Japan’s cultural and spiritual heart, Kyoto is a stunningly beautiful city full of temples, shrines, geisha, and historic neighborhoods. It’s also a foodie hotspot, renowned for its elegant wagashi sweets and refined multi-course kaiseki meals. What's less well-known is that it's also a great place to grab breakfast. It can be a little more difficult to find early morning spots, so to make things easier we've tracked down the best breakfasts Kyoto has to offer.
There are lots of fantastic cafés in Kyoto that serve traditional Japanese breakfast, as well as more modern, Western-inspired versions. Vegans and vegetarians will also find plenty of choices available for a plant-based brunch. Whether you're looking for a quick bite before sightseeing or a more leisurely meal, the city has you covered. Our number one tip is to make sure you try Kyoto pancakes – they're a real treat that you don't want to miss!
Here are our recommendations for some of the best breakfast spots in Kyoto.
Izama is a sleek and stylish restaurant on the first floor of the Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shinmachi Bettei, slightly north-west of the city center. Here, you can enjoy a traditional Kyoto-style obanzai buffet breakfast in a peaceful and modern setting.
Obanzai consists of many different authentic, home-cooked side dishes made with seasonal ingredients, each carefully prepared to showcase their flavors. As the breakfast is served buffet-style, you have the opportunity to sample as many dishes as you like, from marinated hijiki seaweed and local vegetables to soba noodles and pickles.
This restaurant’s name translates to "A Happy Pancake," and eating here is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
Shiawase no Pancake uses top quality manuka honey from New Zealand and butter from Hokkaido to make the most delicious, thick and fluffy pancakes. You can enjoy these with all sorts of toppings, from chocolate and granola to tiramisu or fresh fruit and cream. There are also specialties that change with the seasons. To try true Kyoto pancakes, opt for ones made with matcha green tea from the nearby town of Uji. It's the perfect Kyoto brunch!
Vegans and vegetarians looking for breakfast or brunch in Kyoto should definitely give Veg Out a try. This light and airy café offers an entirely plant-based menu showcasing organic local vegetables, home-made muffins, and freshly made paninis. They also have a great coffee selection, including soy lattes and mochas, if you fancy a caffeine boost! Conveniently located just across the Kamo River from Shichijo Station, the large windows offer fantastic views out over the water. This makes it a lovely spot to while away the morning.
Many Kyoto coffee shops are modern big-name brands, however if you want to experience a true, old-school Japanese kissaten, Smart Coffee is perfect. With its dark wooden panelling and soft classical music, the retro vibe is part of what makes it so popular.
The coffee is rich, dark and delicious, while the food menu features fluffy French toast, thick hotcakes and pudding. They also serve a variety of sandwiches on cushion-soft bread, including egg, ham and vegetables. There may be a line when you arrive, but it's worth the wait!
Roji Usagi is located inside a historic machiya townhouse that has been refurbished, and oozes character and charm.
Open from 8am, it offers a traditional Japanese breakfast of grilled fish, a rolled omelette, miso soup, rice and pickles, plus a couple of other small dishes. Alternatively you can opt for a breakfast curry instead!
Whichever you choose, you can be sure of a healthy but filling meal to start your day. Plus, you can enjoy eating in an authentic tatami mat room with views out over the beautiful garden.
For a rather more luxurious breakfast experience, you can't beat Hyoutei. This Michelin-starred restaurant has a history dating back over 400 years, and serves elegant kaiseki cuisine that emphasizes simplicity and flavor.
Available from 8am to 11am, their multi-course breakfast contains a signature boiled egg dish, plus aromatic rice porridge made with a gently-flavored broth that changes with the seasons.
With its elegant and traditional decor and stunning garden views, this is guaranteed to be an unforgettable culinary experience and a strong contender for the best breakfast Kyoto has to offer.
This modern and spacious restaurant sits right in the center of Kyoto, not far from the famous Nishiki Market.
Kyosaimi Nomura opens bright and early at 7am, and serves a traditional obanzai-style breakfast at an affordable price. You can choose either four or six different side dishes from a frequently-changing selection of ten healthy, vegetable-based bowls bursting with Kyoto flavors. Both sets also come with free refills of rice, plus miso soup and coffee. Don’t miss their specialty yubadon rice bowl, made with bean curd skin.
If you're looking to grab a quick breakfast near Kyoto station, Shinshindo bakery is a fantastic option. The JR Kyoto branch is conveniently located just north of the station’s central exit, inside the bus ticket center, making it ideal to pop into before getting the train or sightseeing in the area. It has both food to take away and a small seating area for those who would rather eat in. There are a wealth of different freshly-made breads and baked goods to choose from, including sandwiches, pastries, scones, and sweet treats. Of course, there's coffee too!
So whether you're looking for a traditional start to the day or a modern brunch hangout, these eight eateries are just a selection of the best breakfast Kyoto has in store for visitors. Each is perfect for fueling up or getting a caffeine boost before a day of sightseeing in this beautiful city.
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