What is Kaiseki?

Kaiseki 懐石 is a traditional Japanese multicourse meal.

Basically consisting of hors d’oeuvre, soup, and three other dishes + pickles,  rice, and dessert.

Look here for our recommendations on the best kaiseki restaurants in Tokyo.

It wasn’t always so elaborate. 

It began as a small, light meal served during tea gatherings.

But later transformed into haute cuisine served at ryokan and exclusive restaurants.

It consists of dishes using vegetables, meat, and fish served in the chef’s fixed order.

The food is served on plates and bowls of various materials, colors, shapes, and even texture. 

And the food is arranged on the table in an asymmetrical way to appear more natural.

A typical kaiseki meal consists of:

  • Hors d’oeuvre
  • Soup
  • Sashimi
  • Grilled dish
  • Simmered dish
  • Vinegared or marinated dish
  • Pickles, rice, and dessert

Recommendation: Dine at a 3 Michelin-starred Kaiseki in Tokyo

Have an unforgettable gourmet experience at a Michelin 3 star restaurant in the heart of Tokyo! Ishikawa Kagurazaka will offer you a pleasant trip to the hidden culinary and cultural realms of Japan!


  • Eat an exquisite multiple-dish dinner in one of Asia’s best restaurants
  • The menu is specially prepared for you as a surprise
  • Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of a traditional Japanese restaurant
  • Personalized customer service of the highest level

Learn more and make reservations here

Kaiseki meals have a prescribed order to their dishes, most of which are prepared by using one of the common techniques of Japanese cooking. However, kaiseki chefs have considerable freedom to add, omit or substitute courses in order to highlight regional and seasonal delicacies and personal style. —JapanGuide

To practitioners of this haute cuisine, kaiseki is the embodiment of “omotenashi,” which means wholehearted hospitality. Its central tenet is to convey respect, making guests feel special and at ease. This means chefs strive for excellence in every detail. –CNN