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“Fresh, seasonal and beautiful traditional kaiseki meal”
Review of Kichisen

Kichisen
Ranked #513 of 14,286 Restaurants in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighborhood: City Center
Reviewed November 27, 2013

Kichisen offers not just a meal but an amazing experience. It was by far the most fresh, seasonal and beautiful meal the three of us had ever had. We went in the fall and it was so representative of the season with red, orange and yellow leaves garnishing the dishes full of mushrooms, all of which were delicious. I will say that you need to have an adventurous soul and be open to eating anything to go here which we were and we had many things we have never had before. We got a private room and sat at tables which was also wonderful as my husband is very tall so it was nice that they were accommodating. Overall, the interactive experience was one that we will remember forever, not because the food was mind blowing but because of the delicious simplicity and beauty...it isn't heavy and really celebrates the ingredients. The only thing that could have been improved was a bit more explanation of what we were eating and the chef's inspiration. After the meal, we got a paper with some explanation and it was wonderful so I wish there was a bit more of that during the meal. Other than that though, if you can afford it, it is a must do while in Kyoto.

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Thank Shelliu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 - 61 of 81 reviews

Reviewed November 2, 2013

We selected Kichisen because we understood it offered a very traditional kaiseki meal, which we preferred to some that apparently offered a more modern approach. We also booked about two months out, so keep that in mind, particularly because most of these restaurants serve a very small number of guests each night. One interesting note about Kichisen is that its chef appeared on the Japanese Iron Chef show in 1999 and defeated Iron Chef Morimoto in battle pike eel, a fish that appeared twice during our feast.

Kichisen offers both counter seating and private room dining, with private rooms offering your choice of a table or tatami mats. I absolutely wanted the private room experience - it just seemed to be the right way to truly step back in time - but I wasn't willing to sit on the floor again . . . my joints are even worse than they were the last time I was in Japan, not to mention that we were averaging over 9 miles per day of walking on this trip.

Entering Kichisen is unlike entering any other restaurant. The entry area is very quiet, nobody milling around except for the one person who greeted us. We removed our shoes as requested and were ushered to our private room (there are several). During this very brief and quiet stroll, we did not see anyone else. I suppose the counter seating is more towards the back of the restaurant, thus offering discretion and privacy to anyone who has chosen to dine in the private room. The private room is just that. You don't have numerous staff serving you, and in our case it was an older woman and a younger man.

The meal was outstanding, and there was a lot of food. Of course, some of the flavors were quite subtle, more subtle than you would typically experience in the US. That's not to say that the food didn't really measure up. Several of the courses were sublime, and part of the concept is experiencing seasonal tastes in their simplest form.

And the presentations were stunning. My favorite being a pumpkin soup that was served in what appeared to be a beautiful ceramic pumpkin serving bowl. Only the bowl was a real pumpkin, an absolutely perfectly shaped and cut one at that.

We sought a very traditional kaiseki meal and Kichisen delivered that experience and more. The food was great and service was very graceful and polished throughout the evening. I highly recommend a visit.

3  Thank ChicagoToTheWorld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2013

Full Review Here: http://bit.ly/ZMw1YK

As you might already know from reading other reviews, Chef Tanigawa went on Iron Chef Japan and defeated the Japanese Chef. That episode has been quite a long time in the past, though.

Anyways, for dinner you get to choose from ¥14,000 all the way up to ¥25,000 - more expensive prices naturally mean better ingredients and slightly different dishes. Taxes and other charges are about 20% extra.

For those of us used to Western and Chinese cuisines, Kaiseki places a great emphasis on the taste of the ingredients used, rather than lathering everything with 10 different seasonings, so do expect more pure, less seasoned flavors (no less delicious, though).

If you don't understand Japanese then it's best to get your ryokan/hotel staff to make the reservation on your behalf.

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2  Thank Shuigao
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2013

Kichisen, run by Master Chef Yoshimi Tanigawa certainly deserves its title as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Our meal felt homecooked and luxurious similtaneously. Tanigawa was an attentive, humourous and humble host.

Although we were only a party of 2 sitting at the bar, Tanigawa checked in on us multiple times throughout the meal. A word of warning, the chefs, including Tanigawa, are very committed to helping patrons enjoy the meal and eat things the proper way, to the point of reaching into your plate with chopsticks and expertly smearing just the right amount of wasabi on a piece of sashimi, adding vegetable condiments, and rolling it up for consumption.

Every course was executed with care, thoughtfulness and mind baffling technique.

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Thank runningwiththepugs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2012

Only using seasonal ingredients, this kyo-ryori dinner was one of the best experiences of our trip to Japan.

2  Thank nkoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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