Kyoto’s rich vegetable cuisine

“Kyo-yasai Meister” Yoshimasa Takagaki will come to Tokyo on Dec. 3 and 4 to introduce the charm of Kyo-yasai, literally “Kyoto vegetables,” at the French de Kyo-yasai fair in the Blue Gardenia restaurant on the 40th floor of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.

The shapes of Kyo-yasai are often unique, their colors are vivid, and their flavors and nutritional value are said to be richer than ordinary vegetables. Situated in a mountain basin, the low availability of fresh seafood helped Kyoto develop a rich culture of vegetable cultivation. One of Kyoto’s distinctive cuisines, shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine), helped to maintain demand for these high-quality vegetables. Nowadays, they are also often used in other countries’ cuisines, such as those of France and Italy.

Yoshimasa Takagaki, a chef of French cuisine at the Grand Prince Hotel Kyoto, is one of only a few Kyo-yasai specialists with the “Kyo-yasai Meister” qualification in Japan. Takagaki and his brother Hiroshi Saito, also a French chef at the hotel, will introduce French dishes that use the best of Kyoto’s fresh vegetables, which are harvested by the chefs themselves and delivered directly from the farm.

Over the fair’s two days, guests can enjoy some 45 varieties of these dishes at a buffet lunch and full-course French dinner. The lunch buffet will run 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for ¥3,500 and the dinner course will be from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for ¥12,000. Prices include tax and service.

From 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on both days, Chef Takagaki will hold a Kyo-yasai seminar for the first 15 guests. He will share his rich knowledge of the vegetables, their charm and how to cook them to make the most of their flavors.

From Dec. 1 to 20, the hotel’s seven restaurants will also have courses and menus featuring Kyo-yasai.

The hotel is a 2-minute walk from Akasaka-Mitsuke or Nagata-Cho stations.

For more information and reservations, call (03) 3234-1120.

Niki Club opens new guest house

Now that the trees have turned color, this is the most beautiful time of year to visit Niki Club, which is situated in the rich natural surroundings of the Nasu highland in Tochigi Prefecture.

On Dec. 9, the Niki Club hotel will hold a piano recital by Flavio Varani, a famed Brazilian classical pianist, to commemorate the opening of its new guest house, Kanki-kan.

Kanki-kan’s dining room, lounge, bar and library are laid out organically with carefully selected furniture in order to help guests relax in a warm, comfortable atmosphere.

Before the recital starts at 4 p.m. in Kanki-kan’s dining room, guests are invited to enjoy a drink, and after the recital, guests will be treated to exclusive gastronomic delights created by Niki Club’s executive chef Yasunori Miyazaki.

The concert costs ¥7,000, and dinner is another ¥15,000. For those who want to stay overnight, there is an accommodation plan that includes the concert, dinner and breakfast for ¥47,000 (double occupancy) and ¥69,000 (single occupancy) per person.

Niki Club is located at 1856 Takakuotsu Uenosugi, Nasucho, Nasu-gun in Tochigi Prefecture, a 25-minute drive from JR Nasu Shiobara Station, which is about 75 minutes by shinkansen from Tokyo Station. On Dec. 9, a shuttle bus service will be provided from Nasu Shiobara Station at 12:55 p.m. and 2:55 p.m., and from Niki Club at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

For further information, call (0287) 78-2215.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.


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