This is my absolute favourite way to dine in Japan. Izakaya is a type of Japanese tapas pub where you can order lots of little dishes to share. We often visit them in groups and since there is a huge variety of items for sale, we can try a little bit of everything and there is something for everyone too, even vegetarians.
Here is a list of some of our favourites listed in order of estimated cost low-high. Expect to pay 2,000-5,000 yen a person for a good number of tapas and a few drinks too.
A student vibe izakaya with great gyoza and fried chicken. Also the salads are tasty and portions are big too. It's a bit tricky to find and you may have to share your table with others but a fun vibe. Super cheap too.
Daidokoro Tenya 台所 てんや
A rare find that is frequented by locals and serves great sushi, kushi-katsu (think deep fried things on sticks) a delicious daikon radish salad with plum dressing, a unique tofu skin pizza and lots of other tasty dishes. Portions are big and prices are small. Also one of our go-to places on the Gion Night Walk tour.
Gion Yuki 遊亀祇園店
Perhaps one of the more traditional and local places in Gion and quite reasonable in price too. The only issue here is that the word has gotten out on this place so you might find that there will be a line to be seated and the staff are not always so welcoming as in other places. This is not too out of the norm in Gion where regular customers are often treated a lot better. Still great food and a fun and lively vibe.
This place serves seasonal dishes and specialize in using local Kyoto vegetables and fresh fish. They serve a delicious potato salad too. Lovely warm atmosphere on a quiet residential street a little out of the main centre. Note that it can get busy so better to reserve in advance. Like above the second floor is tatami mat only seating but downstairs you can sit as normal.
Kohaku 京町家おばんざい こはく
Another great place to try tapas with more of a focus on vegetables. One of my favourite dishes here is the corn tempura. The setting is a little more fancy than Nakajimaya and it's a lot more central near to the Pontocho and Kiyamachi night life district. Also better to reserve especially on weekends.