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"Western" Kaiseki Restaurants


robyn
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Since I'm very interested in food - I would like to have some "kaiseki" meals in Japan for a few reasons (among them - the meal's historical significance in terms of influencing European and US chefs to develop the concept of tasting menus). I understand that many of these restaurants are quite traditional - and that presents 2 problems. First - my husband wears a huge knee brace (his knee is shot after years of running) - and there is no way he can sit cross-legged on the floor. Second - I am very nervous about going to any expensive restaurant which only takes cash (will spend all afternoon worrying how much I should take - I am not used to thinking about carrying cash).

We will be in Tokyo and Osaka and Kyoto and I wonder if there are any excellent kaiseki restaurants you can recommend where we can sit "western style" and use credit cards? Robyn

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Since I'm very interested in food - I would like to have some "kaiseki" meals in Japan for a few reasons (among them - the meal's historical significance in terms of influencing European and US chefs to develop the concept of tasting menus). I understand that many of these restaurants are quite traditional - and that presents 2 problems. First - my husband wears a huge knee brace (his knee is shot after years of running) - and there is no way he can sit cross-legged on the floor. Second - I am very nervous about going to any expensive restaurant which only takes cash (will spend all afternoon worrying how much I should take - I am not used to thinking about carrying cash).

We will be in Tokyo and Osaka and Kyoto and I wonder if there are any excellent kaiseki restaurants you can recommend where we can sit "western style" and use credit cards? Robyn

Kitcho has a branch at Granvia Hotel in Kyoto which has western-style seating (at least the pictures have western seatingin them). Because it's located in the hotel, I'm fairly certain they take credit cards. (The restaurant website link on that page takes you to their Japanese website, best to click on the Arashiyama link below for English).

Their main branch in Arashiyama also takes credit cards, but I'm not sure they have western-style seating. They do have an English inquiry form on their Arashiyama branch website, so there would be no harm in asking. I would much prefer to go to their Arashiyama Branch--the setting looks beautiful (plus you could make a day out of it--sightseeing around Arashiyama, and lunch or dinner at Kitcho).

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Kitcho has a branch at Granvia Hotel in Kyoto which has western-style seating (at least the pictures have western seatingin them).  Because it's located in the hotel, I'm fairly certain they take credit cards.  (The restaurant website link on that page takes you to their Japanese website, best to click on the Arashiyama link below for English). 

Their main branch in Arashiyama also takes credit cards, but I'm not sure they have western-style seating.  They do have an English inquiry form on their Arashiyama branch website, so there would be no harm in asking.  I would much prefer to go to their Arashiyama Branch--the setting looks beautiful (plus you could make a day out of it--sightseeing around Arashiyama, and lunch or dinner at Kitcho).

Thanks. I had actually found Kitcho on my own. Seems like the Kitcho in Arashimaya is kind of like The French Laundry of Japan (very very famous). I will probably ask the concierge about it when I get the hotel in Tokyo. Robyn

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You could try Kozue in the Park Hyatt (Shinjuku), it is probably one of the most famous Japanes restaurants in the city. Being in a major hotel they take any credit cards and seating is all western.

Tokto Food Page review

One thing I've read about dining in Japan is that some of the best eating *is* in hotel restaurants. Which is very different than what one would expect in the United States. So I will have to get over my prejudices. Kozue was one of the restaurants featured in "Twelve Restaurants in Tokyo" published in the Art of Eating. Very interesting writeup. So it is definitely on my radar screen. Robyn

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Kinmata in Kawaramachi in Kyoto has a Western-style room; the food is first-rate, and much cheaper than the main Kitcho (Y16,000 vs. Y40,000).

The food at Roan Kikunoi is also very good and inventive, and they have counter service. They're also centrally located in Kawaramachi.

I haven't eaten at Doi (near Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto), but apparently their "table kaiseki" is a bargain compared to tatami service (Y9000 vs. Y25,000).

Your hotel might be able to help you request table or counter seats as opposed to tatami seats when you reserve. Here's a list of several kaiseki choices in Kyoto (scroll down to the Kaiseki section): Kyoto-ryori at Kansai Food Page

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