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Apr 9, 2009 01:27 AM

Michelin Osaka/Kyoto

A foodie friend told me that Michelin will publish on October for Osaka and Kyoto area. Can anyone verify this news?

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  1. A Tokyo chef friend of mine has said that his Kyoto colleagues were approached to be included in the Kyoto book.

    2 Replies
    1. Great news! I'll only have 5 months or so left in the area after it comes out, but I can try to sneak in as many restaurants as I can!

      I'm going to try to make reservations for Kahala now, though, and maybe Momen. It might get even more difficult later!

      1. I'm going to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Kyoto in May. I'm hitting lots of the 3 star places in the former two, and was wondering which restaurants people think we get 3 stars in Kyoto or Osaka - its likely I wont return for a while.

        1 Reply
        1. re: olly78

          If they allow it, Kahala in Osaka stands a good chance, but it's a very small place, and they might not want to be included.

          In Kyoto, a lot of the old kaiseki places (the main branches) like Hyotei, Roan Kikunoi, Kitcho, etc.

          I think Ten-you (tempura) in Kyoto might make it, though if it did, it would be 1-star. It's owned by the Tawaraya Ryokan people, so they really pay attention to quality, but I sometimes find the service to be less than perfect.

        2. Any updates? The Japanese version is due out October 16, but the English version won't be out until January (according to

          I'm hoping for a leak or two, so I can make some fast reservations!

          7 Replies
          1. re: prasantrin

            Any favourites for Kyoto restaurants please ? Need to go in November . Only booked Yoshikawa tempura and Arashimaya kitcho , Mishima -tei for sukiyaki.

            1. re: shrimpwonton

              There are plenty of threads with Kyoto recs, including my own.

              I'd rather go to Ten-you than Yoshikawa for tempura.

            2. re: prasantrin

              They said the same thing about the English version of the Tokyo edition when it first came out, but then it ended up actually coming out at the same time as the Japanese version.

              1. re: Robb S

                I'll look out for it, but I'm still hoping for some leaks! :-)

                1. re: prasantrin

                  It's definitely coming out, should be in October. I interviewed Jean-Luc Naret, Michelin's director, about it in the spring.

                  1. re: tokyodrinkingglass

                    He said the English version was coming in October? Not January, as his company announced?

                    1. re: Robb S

                      On the Michelin Web site, there is an annonce as below :

                      *** translation (approximately) ***
                      26 sorts of guides Michelin in 23 countries are now published. The " Michelin guide Kyoto - Osaka " , 2 sorts will be published in a Japanese version and on an English version and becomes the 27th and the 28th edition of the guide Michelin in October, 2009.
                      The link to the web site MICHELIN :

            3. Michelin Guide gave top billing 3 star rating to six restaurants in Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto and one in Osaka:

              Kyoto outlets awarded three stars:
              Chihana -- traditional Japanese
              Hyo-tei -- traditional Japanese
              Kikunoi Honten -- traditional Japanese
              Kitcho Arashiyama Honten -- traditional Japanese Mizai -- traditional
              Japanese Tsuruya -- traditional Japanese

              Osaka outlet/s awarded three stars:
              Hajime -- French

              13 Replies
              1. re: FourSeasons

                So they've only announced the 3-stars for now?

                I found these quotations interesting:

                "Kyoto won a combined 110 stars, shared among 85 restaurants and traditional hotels, known as “ryokans,” while Osaka had 79 stars among 65 restaurants, Michelin said in a statement. "

                That's 189 stars total for Osaka and Kyoto, a total population of 4 073 000. Tokyo has 227 stars for a population of 12 000 000. Per capita, Osaka and Kyoto have more stars than Tokyo.

                "'In Kyoto, we selected restaurants which offer excellent dishes by inheriting and developing culinary tradition in Kyoto,” said Jean-Luc Naret, director of Michelin Guides, in an e-mailed statement. In Osaka, Michelin found “creative and original cuisine,' he said. "

                Does this mean most of the restaurants they reviewed in Kyoto will be traditional Japanese places? That would be unfortunate.

