice just cooked), 切りたて (kiritate - just cut) and 握りたて (nigiritate - just made) - these are the main concepts of Nagare Sushi Sandaime Otowa’s sushi. This is a unique conveyor belt shop because instead of seeing different and random sushi plates on the conveyor belt that you can just choose from freely, only ordered sushi plates are seen on it. Meaning to say, you have to order first for the chefs to prepare your order and then it will be delivered onto you through the conveyor belt. You can order one plate at a time or order a large sashimi platter to share.
If you are looking for a Tokyo-style sushi in Kyoto, there is no other place to be than the Michelin 1-star restaurant, Sushi Matsumoto in Gion. With courses starting at 9000 yen, this popular sushi place is definitely for those people who want to experience high-class sushi that is made from fresh and best quality ingredients carefully chosen by the chef.
Satisfy both your eyes and palate at Kichisen - a famous Michelin 3-star restaurant in Kyoto. Aside from the guaranteed premium quality of sushi, carefully selected fresh ingredients, and professional cooking techniques, Kichisen is widely known for its sushi and other dishes that are visually appealing. The plating and presentation of dishes are impeccably a work of art. It may be a little out of the way, but this place is going to be worth a visit.
Sushi Gion Matsudaya has no fixed menu, relying on the availability of what fresh fish is available from the markets. Known for their tuna and eel nigiris, and caviar sushi, this restaurant requires reservations and only admits up to 6 individuals per time slot offering chef's tasting courses for interested visitors.
To read more about Kyoto’s Michelin restaurants, check out our article here!
The next time you come and visit Japan and you want to experience Japanese cuisine, where should you go? No other than the best sushi destination in Kyoto. Here you can taste different styles of sushi that are all made from fresh and quality ingredients.
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