Japanese Haute Cuisine: Kaiseki Ryori | 精緻的日本傳統美食:懷石料理

Japanese Haute Cuisine: Kaiseki Ryori | 精緻的日本傳統美食:懷石料理

For many visitors to Japan, food is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating aspects of this friendly and beautiful country. Japanese cuisine is much more than just sushi, tempura and miso soup, and no matter the region or season, you can always find something fresh and delicious to satisfy your tastebuds. 

Best of all, the current weak yen is also making eating out - and eating well - a much more affordable experience than in the past. 

Last spring, I visited Kyoto and stayed at a quaint little ryokan on Nene no Michi in the temple-filled Higashiyama district, where I had my first experience of kaiseki ryori -- the Japanese version of haute cuisine. Being waited on by our graceful, kimono-clad hostess while enjoying the most visually pleasing (and seemingly endless) dishes of the chef's creation was an endearing highlight of that trip. 

This winter, I chose Motonago again for our family trip to Kyoto and reserved dinner and breakfast during our stay. It was exciting to share the experience with my parents who have had much more exposure to Japanese cuisine living in Taiwan, and get their verdict on the meal that drew me back.

Kaiseki ryori originated centuries ago in Kyoto (then Japan's capital) as a simple meal served at the tea ceremony and later evolved into an elaborate dining ritual favored by aristocrats. Today's it's widely considered Japan's finest style of cooking. 

Our elaborate dinner menu. 這是我們懷石料理的菜單。

The multi-course dinner comprises a series of meticulously presented small dishes inspired by the season, with colors, textures, and tableware to match. Fresh flowers are often used as decoration, injecting freshness and vibrancy to each course. 

Our dinner was everything we'd hoped for. Delicious meal, stunning presentation, along with the best company one can ask for in the world, Motonago had certainly delivered another triumph. 


Motonago ryokan occupies a hundred-year-old wooden building in Kyoto's historic Higashiyama district. 元奈古旅館位於京都有許多代表性寺院、神社的東山區。© Eileen Hsieh





Our Kaiseki Ryori Menu



Aperitif 食前酒

First appetizer 先附

Main appetizer 前菜

Fresh slices of raw fish 向附


Boiled and seasoned food 蓋物

One pot dish 台物

Broiled fish 燒皿

Hot food 溫物

Fried food 揚汁物

Vinegary delicacies 酢鉢


Miso soup 止椀

Rice 御飯

Pickled vegetables 香物


Prepping for tea. #matcha #kyoto #ryokan

A photo posted by Follow That Bug (@followthatbug) on


Kyoto Ryokan 京都旅館


〒605-0072 京都府京都市東山区 高台寺道鷲尾町51

511 Washio-cho, Higashiyama-ku

Nene no Michi, Kyoto 605-0072

Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

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