The Ultimate Meal

A reservation at one of Osaka's kaiseki restaurants is also a lesson in true luxury

Andreas Seibert for TIME

A traditional setting for a Japanese Tea Ceremony at Kitcho in Osaka, Japan..

As my husband and I entered Osaka's Kitcho restaurant, we knew we were in for a one-of-a-kind meal: a master class in kaiseki, or formal banquet cuisine, and also in luxury, Japanese-style. Kaiseki is nothing like most Japanese food abroad. Sukiyaki, tempura, teppanyaki and even sushi are modern and often fusion inventions, many of them created to suit foreign tastes. A kaiseki banquet consists of multiple elaborate minicourses of rare seasonal ingredients, most unknown outside Japan. More than a meal, it's a multidisciplinary feast for the senses. Since it has roots in the Zen tea ceremony, kaiseki encompasses literature, ceramics, ikebana,...

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