Japan’s top culinary
Unesco recently added Japanese cuisine – known in Japan as washoku – to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list. This puts it equal to French cuisine, the only other national culinary tradition to be so honoured. A journey around Japan reveals the wisdom of Unesco’s decision: every corner of the country boasts something special to eat or drink. Join our tour of Japan’s top 10 gourmet destinations to discover the many flavours of washoku.
Tsukiji by Jonathan Lin. CC BY 2.0.
For at least a century before Japan’s capital snagged more Michelin restaurant guide stars than any other city in the world, Tokyo has been playing at the top of its food game. The dish that the world knows as sushi – tantalising cuts of raw fish draped across pads of vinegared rice – was invented here, where it’s known as Edomae-zushi, after Edo, the old name for Tokyo. And where better to sample sushi than at the stalls within Tsukiji (www.tsukiji-market.or.jp). Hurry, though, as the famed.
Kaiseki-ryōri by Charlotte Marillet. CC BY 2.0.
A visit to Japan’s beguiling ancient capital isn’t complete until you’ve treated yourself to kaiseki-ryōri, a multi-course banquet of seasonal delicacies that’s a feast for the eyes; try it at the 400-year-old restaurant Nakamura-rō in Gion. You can also dig into a vegetarian version of the banquet, known as shojin-ryōri at Izusen (http://kyoto-izusen.com), which faces on to a serene garden in the temple Daiji-in. The subtle mixture of tastes and textures and the artistry of presentation will linger long after you’ve cleared the exquisite lacquerware and china bowls in which the food is served.
Chang Yang is a Traveler/Renter and a great contributor of publications on experiences and destinations.