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Osaka

Rakushin

楽心

Beautiful cuisine with elements of surprise enjoyed in a striking space with fastidious touches at every turn. You’ll want to take snapshots for your travel journal of this unforgettable evening in Osaka.

In the small laneways of the Fukushima neighborhood of Osaka, Rakushin’s hospitality is steeped in originality, Japan’s four seasons, and a modern interior that pays homage to tradition. Approached from a highly atmospheric narrow lane, the sturdy columns of the exterior speak of days gone by, standing since before World War II. They belie the sparkling modern interior, into which you are drawn by the sound of crickets and visual elements to envelop you in a sense of the season.

Solid ginkgo timber makes up the almost six-meter counter, which is accented by plush vermillion seats. The rusted tone of Italian tiles blends beautifully with the timber columns flanking the counter, and a wall filled with sakura cherry blossoms is yet another indication of the chef’s fastidiousness in creating his perfect dining space. You are surrounded by beauty, but it may be hard to take your eyes off the meticulously designed garden once seated. The eye-catching pot is a bespoke piece by ceramic artist Uchida Koichi, based in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture. And hanging just inside the window is a carefully tended kokedama moss ball collected by the staff on a leaf-viewing trip last autumn.

Table seating is also available, as is sunken tatami floor seating, with space for guests to rest their legs. Throughout the restaurant, mortar walls blended with ink give the impression of an ink painting, with the dark tone evoking calm and reflection. A calligraphy piece adorning the wall at the seated table was presented to the chef by a customer on the restaurant’s fifth anniversary and is the work of a Todaiji Temple master. It contains the restaurant name Rakushin, which combines a character from the chef’s name with an expression of gratitude for all the people he’s met and who have supported his journey.

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CUISINE

Beautiful cuisine with elements of surprise

Rakushin’s cuisine is a multi-course journey through the season. Dashi is integral to kaiseki and Katayama changes his seasonally, switching between Rishiri and Makombu varieties of kelp, extracting flavor for two hours at 60 degrees before finishing with the refined flavor of Kagoshima bonito flakes. And while dashi is the key to flavor, performance is what sets Rakushin apart. When plating, the chef’s mind turns to creating a picture; the visuals underscore his style in an aesthetic sense he hopes to pass on to his apprentices.

The hassun course designed to showcase seasonal ingredients from the mountains and seas is intensely original, with each morsel served nestled inside the bright orange pockets of a lantern plant, so named for its resemblance to paper lanterns. The color is a stunning contrast to the underlying white porcelain plate created by Taizo Kuroda, whetting your appetite for the anago eel, mackerel sushi, rolled egg omelet, okra dressed in spicy cod roe and other dishes found inside.

The lidded bowl reveals plump Tokushima Prefecture hamo daggertooth pike conger with winter melon amid a carpet of chrysanthemum flowers – the yellow petals of which serve as a harbinger of autumn. Super thin slices of Akashi sea bream sashimi adorn a plate accompanied by a pickled dish of sea bream flesh and skin with grated daikon. The black, early-Showa period dish accentuates the translucent beauty of the fish.

Fresh somen noodles from Nara Prefecture are served in an bowl carved from a block of ice – a cooling, refreshing and surprising touch inspired by the Japanese custom of offering ice at a shrine to wish for good health through the heat of summer. Mackerel dashi soup is added table side just before eating. Chargrilled Gifu Prefecture ayu sweetfish seem to be swimming on a bed of tadezu water pepper leaves.

Katayama’s playful touch of including miniature watermelons make this a refreshing take on a popular seasonal ingredient. The closing rice dish changes seasonally: autumn is all about enjoying the incredible flavor of freshly harvested, simply steamed white rice with no adornments, while August brings rice mixed with barley and topped with grated mountain yam.

INGREDIENTS
Ingredients are primarily sourced at Osaka Central Market, but specialty items like maguro make their way to Rakushin from Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market, and wasabi is sent direct from a farmer in Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture. Vegetables are carefully chosen from the best available at the time, and many of the ingredients are lovingly grilled over charcoal of the Kishu Binchotan variety from Wakayama, known to bring out the best in each ingredient’s innate flavors without interfering through smoky overtones.

The sommelier proprietress possesses great knowledge of all kinds of beverages and has prepared a menu including more than ten varieties of sake and mostly French wines. Some high-end wines usually only available by the bottle can be enjoyed here by the glass.

Rakushin cuisine #0
Rakushin cuisine #1

CHEF

Shintaro Katayama

Shintaro Katayama was born in Chiba prefecture in 1977 but moved to his mother’s hometown in Imari, Saga Prefecture, during high school. An inkling that having a craft or a specific skill would serve him well in the future led him to Tsuji Culinary Institute, but that somewhat lighthearted decision has determined his path ever since. Katayama trained for nine years from age 18 at kaiseki ryori restaurant Masuda in Shinsaibashi and then joined a former colleague, Chef Mitsuda, at the opening of his restaurant Toyonaka Sakurae. After six or seven years there and in preparation for going independent himself, Katayama spent two years helping at restaurants of French cuisine and sushi, among others. When he opened Rakushin in 2013 at just 36 years of age, he gained instant attention and a highly coveted Michelin star.

Katayama’s cuisine exhibits his exquisite kaiseki pedigree, linked to Kyoto Kitcho through Chef Masuda, a former member of the Kyoto establishment. It is clearly evident in the sheer beauty of presentation in his hassun dish. While he attributes this aesthetic sense to his first master, Katayama thanks his second master, Mitsuda, for his deep understanding of sake pairing. He has taken the absolute best from both his masters to make his own endeavor an enormous success. And he is joined by his highly skilled sommelier wife and apprentices in giving guests the ultimate in Japanese hospitality.

VISION
Katayama hopes to continue on his current path, engaging with overseas chefs from Beijing to Brussels, through culinary events that fill his calendar. He touches ever so briefly on a new idea involving a sommelier champion. He believes that building friendly relations with overseas chefs is essential in fostering a strong sense of cuisine both in himself and his apprentices.

SAKE CUPS

The name of famed Kiyomizu-yaki potter Miura Chikusen has been handed down among only the most talented ceramic artisans for five generations. When you walk the highly atmospheric cobblestone streets and breath in the crisp air surrounding Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto where the kiln is found, you can sense the sources of inspiration for these functional works of art. Katayama talks of how he used to go out looking for the ideal tableware items, but now they seem to find him. The sheer size of his collection is staggering, and its rich variety allows him to change the settings regularly to match the season.

Course

Lunch
Rakushin lunch course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥11,000
¥11,000
Reservation Request
Dinner
Rakushin dinner course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥4,000
¥29,500
¥29,500
Reservation Request

Osaka

Rakushin

楽心

MICHELIN
1
STAR
PRICE
¥11,000
~
CHILD
16
& UP
LUNCH
OPEN
MIN GUESTS
1
PERSON
~
GENRE
Kaiseki, Osaka
ADDRESS
1F, 1 Chome-6-14 Fukushima, Fukushima Ward, Osaka, 553-0003, Japan
OPEN
Lunch: 11AM-1:00PM (LO), Dinner: 5:30PM- 9:00PM (LO)
CLOSED
Irregular
URL
NA
PHONE
+81 6-6451-2323

RESERVATION

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