The Michelin star restaurants in Japan are among the world’s best. The total number of Japanese Michelin stars within the country is second only to France’s dominant gourmet galaxy. Tokyo’s fine dining scene is as far-reaching as the city itself. Sushi, sukiyaki, yakitori, kamameshi, and other traditional staples are widely available, as is timeless French food, North American classics, and a host of other international cuisines both untouched and infused.
Save the street food tours for another evening and come hungry for one of these luxury Japanese restaurant experiences that you can only find in Tokyo.
Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi
You may know Jiro Ono by name or by his reputation as one of the world’s greatest sushi chefs, but what you may not realize is that getting a coveted seat in his restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro is all but impossible for most diners. It’s actually one of the few Michelin starred restaurants in Japan to lose its three stars because the ten-seater restaurant was too exclusive.
However, a visit to Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi is much more accessible to the dining public, serving up a two Michelin stars sushi experience from Jiro’s son, Takashi Ono. White fish, red fish, sea urchin, sashi, and toro are all plated at this eight-seater in Roppongi Hills.
3 letters, 2 Michelin stars, 1 Michelin green clover, and the #1 Best Restaurant in Asia according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Run the numbers any way you wish: Den will all but disappoint. We’re also willing to bet that Den is one of the few Michelin starred restaurants in Japan with their own chihuahua mascot. Quirkiness in marketing, maybe; tradition in cuisine, definitely. A Hyper-seasonal kaiseki framework dictates the locally-sustainable menu so expect an eclectic mix of ingredients ranging from foie gras to ants. Let the premium sake flow as you make your way to the crowd-pleasing signature dish, Dentucky Fried Chicken wings.
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New York Grill
Photo credit: @parkhyatttokyo
Experiencing the world’s cultures and communities through local cuisine is second to none, but every person with a passport has found themselves longing for familiar flavors abroad. Find a taste of home at Park Hyatt Tokyo’s New York Grill. It may not be a fine dining Japanese restaurant, but it earns its chops as one of the best restaurants in Tokyo. USDA Prime New York Strip, Peri-Peri rotisserie chicken, and New York cheesecake offer North Americans a taste of home 6700 miles away. Even the view, like the menu, reflects the cosmopolitan vibes of the Big Apple: the Tokyo skyline showcase from the 52nd floor will put you in an Emperor State of Mind.
Photo credit: @leffervescence
Of the many French Michelin starred restaurants within Japan, few rival the cuisine L’Effervescence is known for. Three Michelin stars and one Michelin green star make it one of the most distinguished Michelin restaurants on the planet. Chef Shinobu Namae trained under Bras and Blumenthal, two chefs who know a thing or two about hanging onto Michelin stars for the long haul. Settle in for a night of fine dining and immediately receive a list of ingredients sourced exclusively from Japan from artisan producers. French and Japanese culinary techniques are blended into elegant creations like the La Mer, a combination of sea urchin, porcini mushrooms, and truffles.
Beauty and elegance beyond the table: Admire Japanese Geisha in Kyoto
Photo credit: @sazekna
Bringing mainland Asian inspiration to create Chinese-Japanese fusion dishes, Sazenka is the only Chinese restaurant across the globe with three Michelin stars. Chef Tomoya Kawada inspires all other Japanese Michelin star chefs to look beyond their borders and into ancient Japan’s history of Chinese cultural exchange. Kawada’s new Chinese cuisine infused with Japanese spirit is evident in Qingtang soup, sudachi, and the hot teas representing both countries.
Tapas Molecular Bar
Photo credit: @mo_tokyo
Another luxury Japanese dining experience that’s easy to miss if your eyes aren’t focused, the Tapas Molecular Bar offers an intimate gastronomic adventure within the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Tradition is all but abandoned in favor of an ultra-modern approach using science to cultivate an imaginative, sensory encounter. Leave your conventional concepts behind and instead bring an open mind and an open mouth for donuts made with caviar, a BBQ kenmi chicken “cigar”, and a lobster bourguignon made with coral.
Tending to nature: Meet the Japanese cherry blossom doctors
Photo credit: @ginzaukatei
Private rooms, each with a dedicated chef, is why it’s impossible to walk through Ginza without securing dinner reservations at Ukai-tei. We’re not sure which is more mesmerizing: Ukai-tei’s opulent art-nouveau decor that nearly classifies it as a museum or the French-inspired teppanyaki dishes with Japanese Black Beef as its focal point. Seasonal produce is flown in from around the world, ensuring that every ingredient’s taste is as poignant and pronounced as the antique furniture surrounding you.
Photo credit: @tsutajapanofficial
You’re not visiting Tokyo without having at least a single bowl of Ramen. And if a single bowl is all that you have time for, make sure it’s from Tsuta – the-world’s first Japanese Michelin star Ramen shop. Chef Yuki Onishi’s Japanese soba noodles shop is known for its soy sauce Ramen, though you can’t go wrong ordering to your palate’s preference. The A5 Wagyu raw egg rice bowl with sabayon sauce and black truffle is as savory as the vanilla ice cream with balsamic truffle cream is delectable. And, perhaps most importantly for some groups, a special vegan noodle bowl lets discerning diners enjoy meat-free Michelin meals at a luxury Japanese restaurant.
Reward your curiosity with flavors found only on this archipelago on Luxury Gold’s Majestic Japan tour. This 11-day guided journey includes culinary-focused highlights like a lunch with a Geisha performance in Kyoto, Donburi street food tasting in Osaka, and a private sushi-making class in Tokyo. Plus, you’ll have free time to discover the Michelin starred restaurants Japan is renowned for.
Which restaurant in Tokyo’s fine dining scene is at the top of your list? Let us know in the comments.