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Michelin Cuts Tokyo Three-Star Restaurants for Second Year

Quintessence chef Shuzo Kishida
Shuzo Kishida, chef at Quintessence restaurant. Photographer: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The Michelin Guide cut the number of Tokyo restaurants with its highest rank by one, reducing three-star winners for the second year in a city that’s home to more top-rated eateries than any other worldwide.

Tempura restaurant 7chome Kyoboshi was removed from the list, leaving 14 three-star restaurants in the Tokyo area, which includes Yokohama and Shonan, the Clermont-Ferrand, France-based publisher said yesterday.

The Tokyo area had 17 three-stars in the 2012 list and 15 in the 2013. Paris is second with 10 and New York has seven, based on previously published guides. The French volume has traditionally been the last to appear each year, usually in February.

“It’s getting harder to get three stars in the Tokyo area as Michelin is increasingly trying to evaluate the attractiveness of Japan as a whole country,” said Kyoichiro Shigemura, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. “So the competition will be more severe in the region in the future.”

Michelin awarded three-stars to 28 restaurants in Japan, including the Kyoto and Osaka areas, in the 2014 edition, more than any other country. France, which is second, had 26 top-rated restaurants in the 2013 edition.

“To French chefs, three stars is a dream everybody dreams of,” said Shuzo Kishida, chef at Quintessence, a French restaurant in Tokyo that was awarded the highest rating for the seventh time. “We have to try our best to whoever comes to our restaurant. It’s getting harder and harder every year” to get three stars.

7chome Kyoboshi, an eatery in the city’s pricey Ginza neighborhood, has been reduced to two stars. Bernard Delmas, president of Nihon Michelin Tire Co., declined to comment on the lower rating and said “stability” can be among the hardest things to maintain for restaurants.

Japan Awards

High-end restaurants have benefited as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s effort to revive the economy has fueled a 16 percent drop in the yen against the dollar this year and drawn more tourists to Japan.

Corporate credit-card transactions at Tokyo’s high-end restaurants jumped 25 percent in the seven months ended July from a year earlier, according to Japanese card company JCB Co. Companies’ profits rose more than 24 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said this week.

Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one denotes a very good restaurant in its category.

Tiremaker Michelin & Cie produced its first guide in 1900. It was free of charge until 1920 and intended for chauffeurs. The volume contained practical information, including street maps and tips on repairing tires.

The guide’s goal is to “communicate to many people the greatness of gastronomy,” Delmas said yesterday at a ceremony in the Japanese capital to unveil the 2014 Tokyo area guide.

“The Michelin Guide Tokyo Yokohama Shonan 2014” is available in Japanese and goes on sale in Japan on Dec. 6.

Tokyo Area Three-Star Restaurants:

Azabu Yukimura
Esaki
Ishikawa
Joël Robuchon
Kanda
Koan
Koju
Quintessence
Ryugin
Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten
Sushi Mizutani
Sushi Saito
Sushi Yoshitake
Usukifugu Yamadaya

To contact the reporter on this story: Yuki Yamaguchi in Tokyo at yyamaguchi10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

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