7 Breakfast Spots in Kyoto to Kickstart Your Day

By Ashley Owen
Updated: December 15, 2023

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 and refined 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 many fantastic cafes in Kyoto that serve traditional Japanese breakfast and 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 try Kyoto pancakes — they're a real treat you don't want to miss!

Many Kyoto hotels and ryokan offer fantastic breakfasts with selected plans. You can choose from over 400 accommodations in Japan's cultural capital on JAPANiCAN, from traditional inns to trendy hotels with a Japanese flair.

A man holding an iced coffee from a Kyoto coffee shop

7 Breakfast and Brunch Spots in Kyoto

Here are our recommendations for some of the best breakfast spots in Kyoto. 

  1. Shiawase no Pancake
  2. Veg Out
  3. Smart Coffee
  4. Roji Usagi
  5. Hyoutei
  6. Kyosaimi Nomura
  7. Shinshindo Kyoto

1. Shiawase no Pancake

Fluffy Japanese style pancakes with syrup and fruit

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!

2. Veg Out

Veg Out Kyoto

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, homemade muffins, and freshly made paninis. They also have a great coffee selection, including soy lattes and mochas, if you fancy a caffeine boost! The large windows are conveniently located just across the Kamo River from Shichijo Station and offer fantastic views out over the water. This makes it a lovely spot to while away the morning.

Check out our list of the best vegan restaurants in Kyoto for more vegan-friendly recs.

3. Smart Coffee

Latte swirled with steamed milk

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 paneling 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. When you arrive, there may be a line, but it's well worth the wait.

4. Roji Usagi

Japanese style breakfast with grilled fish, miso soup, rice, and veggie sides

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 omelet, miso soup, rice and pickles, plus a couple of other small dishes. Alternatively, you can opt for a Japanese curry breakfast instead! Whichever you choose, you can be sure of a healthy but filling meal to start your day. Plus, you can enjoy eating in a tatami mat room with views out over the beautiful garden.

Book a table at Roji Usagi on byFood.

5. Hyoutei

Hyotei's signature boiled egg dish

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.

6. Kyosaimi Nomura


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.

7. Shinshindo Kyoto

Anpan (red bean buns) from a Japanese bakery

If you're looking to grab a quick breakfast near Kyoto station, Shinshindo 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 in 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!

Breakfast at Tamahan Ryokan

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.

Browse popular Kyoto food tours to add an extra dimension to your sightseeing!

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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Ashley Owen
Ashley is a freelance travel writer from the UK who spent the last two years living in Japan, and is about to embark on her next adventure to New Zealand. She's always on the lookout for exciting new vegan treats wherever she goes!
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