Consisting of multiple small dishes served one by one, kaiseki cooking is highly seasonal and rarefied. This style of Japanese fine dining is what inspired nouvelle cuisine and degustation menus. For most first-time visitors to Japan interested in food, kaiseki is a must-try genre.
Iroha - image © Florentyna Leow
In general, Kyoto is associated with kaiseki. Osaka tends to be associated with kappo-style cooking. The latter is also considered seasonal fine dining, but the meal itself tends to be more casual and more flexible in the way kaiseki - which usually has a fixed course menu - isn’t. It’s far less structured and more informal.
Osaka has both great kaiseki and kappo-style restaurants to choose from. Depending on which you prefer, you could have some rather special meals out at any of the following restaurants. Be prepared to dig deeper into your pockets; these are the restaurants you plan ahead for and splash out on.
- Iroha (Kita; expensive)
Iroha is a fabulous little kappo restaurant in the Kita-Shinchi district serving up some incredibly fresh and flavourful dishes. Reservations are essential, and you’ll need to give yourself some extra time to locate the place - it’s a little tough to to find.
- Momen (Minami; expensive)
Momen is a superb little Shinsaibashi counter restaurant serving some of the most sublime dishes you’re likely to encounter anywhere. It’s usually described as kaiseki, but kappo is probably a better word for it – a flight of wonderful and artistic creations made from the freshest Japanese ingredients.
- Shimanouchi Ichiyo (Minami; expensive)
On the far east side of Shinsaibashi, this wonderful kappo specialist serves out-of-this-world seafood. Shimanouchi Ichiyo is named for Japan’s Inland Sea as that’s where a lot of their ingredients come from. The fare is creative and beautiful to behold.
- Asai (Minami; expensive)
Asai is a one-star Michelin restaurant in Minami Ward that’s a great place to try out kaiseki. Sitting at the counter and watching the chefs create their sublime dishes is part of the appeal of this place.
Best Osaka Restaurant Recommendations
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- Best Kaiseki Kappo And Other Haute Cuisine In Osaka
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Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Inside Osaka Google map:
- Open the Osaka map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Osaka Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Osaka guide
- Check Osaka accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Osaka
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Osaka's Kansai International Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- View my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare flight prices and timings to find the best Japan flight deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with the Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- Get a prepaid Icoca card to make travelling around Osaka easy – here's how
- Find out why travel insurance for Japan is essential – World Nomads is well-regarded