                I wonder if a lot of restaurants in Osaka turned down the opportunity to be in the guide. Kappo restaurants are quite small, and can't handle much more business than they already get (nor do they need much more business than they already get).

                Kobe is due out 2011. Seems silly to me to offer a separate guide for Kobe. There's no way Kobe will get more stars than either Kyoto or Osaka.

                In case anyone was wondering, no okonomiyaki places made it into the guide. :-)

                1. re: prasantrin

                  According to the folks at Michelin, restaurants aren't given the option of turning down being in the guide, although they can refuse permission to be photographed. I doubt that that's something Michelin would lie about - it would be too easy to catch them.

                  1. re: Robb S

                    But in the first Tokyo guide, much ado was made about some restaurants refusing to be in the guide.

                    "A handful of chefs proudly proclaimed that they had turned down chances to be listed. One, Toshiya Kadowaki, said his nouveau Japonais dishes, including a French-inspired rice with truffles, did not need a Gallic seal of approval."

                    Kadowaki wasn't in the first guide, iirc, but he was in the 2008 one.

                    I found this quotation:
                    "Mr. Naret said a few places did turn down ratings, which they could do by refusing Michelin permission to take photographs for use in the guide."

                    So it sounds like if you refuse permission to be photographed, you are essentially refusing to be in the guide.

                    1. re: prasantrin

                      Naret has said elsewhere that the decision to be included in the guide is not up to the restaurant. (Here's one example: ) And when a colleague of mine interviewed him, he said the same thing. (He also said that they have included restaurants that didn't allow photos to be taken.)

                      1. re: Robb S

                        Well then he's telling different stories to different people, and personally, I believe the quotation I posted, only because it's well known that Kadowaki turned down the chance to be included in the first Tokyo book.

               is where I got the second quotation from (it's on the second page, and also mentions that Kitcho turned down a chance to be in the guide the first year).

                        1. re: prasantrin

                          Returning to this topic to beat a dead horse (and address a question above) - apparently 18 restaurants in the Kyoto/Osaka Michelin guide refused permission to photograph, and they were included anyway.

                          1. re: Robb S

                            The horse isn't quite dead, yet. ;-D

                            I especially liked this quotation (emphasis ** mine):
                            The owner of Rikichi, awarded 1 star, comments, “Someone from Michelin contacted us for an interview which I declined. And this is what the person said – that so long as we operate a restaurant, it is a given that we should be evaluated. **Seriously, who cares?** Our only concern is our customers, whether they come from next door, who dine at our restaurant and enjoy our food.”

                            Any idea why Tawaraya didn't make the guide?

                            1. re: prasantrin

                              So, this list of restaurants is made public. It sounds normal, a bit of transparency in selection (choosen as stared) can not hurt…

                              1. re: Ninisix

                                It is the classification Michelin (“”Mimi””) after all. That the visited restaurants don`t have all their ‘’carrot’’ seems also normal.
                                One “’truth”’ transparency would be to publish all the estimated places, then listed those who refused their appointment … Having said that, it makes quite a time they have their method of selection, not need to go into this debate with no information. The “”Mimi”” should be judged on the quality of its information, including the balance between country, not on the rumours on their selection mode.

                              2. re: prasantrin

                                I stayed at the tawaraya, hiiragiya and kanamean in january, and tawaraya was my favorite food-wise. I also wondered why it wasn't awarded a star for food, while the other two were. The food was perhaps too minimalist and too traditional for their tastes?

                  2. re: FourSeasons

                    Interesting. I've been to all of them, and Hyotei is my favorite, by far.

                    1. re: Uncle Yabai

                      Hi Uncle Yabai,

                      I love Hyotei as well. :) Thanks for the reminder. What would be your 2nd favorite in Kyoto? Thanks.

                    2. re: FourSeasons

                      Hi FourSeasons,

                      Thanks for the info. :) Happy to see Hyotei make it to the list. Have you tried any of the other places? If so, how were they?