The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

Chef Lee Hefter's restaurant picks in Kyoto, Japan

Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

Kyoto is the birthplace of kaiseki, the haute cuisine of Japan, in which gorgeously presented seasonal dishes come together in a highly formalized tasting menu. The multi-course affair involves fish, tofu and vegetables, and usually no meat.

Tousuiro, 517-3 Kamiosakamachi, Sanjo Agaru Kiyamachi St., Nakagyo-ku; 011-75-251-1600; A casual, relaxed tofu restaurant overlooking the Kamo River. Tofu kaiseki lunch, about $21 per person.

Kikunoi, 459 Shimo Kawaramachi, Yasaki Torii Mae, Higashiyama-ku; 011-81-75-561-0015. Kaiseki master Yoshihiro Murata's graceful restaurant has been in his family for three generations. The 11 beautiful tatami rooms are luxuriously spacious. Kaiseki dinner, about $200 per person.

Tsuruya, 30 Okazaki Higashi-Tennocho, Sakyo-ku; 011-81-75-761-0171. Serene and gorgeous, this formal kaiseki restaurant has tatami rooms looking out onto an amazing garden. Kaiseki lunch, about $200 per person.

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