Tokyo, Michelin’s Global Center of Gourmet Dining

If you did not have enough reasons to travel to Tokyo and enjoy a unique vacation in this landmark Asian city, here’s a delicious one to add to your list: Tokyo is once again Michelin’s poster child for gourmet dining. This year the Michelin guide awarded it more stars than any other city, and it’s not a first, it’s the fourth year in a row when Tokyo is recognized as gourmet dining center of the world.

Tokyo restaurants received more top awards than last year, 14 of them being given the coveted three-star rating, which Michelin defines as “exceptional cuisine, worth a journey,” of which twelve serve Japanese cuisine and two specialize in French cooking. The new ratings were published in the latest edition the Michelin restaurant guide for Japan’s capital, launched on Wednesday.

Tokyo’s three-star Japanese restaurants are Araki, Esaki, Hamadaya, Ishikawa, Kanda, Koju, 7chome Kyobashi, Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten, Sushi Mizutani, Sushi Saito, Usukifugu Yamadaya and Yukimura. The French restaurants are Joel Robuchon and Quintessence. Another three restaurants were promoted from two to three stars, among them Usukifugu Yamadaya, renowned for its fugu, puffer fish that can become a deadly meal if improperly prepared.

With a total of 240 starred Tokyo restaurants, 52 received two stars and 174 received one star. Paris, where ten restaurants received three-star ratings, making it the first runner up to Tokyo, had only 64 starred restaurants.

The award is especially respected in Japan, one of the world’s most food-obsessed nations, where diners are willing to wait in long lines and pay high prices.
“Restaurants here really focus on what they can do well, they really specialize. It takes time and it takes precision as well,” Jean-Luc Naret, global director of the Michelin guides, told Reuters, noting the wide range of Japanese food.

New additions to the Michelin guide include references to Japanese beef cuisine and even less pretentious and quite common food such as tonkatsu, fried pork cutlets Japanese-style.

“I think Japan is one country where you see the chef trying every day to do better than the day before with the same materials and methods. They definitely try to excel,” Naret said.

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