Sushi is one of those foods that really grabs the imagination. Whether you’re in a kaiten-zushi joint in Akihabara or one of the $300-a-meal restaurants you read about in the news, there’s something almost captivating about the ritual of it all.

Of course, anyone is welcome at pretty much any sushi restaurant, but these three Kyoto-based restaurants have received a bit of attention online for specifically targeting women. From do-it-yourself sushi to tiny, round delights, these places have really piqued our curiosity. Check out some photos below and start making your plans for a trip to Kyoto now!


Address: 〒604-8213 京都府京都市中京区姥柳町189
Phone number: 075-204-5543
Website: AWOMB

Our first stop isn’t just a sushi restaurant targeting women, it’s a sushi restaurant targeting women that lets customers assemble their own sushi! If you’re wondering why anyone might enjoy that, it seems to be that customers appreciate the chance to make their sushi exactly to their taste…and also enjoy getting creative.

But it’s not just the food that has gotten AWOMB attention–the restaurant itself has a gorgeous interior that would likely draw crowds even if all they served was warm rice.

▼ Here’s a brief video showing the work they put into renovating the restaurant.

Nevertheless, the food has received great reviews from many patrons, though one reviewer on popular foodie site Tabelog pointed out that the volume of food might not be enough for most men. Even so, the same person praised the menu, calling it delicious, as well as the restaurant’s atmosphere.

There might be one other drawback though, as the above Twitter user pointed out that the lines to get in can be a bit of a bother. However, they do accept reservations, but with certain restrictions (see their website for details). Still, if you want great, assemble-it-yourself sushi in a beautiful restaurant, this might be the place for you!

▼ Even the sushi looks beautiful!

■ Mametora

mametoraTwitter (@yuruwotamanapii)

Address: 〒605-0074 京都府京都市東山区祇園町南側570-235
Phone number: 075-532-3955
Website: Gion Mametora (Twitter)

Mametora is apparently known as a very Kyoto-esque sushi place with an excellent atmosphere to match their “cute” food. The photo above of the exterior certainly paints the image of a very traditional restaurant, just like the tweeted photo below!

▼ Normally, we don’t consider food cute, but we totally agree here!

Mametora is most famous for their half-sized sushi, which is exactly what it sounds like: sushi that is half the size of normal pieces. You might be wondering why anyone would want their meal to be half-sized, but we’ll give you one guess–and a hint!

maikoWikipedia (Chris Gladis)

Maiko, like the young woman pictured above, are one of Kyoto’s well-known symbols and are also thought generally to have small mouths. We’ve never met anyone willing to let us to measure their mouths, but the half-sized sushi from Mametora is perfectly bite-sized and can popped in the mouth in one piece (as sushi should be) and eaten daintily. Even if not every maiko in Kyoto actually has a small mouth, we suspect that the smaller sushi would be useful in keeping their lipstick from getting messed up, and many female patrons would appreciate the smaller, less choke-hazardy size.

Mametora2Tabelog (Uploaded by Mametora)

In addition to delightful, tiny pieces of sushi, Mametora also offers small bowls featuring various Kyoto cuisine, so people can sample a wide variety of food. This place definitely lives up to their Kyoto-esque reputation!

But, at the end of the day, what people most love at Mametora is their sushi.

▼ And with photos like this, can you blame them?

■ Kashiwai

Kashiwai (2)Maki Sanpo

☆Restaurant Location
Address: 〒603-8063 京都府京都市北区上賀茂今井河原町55
Phone number: 075-722-7339
Website: Kashiwai (Facebook)

☆Kyoto Station bento locations
Addresses (two locations):
SUVACO on the 2nd floor “FOODS Corner”
Isetan B2 Shinise Bento Area
Phone numbers:
075-352-1111 (SUVACO operator line, no reservations accepted)
075-342-5630 (Isetan location, direct line, call for reservations)
Kashiwai (Facebook)

Our final entry on this list is Kashiwai, a restaurant that serves sushi described by patrons as “looking like candy.” While candy sushi is either the greatest or worst idea ever, Kashiwai’s isn’t actually made of sugar and sweets.

▼ But we can see why someone might think that!

Like Mametora, the sushi at Kashiwai is also on the small side. The little round pieces have a diameter of around five centimeters (just under 2 inches), perfectly bite-sized for even the tiniest mouth. The restaurant and its two bento locations in Kyoto Station are fairly well-known throughout Japan–they’ve even been featured in the manga Hatarakiman.

Kashiwai also serves “otanukisan” as opposed to the more traditional “oinarisan,” which is basically sushi rice wrapped in deep-fried tofu slices. Kashiwai’s “otanukisan” is basically the same, except that it’s wrapped in yuba, or tofu skin.

As we mentioned before, Kashiwai has a few different locations. In addition to the main restaurant, which has a lovely interior, as you can see on Google Maps, there are bento places in Kyoto Station. If you’ve just finished a long day of sightseeing in Kyoto and you’ve got sometime before your shinkasen train leaves, you might want to grab one of their bentos. According to the tweet below, they’re only 1,000 yen (about US$8.33), which isn’t bad for some quality sushi!

We’re sure it will be hard to pick, but with these great choices, we bet you’ll be able to find something tasty to eat in Kyoto! Just don’t spend all your time in Kyoto eating sushi–there’s so much to see!

Sources: Naver Matome, Tabelog (AWOMB), AWOMB (Facebook)Gion Mametora (Twitter), Tabelog (Mametora Gion-ten)Kashiwai (Facebook), Tabelog (Kashiwai)
Images: Twitter (@notriconolife), Twitter (@figue141), Twitter (@tetsujin56bot)Wikipedia (Chris Gladis)