In a country filled with countless ramen, udon and sushi restaurants, it can be very difficult to choose. Which one is the most delicious? The most interesting? How do you find the restaurant where you can understand everything on the menu?

If you’re in Kyoto, look no further than Issen Yoshoku, the restaurant that covers all those bases, plus, you never have to dine alone!

Located in Gion, Kyoto (the expensive part where most of the maiko and geisha roam) is an eccentric shop with a statue of a dog pulling down the pants of a surprised looking boy hidden among plenty of other colorful decorations.


This is just the first of many wonders at this restaurant. When you peek into the shop, you can see what looks like beautiful women sitting at all the tables. They’re clad in simple kimono and beckoning you to come in.





This fun and different place is Issen Yoshoku (壹銭洋食). The meaning literally translates to “1/100 of a Japanese yen, Western-style food”. For you historical buffs, Issen Yoshoku is also the name of the food sold at the beginning of the Taisho Era (1900s) that has been credited with the birth of okonomiyaki.

It certainly looks a little like okonomiyaki…




Issen Yoshoku is definitely a one of a kind restaurant in more ways than you think. Their fancy red menus look like they are hiding a variety of old-style Kyoto food. But it turns out…there is only one dish they serve, the Issen Yoshoku!

▼”Look at our beautiful, fancy menu!”


▼”And it’s filled with only one thing to order! Brilliant!” And only 680 yen (US $6)!


It’s a good thing that this restaurant does their one dish really well. Their success or failure rides on the taste of this dish. There is even a handy poster in English that explains what issen yoshoku is, and how it is delicious.

They also tell customers to please let them know about allergies or if you’d like any ingredients removed. 

issen 17Image: Flickr (missmass)

The oddities don’t stop there, besides the attractive mannequin ladies awaiting your company at the tables, the decor on the walls might make you do a double take. Don’t be taking a sip of water or be eating your food the first time you check out the walls. You will think, “Did I just see something R-rated on the wall? Yup… I did.”


If you find yourself in the Gion area of Kyoto, and are craving a historical, Kyoto spin on the okonomiyaki dish, make your way down to Issen Yoshoku. It’s a unique restaurant that is a feast for your eyes and your taste buds. This restaurant will make you say, “This, is ‘how I like it!‘”


Please come again!



Issen Yoshoku 壹銭洋食 (いっせんようしょく)
Address: 238 Giommachi Kitagawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0073 , Japan
Hours: Weekdays 11:00am – 3:00am, Weekends and Holidays: 10:30am – 10:00pm
Holidays: None

Images: RocketNews24, Flickr (missmass)
[ Read in Japanese ]