Kaiseki Ryori (会席料理)

This page describes kaiseki ryori, a full course meal form of Japanese cuisine.

Kaiseki ryori is a form of Japanese cuisine.


Kaiseki ryori is served at banquets. In modern times it has become the most authentic style of Japanese meal to serve at ceremonies, as 'honzen ryori' (a ritual meal served on a 'honzen' or legged tray) has fallen out of general use. The term, "kaiseki" (会席) originally referred to a poetic gathering, especially one practicing renga (linked verse) and haikai (17-syllable verse). It is often confused with the homonymous term, 'kaiseki' (懐石 referring to tea-ceremony dishes). Though they share the same root, these two have been clearly separate since the late 16th century. Tea-ceremony dishes are designed to enhance the taste of matcha (finely powdered green tea) and kaiseki ryori sake (Japanese rice wine). Ever since restaurants began to serve kaiseki ryori in the Edo period, they have created various dishes suitable for drinking parties.

The basic menu of kaiseki ryori consists of three dishes with soup (usually Japanese broth, together with sashimi or slices of raw fish, grilled and boiled foods). To this are added an otoshi (appetizer), deep-fried and steamed foods, aemono (vegetables and fish in various dressings), vinegared dishes, pickles, and fruit.

Traditional examples of kaiseki ryori

Sakizuke: appetizer
Wanmono: Japanese broth
Mukozuke: sashimi
Hachizakana: grilled fish
Shiizakana: boiled food
Tomezakana: in principle, suzakana (vinegared food) or aemono
Shokuji: boiled rice, tomewan (miso soup) and konomono (pickles)
Mizugashi: fruit

Boiled rice, miso soup and pickles are served at the same time. Beside those dishes listed above, aburamono (grilled food), steamed foods and nabemono (a one-pot dish) may also be served. If grilled food is served it generally comes after any boiled dishes.

[Original Japanese]