2 restaurants at Ritz-Carlton hotels in Kyoto, Osaka awarded Michelin stars

Located in The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka, La Baie is a sophisticated French restaurant that serves modern cuisine made with traditional techniques created by Head Chef Christophe Gibert, who joined The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka in 2002 as a sous chef, and has been Head Chef of La Baie since 2006. Christophe specializes in using local, Japanese ingredients as well as a variety of ingredients from different countries, and cooks them using techniques that bring out their flavors to the fullest. His unique skills as a chef are evident in his ability to expertly combine contrasting flavors such as sweet and sour, and his careful use of spices, including spices that are rare in Japan.

Tempura Mizuki, situated in The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, is a Japanese tempura restaurant that specializes in tempura made with seasonal ingredients, served in a traditional counter-style restaurant space. With over 20 years’ culinary experience, Chef Kenji Fujimoto takes the helm at Tempura Mizuki, and played an instrumental role in the restaurant gaining its first ever Michelin star in the 2018 Michelin Guide.

The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka’s French restaurant La Baie and The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto’s Japanese restaurant Tempura Mizuki have both been awarded one Michelin star in the Michelin Guide to Kyoto and Osaka 2018. (Japan Today)

Airports around the world have found an unconventional, eco-friendly way to take advantage of all the unused open space around their runways and buildings: hosting beehives. (Japan Times)

The number of foreign visitors to Japan this year hit a new record, exceeding the previous high of over 24 million logged last year, Japan’s tourism minister said Friday. (Japan Times)

Even with its convenience stores, souvenir outlets, tour buses and boutique coffee shops, Mount Koya might be modestly alluded to as a Japanese Lhasa. There is no living being, of course, who embodies the doctrines of a religious order such as the Dalai Lama, but in the person of the saintly priest Kukai, who founded the temple complex in 816 as the center of the Tantric Buddhist sect known as Shingon Mikkyo, the mountain top finds an ecclesiastical figure of compelling and charismatic force. (Japan Times)

Xiang Xiang, the five-month-old baby giant panda at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo, can now climb up vertically positioned logs, pictures and videos released by the zoo showed Friday. (Jiji)

Multilingual robot concierges have been unveiled in Tokyo prior to trials that will gauge their ability to welcome visitors to the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

The growing number of foreign visitors to Japan has lifted the country’s first-half travel balance surplus to a record high, recent data shows.

This is how my first-ever day in Japan went. Arrive at Tokyo’s Narita airport, sushi for lunch in the city, bullet train (shinkansen) to Kyoto, train to Yamazaki. (thedailybeast.com)

While visiting Japan, President Trump ate a hamburger, setting off a Twitter firestorm of those both praising and criticizing the choice. (foxnews.com)

Ohitorisama — doing things alone — has been a thing in Japan. For instance, restaurants and karaoke spots try to accommodate solo customers so they don’t feel uncomfortable on their own. Now the fad is spreading to overseas tours, and travel companies are cashing in on the trend. ()

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