If you are among those who believe that anticipation of a great meal is half the enjoyment, then you will love the journey to L’evo. Chef Eiji Taniguchi’s remarkable restaurant lies high in the mountains, a two-hour-plus drive from Toyama City through forests, past lakes and up narrow winding roads until it feels like you can go no further.

For the location alone, it is absolutely worth the adventure. Built on a craggy outcropping, L’evo looks up a narrow canyon towards a massive rock wall deep in the Hida Mountains. Surrounded by verdant forest in summer and covered under a thick blanket of snow in winter, the only sound to be heard is the constant rushing of the fast-running Toga River along the valley floor.

For guests, it’s the ideal setting for a tranquil gastronomic getaway. But for Taniguchi, it’s the realization of a long-held dream, an expression of the strong affinity he feels for this rugged region of Japan.