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Nikuryori Yama


Hidden inside a small house with no signs and no telephone number to call, Nikuryori Yama is the best kept secret for wagyu lovers. Using only the highest-quality Japanese black beef, the omakase course offers a carousel of rich flavors from Korean-style sirloin tartare to salt-grilled tongue. With only six seats at the counter, enjoy the conversation with the friendly chef as he astonishes you with one superb dish after another.

Nikuryori Yama sits inside a private house, tucked away in a narrow alley off Shijo Street in downtown Kyoto. There’s no sign of a restaurant outside except for a blue noren curtain hanging over its door. With only 6 seats at the counter and a small table for 4, this restaurant is a special find for meat loving gourmands.

Opened in August 2022, Nikuryori Yama is among the collection of exclusive restaurants run by Yamagishi Group. The owner, Ryuji Yamagishi, is the younger brother of Takahiro Yamagishi, a former sushi chef who built his reputation as a top Kyoto restaurateur with the Michelin-star kaiseki restaurant, Tominokoji Yamagishi.

Obsessed with the taste of great wagyu, the two brothers together opened Yakiniku Yamachan, a Korean BBQ restaurant. Ryuji soon handed over the restaurant to his son so he could open his own space where he can cater his guests in a more intimate setting. This is how Nikuryori Yama came to be, and the word quickly spread among fans of Yamagishi restaurants. "The advantage of a small restaurant with an open counter is that I can grill at the right pace for every guest," Yamagishi says.

He loves to converse and entertain his guests, while observing their reaction to the dishes. The reason most customers keep on coming back here is not just for the delicious meat, but for his warm hospitality. Placing the greatest importance on the quality of the meat, the restaurant serves only the best Japanese black wagyu beef. Yamagishi selects the cut based precisely on which dish he wants to use it for. The meat for Korean-style yukke tartare must have a fluffy texture with the perfect marbling so that every bite melts in your month, he says.



The best kept secret for wagyu lovers

An evening at Nikuryori Yama takes you through an extravagant omakase course with the highest-quality wagyu at center stage. The seasonal menu, which changes about once a month, starts with four or five appetizers like beef somen and dumplings, followed by an assortment of grills like sirloin and tongue, a piece of cutlet sandwich and a rice dish or cold noodles.

The Korean-style yukke tartare is a masterpiece, with an unforgettably tasty sauce. Fluffy and sweet sirloin meat is shaved thinly and topped with Korean-style sauce and creamy egg yolk. Every bite melts in your mouth.

Beef somen noodles is another popular appetizer. Cold yam somen is tossed with shredded raw meat strips and served with a flavorful bonito and kombu broth.

Beef tail gyoza is a delightful bite with a crispy skin and juicy filling. Dip the gyoza in a tasty chili oil sauce. Perfectly grilled cubed steaks are stir-fried in butter with abalone and asparagus. The surprising combination works beautifully, with one flavor augmenting another.

Grilled tongue is cooked to perfection. Today’s serving is the bottom part of the tongue, offering a unique texture and flavor. The cutlet sandwich uses a flavorful piece of chateaubriand, served with a delicious homemade sauce.

The dessert also brings a smile to your face. Sticking to the restaurant’s theme, the vanilla ice cream sandwich is shaped like a cow’s face.

Nikuryori Yama uses only A5 rank meat from female black Japanese cattle, which are bold in flavor with the perfect balance of fat and lean meat. Like all the other Yamagishi restaurants, the meat is sourced from trusted dealers. “The flavor of beef depends entirely on where it comes from,” says Yamagishi. “We’re lucky we’ve been able to get a hold of high quality meat ever since we opened because of the connections we’ve built with suppliers over the years.”

Selection of champagne and wine are also top-notch, pleasing every gourmand who comes to dine here. For champagne, they stock the best vintages of Dom Perignon and Salon. They also offer beautiful red wines from Kenzo Estate.

Nikuryori Yama cuisine #0
Nikuryori Yama cuisine #1


Ryuji Yamagishi

Ryuji Yamagishi was born in Kyoto in 1976 where his family worked as a fishmonger. Since he was young, he knew how delicious good fish could taste and wanted to become a chef when he grew up. He worked a corporate job for a while before deciding to train as a chef and joined his brother’s kaiseki restaurant, Tominokoji Yamagishi.

It’s a funny story that these two sons of a fishmonger dreamed of someday opening a Korean BBQ restaurant, a cuisine they loved growing up. That dream came true in 2020 with the opening of Yakiniku Yamachan. In 2022, he decided to open his own restaurant, Nikuryori Yama for a smaller and more intimate setting.

“The reason why Nikuryori Yama is hidden and small is because I want to provide my customers a very special experience,” he says. “There are many different types of meat lovers and I want each of them to enjoy my meal. In order to do that, I need to be able to listen to their requests by getting to know them.”

For the time being, Yamagishi is focused on coming up with new recipes so that he can continue making his customers happy. He wants to create great dishes without being stuck in a genre or a culinary style, like making gyoza with flavors from different cultures.

He also wants more people visiting Japan from abroad to know how delicious Japanese beef can be. In the future, the brothers are thinking of opening a more casual yakiniku restaurant that can be enjoyed by young people.


People often associate beef with red wine but dishes at Nikuryori Yama pair beautifully with other drinks such as sake, champagne and makgeolli, a milky Korean rice wine.

Take a moment to enjoy all the different vintages they offer. Houou Biden, a bright and high-quality sake with a fresh and fruity aroma, Ruinart from Champagne, Asatsuyu from Kenzo Estate and fizzy makgeolli from South Korea are among their favorites. They also stock very special vintages such as Dom Perignon’s Plénitude 2.


Nikuryori Yama omakase course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
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Nikuryori Yama


& UP
Wagyu, Kyoto
1F, 317-13, Tabiyacho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto


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