We couldn’t leave the ancient city of Kyoto without celebrating the summer season with a traditional kaiseki at Roan Kikunoi, a two-Michelin-star restaurant located in Shijo-Kiyamachi. Considered one of the city´s most revered shrines, the 10-seat kappo-style ryotei (fine Japanese restaurant) is famed for its kaiseki excellence.
The origin of Kaiseki is very interesting. The Kai means “bosom” and Seki ” stone”. The terms comes from the stones that Zen monks used to place in the folds of their robes to ward off hunger during their morning and afternoon prayers.
From its humble origins, kaiseki has evolved into a highly refined style of dining. Bringing together exquisite yet rare ingredients, the chef artfully creates jewel-like dishes which sublimely reflect the atmosphere and flavors of the seasons.
Known as “Kyo-kaiseki”, Kikunoi´s cuisine brings the best of Japan´s four seasons. Kyo-kaiseki is based on Kyoto´s traditional local cuisine and represents a highly stylized manifestation of the principles of in-season produce and enjoyment of seasonal variation.
According to Yoshihiro Murata, the third-generation owner-chef of Kikunoi and one of the world´s most Michelin garlanded chefs, Kaiseki is all about enjoyment and has to be experienced by all the senses.
Once we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by an elegant kimono-clad hostess who kindly invited us to remove our shoes. We followed her and took a seat at the counter. Then, a young chef poured flavorful sake into a golden cup to help us settle in. Next, a fine handmade menu with detailed descriptions of each dish was placed before us.
The sublime parade of poetic courses was about to start…
This course sets the seasonal theme and consists of one kind of sushi accompanied by several smaller dishes. The visual beauty and subtlety of taste make the dish unique.
Kamonazu (kyoto indigenous eggplants)
Myouga (Japanese ginger)
Takagamine- Tougarashi (Kyoto-indigenousseet pepper), light soy sauce gel.
Yuba, Sandomame, Yuzu
Prawn, sweet potato, corn eggplant
A young skillful chef showing us the impeccable freshness of the fish.
Tai (red sea bream), Korshibi (baby tuna), Wasabi
Rice with Lotus root & Edamame (green soybeans)
Mangannji-Tougarashi (Kyoto-indigenous sweet pepper) soup, lotus root dumpling
Black sesame jelly
For lunch, you get a choice between three set menus. The prices are 4,000 yen 7,000 yen and 10,000 yen (taxes & service charges excluded). We had the entry level meal which was absolutely satisfying.
Roan Kikunoi does not take online reservations, in order to book a table you will have to do it through your hotel concierge.
118 Saito-cho, Shijo-sagaru,
Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 600-8012