Hidden Foodie Delights – 8 Kyoto Cafes & Restaurants Off the Beaten Path


Kyoto by the Sea Woodland Kyoto Kyoto Tea Country Kyoto Otokuni Bamboo Grove

Kyoto city is renowned for its traditional cuisine and wide range of dining spots, but there’s also a world of cafes and restaurants that remain off the well-trodden tourist path. This article introduces Kyoto restaurants and cafes that are worth the journey out of the city and capture the essence of Kyoto’s diverse culinary landscape, from fresh seafood to delectable desserts.

Kyoto by the Sea

◆The Kamanyu Fishery

Escape the summer heat of downtown Kyoto and embrace the cooling sea breeze in the idyllic fishing village of Ine, where The Kamanyu Fishery awaits customers with its freshly caught seafood specials.

This hidden gem is renowned for its generous lunch sets which are sure to delight any seafood lovers. Lunch sets typically include sashimi, steamed fish, tempura, shellfish, sea vegetables, rice, soup, and an array of complementary small bites.

Diners can indulge in this seaside feast for just 2,000 yen (tax included), with outdoor seating available beneath the shade to create a memorable dining experience.

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◆Un.donpuri Dessert Shop

For those with a sweet tooth, an early visit to Un.donpuri café and dessert shop in Fukuchiyama City is a must. This renowned establishment is famous for its delicious puddings, skillfully crafted to resemble iconic Japanese dishes in appearance.

The cafe’s puddings are so popular they are often sold out well before the day’s end. With a choice of 11 pudding varieties, including katsudon (fried pork cutlet on rice), ramen, and Japanese hot pot, your taste buds are in for a treat.

Beyond these Instagram-worthy puddings, Un.donpuri also offers a tempting array of baked goods from cakes and donuts to delightful cookies, making it a true haven for dessert enthusiasts.

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Woodland Kyoto


Yanagimachi is a famous restaurant located in the castle town of Fukuchiyama. The restaurant is housed within a traditional machiya house from the Meiji era (1868-1912) that showcases regional specialties. From the menu diners can select dishes that feature local and seasonal produce. One particular highlight is their sukiyaki made with duck meat and topped with Kyoto-grown green onions.

Lunchtime specials include hearty dishes such as oyakodon (rice topped with chicken and egg) or karaage (fried chicken) set meal options, both made using the local Fukuchiyama chicken, and accompanied with seasonal local vegetables.

After finishing their meal, diners can enjoy the restaurant’s ambience with a coffee or alcoholic beverage whilst admiring their collection of books.

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◆Chatsubo Yoshida

Chatsubo Yoshida is a must-visit café for lovers of matcha tea without having to worry about difficult preparation methods, located in the small city of Ayabe. Customers can choose for the matcha to be prepared by the staff at their table or by whisking it by hand themselves.

This traditional establishment which was once a tea and tea utensil shop has undergone a renovation to emerge as a cozy café where good matcha and meaningful conversations come together.

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Kyoto Tea Country

◆Asahi-ya Mackerel Sushi

This friendly and traditional restaurant dates back more than 100 years and is located at the foot of Iwashmizu-Hachimangu Shrine, one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines.

Asahi-ya specializes in saba-sushi (mackerel sushi) and its specialty dish is stick sushi that contains high-quality mackerel sourced from north-eastern Japan, as well as rice and vegetables grown locally in Yawata City where the restaurant is situated.

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◆Dan Dan Café

This scenic cafe has an enviable location overlooking the famous Ishitera Tea Fields in Wazuka town. The family-owned café run by two siblings specializes in familiar Japanese comfort food lunch dishes such as curry and omelet with rice, alongside sweet treats including gelato and parfaits made with seasonal fruits.

As one would expect when visiting a café situated in one of Japan’s most famous tea-producing areas, Wazuka tea is also on the menu!

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Kyoto Otokuni Bamboo Grove

◆Uosu Kyoto Cuisine

Just a short train ride from downtown Kyoto, Uosu is a Japanese restaurant that specializes in creating unique dishes using bamboo shoot as the main ingredient. One of Uosu’s most well-known dishes is the ‘Takenoko Sugata Sushi’, an aromatic and tender sushi dish made with stuffed bamboo shoots instead of seafood. A healthy and filling dish that also looks amazing, this kind of sushi can be enjoyed all year round.

When it comes to desserts, be sure to try Uosu’s soy milk ice cream that contains delicious pieces of bamboo shoots dusted with a sprinkling of bamboo leaf powder to create a distinctive tasting dish.

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This specialty coffee roastery and café is run by a former Japanese representative in the 2019 World Barista Championship. Tomoko Yamamoto and her husband run the Unir café where you enjoy freshly brewed coffee made from beans roasted onsite by one of Japan’s best baristas.

In addition to the excellent coffee, a professional chef is on hand to prepare delicious lunches for customers, whilst desserts are whipped up by a specialist pastry chef.

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