CLOSED: Mikouan

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 20 reviews )



570 Nakano-cho, Teramachi-dori (at Shijo Teramachi, Shijo-saguru), Kyoto, Japan, 600-8032

Casual nice vegetarian cafe. Eclectic, local atmosphere. Has tofu burger, shojin set, and other all vegan food. Directions: From Kawaramachi or Shijo Teramachi, go west, then turn south on Teramachi, past Fujii Daimuru department store on your right, past the AM/PM convenience store and Nobunaga book store; almost immediately next to the bookstore (also on your right) you will find a long, narrow, alley-like entrance with Mikouan at the very end. SHUT DOWN AUG 2013, CONFIRMED BY ITS WEBSITE MESSAGE.

Categories: Vegan, Japanese, Beer/Wine

20 Reviews

First Review by lemurcat

Interesting, small place - Edit


The food at Mikoan is amazing! You can get a dinner set or lunch set and the lady will prepare different kinds of small dishes on a tray. It is japanese style food and really delicious. Even the rice is more natural and tastier than the normal rice you would get in a restaurant. I recommend you to just buy the lunch or dinner set when you are there. I think it is cheap for a proper Japanese restaurant.


Mikoan is kind of hidden, so please read the descriptions above to find it. The restaurant is very small with about 10-15 seats at the bar. But usually it is not very busy, so you will always find seats if you are not more than 4 people. Personally I liked the atmosphere at mikoan. The music is nice and the place is just stuffed with all different kinds of things (including a "Atomkraft, nein danke" (german anti nuclear power campaign sign which i liked :) )). So you will not get bored there. The only con in my opinion is that the place is a little bit smelly (from the cats) and seems a bit dirty). However, the food didn't seem dirty at all and since you can watch the lady prepare it, I don't think it's so bad.


Usually there is a Japanese woman cooking by herself. Sometimes her mum will be there, too. The woman is kind of shy and quiet, but friendly. I think she might be scared of speaking English because when she noticed we spoke Japanese she got a bit more relaxed and friendlier.

Overall I can really recommend this place. Just considering the food and not the location I think it is the best vegetarian restaurant in Kyoto. So give it a go and see for yourself :)

Pros: Delicious food, good music, interesting decoration

Cons: cat smell, few seats

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Strange lady, excellent food. - Edit

After finding Morpho closed when it was meant to be open, we headed to Mikoan. As other reviewers have said, it is the sort of place you wouldn't know is there unless someone told you, and even knowing that you're looking for a tiny door between two shops, with a long corridor leading down to the place... you might walk by a few times and miss it.

When we arrived, the door to the corridor to Mikoan was closed. We couldn't open it, but the handwritten signs showed it was a vegetarian eatery, so we asked a lady in the shop next door. She also tried the door and looked confused, and could not tell us anything in English. I called the phone number on the door, and someone answered but did not speak. After saying 'Hello' a few too many times, a lady came down the corridor, opened the gate, put a sign outside, and lead us in.

When we reached the end of the corridor, the lady opened a door and shut it, leaving us outside. My girlfriend thought it was very rude, but we opened the door and followed the lady in. The place had no people in it, but was full of so many things everywhere. She pointed to stools at the end of the bar and we sat. We noticed that classical music (Western, not Japanese) was playing. She handed us English menus that had 'lunch set' and 'dinner set' (with no explanations), and some drinks. The lady then proceeded to feed her cat at the other end of the bar -- I mean, the cat stood on a stool and ate from a plate on the bar, like a customer!

Anyway, although she could not really speak any English other than 'Menu has no meat, no fish, no eggs, no butter', we had read the reviews and knew the food was vegetarian, so we ordered the dinner set for two, and a couple of beers (she has Yebisu and Guiness on tap).

WOW! She came out with two trays full of small traditional Japanese dishes, and everything was different, except for the rice and miso soup on each. She said 'share', and we did. The food was really excellent! Fantastic!

While we were there, two Japanese men came in. One spoke good English and said he was from Kyoto and had never travelled outside of Japan. The lady finally smiled and laughed as she chatted with the locals. I asked the English-speaking man to translate our appreciation of the wonderful food!

We paid 1000 Yen each for the dinner, and 550 Yen each for the beer, so about 3000 Yen (roughly $30 Australian/US). This is expensive for Japan, but really it was well worth it for us to sample such fine Japanese food.

