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Many sushi restaurants can be called metaphorical temples of sushi, but Saeki is perhaps the only one which can make the claim completely literally.
Situated on the grounds of Nanzenji Temple in Kyoto, this restaurant used to be based in Osaka, where it became notoriously difficult to book a seat at. In 2018, the owner traded in his windowless city premises for an idyllic new spot, situated among beautifully arranged gardens which can be viewed panoramically through the large windows on every side of the dining room.
This must surely be a contender for the most beautiful restaurant in Japan. The garden is tended to carefully, according to traditional philosophies around harmony with nature and reverence towards it, and the menu follows suit. Each piece of fish is prepared with the utmost care to bring out the natural flavors inherent in it.
When you’re seated, you’ll be presented with a lacquerware plate from the chef’s personal collection — made specially for him by a famous craftsman. Each has a unique design representing the nature and culture of Japan.
Dinner starts at either 5:30 or 7:30, and consists of traditional Edomae sushi, adjusted for modern palates. Take for example the sea urchin, served on top of a small bowl of rice and crispy seaweed, or the anago eel rice bowl topped with a sauce made from anago dashi.
There’s an incredible sense of space and freedom in the dining room, with a high roof, comfortable low tables, and two separate nine seat counters. You’ll have plenty of room to breathe and relax, as you gaze out at the rustling leaves, whichever seat you choose.
Saeki Phone Number
Sunday: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Monday: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Tuesday: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Wednesday: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Thursday: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Friday: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Saturday: 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
81 Nanzenji Kusakawacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8437, Japan
Saeki Cancellation Policy
Free cancellation up to 1 week priorRead more