The Art of Kaiseki

April 14, 2021
Celine Nanena

You may have heard the term kaiseki floating around the world of cuisine, or you’ve even had the chance to indulge in a fine kaiseki meal or three. But have you actually digested the environment which enriches the aesthetic of kaiseki cuisine at its core? Explore how the entire facade cultivates a prestigious dining experience. 

What is Kaiseki?

The term kaiseki, also known as kaiseki-ryori, are two kinds of Japanese meal styles originating from the land of the rising sun;Japan. Both terms traditionally refer to a multi-dish meal typically consisting of 9 courses but may vary between 7-14. Drawn from the Japanese tea ceremony and served as a prelude to enjoying a few cups of matcha. 

The standard form of Japanese-style cuisine generally can be recognised by kaiseki, which comprises a bowl of miso soup and three side dishes. Another variant of kaiseki may stimulate social gatherings with seating in a more contemporary modern atmosphere which serves a more elaborated meal and ends in a simple tea service. This form of dining experience became a pinnacle in luxurious cuisine all over the world.  

“Kaiseki cuisine is considered to be Japan’s top fine dining cuisine because of its beauty, intricacy and the amount of thought and effort put in – from conceptualising to cooking the dish,” says chef Yoshinyuki on the Michelin guide.

How is kaiseki prepared?

The artful Japanese approach to its meticulous preparation and elegant presentation to food uses both regional and seasonal ingredients. The statement of kaiseki meals is an expression of both time and place. Chef Hisato Nakahigashi of Miyamasou says,“We serve food that’s best in the season and beautiful on that day.” The foraged ingredients – like the purple shiso flower that blooms in mid-summer –must match the atmosphere, their flavours reminiscent of a particular season, he adds according to CNN travel. 

First and foremost, the ingredients are considered a reflection of the season, the freshest and best the market has to offer. It would be awry for a true epicurean designer to miss the experience from the art of kaiseki, which appeals to all the senses through seasonal tastes, textures, and visual delights.

What To Expect In Kaiseki Interior 

The aesthetic concerns don’t end at the table. You can expect long-lasting memories as the experience of kaiseki goes beyond the edible. Good kaiseki is usually served to diners in refined locations and in a simple manner where tranquillity acts as a stimulus. Ideally, the room will have an entryway to the Japanese gardens for a complete zen atmosphere. A sacred alcove will be carefully chosen to reflect the season adhering to the tradition. 


Typically, when sitting, traditional forms and materials are blended with a contemporary minimalist design to display a peaceful atmosphere where the rituals of sharing and savouring food are celebrated. It is a sensitive and elegant approach to shifting the mood drastically for the focus of taste on what is being served. 


Japanese kaiseki is the epitome of the country’s formal dining experience, which pervades subdued lighting and elegant tableware to propose the sense that one should appreciate the artful presence just as much as the taste compliments the meal. Explore our selection of kaiseki interior imagery and imagine how the atmosphere may serve up an appetite.

Rurikou-in temple, Kyoto

An invite to nature displayed in the Rurikou-in temple, Kyoto.This traditional place is only open twice a year publicly, once in the spring towel come refreshing greens and once in the autumn for the warmth of the maple son the trees. Bursting with colour in the month of November, this collection of maples perhaps is the most impressive in the city.

RYU/Menard Dworkindarchitecture & design

A contemporary designinfused with Japanese handcrafted natural materials that would patina with ageand whose beauty would be enhanced with their imperfections. The dynamic playof light and dark wood slats creates an optical effect that gives movement asyou pass through the area.

KaisekiRestaurant, Tsukimi, New York, USA - The Cool Hunter

With an elegant use of wood, mirrors and shaped arches minus the use of materials and colour, this design is an apparent visual delight. Appealing for its magical illusion of privacy in this open, bar-like, 14 seat concept. A ‘slot’ is given to each kaiseki diner, making it feel genuinely compact, sophisticated and functional. 

Japanese interior design aesthetic reflects the values of simplifying our lives and slowing down. The style is subscribed to the love for natural beauty, uncluttered living, and holding tightly to balance ancient customs. Whilst there is no single blueprint for a slow living aesthetic, readers can discover more about the movement in the Living In Design blog. 

Looking for a kaiseki experience in London? Here are some exceptional places you can visit:

  • Roketsu – Making its debut in Spring 2021, Roketsu presents a 10 course Kaiseki meals which embody the spirit of ‘wabi’– conveying a sense of seasonality without waste.
  • UMU – A Michelin star restaurant located in Mayfair, UMU brings the taste of Kyoto to London with their 8 course kaiseki meal. Both artistic and inspiring, UMU takes you through a sensory journey.
  • Angelina – A fusion approach to the kaiseki experience, Angelina blends flavours of Italy and Japan together. Their 4 and 10 course kaiseki menu takes on a modern approach withe xceptional ingredients. For more exceptional Japanese eats, click here.