Fine Dining

For much of the last decade, Tokyo has held the world record for the most Michelin-starred restaurants within a city, beating even Paris. Japan is justly famous for its cuisine. Enter a world of well-crafted flavour. Japan proudly employs a blend of world cuisines and original cooking techniques to make delicacies unique to the nation. Spending time with master chefs and culinary specialists, we understand why it is that this country has taken the Michelin star world by storm. There is no higher honour for a restaurant than to receive a Michelin star. If you are a foodie looking for your next travel destination, we suggest paying a visit to Japan. Due to a culture that emphasizes quality, simplicity, and precision, it’s no wonder that the cuisine would follow suit. Here are the 6 Michelin starred restaurants you have to try.

From the kimono-clad geisha wait staff and the wooden counter (supposedly taken from a 300-year-old cypress tree) to the private tatami dining rooms, Ishikawa has all the trappings of a Kyoto-style kaiseki restaurant. Hideki Ishikawa’s cuisine is bound only by his imagination. In spring, wild vegetables and wagyu is prepared in a small pot; ayu in the summer is grilled, and the head, tailfin and backbone are deep-fried; matsutake in autumn is either chargrilled or served in nimono soup with hamo. Guests can take advantage of the special seating area ‘counter seats’ which are in front of the owner-chef.

Owner-chef Hiroyuki Kanda creates dishes bursting with originality yet is sensitive to the preferences of his customers and pleases them by adjusting tastes and even portions. Sake and wine are paired with items such as Japanese-style beef cheeks simmered in red wine and sukiyaki eaten with eggs whisked like snow. Vegetables are often used in the soups, including broad beans in spring, corn in summer and ginkgo in autumn. Cuisine varies according to the ingredients and the client’s requirements.

Since opening in 2003, the kaiseki restaurant Ginza Kojyu has exceeded all expectations with its fresh seasonal menu, sixty different wines, Shizouka brewed sake and shochu. Savour the authentic Japanese flavours over multiple courses. The three-Michelin-starred venue is particularly small and is well known for its value for money, so booking in advance is highly recommended.

Head chef Seiji Yamamoto ensures his restaurant ‘pursues the possibilities of Japanese cuisine’. Yamamoto values creative cuisine that stimulates each sense, so much so that he insists customers avoid wearing strong perfumes as it may interfere with the overall dining experience. Yamamoto’s reputation has led to him lecturing at various academies and expositions worldwide, sharing his passion for Japanese cuisine. Nihonryori RyuGin pioneers a progressive approach to Japanese food, combining this with an authentic dining experience.

Located in the hip Kagurazaka neighbourhood in Tokyo, Kohaku has been awarded its third Michelin star. The head chef Koji Koizumi, offers a dining experience that features many of the elements of culinary and ceremonial precision that the Japanese culture is celebrated for. From traditional Japanese dishes tinged with simple tweaks in spices to the carefully thought-out table settings, Kohaku is a dining experience to savour. Most of the menu focuses on kaiseki meals, which are elevated, multi-course dinners traditional in this area of the city. You can enjoy a meal here for a relatively reasonable price.