Nara | New Wakasa: kaiseki for dinner and breakfast
Kaiseki is the traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, analogous to the Western concept of haute cuisine.
Beyond fulfilling the feeding aspect of a meal, kaiseki is a ritual and an experience by itself that follows some very specific rules and focuses on seasonality, local availability of ingredients and shapes, with a plating aimed at enhancing flavors and adding a touch of nature.
A meal usually includes appetizer, a seasonal themed course (in Nara, a specialty is the kakinoha sushi, cured mackerel on top of vinegared rice and wrapped in persimmon leaves), sashimi, a soup, steamed and grilled courses, miso soup and dessert!
Flavours can be quite strong at times, especially when it comes to pickled or miso fermented veggies, and especially when served for breakfast too!
The best way to enjoy a full and vivid kaiseki experience is probably to book a room in a ryokan, the traditional Japanese inn, after having spent an afternoon washing the fatigue of the long hike around Nara in the hot water of an onsen or having slept the tiredness off at night over the tatami floor.