Pros: Excellent food!, Traditional Japanese food

Cons: A bit difficult to find, The lady appears rude, Not the cheapest place

1 Response
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davidredstone 16 Apr 2013 - I forgot to say that while we were eating, when the two men came in, the lady played classical music on a piano that we hadn't noticed! It really is a strange place that is definitely worth visiting!  

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Great food, interesting atmosphere - Edit

We visited this little hidden away cafe after reading a number of reviews on veggie websites. Well worth checking the directions offered in other reviews as without them we never would have found this place. When we entered we thought we'd made a mistake and walked into some womans front room. There were three old men sitting at a bar while a woman behind it cooked and no one made any move to welcome to chase us away so we walked in and attempt to sit down. We were then herded to a different end of the bar and ignored for about 10 mins. It wasn't bad, just very odd as we felt we'd interrupted the other folk. None in our group of three speaks Japanese so we just had to wait until shown the menu that really only has two options - curry or the veggie platter plate. We all ordered the platter and got to watched it being put together. We all got miso soup [best I've ever had], and brown rice and then five different sides. Everything we had was super tasty but we felt like we couldn't really talk during the meal for fear of disrupting the other people. At 1000 yen a plate we felt it was very good value but if your looking for a nice evening meal were you can chat maybe not the best choice. The decor was really interesting. While we were eating another group of Westerners arrived in but they were chased out due to the cook being out of was all very odd.

Pros: great food, good value for money

Cons: hard to find, hard if you don't speak Japanese

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Mainly Vegan - Edit

This is in response to an earlier post. Actually their food is mainly vegan. It you want non-vegan food in your dinner set you have to request it. They do have some cheese toast I think but mainly their food is vegan. The menu is in Japanese but you can't go wrong with the dinner set. The sets vary. Three of us went there and all ordered the dinner set and all got a different and sizable set of small delicious seasonal organic Japanese dishes. Bring a good appetite and some cat love. The cats are up by the counter so people terrible concerned with having pets around food may not like this.
Updated from previous review on Sunday June 14, 2009
I returned here recently and the main lady was away and the food was unfortunately truly awful. Last time I went it was great but this time several of the dishes were just bad. It was really disappointing and surprising.

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Quirky place, interesting experience, affordable - Edit

The place is charmingly cluttered and unique. I'm a big fan of cats, and was looking forward to meeting the resident feline after reading others' reviews. I was really distracted by the catty smell, of the place, and found myself trying to breathe through my mouth the whole time we were there (difficult to do when you're eating). No one else has mentioned this, and it didn't bother my husband, but I thought I'd say something in case others have sensitive noses. For me, it made the place seem less clean than I would've liked.

We each got the 1000 yen set menu (afterward I remembered that I'd wanted to try the gyoza - boo!), and received four different unique dishes, which we were instructed to share, along with soup and rice. All four of the dishes on my plate were great. We weren't as crazy about three of the four dishes on my husband's plate, but I loved being able to see the food being cooked right in front of us, and trying so many different flavors.

I'd have gladly gone back to try the gyoza and maybe the curry if it weren't for the cat smell.

Pros: Fun atmosphere, Variety, Cheap

Cons: Strong cat smell, Some dishes hit or miss

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Incredible atmosphere - Edit

Basically feels walking into someone's home kitchen and having them cook in front of you! There's a cat that wanders around and loads of random books, memorabilia and posters all over the place, while the owner/chef slaves away using kitchen equipment that looks older than she is.

The food is exceptional Shojin ryori, but at the most affordable price I found during my stay in Japan - just 1,000JPY for the veggie dinner set. If you order for two people, she makes different dishes for each plate, so you can share them between you and get even more flavours. The veggie curry (800JPY) is also very filling, but not as good as the dinner set.

Pros: Excellent Shojin-ryori food, Affordable, Amazing atmosphere

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great food! - Edit

The food is great. Freshly cooked and very tasty. Set is 1000 Yen and is four dishes plus rice and soup. Really friendly service and made very welcome.

Phone ahead if there's more than three of you.

Pros: good value, central

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Hidden gem near Pontocho - Edit

Thanks to the excellent directions someone gave on here, we managed to find Mikoan without too much trouble when we were last in Kyoto. The cafe-bar is a cluttered, homely place, run by a young woman who speaks good English and is assisted by her mum, who doesn't! We ate from the set menu, and the food was cooked in front of us. It was delicious and extremely filling, as well as good value for money. We also had our first taste of Yebisu beer here. The owner had a kitten in a basket at the counter, but only one adult cat deigned to join us while we were there. The cat theme was right up my street. We will definitely go back next time we visit Kyoto.

