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Kyoto

Gion Maruyama

祇園丸山

In an unquestionable place at the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine, Gion Maruyama is Kyoto at its most elegant best. Cultural elements of tea ceremony and traditional kaiseki cuisine flow throughout the complete dining experience, offering every guest their very own moment to revel in true Japanese hospitality.

The atmospheric district of Gion at the heart of Kyoto is home to Gion Maruyama, established more than 30 years ago. There is nothing like Gion anywhere else in the world, not even in Kyoto. As you approach, the quaint laneway leads you to a traditional teahouse-style building and a path that has been freshly sprinkled with water awaiting your arrival. The door slides open to reveal an unadorned yet comfortable space with the perfect level of expectation and mystery.

The essence of Kyoto oozes in this space, wonderful from the moment you step in and throughout the meal – in every item of tableware you touch, in each accoutrement you behold, and most importantly, in the grace of the hospitality. Diners are seated either at a counter seat or in one of several private rooms, each with their own appeal: the live performance of the chef’s skills at the former; the privacy and unique interior style of the latter.

Calligraphy scrolls and flowers, a gorgeous folding screen of an 18th century painting of the Aoi Festival held in May every year, the touch of tatami beneath as you look out on the fresh verdure of a plum tree in the moss-covered garden – it’s mesmerizing and surreal, like you’re in a movie or even a dream. In the tightly woven streets of Gion, it is hard to imagine such a spacious and gorgeous place exists. And even more incredible to think what it might be like to dine here and be entertained by the exquisite grace and ornate kimono of geisha, a unique cultural tradition you can enjoy here.

Gion Maruyama’s chef is an indisputable leader in Kyoto cuisine. He has 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 earning 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

An unquestionable place

“Kyoto cuisine is a comprehensive art that appeals to all five senses”, says Chef Maruyama, who described 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.

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.

In celebration of the new imperial era called Reiwa, Maruyama designed a sakura springtime platter inspired by a Shinto ritual called Kyokusui no Utage (wandering stream banquet) held in the imperial court and in nobles’ homes during the Heian Period (794-1185). This course is an expression of tradition seamlessly interwoven with original touches, highlighting elements of open-air tea ceremony. A red-painted pot sits alongside a golden bamboo sheath filled with small dishes of wild mountain vegetables and lily bulb, a hidden plum, sashimi of sayori (Japanese halfbeak), yuba tofu skin, sea urchin, jellied beef dotted with green peas, baby bamboo and akagai clam in Japanese pepper leaf dressing, baked butterbur buds coated with miso, and more. Accenting the platter is a long bamboo hairpin that functions as a skewer for tomato, avocado and gelled egg yolk vinegar, and also plays a decorative role, adorned with cherry blossom flowers and a special poem.

In late autumn, multiple simmered components are brought together in a single cooling, umami-rich dish called takiawase. Served in a footed bowl with red painted adornment by Dohei Tsuboshima, the colors within are just as stunning, featuring abalone, herring, simmered conger eel, locally grown Kyoto vegetables like carrot and Kamo eggplant, pumpkin, and giant butterbur.

Sankan shion is a dish for the season when spring plays tug-of-war with winter and we experience four days of warmth followed by three days of cold. Wafting with delicious aromas, this gorgeous colorful creation is almost too beautiful to eat. The first bamboo shoots of the season are presented with kinome Japanese pepper leaf buds two ways: on one side topped with ice goby fish, carrot, and asparagus; on the other, with firefly squid and rapeseed blossoms.

The chef’s pursuit of the authentic shines in 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 service, 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.

Gion Maruyama cuisine #0
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
Gion 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
Gion 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
Gion 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
Gion 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
Gion 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
LUNCH/ DINNER
Gion Maruyama omakase C course (the most luxurious ingredients)
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥70,000
¥70,000
Reservation Request

Kyoto

Gion Maruyama

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, 570-171 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0074, Japan
OPEN
Lunch: 11AM-1:30PM (LO), Dinner: 5PM- 7:30PM (LO)
CLOSED
Irregular
URL
NA
PHONE
+81 75-525-0009

RESERVATION

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