Tokyo’s most exclusive dining experience – Yakumo Saryo, Tokyo Food Review

Entrance to Restaurant

Introduction

  • Restaurant Name: Yakumo Saryo
  • Date and Time of Visit: March 23, 2019, 8:00pm
  • Where: Tokyo Japan
  • Menu: Kaiseki 
  • Price: 25,000 JPY per person
  • Reservation Difficulty: Invite only for dinner, but you can you get reservations for breakfast or lunch

Yakumo Saryo is designer Shinichiro Ogata’s gastronomic shrine located in a residential neighborhood outside of Tokyo. It operates kind of like a private members club. You can only get a reservation for dinner if you’re recommended by someone who’s dined there in the past. Once you’ve been once you can revisit at your leisure, and you’ll want to revisit this kaiseki, trust me.

Location

Yakumo Saryo is located in the neighborhood of Yakumo. It’s about a 20-minute cab from the Conrad Tokyo. Alternatively, you can take the Tokyu-Toyoko Line to Toritsu-daigaku Station and then walk for 15-minutes, but the total journey will take roughly an hour from the Conrad. The restaurant provides a map as it can be difficult to find.

Experience

Shinichiro Ogata is known for designing the Andaz Tokyo and Aesop stores. You’ll find similar design elements in the restaurant and you’ll obviously find Aesop in the restrooms, which I love.

When you enter the restaurant it’s as if you’re returning home as you’re enveloped with a sense of calm. Leave the kids at home, no children under 20 are permitted in the restaurant.

Diners are served in private rooms with varying sized tables. It’s just you, your companion(s) and an excellent meal.

The Food

The 11-course feast begins with a glass of Bollinger Champagne. The alcohol was poured and then the bottle left for presentation.

A glass of Bollinger to start the meal

An amuse bouche was first presented. It was an infusion of tonin or peach seed’s core. This was proceeded by the first seasonal starter of charcoal grilled clam wrapped up with bread.

Seasonal Starter – Kisetu no zensai

The second seasonal starter (pictured above) was assorted twelve spring vegetables wrapped by Ashitaba green burdock, lotus roots, carrot, Kon Nyaku (yam cake, spikenard, Chinese mushrooms, brown sesame seeds), Komatuna (spinach), Hijiki (sea palms, lily bulb and chicory).

This was followed by a soup of white miso with simmered Daikon radish and Karasumi (dried roe of mullet in sea bream broth).

Sashimi of natural red sea bream

The first spring variety presented was sashimi of natural red sea bream. It was accompanied by Irizake or blazed Sake sauce. It was perfection.

Sake

Each course was paired with Sake. I normally don’t drink sake, but I feel it brings out additional flavors in Japanese cuisine so I was happy to imbibe on this occasion.

Zuke Maguro – tuna fish

Additional spring varieties were then brought out including Zuke Maguro – tuna fish marinated in sweet soysauce and filet of tuna fish with sushi rice.

Amadai Karaage – Fried tile fish

The next course was fried tile fish with spring bitter sauce. It was truly delicious.

More Sake

The chef takes time to explain each dish in English, which was greatly appreciated.

Soba noodles

The next course was a small plate of soba noodles with bracken sprout on top. I loved the ceramic plate it was served on.

Ohmi / Shiga beef, Kurumabu (gluten cake) and Hagobou – stalk of burdock

The chef then came in and presented a beautiful box of Shiga beef, Kurumabu (gluten cake) and Hagobou – stalk of burdock. I was salivating just looking at it.

Hotpot Preparation

The chef then proceeded to cook the hotpot in front of me. I was thoroughly impressed by his care and skill.

Shiga Beef Hotpot

The end result was delicious. The beef just melted in my mouth. I was a happy giraffe. Did I even have room for more? Yes, yes I did.

Rice dish

The next course was Takenoko Gohan or pot cooked rice with season’s first bamboo shoot. It was accompanied by a small miso soup with Japanese pickles.

This was followed by 2 last courses: 1) a refreshment of seasonal fruit sherbet and 2) Japanese traditional sweets including seasonal kinton (Fuki no Tou – butterbur (wild spring herb) sprout. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get pictures.

Overall Verdict

First Class Giraffe Approved

Yakumo Saryo is perhaps the most exclusive dining experience in Tokyo. I urge you to come here for lunch or dinner to experience the best quality food Japan has on offer. A lot of the travel bloggers don’t eat outside of their hotels or venture past restaurants in the tourist areas. They’re missing out.

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