These Pubs in Kyoto Are Hidden Inside Beautiful Townhouses
One of them is a hundred years old!
If you’re thinking about going on a food crawl in Kyoto at night, we recommend that you eat at a restaurant that lets you enjoy the city’s calm atmosphere. Many machiya (townhouse) restaurants and pubs in the area are open until the late hours, and serve some of the best dishes and drinks that will surely satisfy your hunger.
We list down some of our favorite places below:
Sakabatoyasai Iso Stand
Sakabatoyasai Iso Stand is a pub by the same Isoya group that handles many of Kyoto's popular izakayas (Japanese style pub) like Isozumi and Isoizm. It makes use of fresh vegetables from their own farm and other contract farms around Kyoto. The pub has an extensive menu featuring a variety of creative dishes and side dishes. The staff here are friendly and the service is both flexible and good.
With a glass finishing and a stylish appearance, it’s hard to believe that this pub used to be an old townhouse.
Tables are also available on the second floor and can be used in groups.
A beautiful vegetable dish consisting of sautéed Kurao Pork ribs, tamba shimeji (mushrooms), and kale (¥1,400) can be enjoyed with a Lemonade Sour (¥650) beverage.
There is a large selection of dishes that go well with sake.
The homemade raisin butter and Yatsuhashi (cinnamon cookie) (¥600) is also a must-try at the pub.
"We give a ¥100 discount for each drink at the standing counter. We serve plenty of drinks, including fresh fruit sours starting at ¥550," says Daisuke Shikata, the shopkeeper.
Sakabatoyasai Iso Stand is located at 190-2, Takoyakusidori Muromachi Nishiiru Ubayanagi-cho, Nakagyo District, Kyoto City and is open from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily. You can get there through a 7-minute walk from Hankyu Karasuma Station and Subway Shijo Station. You can contact them at +81-75-585-5613.
Sumiyoshi has a number of creative dishes based on Japanese food such as tripe stew, seasonal vegetables, and fresh seafood. Their Japanese wine (starts at ¥810) and sake (¥765) are brewed domestically using local ingredients.
The pub has a casual and laid-back atmosphere.
Sumiyoshi was renovated from a 100-year-old Kyoto machiya house that used to sell rice. On the second floor, you’ll find a 300-bottle cellar.
The Wagyu Motsuno-doteni (beef tripe stew, front, ¥918), Uni Chirimenjyako (sea urchin and dried young sardines, right, ¥518), Kyoto salad (back, ¥842) all go well with sake. *The food in the photo are subject to change or may be unavailable depending on the season.
The Azisushi is a well-balanced dish consisting of Japanese horse mackerel, vinegar-flavored rice, and green perilla (¥486). It is only offered for dinner.
"We select about 300 bottles of Japanese wine from 60 breweries nationwide and provide 10 to 15 varieties on a daily basis," shares Shohei Fukui, a staff member.
Sumiyoshi is located at 291-3, Oshikojidori Muromachi Nishiiru Takoyakushi-cho, Nakagyo District, Kyoto City and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., from 6:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekdays except on Mondays and from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays. You can get there through a 7-minute walk from Subway Karasumaoike Station. You can contact them at +81-75-212-3800.
Kyo-machiya Obanzai Kohaku
Kyo-machiya Obanzai Kohaku is famous for its Japanese food prepared beautifully by female Japanese chefs using seasonal vegetables and rare vegetables from Kyoto. Local Kyoto sake, carefully selected by a qualified sake sommelier, is also served here and can be enjoyed in half-servings.
Toyooka vegetables are lined up at the 1st floor counter.
Seasonal vegetables mainly from Toyooka and more than 10 kinds of Obanzai (Kyoto’s home cooking) are lined up at the counter on the first floor. This impressive machiya has a latticed bay window and a cozy vibe.
Plenty of local vegetables are used in the Obanzai Omakase (lower left, ¥960), Grilled seseri (chicken neck), and Kujo green onions (upper left, ¥740).
