Kaiseki: The Japanese Art of Food

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Japanese Kaiseki cuisine is known for its meticulous preparation and beautiful presentation. It is also one of the most expensive Japanese meals. Kaiseki restaurants often offer a private room – often overlooking a Japanese garden.

In the old days Kaiseki was a simple banquet served to monks that began to gain fame in the tea ceremony that ended up turning into a sophisticated banquet consisting of several dishes served in several portions.

There are no rules regarding food, but there is all that Japanese aesthetic. And these meals are usually divided into up to 14 types of dishes that we will see below:

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dishes of kaiseki

Sakizuke (先付) – An aperitif served before the meal.

Hassun (八寸) – The second dish that sets the theme of the meal. It includes various dishes such as seafood and land fruits. It got its name because it was served in a square wooden container.

Mukozuke (向付) – Fresh fish that accompanies rice, soup and sake. It is usually a sashimi dish, seasonal sunomono. (from the time)

Takiawase (煮合) – Vegetables served with fish, meat or tofu.


Futamono (蓋物) – A small dish served in a container with a lid. often soup.

Yakimono (焼物) – Seasonal grilled fish.

Suzakana (酢肴) – A small vinegar-based dish to cleanse the palate.

Nakachoko (酢肴) – A small acidic soup also used to cleanse the palate.


Shiizakana (強肴) – Usually a pan with a hot plate. To satisfy your appetite, or to stimulate a little more sake, this mixture can be based on vegetables and nerimono (fish-based pasta, such as kamaboko, chikuwa, hanpen, etc.)

Gohan (御飯) – Rice with seasonal ingredients.

Kou no mono (香の物) – Seasonal pickles.

Tomewan (止椀) – A basic offering of rice and miso soup. Served at the end to make sure you are satisfied.


Mizumono (水物) – A small desert of fruit, candy or cake.

Omogashi-koicha (主菓子-濃茶) – Candy and Tea.

There are also other dishes not mentioned, which are usually served in tea ceremonies and not in restaurants.



Meals at kaiseki restaurants often cost between 15,000 円 to 40,000 円 (R$350 to 1,000) per person not including drinks. Cheap right?

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Cheap varieties of Kaiseki

Sometimes you can find promotions and offers at lunch or dinner, which go up to the price of 3,000 to 10,000 円 per person. (75 to 210 USD.)

Some restaurants also sell lunch boxes priced between 3,000 to 6,000 円 per person. (75 to 150R$)

There are also regular restaurants that sell kaiseki, they don't offer private rooms, and they bring all the food at once in boxes. They usually cost between 6,000 to 15,000 円 (150 to 380 Reais.)

Ryoukan inns also often offer a small kaiseki during your stay.

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