Michelin Adds Two More Three-Star Restaurants in W. Japan

Michelin added another two three-star restaurants in Western Japan, taking the total for that region alone to 14.

Kichisen, in Kyoto, was promoted from two stars last night. Mizai, in the same city, returned to three after being dropped last year while moving location. A total of 51 restaurants (and one ryokan, or inn) won two stars; 202 restaurants and two ryokans gained one, Michelin said in an e-mailed release.

“We are very pleased to award two new three-stars,” Michael Ellis, international director of the guides, said. “They serve a Japanese cuisine cooked at a remarkably high level.”

Another 92 restaurants won a Bib Gourmand, given to recommended establishments that serve meals for less than 5,000 yen ($50.82).

The guide covers Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara and goes on sale on Oct. 25. The Kansai area has an economy the size of Mexico’s. Michelin publishes a separate guide to the Tokyo, Yokohama and Kamakura region, scheduled for December.

Last year, Japan had a total of 595 stars, one short of France’s 596, according to Michelin. Japan was home to 28 establishments with three stars, compared with 27 for France. Japan’s total now rises to 30. The French volume is the last to appear each year, usually in February.

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

Michelin & Cie, Europe’s largest tiremaker, 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 company is based in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Frederik Balfour on Asian art, Farah Nayeri on film and Amanda Gordon’s Scene Last Night.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.