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Kaiseki: At the Crossroads of Food and Art

When I worked at Apple, Steve Jobs talked about making products that were at the crossroads of liberal arts and technology. The idea is to take the best of two domains to create something extraordinary. Kaiseki does just that. It takes the best of the food world—fresh ingredients combined in a complementary manner—and the best artistic aesthetic both in the presentation of the food and the plates upon which the culinary creations sit. Kaiseki transcends food as a necessity and gives us a reason to appreciate life and the bounty of fresh ingredients that the Earth provides.

Last night I had the pleasure of experiencing a Kaiseki dinner at the Ryokan in which I'm staying. Robed in Yukata, ten of us were seated in a large private room. Then our culinary adventure began. There are no words adequate to describe the amazing flavors. Instead, you can read the menu, look at the images, and imagine the flavors.

Kaiseki Autumn Menu at Otozure

Head Chef Junichi Takeda


Yuzu Liquor

Deep-fried Tofu Balls in Thickened Soup

Chestnuts, Gingko Nuts, Kikurage Black Mushrooms, Yoga Ginger, Potherb Mustard Greens, Ginger

Fuyu Persimmon with Mashed Tofu Dressing, Nontagro Black Soy Beans, Pine Nuts, Edible Chrysanthemums


Minced Lotus Root Balls

Prawn, Maitake Mushroom, Japanese Parsley, Yuzu Citrus

Sashimi and Vegetables

White-flesh Fish of the Day

Tosa Bonito Soy Sauce, Marusan (local) Soy Sauce

Fugu Pufferfish Sashimi, Pufferfish in Savory Jelly

Green Onion, Ponzu Sauce Sudachi Citrus, Grated Daikon Radish with Chili Peppers

Hot Pot Dish

Bungo-gyu Beef Sukiyaki

Hot Spring Egg (for dipping)

Cold Dish

Yamaguchi's Original Vegetable Hanaccoli

Taro, Salmon Roe, Bonito Stock Vinegar Gelee

Deep Fried Dish

Fugu Puffer with Lemon

Rice Course

New Rice from Sasanami Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Red Miso Soup, Wake Seaweed, Mushrooms, Sansho Japanese Pepper Powder

Assorted Japanese Pickles, Wagyu with Dried Young Sardines


Tangerines, Muscat

Black Sugar Pudding, Walnuts Boiled in Honey

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