This week’s featured article

Magdalena Osumi

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, explaining that it removed it because bookings there have become unavailable to general clientele.

The sushi restaurant, where 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.

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.

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.

First published in The Japan Times on Nov. 26.

Warm up

One minute chat about restaurants.


Collect words related to dining out,

e.g: wine, reservation, dress code.

New words

1) culinary: something related to food or drinking, e.g. “She is an expert on culinary establishments in Paris.”

2) criteria: a standard rule or set of characteristics by which something is judged or measured, e.g. “He met the criteria to become a police officer.”

Guess the headline

Tokyo’s r_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _s again boast world’s most Michelin s_ _ _ _ in 2020 guide


1) What did Tokyo achieve?

2) Why was Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten removed from the list?

3) What does having three stars mean?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Tell us about the most expensive restaurant you’ve been to.

2) Does expensive food taste better?




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