Michelin Guide Tokyo 2010

Japanese food gets its fill of stars

Michelin Guide Tokyo 2010

It’s been three years since the debut of the first Japanese Michelin guide and this year, with the 2010 guide, there are more restaurants in it than ever.

With a total of 234 establishments included in the book, 11 of which received three stars, Tokyo is now outshines Paris (and its paltry 10 three-starred locales) as the centre of the gastronomical world.

Moving up a notch this year from two to three stars are Esaki and Sushi Saito, both in the ‘new Japanese cuisine’ category, and Yukimura in the category of Japanese cuisine. Taking a step back, however, from three stars to two was Hamadaya, also in ‘Japanese cuisine’.

Newcomer Seisoka shot straight to two stars in the ‘Japanese cuisine’ category, a further eight restaurants upgraded to two stars, and another 42 restaurants claimed one star. All in all, Tokyo has a dazzling total of 261 stars, the highest total number of stars in any of the globe-spanning Michelin guide book series.

Mention should be made of a number of new categories, including izakayas (Japanese-style pubs), kushiage (deep-fried skewers) and yakitori (grilled chicken skewer) restaurants. Japanese cuisine is by far the dominant cuisine in the guide comprising nearly 70 percent of the 197 restaurants listed.

While the team of reviewers in the 2009 guide was made up of five Japanese inspectors and one from Europe, the 2010 reviews were done by a team of seven, all Japanese excepting the editor-in-chief. This may explain the clear emphasis on the Japanese palate.

Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret comments, ‘Restaurants such as izakayas and yakitori restaurants have been on our radar for some time. After continual review, we have deemed them worthy of being awarded stars. As a result, the 2010 edition has seen an increase in categories.’

In the meantime, for a rundown on who made the grade check out our guide to the list of restaurants that truly are the new stars of the Tokyo restaurant scene.

For complete information on this year’s winners, see the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2010 now available in English and Japanese.


This newly three-starred restaurant features nouveau Japanese cuisine. Unlike most three star restaurants, it’s open for lunch and with courses starting at ¥3675, it’s the best priced three-star of the bunch.
Address: B1 Hills Aoyama Bldg, 3-39-9 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3408 5056
Open: Thu-Sat 12noon–13:30pm LO, Mon-Sat 6pm-11pm LO 9:30pm, closed Sun and nat. holidays
Website: www.aoyamaesaki.net/

Sushi Saito

This sushi restaurant is another two-to-three star upgrade. A clear favorite of Michelin’s Naret was quoted as saying he ‘wanted to make this place my own,’ which created a flurry of interest in this restaurant. Sushi Saito’s owner, however, seems unfazed by the attention responding at a recent Michelin press conference, ‘We’ve been acknowledged for keeping things at the same standard we always have.’
Address: 1F Nihon Jitensha Kaikan, 1-9-15 Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3589 4412


Yukimura also gained a star to join the ranks of three-starred Japanese cuisine eateries. Dishes are inspired by Kyoto cuisine, with many ingredients sourced from Kyoto.
Address: 3F, 1-5-5 Azabujuban, Minato, Tokyo
Phone: (03)5772 1610


Debuting at two stars, this surprising newcomer serves up traditional Kyoto cuisine.
Address: 4-2-34 Minami Azabu, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3473 3103


This is the first izakaya to be featured in the guide. It’s also in good company, located in the same building as fellow honouree Yukimura.
Address: 4F, 1-5-5 Azabujuban, Minato, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3401 8516


This is the first kushiage restaurant to make it into the guide. Even if you can’t make it to the original Rokukakutei in Osaka, this is an ideal place to enjoy kushiage with wine right here in Tokyo.
Address: 4F Kojun Bldg, 6-8-7 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5537 6008
Open: Mon-Sun 2pm-11pm, LO 10pm, closed Tue
Website: www.midcity.jp/kojun/shop/detail/kj402.html


Takahashi is one of the yakitori newcomers. The head chef, who is experienced in French cuisine, serves up a gitaro gunkei breed chicken cooked over hot coals. An extensive wine list is available.
Address: 2F Libio Gotanda Praguma G Tower, 1-7-1 Gotanda, Shinagawa, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5436 9677
Open: Mon-Sat 11:30am-LO 1:30pm 5pm-8pm 8:15pm-10:20pm, closed Sun and every first and third Mon


Toriki is another one of the yakitori eateries noted this year. Toriki features counter seating much like a sushi or other Japanese-style restaurant. Other dishes on the menu include nabe (Japanese hot pot).
Address: 1F Kosaka Bldg, 1-8-13 Kinshicho, Sumida, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3622 6202


This starred yakitori joint features okukuji shamo breed chicken from Okukuji, in northwest Ibaraki Prefecture. They also dish out a home-made pâté.
Address: B1F Tsukamoto Suzan Bldg, 4-2-15 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5250 1081
Open: 5pm-9:30pm, closed Mon, Sun and nat. holidays
Website: ginza-birdland.sakura.ne.jp/


This Shinagawa yakitori serves up Michelin-worthy chicken and Japanese spirits.
Address: 1-12-9 Gotanda, Shinagawa, Tokyo
Phone: (03)5793 5050

by Kyoko Kitamura
Translated by E. Kavanagh
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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