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Ever since the Michelin guide to Tokyo was published, and the resulting controversy and buzz the city’s 227 stars (more than any other city in the world) has generated, my friends and I have been talking about the fabulous restaurants in Kyoto and Osaka, and wondering why there wasn’t a guide to what is known as the center of food culture in Japan. While cosmopolitan Tokyo’s culinary landscape is a microcosm of the worlds’, the Kansai area, including Kyoto and Osaka has long been viewed as the place where Japanese culinary traditions were born, flourished and refined over thousands of years. As you can imagine, this leads to some REALLY great dining, at prices generally lower than in the capital.

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In the Japan Times article of April 24, Jean-Luc Naret, the director of the Michelin Guide, says “Kyoto is a place where gastronomy is really quite important, with a history of traditions and products,”…. “And Osaka is Japan’s second-biggest city, with good restaurants in every category.” The guide is due to be published in October, and according to the Japan Times, is anticipated to increase local food sales by “30 to 50%.”

Of course, we’re wondering if any of our personal favorites will wind up on the list. And also, how exactly does one become a Michelin judge? Wouldn’t that be the best job in the world?

For more information about Japanese cuisine, visit .. http://www.savoryjapan.com/

by Risa Sekiguchi

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