12 Instagrammable Restaurants & Cafes in Kyoto

By Megumi Koiwai
Updated: January 4, 2024

"It's too beautiful to eat" ー a phrase often used to describe Japanese food. Japanese cuisine is intricate, elegant, and heartfelt, all the reasons why people around the world love it so much. Kyoto is a city full of temples and historical landmarks, and the food scene is an exciting one, too. Don't miss these Instagrammable restaurants in Kyoto because we want you to have the best feast for your stomach and the best feed for your Instagram. 

Hitting Osaka first? Check out our list of 13 Instagrammable restaurants and cafes in Osaka.

1. Lorimer Kyoto

Lorimer Kyoto

Looking for an Instagrammable Japanese food place? Only a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Station, Lorimer Kyoto serves ichiju-sansai breakfast, a classic Japanese-style breakfast with rice, miso soup, and three well-balanced dishes to kick off your day. 


Three words for this Mediterranean restaurant: rustic, charming, and photogenic. RIFIFI STUDIO is located in the Nishijin area in Kyoto, in the middle of a quiet neighborhood. It's one of the most Instagrammable cafes in Kyoto despite being a literal hidden gem. The owner of this delightfully friendly restaurant is from France and serves you a one-plate lunch meal with homemade bread on the side. 

3. Smart Coffee 


Smart Coffee is one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in Kyoto, located in the middle of Teramachi Shopping Arcade. Are there any typography fans here? You'll love their logo. One of my favorite things to order at Smart Coffee is the pancakes. For just ¥750, perfectly round cakes are stacked together and topped with a perfect rectangular-shaped butter. The tiny maple syrup container is a chef's kiss. 


A salad at ROKU KYOTO TENJIN Chef's Table

Looking for a fine dining experience for dinner tonight? Restaurant TENJIN is located in ROKU KYOTO LXR Hotels & Resort, tucked away in the mountains where you can enjoy scenery different from the city. It's a French course meal where the chef prepares the food right before your eyes — a front-row seat for the best photos. 

Reserve a table at Restaurant TENJIN.

5. Kousagisasha 

Kousagissha is a vegan Japanese restaurant that plates its food beautifully with vibrant, locally sourced vegetables. Located in northern Kyoto, their lunch plate costs ¥2,500, filling your stomach and your camera storage. In my humble opinion, it's one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in Kyoto.  

6. Suba 


This soba noodle restaurant is a bit strange, with a self-serve style and tattooed servers making the soba for you — an urban hipster soba shop breaking every traditional rule book of soba making. But that's what makes it fun. Suba's jumbo mushroom soba or their meat soba are Instagrammable to a tee. 

7. Nikukappo Futago

Nikukappo Futago

In Japan, there is only thing foodies really care about: wagyu. Nikukappo Futago is a dining restaurant in The Junei Hotel where you can enjoy wagyu, specifically Kyoto wagyu. Each month, they serve a local seasonal dish to the area. Dip that wagyu into the shiny egg yolk and eat it in one bite. That right there is the best photo moment. 

Reserve a table at Nikukappo Futago.

8. Weekenders Coffee Tominikoji 


Tucked away in a parking lot? Weekenders Coffee is located around the Kyoto city office. If you need a coffee fix with lots of character and a tiny bench to sit outside looking at their even more tiny garden, this place is for you. It's open from 7:30, which is great for those early risers. 


This couple-fun cafe is more than just a place to sit and sip. You also can rent chairs and tables for a picnic along the river nearby. Pick up a picnic basket with coffee and snacks (only ¥1,400 for 90 minutes!) and sit by the river, enjoying the views as you eat. You know you'll get some lovely photos with this cute setup. 

10. Isoism 

Suppose you are looking for tsukemono, Japanese pickled vegetables. In that case, Isoism is one of the go-to spots in Kyoto for these sour treats, and it's located only four minutes away from Kyoto Station. The restaurant's lunch menu includes 12 varieties of pickled vegetables, seasonal soup, and rice for ¥1,800. The pickled vegetables will be decorated in one plate — a recipe for a great Instagram photo. 

11. Cafe Seberg 


Cafe Seberg is an odd one but in the best way possible. It's located minutes away from Nijo Station. The cafe is very foreigner-friendly, and as you go through the menu, you see "Dune," "Paddington," and "Love Actually" as their toast menu names; you soon realize that the films inspire the toast! What a treat! 

12. Kodaiji Jugyuan

Kodaiji Jugyuan

Located close to Kodaiji Temple, Kodaiji Jugyuan is considered one of the popular restaurants in the ancient capital ー or should we say ryotei here in Kyoto. A ryotei is a high-end Japanese-style restaurant where customers are promised only the very best food. Looking out over the large windows to the Japanese garden, indulge in fresh and seasonal dishes. If a photo is worth a thousand words, you can encapsulate your Kyoto experience with a single snapshot here. 

Reserve a table at Kodaiji Jugyuan.


Whether you're looking for sweetsomakase sushi, or just a night in Kyoto wandering around the city, remember to be camera-ready. Kyoto is here to serve you eye candy everywhere. We hope these restaurants will fulfil your Instagram dream! 

Looking for more photogenic Japanese foods? Check out our guide to the cutest crepes in Harajuku.

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan's food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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Megumi Koiwai
Megumi Koiwai is a freelance writer based in Tokyo. She likes to write essays about her life and curate cultural recommendations on her Substack newsletter, love or not to love. She's either always eating and/or traveling. Always out on the lookout for the best outdoor drinking spots in the city.
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