Pros: Good value, Freshly cooked food, Quirky atmosphere

Cons: Could be hard to find, Small

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The best place to eat in Kyoto - Edit

This is the one of the best restaurants I have ever been, my girlfriend and I shared a dinner set meal, it was the best we had in Japan.

Good atmosphere, owner very friendly, soup really warmed my heart!! the deep-fry gluten is superb and the side dishes are just the right combination! will definitely go back :))

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Adorable and delish! - Edit

I adore this place! The owner is awesome, there are cat photos and cat stuff all over this whole in the wall with bar seating only, and the sweetest cat who hangs around. Set meal had so much food I was stuffed, one of the best miso soups I've had in my life, full of veggies. Brown rice and 3 or 4 other veggie dishes. Everything amazing. Traditional Japanese, very macrobiotic, all vegan. Heaven!

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Best in Japan! - Edit

We came here on the second day in Kyoto, and I didn't go to any other restaurants after that! The location was really easy to find, and we could walk there from our hostel (K's House). The food was the best value we'd had, I think it was Y1000 for a set meal) and all completely delicious and filling. We met so many people in there too, from Buddhist monks to tipsy old Japanese men to cats! The two ladies working there are lovely, service is really fast but very little English is spoken. You can't go wrong by ordering the dinner set, though I wish I had have known they had cake on the menu, I'd have eaten some without hesitation!

Only disappointment was going there on a holiday and the opening times were meant to be earlier, but it was regular opening times instead. You can always ask your acommodation to phone ahead if it is a holiday. Can't wait to go back to Kyoto, and can't wait to eat here again!

Pros: Fast and fresh food, Very friendly and welcoming, Easy to find

Cons: None!

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Best veggie food/experience in Japan - Edit

HappyCow instructions are correct and it was quite easy to find - there was an English sign outside the alleyway. As not very confident tourists we went here based on the other reviews and had the best meal we had in Japan. It was the best experience too - an eclectic cafe, we ordered the set meal, sat at the counter whilst the owner cooked it fresh. She cooked us about 5-6 dishes each, all different so we could share and try a whole range of Japanese food. It was really tasty, particularly the spring rolls, excellent portion size too. It is reasonably close to the nishiki food market/gion so if you are sightseeing its is easy to pop in. We saw a cat, but she wasn't about when we were eating. Anyway, highly recommended, go here if you can!

Pros: Excellent food, Diverse choices, Bargain price!

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You will regret it if you don't try Mikoan - Edit

My wife and I are not adventurous. We are spoiled on chain restaurants and large table service establishments. When we were evaluating our options for Kyoto and saw Mikoan near the top of the list we wanted to try it, but had to spend about half an hour to muster the courage to walk down some random alley and into what others have described as a woman's home.

Having just returned from Mikoan I will tell you this: do not be timid, do not back out when you see the alley entrance. Open that door, let them pull out a stool for you at the bar and have one of the best vegan meals in Japan for an incredibly low price.

At only 1000 yen the dinner set is a mixture of random, assorted delicious dishes. The owner/chef seems to cook up whatever she is in the mood to make, and all of it is amazing.

On top of that she is very friendly, the whole atmosphere is welcoming, and there were other guests when we arrived including a cool couple from the UK and two businessmen from China. The older woman previously described who may be the chef's mother was also at the bar chatting up her friend, who had a tiny cat nestled up to her. This may or may not have been Hana (no sign of Toro, unfortunately). So don't worry about feeling uncomfortable.

Turn south from Shijo dori onto Teramachi dori, walk past the AM/PM, look for the red awning and the tiny doorway and head down that alley. You won't regret giving it a try.

Pros: HUGE quantity, DELICIOUS options, LOW price

Cons: -, -, -

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nice little pace - Edit

This is a good place to get dinner if you only have 2 people in your group. Get the dinner set, and be amazed at the variety of dishes you are given. Overall, it's a great value.

