Kichi Kichi Omu Rice: A Must-Visit Youshokuya in Kyoto

The Internet has made some of the biggest modern celebrities out of the most regular of people and Instagram has turned some of the most incredible hidden food gems into foodie sensations. Kichi Kichi Omu Rice (洋食屋 キチキチ) is one of those restaurants that became a sensational discovery after one traveler posted a video of the man, the myth, the legend himself, Chef-Owner, Chef Motokichi Yukimura, whipping up a plate of the fluffiest, most video-ready plate of Omu (omelet) rice the internet has ever seen in his small Youshokuya (Western-style restaurant) in Kyoto. The restaurant was founded in 1978 but only gained cult status in the recent few years. But is it worth the hype?=

Kichi Kichi Omu Rice Address
  • 〒604-8017 京都府 京都市中京区材木町185-4
  • 185-4 Zaimokucho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-8017, Japan

Discovering Kichi Kichi Omu Rice

I actually spotted a video of the famed Omu Rice on Instagram, not once, not twice, but multiple times over the past two years. On this trip, I intentionally created a stopover in Kyoto, even though I had no plans to visit, just to have dinner at Kichi Kichi Omu Rice. Yes, I was that determined. I even made sure I made reservations prior to flying to Japan. I left nothing to chance!

The signage outside Kichi Kichi Omu Rice in Kyoto

The restaurant isn’t a place you’ll stumble into easily. It’s hidden in one of the many alleyways in Nakagyō-ku and you practically have to want to find it in order to do so.

We visited at the earliest reservation slot for dinner at 5 pm, because all other slots were booked when we tried to make reservations about a week or so out from when we wanted to head there.

The alleyway near the restaurant

Arriving at the Youshokuya in Kyoto

We made every effort to be early, knowing that the restaurant has been known to turn away patrons with reservations who arrive too late. The maximum time they’ll hold for a reservation is 15 minutes. If that sounds a little strict, you’ll have to understand, this place is literally a tiny hole in the wall. There are probably eight seats at the bar counter and a small group dining area at the back.

We have a reservation.

That was all the English-speaking staff needed to hear. We were then asked where we were from. The staff then informed Chef Motokichi that we were from Singapore. I found it interesting that the staff made it a point to let him know where his diners were from.

The interior of Youshokuya Kichi Kichi Omu Rice

Reservations Encouraged

Just as we hung up our jackets and sat down at the bar table in front of the open kitchen, we heard the footsteps of two other people entering the restaurant. Two women had decided to visit without a reservation. A flurry of exchanges occurred between Chef Motokichi and his staff members, but unfortunately, they were unable to accommodate and the staff apologetically explained that they were full. It was then that I realized that it was a good call for us to make sure we got ourselves a reservation. I’ve heard great stories of people getting lucky and walking in at the right time, but as we observed that visit, not everyone can get as lucky.

Making A Reservation at Kichi Kichi Omu Rice

Visit the Kichi Kichi Omu Rice website and make a reservation.

What do the symbols all mean?

  • × (Cross) – All Seats are Booked
  • – (Dash) – Out of Reservation Period

If a number appears, click it and you can opt to make your reservation and fill in your reservation details.

Chef Motokichi plating the fried rice in demi-glace made of beef stock

If you have dietary preferences, please input them into the message form field. I only just found out that Chef Motokichi can make adjustments to his menu items if a certain ingredient cannot be taken by guests.

Before it was 5.15 pm, the restaurant was full and that’s when the performance began.

Performance Art at Kichi Kichi Omu Rice

Each step from the frying of the rice with butter to the addition of a new ingredient was accompanied by instructions in Japanese and deft theatrical movements.

Chef Motokichi explaining what he was doing with the omelette for the omu rice

With a flick of the wrist, the rice is tossed.

Firm pats on the fist, and the omelet jumps little by little in the pan.

He puts on a real show with such pizzazz and pride. He’s a master at drawing diners into his world by always keeping them engaged even if in a different language.

The Performance Art of Omu Rice at Kichi Kichi Omu Rice

Before you can look away, it’s yet another “stunt”. Then as you’re completely spellbound, it’s “time” as Chef Motokichi gingerly places the omelet onto the plated fried rice. Gently and quickly, he slices it open, and the omelet “blooms”. It unfurls and spills out into a spellbinding “inverse omelet” showing off its perfect texture while enveloping the fried rice.

I could not help myself from gaping each time he sliced open each omelet. I watched every single time he did it.

Watch a video I made of the entire experience at Kichi Kichi Omu Rice.

One Word: Sugoi

Served beautiful plate of Kichi Kichi Omu Rice

I went for the full-sized Fluffy Open Omelette over the Fried Rice ふわふわ卵の逆さオムライス(¥2,700). There is also a half-sized version going for ¥1,450. Kichi Kichi Omu Rice was one of my pricier meals. However, I went in fully aware of how much I would be spending on dinner.

The Verdict on Kichi Kichi Omu Rice

I found the omelet rice tasty and definitely full of fresh ingredients. The egg itself was remarkable. While some reviews have mentioned that the demi-glace is a little bitter, I actually really enjoyed it.

Of course, don’t come here expecting a Michelin star dish. I found the omu rice rather delicious but not particularly mind-blowing. What really made the entire dining experience memorable were Chef Motokichi’s frying pan tricks. Adding to that, his personable and cheerful nature along with his desire to entertain, makes the entire experience unforgettable. He not only welcomes cameras but also makes it a point to pose for them.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a similar experience in a country as reserved as Japan. After all, this is where chefs in some popular restaurants are known to actually frown upon patrons whipping out their cameras. Some find it disrespectful to their craft.

A Joyful Goodbye

Right before we left, Chef Motokichi popped his head out from a little space between the kitchen and the front door. Offering us a firm and hearty handshake and big warm smiles all around. He completed our visit with yet another photo opportunity – of him with a thumbs up and a wide grin.

He definitely knows what it takes to keep in the (internet) public eye.


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