UPDATE (November 19th 2013): Walking on Teramachi a few days ago I noticed a sign up at the closed entrance to Mikoan. Unfortunately it seems there was a fire there and the owner was badly hurt. She is now recovering in hospital, but at this time it is not clear when or if Mikoan will open again. We hope and pray for the owner’s speedy recovery.

彌光庵 was founded by a lady who, having taken holy orders, decided that her mission in life was to bring Buddhist wisdom into the lives of ordinary people by means of lip-smackingly delicious organic food. Not just any organic food mind you, but 精進料理 (“shoujin ryori”); traditional Zen vegetarian cooking. Normally, shoujin ryori is only available in certain temples and it’s very expensive, but Mikoan makes it available at ridiculously affordable prices. The most expensive meal on the menu is a set course, “Miyako Gohan”, consisting of rice (whole grain of course), miso soup and an assortment of side dishes; all for ¥1000. Here’s what it looks like:

Now, if you go with a friend, and order the same thing, you’ll get a different set of side dishes as below, which you can share and thus more and more variety for your money.

The philosophy underpinning this establishment is one of respect for all living things, and so it is 100% vegetarian, 100% organic and they make every effort to reduce waste; any peelings or leftover scraps that can’t be used being put into compost. Inside is a comfortable homey atmosphere, with big fat cats yawning in the windows and soft calming jazz playing to soothe your weary mind. Here’s some pictures of cats Toro and Chibi (they so cute):

The opening hours are from 17:00~23:00 on weekdays. 12:00~23:00 on Saturdays and 12:00~20:00 on Sundays and holidays. To find it go south on Teramachi from Shijo until you see the Funahashi shop on your right, between that and the airgun shop roast chestnuts shop organic buffet restaurant Hana Cafe (it keeps changing) next door, there is a tiny tiny alleyway (see right). Mikoan is at the bottom. It’s not a huge place so for four or more people they advise booking in advance.Tel: 075-361-2200

A little haven in the heart of the city, Mikoan first opened it’s doors on April 8th 1995 (Buddha’s birthday!). Long may it continue. Here is a map.

11 responses to “Mikoan

  1. Thank you for this adress. It’s an amazing et good restaurant

  2. Love your site, it’s super helpful! Am planning my trip to Japan in September, and am spending a few days in Kyoto, and this place looks great – is it still open?! Am pretty strict vegetarian and hoping for the best…Busy saving to afford to eat in Japan, it’s looking to be pricey. xXx

  3. Thanks for the kind word Shauna. I haven’t been to Mikoan in a while but I believe they are still alive and kicking. They celebrated their 15th anniversary in April.

  4. Still going as of late March 2011 – one of my favourite places we ate in Japan.

    Vegetarian in this case really means vegan as far as we understood – as vegetarian often does in Japan – she told us our dishes had no dairy and the menu implied it about all dishes. Nice curry too.

  5. Elliot Kallen

    Any further update on the fate of Mikoan and its owner? I’m hoping she’s recovered well.

  6. Michael Lambe

    Sorry, there has been no further update on the website and the sign at the entrance to the restaurant when I last looked was still the same. As soon as I hear anything I shall post it here.

  7. Hi Michael,
    I’ve been seeing a mention or two about Miyako cooking and serving her wonderful food again. Supposedly she does this two nights a week at Jazzmass K’s Case close to Shijo-Kawaramachi. Any way to check this out? Thanks!

  8. Michael Lambe

    Hi Elliot,

    I haven’t been there for a few months now, but when I last saw her, she was doing something on Sunday evenings. You can find the bar here: http://www.kyoto.zaq.ne.jp/kscase/ Looking at the Mikoan website (http://mikouan.com/) it seems this has now expanded to Tuesdays as well. If you want to check it out, I would suggest you either call them up at the bar, or simply go round there and have a look. It’s a friendly enough place, but it does have limited seating so if there is more than two in your group I would let them know in advance you are coming and that you want to eat…

    Best wishes,


  9. Michael,
    That’s great news! Next time I’m in Kyoto I’ll certainly make it there. Apparently her injuries haven’t kept her down.
    Thanks again,


  10. Michael Lambe

    Yep, she still makes those oh-so-tasty vegan gyoza! So good!

  11. Hi, I visited Jazzmass K’s Case a few weeks and she was there preparing a meal for two customers. It was unclear how often she comes there to cook, was too busy to talk with her but Ogata-san the owner implied it’s quite often.

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