Food & Drink

Tokyo's restaurants again boast world's most Michelin stars in 2020 guide

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

Tokyo once again topped the list of cities worldwide with the largest number of Michelin-starred restaurants, according to the 2020 edition of the guidebook, but one of the capital’s most famous restaurants is no longer one of them.

Renowned sushi restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten in the Ginza district was left out of the book for the first time, Michelin said in an announcement for the new guide Tuesday, explaining that it had decided to remove it because bookings there have become unavailable to general clientele.

The sushi restaurant, where then-U.S. President Barack Obama dined with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2014, says overseas guests can only reserve through concierges at their hotels.

The restaurant had held three stars since the launch of the Tokyo guide in 2007.

Sushi Saito in Minato Ward, which was awarded three stars in the 2019 guide, has also been removed for the same reason.

A total of 464 restaurants and 34 hotels have been selected for the 2020 guide, which is due out Friday, across 17 food categories. There are 57 new entries, including one new two-star establishment and 19 new one-star restaurants.

In an official statement released Tuesday, Paul Perriniaux, CEO of Nihon Michelin Tire Co., said that Tokyo will likely continue to lead the world of gastronomy given that it benefits from good access to high quality produce and a concentration of the country’s top culinary talent.

The French company said that 11 restaurants have retained their three-star status. Three of them — Kanda, Joel Robuchon and Quintessence — have stayed in the top level for 13 years running.

Among restaurants awarded two stars, Prisma, which made its debut in last year’s guide, became the first Italian restaurant in Tokyo to be awarded two stars since 2011.

Japanese restaurant Kadowaki, which made its two-star debut in 2009, added another star this year.

Inua, produced by three-star Danish restaurant Noma, joined the two-star list for the first time.

Under Michelin’s criteria, a single star is awarded to restaurants offering high quality cooking that’s worth a stop during travel. Two-star restaurants offer excellent cooking worth a detour, while three-star establishments provide exceptional cuisine worth a special journey.

Of the 464 listed establishments, 238 restaurants have been awarded in the guide’s Bib Gourmand category, which is given to restaurants offering “quality food at affordable prices” of about ¥5,000 or less.

“Many people are expected to visit Tokyo in 2020 and I hope the Michelin Guide will help them enjoy Tokyo’s gourmet,” Perriniaux said.

In the latest edition of the 2020 guide for Kyoto and Osaka, meanwhile, Kyoto had 106 starred restaurants, including eight of the highest ranking and 100 restaurants awarded a Bib Gourmand status. Among the listed restaurants were those offering Japanese cuisine native to Kyoto.

In Osaka, 209 restaurants, including three top-ranked and 16 two-starred spots, made it into the 2020 guide along with 111 Bib Gourmands.

Michelin also included 29 Japanese inns and 30 hotels in Kyoto and 16 hotels in Osaka in the guide.


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