Updated: August 05, 2019
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3-Star Michelin Kyokaiseki Restaurant in Kyoto: Kichisen 吉泉

Kyoto City

Kichisen is one of just seven restaurants in Kyoto to have earned 3 Michelin Stars. The restaurant serves an extravagant and visually stunning Kyokaiseki course. For those seeking to experience the very best of Kyoto's cuisine, Kichisen is about as good as it gets.

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Kichisen: Kyokaiseki worthy of 3 Michelin Stars

As of writing, there are a staggering 103 Michelin-Starred restaurants in Kyoto. However, only 7 of those have earned the most prestigious honor of 3 Michelin stars. Kichisen is one such restaurant, serving kyokaiseki, which is said to be the ultimate form of Japanese cooking. A visually stunning and elaborate course of small, beautiful dishes featuring seasonal ingredients awaits those lucky enough to dine here.
The owner and chef of Kichisen, Yoshimi Tanigawa began his career as a chef when he was just 15 years old. After gaining experience working under many talented chefs, he finally opened his own restaurant, Kichisen, inside of a hotel when he was just 31. 2 years later in 1985, the restaurant moved to its current location, where it has since earned great acclaim. From the years 2010 to 2013, the restaurant was awarded two michelin stars, but since 2014, Kichisen has been awarded three Michelin stars every year.
The food served at Kichisen has touches of modern technique and flavor combinations, but is authentically Japanese and respects the tradition of kyokaiseki cuisine. Kyokaiseki is traditionally a vegetarian affair, but high quality meat finds its way into some of the dishes served at Kichisen. Every dish is presented in a beautiful and sometimes fantastic fashion and is an absolute treat to eat.
Lunch and dinner courses range in price from ¥18,000 to ¥31,000, depending on how extravagant you want to go.

Visiting Kichisen

It is recommended that reservations be made at least a month in advance. If you don't speak Japanese, you can use the link below to get assistance with your reservation.

Kichisen is a bit far from a station, so the best way to access it is via taxi. It's about a 15-minute taxi ride from Kyoto Station or just a 5-minute ride from Imadegawa Station.

Note: although there are many more outstanding reviews for the restaurant than poor ones, it should be noted that there are quite a few reviews on English review sites reporting a negative experience at Kichisen. A few tips to avoid a negative experience include arriving 10 minutes early (but no earlier as there is no waiting space inside), following the guidance of the server, and focusing on the meal (don't expect to hang out and chat with your party).
I live in west Tokyo and spend most of my time thinking about food or going bouldering.

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