What is Kaiseki

image of Kaiseki

Kaiseki ryori is a traditional and authentic Japanese cuisine comparable to Western-style ‘haute cuisine’ in terms of quality. This top class gourmet originates from tea ceremony and monastery culinary style of the early Zen Buddhists and found its way through the lavish dining traditions of the Japanese Imperial Court. Over the years, kaiseki evolved into a multi-course meal enjoyed by the elite. It is a dining experience that puts together the best of authentic Japanese cooking. Travelers who would like to try the most luxurious Japanese dining experience must definitely visit one of Japan’s most popular kaiseki restaurants.

It should be mentioned that dining in one of these restaurants is not a walk in the park. Apart from the expensive bill that you will surely receive after your meal, reservations for these restaurants involves a complicated process. Making your reservations through Voyagin will make things easier for you. Apart from this, you will receive expert advice from our reservations specialists to help you plan your best Japanese dining experience.

To help you further, we picked the top five kaiseki restaurants in Tokyo we recommend based on popularity,
customer satisfaction, Michelin-rating, location, and, of course, our insider knowledge.

The Best Kaiseki Restaurants in Tokyo

  • Ishikawa Kagurazaka 神楽坂 石かわ

    photo of Ishikawa
    Michelin Stars star bright star bright star bright

    Located in the little alleys of the attractive Kagurazaka hill in the heart of Tokyo, this restaurant is famous for being chosen as one of Asia’s Top 50 restaurants by William Reed business media. Due to this, it has been gaining much attention locally and overseas.

    “Great service, a sense of place, ingredients of the highest quality and more importantly, a great sense of taste” Michelin Star Food Findings (food blog)

  • Ryugin 龍吟

    photo of Kikunoi
    Michelin Stars star bright star bright star bright

    Head chef Seiji Yamamoto believes that Japanese cuisine represents the richness of Japan and the richness of its ingredients. The restaurant picks the choicest ingredients and presents its dishes with the right balance, perfect harmony, and attention to detail. Indeed, it deserves its place as one of the top kaiseki restaurants in Tokyo.

    “On my second visit to Ryugin I retain my impression that this is a world class restaurant, the chef taking traditional Japanese cooking and adapting it a little to take advantage of modern cooking techniques” Andy Hayler, food blogger

  • Kikunoi 菊乃井

    photo of Kikunoi
    Michelin Stars star bright star bright

    The long and glamorous history of this famed restaurant is part of its appeal. Chef and owner Yoshihiro Murata’s family has been managing the restaurant for two generations. Their ancestor once served as tea server to the spouse of the great feudal lord, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The restaurant blends best its cuisine to the four seasons of Japan.

    “Our kaiseki meal was absolutely perfect. The food was truly spectacular, both in taste and in presentation”

    Terence of Hungry for Points (food blog)

  • Kikuchi き久ち

    photo of kikuchi
    Michelin Stars star bright star bright

    Located in a quiet residential area, Nishi-Azabu Kikuchi serves traditional “Kaiseki” cuisine of seasonal ingredients and shows you how basic simple dishes shine when prepared by the hand of a culinary master. Enjoy a meal at this epicurean restaurant, also known as a cozy “hiding place” in Tokyo.

    “What looked like a simple dinner with simple dishes required hours of preparation and magnificent skills. Chef Kikuchi has achieved this from many years of training and experience to become a true Kappou Master.” JOIE DE VIVRE, travel & food blogger

  • Daigo 醍醐

    photo of daigo
    Michelin Stars star bright star bright

    This restaurant specializes in Shojin-ryori, a cuisine that is meat-free and utilizes the appreciation for simple food. Its dishes are served with great attention to flavour by using seasonal ingredients.

    “This was far superior to many Three-starred establishments we had collectively visited. If Daigo isn’t on your list then I would strongly urge you to add it.” Dining without borders (food blog)


Course Elements

Sakizuke 先附

Appetizer that usually comes with sake (Japanese rice wine)

Hassun 八寸

Several side dishes (usually 3, 5 or 7) prepared with seasonal ingredients

Mukozuke 向付

Sashimi (fresh raw seafood) served with dipping sauce

Hassun 椀物

Soup dish that usually contains fresh seafood and vegetables

Yakimono 焼物

Grilled dish (fish or meat) seasoned with salt or coated with sauce

Nimono or Takiawase 煮物 煮合

Simmered vegetables with seafood, meat or tofu cooked in a pot

Hanmono 食事

The final meal consisting of rice, pickled vegetables, and a bowl of soup

Mizumono 水物

Desserts mainly seasonal fruits or confectionaries