HYPEBEAST Road Trips Japan: Classic Kaiseki at Nanba Kaiseki in Kyoto

For over 1,000 years, Kyoto was the home to the Imperial Court. However when Tokyo was made the de

Fashion
582 Hypes 0 Comments

For over 1,000 years, Kyoto was the home to the Imperial Court. However when Tokyo was made the de facto capital in 1868 and then permanently in the 20th century, Kyoto’s significance seemed to diminish as the country looked east to its new center. This interest in tradition and old world influence made Kyoto an ideal place to visit during the Japanese leg of our HYPEBEAST Road Trips.


The Kyoto Kaiseki Connection

Yet for those who know Kyoto recognize its importance as a hub for unique and longstanding traditions that can only be found there. So it’s no surprise that visitors who make the journey usually have a taste for something uniquely Japanese. Ours was food – in particular, kaiseki.

Kaiseki is a multi-course meal composed of small dishes. It’s a subtle yet foodtastic sensory overload that showers your palate with incredible seasonal ingredients that have been skillfully prepared by someone who knows how to draw out food’s natural flavors. It’s a cornucopia of simple and subtle deliciousness that not only gives you a real sense of ‘umami,’ but also food zen. A highly skilled kaiseki chef is a true master that humbly displays his incredible skill with each course, and bestows upon the fortunate dinner an unmistakable and memorable impression.

Traditions Continued at Gion Nanba

For our authentic kaiseki we chose Michelin 1-star Gion Nanba in the heart of Gion, the Geisha district. However, like many of the treasures to be found in Kyoto, Gion Nanba was tucked away, hidden amongst the ancient and sacred architecture of old Japan. Finding our way was no easy task, and entering the narrow alley off of Shijo street felt like we had entered a forgotten world. A lonely paper lantern stood a nighttime vigil, welcoming those who could decipher the hiragana written across its face. Although we did not have a reservation, by the grace of the food gods, we were quickly seated upstairs in their Western-style dining room. Granted the décor wasn’t as minimalistic as we had expected, it was still comfortable and serene and we had it all to ourselves.

We ate around 13 courses, each unique and as special as the next as we tasted only the highest quality ingredients chosen by owner chef Nanba to reflect the end of the summer season. The dishes incorporated elements of city’s history like Kyoto-style saba sushi, which unlike nigiri sushi found in Tokyo, is cured in vinegar and wrapped in kombu, grilled hamo (pike conger), straightforward yet surprisingly complex rice porridge, a mix of fish – kaiseki doesn’t use meat – that was sweet and delicate, stunningly fresh product comprised of various roots, plants and fungi, and more. Each course even came with its own specific dishware that was chosen to enhance the appearance of the meal for that perfect overall balance.

We finished our meal with a serving of sweet Japanese fruit and a traditional dessert with matcha green tea that left us feeling very satiated and content. It was the perfect way to mark the end of our meal and our memorable stay in Kyoto.

Stay tuned over the course of the next few days as we highlight food, fashion, design and more. For more HYPEBEAST Road Trips adventures, check our inaugural trip to Portland.

HYPEBEAST Road Trips aims to take you across the world and provide you insights into some of the lesser known cultural institutions relevant to our culture. Follow cultural connector and creative Toon fan, Simon Wainwright, Nicole Fung of That Food Cray !!! and writer Joy Yoon (who authored The Best Things to Do in Los Angeles: 1001 Ideas) as we examine and experience some of the most interesting entities across fashion, food, design and art through our HYPEBEAST Road Trips.We’d like to thank TUMI, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, Onitsuka Tiger and Aoi Kyoto Stay for their support of this opportunity.


“We ate around 13 courses, each unique and as special as the next as we tasted only the highest quality ingredients chosen by owner chef Nanba to reflect the end of the summer season.”

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

This Made in Japan New Balance M1300 Is Priced at $673 USD
Footwear

This Made in Japan New Balance M1300 Is Priced at $673 USD

A spendy celebration of the model’s 35th anniversary, crafted by master leatherworker Hitoshi Mimura.

Here's a First Look at Nintendo's Official Store in Japan
Gaming

Here's a First Look at Nintendo's Official Store in Japan

Nintendo’s first flagship store in its home country.

HYPEBEAST Road Trips Japan: Udon at Usami-Tei Matsubaya in Osaka
Food & Beverage

HYPEBEAST Road Trips Japan: Udon at Usami-Tei Matsubaya in Osaka

In our quest far and wide for the best of the best, our HYPEBEAST Road Trips stop in Osaka took us


HYPEBEAST Road Trips Japan: Dining at the Tapas Molecular Bar at the Mandarin Oriental
Fashion

HYPEBEAST Road Trips Japan: Dining at the Tapas Molecular Bar at the Mandarin Oriental

During our HYPEBEAST Road Trips Japan stay at the stunning Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo, Japan, we

Angel Haze – A Tribe Called Red
Music 

Angel Haze – A Tribe Called Red

Angel Haze has finally announced the release date for her anticipated debut LP, Dirty Gold, which

Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & French Montana - Loyal
Music 

Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & French Montana - Loyal

Following his X Files mixtape drop back in early November, Chris Brown is now setting his sights on

Beyoncé featuring Jay Z "Drunk In Love" Music Video
Music

Beyoncé featuring Jay Z "Drunk In Love" Music Video

Previously available exclusively through iTunes, the music video for Beyoncé’s self-titled track

BLOHK PARTY 2013 Curated by Pharrell Williams for i am OTHER Entertainment Recap
Fashion

BLOHK PARTY 2013 Curated by Pharrell Williams for i am OTHER Entertainment Recap

Pharrell Williams recently took his i am OTHER label to Hong Kong where he debuted BLOHK PARTY, a

Hurley & Rob Machado Interview Native Hawaiian Designer Sig Zane
Art

Hurley & Rob Machado Interview Native Hawaiian Designer Sig Zane

Spending more than half of his life traveling the world meeting fellow surfers with a shared


HYPETRAK Review: Nocs NS900
Tech

HYPETRAK Review: Nocs NS900

Currently available for pre-order through the HYPEBEAST Store with a price tag of $249 USD, Nocs’s

adidas Originals 2014 Spring/Summer Halfshell 80s
Footwear Fashion

adidas Originals 2014 Spring/Summer Halfshell 80s

Preparing for the new year is adidas Originals, who has brought back a pair of vintage essentials

Interstellar Official Teaser Trailer
Entertainment

Interstellar Official Teaser Trailer

From the minds behind the likes of The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, The Prestige and Memento

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Automotive

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mercedes-Benz returns to our pages after our recent HYPEBEAST Spaces visit with the unveiling of

Nike Zoom HyperRev
Footwear Fashion

Nike Zoom HyperRev

Engineered with a philosophy of “less is more” and designed by Leo Chang for the speed and

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Adblock Detected.

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. If you enjoy our content, please add us to your adblocker's whitelist. We'd really appreciated it.