Michelin has today released its 2012 guide to the Kansai area in the heart of Japan and has promoted three restaurants to its top rating of three stars.
Covering the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and, for the first time, Nara, the new guide features a total of 15 restaurants with three stars across the four cities. These include Fujiya 1935 and Koryu, both in Osaka, which have been promoted from two-star-status, as well as newcomer Wa Yamamura in Nara, which debuted with three stars.
Michelin also promoted 13 restaurants to two-star-status, bringing the total of two-starred establishments in the guide to 59.
A total of 222 restaurants hold one star in the new guide, with 61 restaurants celebrating a star for the first time.
In the 2012 guide to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara, 90% of the selection is made up of Japanese restaurants - ranging from traditional Japanese to contemporary restaurants - while the remainder comprises steakhouses, French, Italian, Chinese and fusion restaurants.
Commenting on the new guide, Bernard Delmas, president of Nihon Michelin Tire said: "Japan is a unique country where many cities have a very high level cuisine. This is why, even though we have reached the fifth anniversary of the Michelin guide in Japan, we continue to discover new stars to introduce to our readers."
Next to the guide to Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara, Michelin also publishes a guide to Tokyo, which will this year be extended to include the Shonan area, south-west of the Japanese capital.
By Kerstin Kühn
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