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from Executive Chef Tokuoka Kunio

KYOTO KITCHO takes as its mission “the creation through Japanese cuisine of Japanese culture needed by people the world over, now and in the future.”

Towards the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of Kitcho

With the start of cherry blossom season and the pleasant spring weather, we are finally free from wearing masks and have now returned to a life without restrictions. Since last year, we have gradually been able to hold events and tea ceremonies, as well as attend get-togethers, and our restaurants are now able to welcome visitors from overseas.

We now would like to actively engage in a variety of activities, such as visiting our growers and resuming activities for local revitalization, further improving our communities, and developing products for the Sixth Industry. Our kitchens receive daily deliveries of various types of primary products, so there are many locations we want and need to visit, including production sites and municipalities.

In March, the renovation of our “Taikotei” tatami room at the Arashiyama headquarters was completed, and the new room features ceiling paintings by Maestro Rieko Morita. This room is located in a shoin-zukuri-style building, which was first constructed in the first year of the Meiji era (1868) and moved to Arashiyama 60 years ago, and have been carefully decorated in every detail. For this so-called “Taikotei Renovation Project,” we conducted a crowdfunding campaign to tell people about and allow them to experience the work of the artisans who preserve and pass down Japanese culture. Fortunately, we have had many people provide sympathy and support for this project, so we would like to extend our deepest gratitude. We are now accepting reservations for the unveiling dinner party and room assignments, so we hope you will visit us in Arashiyama.

For the past two years, I have been asked to give special lectures for students from Ritsumeikan University’s College of Gastronomy Management, where I conduct fieldwork together at production sites and do research on taste. This year, our goal is to bring together students, primary industry workers, municipalities, university professors, scientists, and others to identify issues, connect with various companies, and coordinate efforts to solve these problems.

Furthermore, deep within Arashiyama, there is a piece of land in Kiyotaki owned by Kyoto Kitcho called “Kitcho Mountain,” and talks are moving forward regarding its development. Famous for its autumn foliage, Kitcho Mountain has beautiful thick forests and clear streams, and in June it is filled with fireflies. There is a tea room that was inherited from Konosuke Matsushita, where Yuki Teiichi used to hold tea ceremonies and dinner parties. However, recently, it has not been used at all and we have been searching for ways to use it. That’s when we received a proposal for a joint development plan to move forward together. We have been dreaming of building a new facility where visitors can not only enjoy fine cuisine, but also stay overnight. We have also received inquiries about other public projects, such as IR development being planned in various locations, development projects for urban areas, inbound and outbound promotion by the Tourism Agency in various areas, and assistance with international art fairs. We will do our best to be of help, even if it is just a small contribution.

In 2030, I will be 70 years old. By that time, as I have been saying for the past 10 years, it may become possible to convert seawater to fresh water, AI may enable natural cultivation, as well as mix high-performance air conditioners and chloroplasts in high-rise buildings so that the buildings can act as trees, purify the water, and have cities function as a kind of forest. I want our world to not only become more convenient, but also healthier, and for us to support each other.

And it’s not that we still have seven years until 2030; rather, there are only seven years left. “The mission of Kyoto Kitcho is the ‘creation of Japanese culture’; thus, our goal is to be needed by people around the world and in the future,” and in order to realize this, we would like to try various things this year and achieve new discoveries and accomplishments.

We are starting the new year with renewed determination, and will continue to work hard to meet your expectations.

On behalf of everyone at Kyoto Kitcho, thank you for your continued patronage.

March 2023 Tokuoka Kunio

Tokuoka Kunio
KYOTO KITCHO Executive Chef

Born in 1960, the grandson of Kitcho founder Yuki Teiichi.
In 1980 he began training in earnest to be a chef, learning the fundamentals of cooking from Teiichi. In 1995 he became executive chef, and in 2009 managing director of KYOTO KITCHO Co., Ltd.
Starting in 2004, he began participating in culinary events overseas.
In 2008 he catered the social dinner for the G8 Summit in Toyako, Hokkaido.
Domestically, he is involved in the search for solutions to various issues relating to regional vitalization and primary industry in Japan, such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries. He is a visiting professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture and honorary director of the Society of Industry, Culture, and Science.
While honoring tradition, Tokuoka Kunio is constantly devising new, multifaceted approaches to food culture and is committed to spreading his knowledge and love of Japanese cuisine through innovative methods and suggestions.


2004 Participated in Salone del Gusto, a festival of food organized by Slow Food Association Italy (also 2006)
2005 Participated in "Madrid Fusion"
2007 Participated in THE RISE OF ASIA food conference organized by CIA, California, USA (also 2008)
2008 First Japanese chef to be selected for a James Beard Award (James Beard Foundation)
Executive Chef, G8 Summit Social Dinner, Lake Toya, Hokkaido
2009 Became President and CEO of KYOTO KITCHO Co., Ltd.
Japan Representative at Tokyo Taste World Gastronomy Summit 2009
Joined Kyotango City's board of expert advisors (committee for policy and planning)
Participated in the "Umami Summit in London"
KYOTO KITCHO Arashiyama awarded 3 stars in the Michelin Guide Kyoto Osaka, HANA‐Kitcho awarded 1 star
(both maintained for 12 consecutive years)
2010 Participated in the World of Flavor Conference & Festival organized by CIA, California, USA
2012 KYOTO KITCHO Toyako awarded 2 stars in the Michelin Guide Hokkaido Special Edition (awarded again in 2017)
2013 Participated in the World of Flavor Conference 2013 organized by CIA, California, USA
2015 Participated in Milan, Italy World Expo
Gave a special speech in Italy at the request of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Appointed as Honorary Chairman of the Society of Industry, Culture, and Science
2016 Decorated as an Officier in the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne at the 7th Investiture Ceremony
Appointed as Associate Professor of Tokyo University of Agriculture
Appointed as International Ambassador for Mie Prefecture Foods
2019 KYOTO KITCHO Nagoya awarded 1 star in the Michelin Guide Aichi Gifu Mie Special Edition


2007 "Haru no shokutaku (Spring Table)", "Natsu no shokutaku (Summer Table)",
"Aki no shokutaku (Autumn Table)", "Fuyu no shokutaku (Winter Table)" - all published by Basilico
2009 "Arashiyama Kitcho: Danshi no daidokoro (Arashiyama Kitcho: A Man's Kitchen)" - Basilico
"Oishii yasai no miwakekata (How to Choose Delicious Vegetables)" - Basilico
* Co-authored with leading sustainable agriculture expert Kazuo Nishimura
2010 "Kitcho: Japan's Ultimate Dining Experience" - Kodansha International
"Beauties of Nature in Cuisine" - Gakuseisha
"Kyoto Kitcho shigoto no saho (Kyoto Kitcho: Work Etiquette)" - PHP Institute, Inc.
"Sake no tsumami (Snacks for Sake)" - Bungeishunju Ltd.
"Bunkoban shiki no shokutaku (A Table for Four Seasons paperback edition)" - Bungeishunju Ltd.
2013 "Walking in the Footsteps of Teiichi Yuki, Founder of Kitcho who Staked his Life on Japanese Cuisine and Tea Ceremony : What the Grandson Kunio Tokuoka Has Learned" - Tankosha Publishing

* Publication titles listed here may differ from official titles.