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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 30 July, 2023
Expert travel writer: Rob Goss

The succession of artistically presented dishes that comprise a kaiseki-ryori dinner has come to represent the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine.

Featuring anywhere up to 12 fixed courses that focus on in-season produce, kaiseki will include some familiar elements, with sashimi early in the dinner, delicate tempura later, and maybe a few mouthfuls of wagyu as a centrepiece. The rest, however, can be wonderfully indecipherable.

Being such an exalted cuisine, kaiseki dinners don’t come cheap – expect to pay at least £100 a head. Or, go for lunch, when many restaurants offer taster sets at a fraction of the price.

Just reserve well ahead – even though Japan has plenty of kaiseki restaurants, they always book up quickly.

They are often served at ryokans (traditional Japanese inns). For a real flavour of traditional Japan, book in for a night at one, and tick off both bucket list experiences at once.

Gion Karyo

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan

Kaiseki fish

The 7-course lunch option at this restaurant in Gion is an excellent way to try kaiseki without breaking the bank.

Adult price: £30

Best for ages 13+

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Gion Nanba

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan

Kaiseki platter

Comfortable serving English diners, this restaurant in Gion serves classic kaiseki in tatami mat rooms or at counter seats looking into the kitchen.

Adult price: £7

Best for ages 13+

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Kyoto, Kansai, Japan

Kaiseki platter

A 3-star Michelin restaurant near Maruyama Park where kaiseki is taken in private tatami rooms overlooking small bamboo gardens.

Adult price: £90

Best for ages 18+

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Hiiragiya Ryokan

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan

|Official star rating:

Traditional bedding in ryokan

Indulge in luxury the authentic Japanese way at this 200-year-old ryokan in the heart of Kyoto that ticks all the traditional boxes. The price includes a 12-course kaiseki-ryori dinner.

Average £200

Extra beds


2+ bedrooms


Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

Price from: £100
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: 3-4 hours

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Kyoto Evening Gion Food Tour Including Kaiseki Dinner


Kyoto Evening Gion Food Tour Including Kaiseki Dinner
This tour is a celebration of Japanese traditional culture and Kaiseki cuisine: a multi-course, multi-flavored Japanese dinner that flawlessly mixes global and local flavors to produce some of the most delicious dishes on the planet. Kyoto is a magical place. You will stroll with your guide along the local streets, amongst the many passersby to fully appreciate the life of the city. Gion is a prominent, traditional entertainment district and Kyoto’s center of Japanese arts. Your guide will tell you stories about this very exquisite part of Kyoto along the way. You will also explore the gorgeous Shirakawa neighborhood, and have the chance to whet your appetite with a special Kyoto treat as you wander. Learn about the life of Kyoto’s famous Geisha and then sit down to enjoy a 10-course Kaiseki meal, with some of Kyoto’s freshest food. We want this moment of your life to be a memory you will never forget!

Price: $227

Min age: 0

Rating 4.93 / 5 [45 ratings]

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience


Kansai, Japan

Geisha woman with white face paint

Ancient temples and shrines, sublime cuisine, manicured gardens, colourful geishas and living history in spades – Kyoto is traditional Japan at its best.