"You can enjoy creative dishes that use spring vegetables, and seasonal local sake in a space that has been renovated using the beams of an old private house that’s more than a hundred years old,” says Kyoko Ogawa, the chef.
Kyo-machiya Obanzai Kohaku is located at 282-2, Minamikurumaya-cho, Nakagyo District, Kyoto City and is open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily except on Tuesdays. You can get there through a 4-minute walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station. You can contact them at +81-75-252-6555.
Muromachi Nijyo Minoya
Muromachi Nijyo Minoya was opened by a Kyoto local who runs a soba restaurant in Ina City, Nagano Prefecture. Their soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour that’s grown and processed in the Nagano Prefecture. The water, which is vital for determining the noodle’s taste, also comes from the same prefecture.
Aside from this, their creative cuisine using French and Italian techniques is quite popular too.
The machiya townhouse was built in the early Meiji period.
When you go through the slightly dark entrance, you’ll enter a vast room with a high ceiling.
Make sure to try some soba noodles at the end of the meal! The Shimeno-osoba-mori (cold soba noodles, front, ¥864) and river fish confit (middle, ¥950) go well with Nagano wine.
"We offer various kinds of sake that will suit our soba noodles such as local sake from Nagano (from ¥540 for a glass), Soba beer (¥842), and wine from Nagano (from ¥648 for a glass)," says Kuninaga Danno, the shopkeeper.
Muromachi Nijyo Minoya is located at 270, Muromachi Nijyosagaru Takoyakushi-cho, Nakagyo District, Kyoto City and is open from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. on weekdays and from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily except on Sundays. It is closed on the last day of a long weekend. You can get there through a 5-minute walk from Subway Karasumaoike Station. You can contact them at +81-75-204-8548.
Sake Hall Masuya
Sake Hall Masuya is the sister of a popular Japanese sake bar in Kawaramachi. It boasts of a wide selection of sake which the shopkeeper himself personally taste-tested. You can enjoy their sake stored under complete temperature control at their casual beer hall.
On top of this, the bar’s staff have a rich knowledge of sake and can select the best one for you based on your taste preferences.
The ceiling-less interior of the shop is liberating.
They also have unique light-ups at their garden, including a projection of the sake brewery.
The lightly marinated shime-saba (front, ¥540) and osakana namerou (finely chopped fish with miso, middle right, ¥ 486) are two popular side dishes.
"We offer more than 40 types of sake daily. The bomb proof shelter in the basement is used as a cellar where various kinds of sake are stocked," says Ai Masuda, the shopkeeper.
Sake Hall Masuya is located at Senshokaikan 1/F, 298-2, Takoyakushidori Kararumahigashihairu Ichirensha-cho, Nakagyo District, Kyoto City and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekdays except Tuesdays, and from 12 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. You can get there through a 3-minute walk from Hankyu Karasuma Station and Shijo Station. You can contact them at +81-75-708-7747.
SPRING VALLEY BREWERY KYOTO
The Kyoto branch of SPRING VALLEY BREWERY offers craft beer and about 12 kinds of in-house brewed beer, including the Kyoto-limited beer, IPA, which uses hops from Yosano. These drinks can be paired with roughly 70 kinds of dishes featuring seasonal Japanese ingredients.
This restaurant was renovated from a 100-year old machiya.
The interior of the restaurant is a modern space with a Japanese twist. There are also table seats located in the courtyard.
Enjoy craft beers with snacks!
You can enjoy the Pairing Set (¥2,300) which is a combination of six snacks tailored to different kinds of craft beer.
"Our dishes are customized to our seasonal beers. You’ll enjoy pairing the food and craft beers arranged by season," says Yasuyuki Tanaka, the staff.
SPRING VALLEY BREWERY KYOTO is located at 587-2, Tominokoujidori Nishikikoujiagaru Takamiya-cho, Nakagyo District, Kyoto City and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. You can get there through a 5-minute walk from Hankyu Kawaramachi Station. You can contact them at +81-75-231-4960.
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Kansai Walker™(15 March 2019)