Pros: healthy food, good variety in set

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Wonderful experience - Edit

We went to Mikoan more to meet the cats we'd read about than anything, and were delighted that we also had a terrific dinner. The restaurant was at the end of a very narrow alley, but HappyCow's directions were perfect. The restaurant is homey and cluttered with knickknacks, and you sit at a bar facing the woman preparing the food. My husband and I ordered the veg set meal, and in an amazingly short time we each had a huge tray of dishes set in front of us. Aside from the soup, we each had totally different dishes, so we shared everything. So tasty and healthy! Salads, pickled vegetables, gluten chunks, hot vegetables... my husband liked the soup so much that he ordered an additional bowl. We were also thrilled to meet cats Toro and Hana. Toro is a chubby guy, and Hana is a sleek, outgoing charmer. At some point an older woman came in (the mother of the cook?) and sat down. We asked the cook how much the cute cat fabric tissue-holders cost that were sitting on the bar, and she had the older woman bring over her sewing basket and show us the different components that she was in the process of making to show us that they were handmade. The meal was a terrific value so we were happy to support them by buying a cat tissue-cozy (for tiny packs of tissues). Definitely a must-do when you're in Kyoto!

Pros: Terrific food, Homey, eclectic decor, Cats!!!

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Great Place! - Edit

I loved this place--Japanese food in a vegetarian (possibly vegan) form. They have a lunch set for 850 yen (on weekends when they're open for lunch) and dinner set for 1000 yen. They give you several dishes with the lunch/dinner sets, and if there are 2 of you eating there, they'll give both of you some different stuff so you can share and try out more different dishes. They have a mixture of fake-meat dishes and vegetable dishes. Portion sizes were actually pretty good. If you don't want the lunch/dinner set, you can opt for the Japanese vegetable curry for 800 yen.

Note this is a bit hard to find the first time--keep your eyes open to a small sign placed on the street towards that small alley--it's probably only about 30 meters past the AM/PM (and on the right).

Pros: good food, friendly staff, reasonable prices

Cons: slightly hard to find--but worth it

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Worth the search - Edit

A very unique experience, Mikoan appears to be located in someone's home. The alleyway leading to Mikoan is a bit intimidating, but don't let it scare you away. The food is delicious, and freshly prepared right in front of you! You get a lot for what you pay, which isn't very much. No English menu, but the server/cook can tell you the specials in English.

Pros: atmosphere, large portions, low price

Cons: no english menu, a little hard to find

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Unusual but good food - Edit

This little place is pretty hard to find, but worth looking for. You walk in and it feels a little bit like you're in somone's font room that they converted into a bar! There are pots and pans and little decorations all over the place, but it's very cosy.

The lady owner/chef is very welcoming and friendly, so don't be afraid if it's very quiet when you first walk in! She must be used to getting the odd gaijin or two, so she knew to serve us the dinner set (1000 yen good value!) and kindly gave us a selection of everything so that we could share and try it all.

We got a bowl of delicious and soft (bwon/wholegrain?) rice, a bowl of vegetable miso soup and four smaller dishes all for the 1000 yen price, and also a cup of tea/coffee!

There are two cute cats, so if cats aren't your thing then perhaps don't go here (there are cat decorations all over the place).

I would reccommend (if you can manage some japanese or negotiate in english with the owner) the potato salad, this fried substitute chicken, the salsa/spicy salad thing, and another dish of substitute meat in a cold sticky sauce with vegetables. The only downside to getting given a bit of everything is that there were a couple of dishes we didnt like so much, the ones I've mentioned are the most tasty :)

Overall lovely homecooked food and interesting bohemian atmosphere - unusual for japan!

Pros: Friendly staff, Delicious and good value

Cons: Somewhat unusual atmosphere, Japanese menu

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Best veggie bargain in kyoto - Edit

Mikoan is our favorite Kyoto restaurant. Though we live in San Francisco, we get there about four times a year. The dinner special is an incredible bargain - 4 dishes plus rice, soup and tea for Y1000! Another review claimed there are few vegan choices, but as far as I can tell the dinners are all vegan! It's a funky little place and you must love cats to eat there. Very quiet and peaceful.

Pros: Excellent fresh food, Vegan friendly, Inexpensive

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Nice Vegetarian Bar - Edit

Only a few vegan options. Friendly English-speaking staff pointed out which options were vegan. Two cats live there: Chibi and Toro. Open 5-11 but earlier on weekends. From Kawaramachi and Shijo, go west, then turn south on Teramachi. Mikoan is at the end of a narrow passage just past Nobunaga Book Store, but Nobunaga is all in kanji, so perhaps you should look for the am pm convenience store which is just before Nobunaga. There is a little sign in English at the entrance to the narrow alley.

Pros: Cats, Friendly Staff, English spoken

Cons: Limited vegan options

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