If you are looking for an indulgent getaway, Japan can offer just that. Imagine staying in a top quality ryokan, enjoying a relaxing soak in a private hot spring with a view of the mountains or city, followed by a delectable Japanese meal brought to your room, while your bed is made.
Kaiseki is the ultimate style of Japanese haute cuisine and both the preparation methods and presentation have been refined to perfection. Imbuing dishes with a seasonal feel and bringing out the natural flavours of the ingredients are of high importance. This means that only seasonal ingredients passing intense scrutiny are used to prepare each dish. Some examples are springtime takenoko (bamboo shoots), autumn matsutake mushrooms, and early summer katsuo (bonito).
Though each individual course is served as a small portion, the color and combination of ingredients, the way the ingredients have been sliced and arranged, and the tableware all express the aesthetics of Japanese culture. Most Kaiseki restaurants will have straw tatami mat lined private rooms, and everything is planned out with care down to every aspect, including the furnishings and decorative flowers. This kind of atmosphere is based in the spirit of traditional Japanese sado (the way of tea). In fact, kaiseki cuisine originally referred to the food served before receiving tea at a tea ceremony. A deep admiration of the seasons and warm thoughtfulness towards the customer reflects a sense of aesthetics that prizes tranquility and simplicity — the very spirit of “wabi” (a sense of purity in simplicity) treasured in sado (the way of tea).
- Akasaka Kikunoi – 2 star Michelin restaurant (2010) serving Kyoto kaiseki cuisine in a tea-house setting
- Hifumi-an – 1 star Michelin restaurant (2010) serving kaiseki cuisine in a cozy household-style setting