Mar. 11, 2023 UPDATE

Godan Miyazawa edition: Kaiseki-beginner Yumemi goes to the kaiseki restaurants of Kyoto!

This time I experienced Godan Miyazawa!
Yumemi[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]

This is already the fourth restaurant I introduce in this series!  Last time I went to Wagokoro Izumi.  This time I went to Godan Miyazawa in early October! 

Godan Miyazawa is a restaurant that is located a 3-minute walk from Subway Karasuma Line Gojo Station (I’m bad with directions but I could still find it!). This restaurant has one Michelin star to its name. 

This restaurant was started by the chef Miyazawa in 2014. The godan in its name comes from a word having to do with the tea ceremony, “godan no chaji,” which means a room where the participants in the more rigid tea ceremony could relax after it. 

So, I’m going to write about my first impressions. I could smell incense right as I sat down; this made me feel serene. The restaurant was brightly lit, clean, and it felt refreshing to be in it. I felt almost as if I were in a tea room. I thought to myself: “Maybe it’s because this restaurant is named after a tea ceremony concept.” 

This time I ordered the 13,000 yen course with 12 unique dishes. Each of the dishes was more wonderful than the last, and I’d like to write about all of them, but I only have enough space for three of the best ones! 

≪Most mind-blowing dishes: top 3!≫grilled sesame tofu

This is Godan Miyazawa’s specialty, grilled sesame tofu. It is surrounded by a heap of fried corn. Many people come to this restaurant just to enjoy this tofu. 

When you eat it, you can enjoy the fragrance of sesame and the heavy texture of tofu; it was excellent. I could just keep on eating the sesame tofu here, it’s taste is so rich and delicious. The Japanese pepper-infused soy sauce its topped with brings out the flavors in the tofu even more! 

It’s served freshly made, piping hot, so be careful not to burn your mouth! (lol)

chinmiNext, I’m going to introduce soba noodles served with karasumi (dried and salted roe). Karasumi is one of the three “chinmi” of Japan, and it’s made from the roe of Japanese Spanish mackerel and amberjack. First, it’s salted, then desalted, and then it’s let to dry in the sun. Tarako and mentaiko are also Japanese roe products, and karasumi has a salty taste and fragrance reminiscent of them. 

They carefully shave karasumi right in front of you, and the soba is topped with loads of karasumi, and when I got the noodles under my nose, I was wondering “What can this taste like?” as I normally eat my soba noodles with soba-tsuyu dipping sauce. 

Once I tried the soba, I thought to myself “I see! You can eat soba like this too!” and was moved by the taste. The soba is served moist so it sucks up karasumi, so with the noodles as the vessel you also get karasumi, and can enjoy the fragrance of soba with the umami of karasumi. This is new! 

sweetsLast, but not least, like last time, I got a tray of sweets. Some of you, my readers, may already have found out that I have a sweet tooth! (lol) There are four sweets, and in looking at them clockwise, they’re grape sorbet, mikan juice, “nerikiri (Japanese sweet made with bean paste), and monaka, also a Japanese sweet. 

What I found the most delicious among these sweets was the mikan juice. It was the first time for me to see mikan juice that was not liquid, but solid. (lol) It looks like a raw egg, but it turns into mikan juice the moment it enters your mouth. Mysterious, isn’t it? The yellow part is jelly, and once you bite into it, mikan juice bursts from inside, and you get a mouthful of delicious mikan juice – it was fun and exciting to eat! 

≪This is what’s great about kaiseki cuisine!≫

There’s always something to excite you! 

Not only in the restaurant I visited this time, but in all the kaiseki restaurants I have visited, the chefs are very skilled in the basics of Japanese cuisine, but even still, they manage to make kaiseki cuisine look like themselves. 

Because the dishes are unique, I always felt excited about what the next dish was going to taste like. But as you come to eat kaiseki cuisine, you expect it to hold to traditions, at least to a degree. But the chefs manage this and make their unique kaiseki cuisine while upholding traditions, all in a balanced manner. 

The plates and kitchen tools were all charming and wonderful! 

From my seat this time I could see the counter-kitchen. I noticed that the itamae-chefs behind the counter took great care in seeing that each one of their plates and kitchen tools was perfect. 

You’ll understand what I mean when I tell you that they used no plastic or stainless steel containers behind the counter where I could see them! Even the containers were beautiful earthenware. 

I was really moved by how this restaurant takes their aesthetically pleasing look so seriously. 

Thank you for reading my blog again! Next time I’m going to Muromachi Wakuden! I hope you’ll read my blog again! 

A comment from the staff
Every time I write this article, I want to relay to you the kind of amazement I felt when I was having kaiseki, but I think this is difficult. However, I would be delighted if just one more person would get interested in kaiseki or feel like having kaiseki cuisine. Let’s continue onward on our journey to the heart of kaiseki cuisine!

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