New Michelin rankings boost Kansai past Tokyo

New Michelin rankings boost Kansai past Tokyo

West Japan now officially the world’s three-star gourmet paradise
Michelin Nara
Nara’s most famous residents care more for crackers than haute cuisine.

Another month, another Michelin guide -- this time it’s a new edition of the Western Japan version that covers Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara; the last a newcomer to the survey of top eats.

The surprise, however, is that the addition of three new three-star restaurants to the 2012 guide takes Kansai past Tokyo and into the lead as Japan’s -- and, by extension, the world's -- haute cuisine hot spot.

Favored nation

With 15 top-ranked restaurants, West Japan now beats the Tokyo-area total of 14. Of the Kansai favorites, seven are in Kyoto, five in Osaka, two in Kobe and one in Nara.

Kobe now ranks alongside London as a city with two three-star restaurants, while New York City and Kyoto are both equally appetizing on seven apiece.

Tokyo not forgotten

The Tokyo Michelin guide may not be the least-starry in Japan for long, though -- the capital and its surrounding areas will get their own updated edition for 2012 on November 29.

Meanwhile, the “Kyoto Osaka Kobe Nara 2012” guide is on sale in Japanese from October 21 at ¥2,520 and is due out in English early next year.

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