Features 4 minutes 02 June 2022

「MICHELIN Guide Nara 2022」An Interview with Starred restaurants

We interviewed the chefs who won stars in MICHELIN Guide Nara 2022, asking them who they’d like to share this feeling with in their moment of triumph. We also asked them to share an episode of their lives with that person.


When I heard the news, I felt it was my staff who should be congratulated, not I.
My staff and I are like a family here, spending long hours together, sharing busy times and tough times. A chef can be severe sometimes, like a father, while a manager is like a doting mother, enjoying every day as they watch their children grow up.
We enjoy the support of so many people here, not least of whom are our local producers.
I will encourage our team to continue to pull together, aiming to make this restaurant just like a French auberge, one in which everyone living in this region will take pride.

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Tsukumo (2 MICHELIN Star, Japanese)

We’ll keep making the cuisine we believe in, never losing interest or flagging in our efforts.

I took this picture to celebrate the occasion with our proprietress, my wife, who has always been at my side.


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LA TRACE (1 MICHELIN Star, French)

When the ratings were announced, I immediately thought of my mentor, Chef Matsumoto of Restaurant Prunier.
I met him when I was 28 years old, when I had returned to Japan full of confidence from my apprenticeship in France. But when I met Chef Matsumoto in a French restaurant in Nogizaka Tokyo , I was shocked to realize how far I still had to go. Thus began the experience that was the cornerstone of the chef I am today. Chef Matsumoto not only retrained me in the basics of French cuisine, but he also showed me the correct attitude toward cooking. Since then, no matter what position I worked in , he was always ready with a kind word of advice for me. Clasping to my breast the pot Chef Matsumoto bestowed on me when I became independent, I will continue to aim for greater things here in Nara.


Inada (1 MICHELIN Star, Japanese)

Above all, I want to thank my grandparents, especially my beloved grandmother, who is in Heaven.
When she was still with us, Grandma told me, ‘If you don’t start providing dishes you’ve cooked yourself, your business will fail.’ She was an enthusiastic cheerleader of me changing my business style, and often gave me advice. She was more excited than anyone about this new journey in life that I’d chosen, but sadly, she was taken from us before she could see our dream come true.
I will always face what is coming with a fresh spirit, always invent and innovate.
And I will do my level best to delight my customers, who supported me throughout the tough times of the pandemic.


Okada (1 MICHELIN Star, Japanese)

I’ve asked myself many times who would I like to thank the most. My mentor? My family? My staff? My customers? My suppliers? In the end I can’t choose one above the rest. I’m grateful to them all.
My mentor, who taught me the ropes when I knew nothing, teaching me not only about cooking but also about what it means to be a chef. My family, a pillar of support through thick and thin. My staff, who always give their best, pouring their hearts into making this restaurant a success. My customers, who have honoured me with their patronage. And of course my suppliers, who bring me such wonderful ingredients.
I can’t count the number of people who’ve supported me and made this Michelin star rating possible. I’m truly delighted, and I’ll keep devoting myself to my craft, never forgetting the importance of gratitude.


La Terrasse irisée (1 MICHELIN Star, French)

The one I’d like to thank is Peter Knogl, chef of Cheval Blanc by Peter Knogl in Switzerland. Peter and I launched this restaurant together, sharing the thrills and agonies of the hospitality business. In 2009 we were awarded one MICHELIN star in MICHELIN Guide Switzerland 2009, then in 2016 we were honoured with three MICHELIN stars.
On the day my inclusion in MICHELIN Guide Nara 2022 was announced, he phoned me out of the blue, even though I hadn’t told him when the awards would be announced.
He was as happy as if he had been awarded it himself. ‘Next, aim for two MICHELIN stars,’ he encouraged me. ‘Give it your best. I’m cheering for you from Switzerland.’
Today I treat my staff at this restaurant the way Peter treated me back then, striving humbly with a fresh willingness. We will become better together, aiming for that second star.

ⒸLa Terrasse irisée
ⒸLa Terrasse irisée
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Matsuki (1 MICHELIN Star, Japanese)

Thank you very much indeed for listing our restaurant in MICHELIN Guide Nara 2022.
I’m filled with gratitude to our customers who favour Matsuki with their patronage, as well as our food producers, and of course our staff, who work hard together every day. We will continue to hone our craft, never resting on our laurels, and look forward to your continued guidance in becoming ever-better.


Sushi Kawashima (1 MICHELIN Star, Sushi)

I’m deeply honoured to be awarded one MICHELIN star in the MICHELIN Guide, the world standard in culinary awards, just over two years after opening my restaurant. The first people I shared this joy with were my family and my staff.
My goal is to approach the essence of sushi , creating a menu that makes a virtue of pure. We endlessly discuss and put into practice how we want to run the restaurant.
The moment on 16 May , when MICHELIN Guide Nara 2022 was announced, is etched in my memory as the start of a new journey for us.
Like the changing of the seasons, we shall keep moving slowly but steadily forward, patiently and never giving in to pride or exaggeration.

ⒸSushi Kawashima
ⒸSushi Kawashima

communico (1 MICHELIN Star, Innovative)

As far as I’m concerned, this MICHELIN star rating is a reward for our many long hours of steady, patient work.
I could never have earned this honour by my efforts alone. It is my staff, whose unending hard work and dedication has made this moment possible, who should be thanked.
Diligence makes quality: I am delighted that we can sense the truth of this maxim together.
It is my hope that this award will spur us all to a brighter future in our work, and by extension, in our lives.



I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of the journey of Gokan Uogin.
June 2022 marks three years have passed since we opened Gokan Uogin. Two and a half of those years were spent in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every day was a struggle, worrying about the future, and without compensation.
Yet even in those most trying of times, customers continued to make reservations. I was determined that every customer leave the restaurant satisfied, so that they would come and dine with us again. On days when we had no reservations, I would look at our operations from the customer’s point of view , trying and tasting new ideas over and over. As I did so, little by little, the number of customers supporting us grew.
This award does not belong only to me. It belongs also to the diners who favoured us with their custom, and the suppliers, staff and families who supported us. Everyone who was involved in our journey had a role to play in this success.
I hope that this relationship with Michelin will make more people aware of us. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to put smiles on their faces through our cooking.
Always with the spirit of taking on challenges, we will strive humbly yet unwaveringly forward, aiming to scale new heights.



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