What’s eating Japan: Where fine dining meets culture for incentives

A host of new appetising gastronomy options tempt incentive groups in newly reopened Japan.

Ryō-shō, which are among the 196 dining establishments featured in the Michelin guide for Kyoto, features traditional Japanese cuisine incorporating Western ingredients.
Ryō-shō, which are among the 196 dining establishments featured in the Michelin guide for Kyoto, features traditional Japanese cuisine incorporating Western ingredients.

A meat and veg proposition

Miyakonojo in Kyushu's Miyazaki prefecture is not only Japan’s top producer of meat products, it’s also where you’ll find some of the country’s tastiest shochu, a Japanese spirit distilled from grains and vegetables.

The city has launched a ‘Meat Meet’ programme, with details of recommended local restaurants and special packages combining accommodation and dining options in the area, where you can try the beef alongside shochu. If shochu’s not to your taste, groups can pair meat with craft beer and Japanese wine.

Fine dining in Kyoto and Osaka

Groups visiting Kyoto and Osaka will be spoiled for choice. The latest 2023 edition of the destination’s Michelin guide was released last month, featuring 389 restaurants, including 41 restaurants which have been newly awarded.

In the historic city of Kyoto, 196 establishments have been included in the guide, including 19 new restaurants. Ryō-shō, which means to ‘surpass the sky’ features traditional Japanese cuisine incorporating Western ingredients, while Velrosier offers Chinese dishes - both have been awarded two Michelin Stars.

In Osaka, 193 restaurants have been selected for the guide, of which 22 are new.

Farm-to-bar cocktails in Tokyo

Bar Benfiddich, located in Shinjuku in the capital has been named among the World's 50 Best Bars, weighing in at number 48. The bar specialises in sustainable farm-to-bar cocktails, and features fresh herbs from owner and mixologist Hiroyasu Kayama's farm.

National (food) treasure

Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs has registered Kyoto's traditional cuisine, known as ‘Kyo-ryori’, as a national intangible cultural property.

While washoku, or Japanese food, was designated an intangible cultural heritage by Unesco in 2013, Kyoto has a unique culinary culture that has been refined over centuries, and features the Kyo-kaiseki multicourse meals and Shojin-ryori, the traditional food of Buddhist priests.

And it’s not just about the food - the expression ‘Kyoto-ness’ permeates everything, including the artistry, the furnishings within the room and the level of hospitality, all of which contribute to ‘Kyo-ryori’.



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