The Original Forager: Miyamasou

February 12, 2015 7:08 PM

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The Original Forager: Miyamasou

MY FIRST GLIMPSE into the kitchen at Miyamasou, a two-Michelin-star Japanese restaurant and ryokan perched high above Kyoto in a mountainous region to the north, is of a few young cooks nimbly carving small pieces of chestnut wood into slender, slightly misshapen chopsticks. With a layer of dark-brown bark left along one end to form a grip, these are as different from generic chopsticks as jamón ibérico is from corner-deli ham. Hisato Nakahigashi, chef, owner and heir to Miyamasou, bounds out of the kitchen to greet me and then explains what I’m seeing: “Every morning, our cooks wake up and create chopsticks that our guests use that day,” he says. “Even something as simple as a chopstick can be a connection to the land.”

I’ve come to Miyamasou for an overnight visit because I’ve heard that the inn and restaurant offer a dining experience unlike any other in Japan. In current foodie popular history, foraging ends sometime after the age of hunter-gatherers and doesn’t reemerge until centuries later, when Copenhagen’s ...

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