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Kyoto

Kenninji Gion Maruyama

建仁寺祇園丸山

Kenninji Gion Maruyama is the newer masterpiece in a group that occupies an unquestionable place at the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine. Guests are immersed in true Japanese hospitality, gaining insight into traditions of tea ceremony, kaiseki cuisine and the historical district of Gion in a beautiful and relaxing setting just footsteps from Kenninji Temple.

Kenninji Gion Maruyama opened on Yasaka-dori along the south side of Kenninji Temple in 1998 as the sister restaurant of Gion Maruyama, which was established more than 30 years ago. Three traditional timber houses were joined together to create this generous space in sukiya teahouse-style architecture. The magnificent weeping cherry tree and tall pine tree are the sign that you have come to the right place.

You stroll through a passageway sprinkled with purifying water to an extensive waiting space where you can relax before making your way into the restaurant proper and one of six private rooms. Each group that comes to dine here can unwind and savor the moment in the privacy of their own room and in spaces with slightly different interiors, from the ceilings above to the furnishings all around, one even with sweetfish swimming in a basin by the window. Pleasures await whenever you visit, varying by room, by season and by occasion.

Dining here is a chance to enjoy the pleasures of Kyoto to your heart’s content, from the beautiful setting, exquisite tableware, and delicious flavors, to the graceful hospitality. And guests, should they choose, even have the opportunity to savor a much rarer Kyoto tradition – to be entertained by geisha.

Gion Maruyama is an indisputable leader in Kyoto cuisine. The chef earned that place through a career that began under masters of tea ceremony and mentors of traditional cuisine at Kyoto's premier restaurants, Kikunoi and Wakuden, before being awarded two Michelin stars for his very own restaurants. Knowing the history and accolades, diners come here expecting nothing less yet still leave feeling overwhelmed by the beauty and poise.

CUISINE

Pinnacle of Japanese cuisine

Chef Maruyama is highly acclaimed for his treatment of seasonal ingredients and careful attention to each party. His tableside chargrilling leaves guests salivating from the tantalizing sounds and smells. Spring brings bamboo shoots and longtooth grouper fish pregnant with eggs; summer means hamo pike conger and ayu sweetfish; autumn offers the chance to savor sweetfish with eggs and heady matsutake mushrooms, while winter is about the delicacies of matsubagani snow crab and fugu pufferfish.

“Kyoto cuisine is a comprehensive art that appeals to all five senses”, says Maruyama, who describes those senses as rhythm, light, sound, aroma and flavor. His masterpieces bring out the ultimate in flavor in Kyoto’s seasonal produce and skillfully navigate the spectrum of guest occasions – from everyday to celebratory – while also focusing on seasonal events and rituals in the traditional Japanese lunisolar calendar.

Kyoto is home to three major annual celebrations: Aoi Matsuri, Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri. The May 15 Aoi Matsuri, or Hollyhock Festival, is an enormous procession of people dressed in Heian Period (794-1185) aristocratic costumes. Maruyama’s platter at this time of year is filled with celebratory motifs such as gold and silver tied threads, folded paper in the distinctive shape of a samurai helmet, and a dish wrapped in an oak leaf. Some of the ingredients such as sushi of sea bream, with its Japanese name a play on the word for congratulations, are found in other joyous celebrations, and others are unique to this time of year with its prayers for the sound health of children around Children’s Day. The charming taro bud cooked in its skin topped with ikura salmon roe and slippery smooth texture of junsai watershield plant are just some of the wonderful ingredients that take you on a journey through this specific season.

A summer mukozuke course may be served on a stunning lacquered tray – a favorite of the chef’s by Hyosaku Suzuki, an early 20th century lacquer master who was based in Kyoto. The chef’s tableware collection is exquisite and includes countless antique dishes and drinking vessels of Kutani ware, celadon porcelain, and blue and white ceramics, and bearing the names of some of Japan’s most famous artists. A fish-shaped ceramic dish is filled with red rockfish, kuruma prawn and oval squid, accompanied by Tosa soy sauce, a dab of wasabi and refreshing ponzu. So much time and effort has gone into preparation of the perilla leaf, seaweed, curled carrot and daikon that form the delicate details on top, expressing the chef’s desire to give his guests the best.

Early summer in Japan brings with it cooling ingredients and bountiful, bulbous hydrangea flowers. The chef makes the season known with a gorgeous platter highlighting those brilliant colors. Young sea bream is fashioned into sushi between sudachi citrus rounds, shark’s fin in gelée is topped with a single fava bean, and cute simmered taro buds come together with a savory prawn and a touch of yuzu. In a playful touch, the chef accompanies this course with a glass bottle containing lightly vinegared okra and junsai watershield plant, to be opened and discovered by the guests themselves.

