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Thursday, 20th October 2011
In General Japan News,

Japan steals France's culinary crown

People wanting a gastro break would previously have been wise to head to France, a nation universally acknowledged for its fine dining, however, it seems that Japan is now the destination of choice for those looking to enjoy gourmet delights.

The nation now boasts 29 three Michelin starred restaurants, compared with France's 25 in the latest edition of the Michelin Guide, which is released tomorrow.

Last year, the two countries, which could not be more different in terms of their traditional cuisine, both held 26 three-star eateries, however, while France slipped behind, three new Japanese restaurants have achieved the impressive accolade.

The feat is even more impressive considering Japan has only been included in the guide since 2007.

Bernard Delmas, Michelin president in Tokyo, said: "Japan is a unique country with many cities full of high-level cuisine.

"That is why, even in the fifth year of the arrival of our guide in Japan, we continue to discover new stars to introduce to our readers."

Significantly, most of the eateries featured in the guide serve actual Japanese food, rather than Western cuisine.

So what is it about Japanese cuisine that has got the Michelin judges and diners alike enamoured?

Firstly it's the great variety on offer, Japan's Michelin stars are not centred in Tokyo as some may think, but rather spread across the nation into regions such as Osaka, a city renowned for its "okonomiyaki" pancakes, and Kobe, home of the world famous Kobe beef.

One eatery in particular which is likely to have food lovers flocking is the experimental Fujiya in Osaka which has been touted as the new El Bulli, after the acclaimed Spanish eatery closed its doors this year.

Restaurants which earn three Michelin stars are defined as those which merit a "special journey" to sample their offerings and it seems it is well worth making a trip to Japan to see what the nation has to tempt diners.

Written by Mark Smith