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Middle by name but not in experience: the feeling of escape is so intense that you will forget where you are. Immerse yourself in this ornate restaurant with a view of the passing seasons along the romantic Kamo River of central Kyoto. The chef and owner’s astonishing international resume has inspired this restaurant’s interior, cuisine, and worldview, creating an experience to amaze and delight guests.

Middle opened in November 2021, deep in pandemic times, at a riverside location along Kitaoji-dori, a short distance from the Kyoto city center. Guests pass through an impressive gateway to a spacious entrance. One step inside, you will immediately be whisked away to another world amid the fusion of Western and Japanese sensibilities in the former Italian ambassador’s residence. Climb the timber staircase made with a traditional Japanese carving technique called naguri into an exclusive space for the fortunate few – with just three tables in a dining room large enough to accommodate ten and cordoned off for heightened privacy. Gaze out to the banks of the Kamo River through the large windows that offer an exceptionally breathtaking view come sunset.



Unbound by traditions

Unbound by traditions, the highly creative course of nine or ten dishes at Middle takes different forms depending on the season or the guest’s hunger level. It does not need to flow from appetizer to soup and eventually main dish; if the guest arrives very hungry, perhaps a meat dish will make an early appearance. While his background may be steeped in French techniques, the only rules Fujio follows are that the course is deeply satisfying and tummy-filling and that it be composed of the “Three Fives of Japanese cuisine”: five flavors, five colors, and five methods.

Some of the chef’s mouthwatering winter creations include homemade egg yolk ravioli enveloping snow crab in a broth rich in the aroma of prosciutto, and chargrilled Japanese Spanish mackerel from Ise, Mie, served with persimmon pickled in white wine vinegar, fresh chrysanthemum greens, and bright yellow chrysanthemum flowers. Colvert duck breast is topped with a mixture of duck thigh and innards and roasted together, served with celeriac puree and a flavorful jus extracted from duck bones. From late November to February, Chef Fujio also roasts blocks of badger meat, whose fat is tastiest in winter, served with seri dropwort and a sauce of badger bone broth seasoned with salt, sake, and aromatics. The meal ends in traditional French style with cheese and dessert.

The sole condition for ingredients is that they taste amazing. Seeing no need to limit the regions they come from, Fujio seeks delicious ingredients from near and far. But it is unsurprising that many hail from Kyoto and the Kansai region: Kyoto vegetables from the fertile soils of Kamigamo, Tanba chestnuts, and Nara persimmons. As freshness is paramount, it is essential that ingredients – be they seafood, meat, or vegetables – arrive in the kitchens as soon as possible after picking or hunting. Fujio had started sourcing duck and other gibier from France but soon realized there was a wealth of high-quality gibier right on his doorstep. Close relationships with producers and intermediaries ensure Fujio has the most detailed information on the best seasonal produce each moment.

Middle cuisine #0
Middle cuisine #1


Yasuhiro Fujio

Yasuhiro Fujio was born in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, in 1987, and his inimitable background has many people talking. He left to study abroad in England at 15 and moved to Paris for university. During those days, a part-time café job opened his eyes to the restaurant industry, leading him to seek work at the highly acclaimed Passage 53. He knocked on the door of Chef Sato – the first Japanese chef ever to earn a Michelin star – and witnessed the simultaneous severity and fascination of the culinary world. It inspired Fujio to dive head-on into that world, and after graduating from university, he worked at Mirazur in southern France, subsequently crowned the world’s best restaurant. Keen to see French cuisine in Japan, Fujio returned to Japan in December 2012 and applied for work at Osaka’s La Cime – a two-star Michelin restaurant listed in Asia’s 50 Best. He learned all about Chef Takada’s formidable yet free-thinking cuisine before pivoting into Japanese cuisine at Kyoto’s Kiyama – a restaurant serving cuisine brimming with passion and infused at every turn with the chef’s firm conviction that all customers be treated the same. Fujio emulates that style; it has become the foundation of everything he does.

During his time as sous chef at La Cime, Fujio earned a Gold Egg in Japan’s RED U-35 cooking competition, and he became the first Japanese national to win at the San Pellegrino Young Chef international cooking contest. He lives by the creed that someone’s feelings and personality are evident in their creations, and the persuasiveness of a dish lies in the degree to which a chef can inject their sentiment into the cuisine. Add technique to genuine emotion, and you have the recipe for dishes that truly move people.

Chef Fujio says it is not in his character to have a long-term vision for the future. He has predetermined nothing for the next few years, choosing instead to approach his work with a more immediate focus, coming face to face with his ingredients and his guests each day to give them the ultimate culinary experience.


Hunters wait patiently for Northern pintail and mallard ducks in the rice fields of Niigata Prefecture, not with cocked pistols but with nets. This gentle capture method ensures the meat maintains its deep flavors without unpleasant aromas, allowing guests to savor the sumptuous fat and iron-rich flesh. Another specialty of the Middle menu is an array of Japanese-grown vegetables: Kamigamo broccoli, ebiimo taro from the Tondabayashi forest of Osaka, Red Welsh onions from Gunma, Hokkaido parsley, turnips from Gifu, and all kinds of other local seasonal wonders sourced through trusted suppliers. Chef Fujio is incredibly grateful to his network of intermediaries who cast their eyes across the nation, searching for and homing in on Japan’s best.


Lunch/ Dinner
Middle omakase course
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
Reservation Request




& UP
Innovative, Kyoto
1F, 5-3 Shimogamo Kamikawaracho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-0812, Japan
Lunch: 12PM, Dinner: 5PM-6PM (last entry)


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