Japan - restaurant reservations

Old Jun 15th, 2017, 05:22 PM
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Japan - restaurant reservations

Planning August trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima. Just told by friends we should already be on restaurant reservations as on their recent trip they did only high end dining ... read thru the topic here (including Kavey's advice). We are fairly well-versed in Japanese food, plan to eat regional specialties, and don't feel the need for Michelin restaurants. Per Kavey, we don't need reservations then.

That said, should we reserve for a high-end restaurant or two and especially a kaiseki dinner? Something else not to miss?

Any recommendations? Kaiseki in Kyoto?

Or footloose and just eat everything we see?

ReneeSS is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2017, 05:31 PM
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Adding - family of three with a young teen foodie.
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Old Jun 15th, 2017, 05:34 PM
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I was very pleased with my meal of French kaiseki at Misoguigawa in Kyoto, which still gets great reviews. Reservations are, I think, a must if you go there.

kja is offline  
Old Jun 15th, 2017, 11:09 PM
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For the regular dining, you won't need reservations in advance, though if you spot a place you like, you can always reserve for later that evening as you go past, or ask your hotel to call and do that for you. If there are specific places, it's probably worth it in busy periods - we enjoy a mass market yakiniku chain called Gyu-Kaku and as we knew we wanted to eat there one evening, we stopped in earlier in the day on passing to book a table. If it's more a case of heading out to find local restaurants, and you're not wedded to eating in a specific one on a given date, you can wing it a lot more.

For the high end, absolutely do reserve.

If you are already staying in a good ryokan, you'll have a kaiseki meal there. If you want another in a restaurant setting, definitely reserve. We had a fabulous meal at Hoshinoyo Kyoto, Head Chef Ichiro Kubota has a modern taken on kaiseki which we really enjoyed. We were invited to review this place, by the way, and would definitely consider staying here on a future visit.

We didn't do any in Tokyo, but a few of my friends tend to, they prefer those very high end experiences, all Michelin, and several hundred pounds / dollars per person. I don't mind paying when it's worth it but for me, doing a lot of those kinds of meals misses the joy of regular dining in Japan.

But it's different strokes for different folks!
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Old Jun 17th, 2017, 11:12 AM
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Thanks all!
ReneeSS is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2017, 04:48 PM
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If you haven't been to Japan before, I'd say your instinct to try traditional foods that you don't have easy access to where you live is the right way to go.

If you want to do some serious research on where to eat, the all-encompassing website tabelog.com is outrageous. It contains detailed info about everything on where to eat all over Japan, including many, many photos of food which can help in ordering. Also, if you want to find a restaurant in the first place, photos of the exterior. Otherwise, you might have trouble lfinding the restaurant.
shelemm is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2017, 07:07 PM
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I don't know about outrageous, but it's in Japanese.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jun 17th, 2017, 11:36 PM
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Tablelog is available in English now too!

Other sites include Bento.com and then there's always chowhound if you do want to book some of the high end places, there are always always threads on those in the Japan forum.
Kavey is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2017, 03:08 PM
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I don't know about outrageous either, but here is the English site and at least a part of the information is indeed in English:
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