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October 23, 2013updated Oct 25, 2013

Michelin Guide Kansai 2014 Makes Japan Leading Country for Fine Dining

By Chris Boyle

Japan has further established itself as the leading country for Michelin stars following release of the 2014 guide for the Kansai region.

The addition of two new three-star restaurants in the 2014 Michelin Guide Kansai has taken Japan’s total number of top-tier establishments to 30. Traditional Japanese restaurant Kichisen went from two to three stars while Mizai makes a return to the selection following relocation last year. Both are based in Kyoto.

The western Japan region by itself has 267 restaurants with a Michelin star rating. There were 22 additions, including star promotions, to the guide this year. 14 Kansai-based establishments have three stars, 51 have two and 202 were awarded one.

Japan had a total of 595 stars last year, which was one short of France’s 596. But the Asian country has more three-star restaurants with the new additions bringing the figure up to 30, three more than France’s 27.

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Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guides, said: “What’s going on all over Japan is really quite vibrant. The different styles of cuisine, their obsession with product, their obsession with technique – it’s just amazing. It’s a different ball game out there.”

The Kansai guide covers Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe and Nara in western Japan. The 2014 edition is only available in Japanese and comes out 25 October 2013.

A separate guide for the Tokyo, Yokohama and Kamakura region is scheduled for a December release. The French edition is the last of the guides to come out.

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