Japanese cuisine receives Michelin-star honors in Tokyo. // © 2013 Thinkstock
Michelin, the popular travel and restaurant guide, has recently confirmed that Tokyo has once again taken top marks as a culinary destination. The Japanese capital and surrounding area features more Michelin stars than any other city in the world, including Paris, where the guides are published.
The Michelin Guide Tokyo Yokohama Shonan 2014 offers a selection of the best restaurants, “ryokans” (traditional inns) and hotels in three areas. The guide, only available in Japanese, includes a total of 504 establishments, of which 438 are restaurants, 54 are hotels and 12 are ryokans.
In this year’s guide, the 7th edition for the Tokyo area, 14 restaurants in Tokyo and Shonan maintain their three-star rating. A Michelin three-star rating is considered the ultimate international recognition in the culinary world, with just slightly more than one hundred restaurants around the world holding this prized distinction.
“We are pleased to award new restaurants in Tokyo,” said Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guides. “With 14 three-star restaurants, Tokyo proves how dynamic Japanese gastronomy is today.”
In this edition, three new restaurants, all located in Tokyo, were inducted into the guide’s two-star category, while three restaurants were promoted from one star to two stars (two are situated in Tokyo and one in Shonan). Also notable, one new Korean restaurant in Tokyo has joined the two-star selection. There are now two Korean restaurants in Tokyo with two stars, which are the only Korean food entries included in any Michelin guide. In total, the 2014 guide counts 59 two-star restaurants.
The new Michelin guide also includes 208 restaurants with one star. Among them, 15 restaurants join the selection for the first time, 14 of which are located in Tokyo and 1 in Yokohama.
The Michelin Guide ensures a consistent selection by awarding stars based on the same criteria in all the countries it covers, so that the stars have the same value at Michelin-rated restaurants all over the world.
Washoku to Receive World Heritage Listing
In more Japanese culinary news, the traditional Japanese cuisine known as “washoku” was recently added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Washoku joins 21 other important Japanese cultural assets including kabuki, noh and traditional Ainu dance, that are already recognized by UNESCO.
Factors that made washoku eligible for this prestigious listing are a focus on seasonal ingredients, the cuisine’s unique taste, its time-consuming preparation and being a style of eating developed through centuries of tradition.