i love to eat and travel and document as much of it as i can.

kikunoi, kyoto.

kikunoi, kyoto.

kyoto is one of my favorite cities in the world. i love the slower pace compared to tokyo, and all the history and tradition that feels very interwoven into everyday, modern life. where better to partake in our very first three michelin star experience than at kikunoi? serving kaiseki, the pinnacle of traditional japanese fine dining, helmed by yoshihiro murata, the third generation owner, and boasting three michelin stars, it was one of the experiences i was most looking forward to during our time in japan.

as one would expect from a three michelin star restaurant, both the food and service were impeccable. we were in a completely private tatami dining room, with our own server shuffling in each course. kaiseki is intricate and has general rules for its many courses, but i'm not well versed in it at all. luckily, they presented chef murata's book which explained that kaiseki is "eating the seasons" as well as having descriptions of each course and how they change throughout the year.

salad of marinated young spanish mackerel, onion fennel, ginger petal.

assortment of appetizers: tai sushi (red sea bream) with kinome (prickly ash leaf bud); grilled squid with seaweed and egg yolk; fava beans; salt-pickled "firefly" squid; mountain yam and egg yolk "butterfly"; poached egg-bearing octopus; yurine (lily bulb) petal with salmon roe; udo stalk petals; skewer of abalone, prawn, avocado.

the plating and presentation of each dish was intricate and beautiful, and the hyper seasonal ingredients were so, so fresh. the second course with all the different bites of seafood and vegetables was my favorite of the night. as delicious as it was pretty!

sashimi of tai, spiny lobster, wasabi, suizenji seaweed jelly, curled udo stalk and carrot, mixed sprouts.

sashimi of cuttlefish; entrails and soy-marinated egg yolk sauce.

steamed tilefish, sticky rice, bamboo shoot, cherry leaf, bracken fern heads, toasted rice crackers, ginger juice.

grilled smoked ocean trout; duck breast.

grilled bamboo shoot, salted sansho pepper oil, salt and seville orange.

another standout from the evening was the grilled bamboo and the bamboo shoot rice. i don't think i've ever had bamboo that fresh before - it was amazing! 

strawberry-wasabi sorbet.

shark fin, soft-shell turtle, bamboo shoot, grilled naganegi onion, ginger.

mixing and serving of bamboo shoot rice.

bamboo shoot rice, kinome herb; salt-pickled rapini, pickled daikon radish, salt-cured giant kelp.

green pea soup, deep fried shrimp dumpling, udo stalk.

almond ice cream, mango soup.

nothing i could say, or even the pictures i took, could do this meal justice. it was a truly new and unique experience for both of us, and a highlight of our trip.

kyoto coffee & eats.

kyoto coffee & eats.

hakone & osaka.

hakone & osaka.