The chef’s pursuit of the authentic shines through the culture, traditions and cuisine of Maruyama. Elements from tea ceremony run deep, and because that world is so complex and interwoven, even a seasoned Japanophile with an excellent cultural dictionary in hand may have trouble deciphering Maruyama’s intricate menu. But there is no need to be overwhelmed, because the key is in appreciating the moment, letting yourself absorb the generous hospitality, and savoring the deliciously authentic flavors.

INGREDIENTS
Seafood comes direct from the waters of the Japan Sea and Awajishima – an island situated in the Seto Inland Sea. Kyoto vegetables are central to many of the dishes, with others incorporated to accentuate the season, and all dishes are flavored delicately with premium seasonings made by artisans around Japan. Any further details on this theme are very closely guarded.

Kenninji Gion Maruyama cuisine #0
Kenninji Gion Maruyama cuisine #1

CHEF

Yoshio Maruyama

Yoshio Maruyama was born in central Kyoto in 1949 as the first son in a fishmonger family. He thought about a career in the arts but decided on the culinary world on his father's advice that food-related jobs would never become irrelevant. Thus in 1967, he apprenticed to Soushaku Nishiwaki, an honorary master of Urasenke tea ceremony, and learned cookery at Kodaiji Doi. Under the direct tutelage of the former proprietress Sadae Doi, Maruyama learned the true origins of clothing, food and shelter. In 1976, it was upon his skills being formally recognized by his former teacher Doi that he was charged with the role of opening Roan Kikunoi Kiyamachi, working alongside famed chef Yoshihiro Murata to establish the new restaurant on the Kyoto food scene. When Wakuden shifted location to central Kyoto from its historic home on the Japan Sea side of the prefecture and became Kodaiji Wakuden in 1983, Maruyama served as its first chef de cuisine, a role he held for five years. That was until opening his very own Gion Maruyama in January 1988, followed ten years later by a second restaurant Kenninji Maruyama. The original restaurant was updated and reopened in December 2001. Maruyama joined the Japanese Culinary Art and Culture Project Forum in New York in October 2007, and in 2009 both his restaurants were awarded two Michelin stars. He served as supervisory chef of cuisine for the film “Ask This of Rikyu” (Rikyu ni tazuneyo) starring famed Japanese actor Ebizo Ichikawa, as well as for the bottled roasted tea known as Gion Kokorocha. A reserved man, an artisan from times gone by, Maruyama doesn't give away much in words. Asked about his 50-year career, he says his talents are continuity and perseverance and that his work is driven by the motto of “dining on time”. He wishes to do meaningful work in a peaceful, gentle manner, pursuing deliciousness focused on seasonality. He loves art and, of course, eating.

VISION
Maruyama has a staggering 50 apprentices. He is extremely generous when they go independent, perhaps because of the knowledge of his own hard work establishing himself in this place, warmly supporting their endeavors even though they are located just footsteps from his base. Maruyama’s apprentices are responsible for Gion Iwasaki, Gion Ogami, Gion Suetomo, and Kenninji Gion Maruyama. When Makoto Fujiwara took over as head chef at Kodaiji Jugyuan, his master Maruyama sent many staff over to lend a hand. Many you ask talk of his great humanity, incredible broad-mindedness, and willingness to respond to requests for advice on cuisine. Not surprisingly, his vision centers on “making a contribution to the world”. Maruyama is determined to have his guests experience ambience and place only possible in Kyoto’s Gion. That spirit has clearly been instilled in his many apprentices, as seen in the use of “Gion” crowning their restaurant names. He takes full advantage of the restaurant’s structure as a standalone building and focuses on all the elements that together make up the complete dining and cultural experience.

Course

LUNCH
Kenninji Maruyama Lunch A course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥14,500
¥14,500
Reservation Request
LUNCH
Kenninji Maruyama Lunch B course (More luxurious ingredients)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥17,500
¥17,500
Reservation Request
LUNCH
Kenninji Maruyama Lunch C course (The most luxurious ingredients)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥20,000
¥20,000
Reservation Request
LUNCH/ DINNER
Kenninji Maruyama omakase A course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥24,000
¥24,000
Reservation Request
LUNCH/ DINNER
Kenninji Maruyama Omakase C course (the most luxurious)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥70,000
¥70,000
Reservation Request
LUNCH/DINNER
Kenninji Maruyama omakase B course (more luxurious ingredients)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥43,500
¥43,500
Reservation Request

Kyoto

Kenninji Gion Maruyama

建仁寺祇園丸山

MICHELIN
2
STAR
PRICE
¥14,500
~
CHILD
0
& UP
VEGAN
WELCOME
LUNCH
OPEN
MIN GUESTS
1
PERSON
~
GENRE
Kaiseki, Gion
ADDRESS
1F, 京都府 京都市東山区 小松町 566-15
OPEN
Lunch: 11AM-1:30PM (LO), Dinner: 5PM- 7:30PM (LO)
CLOSED
Irregular
URL
NA
PHONE
+81-75-561-9990

RESERVATION

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