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Destination Restaurants 2021 and 2022: Award ceremony

July 01, 2022

Destination Restaurants is a list of Japan’s best restaurants published by The Japan Times. Started in 2021, the list is selected by Japanese experts with an international audience in mind. On June 21, The Japan Times hosted the 2021-2022 Destination Restaurants Awards at The Tender House, a cozy restaurant in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, in which the selected restaurants were recognized for their exquisite dishes and sustainable cuisine.

Cuisine régionale L’évo, located in the Toyama city of Nanto, won Destination Restaurant of the Year 2021, and Villa Aida in the Wakayama city of Iwade won Destination Restaurant of the Year 2022.

Eiji Taniguchi, owner and chef of Cuisine régionale L’evo, mentioned that he would like to work hard with all the selected restaurants and chefs to help boost local communities that have been especially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kanji Kobayashi, owner and chef of Villa Aida, said: “We are very grateful to have this opportunity to shine a light on the regions. There are good times and bad times in rural areas.” Touching on the value in Destination Restaurants, he added, “We hope that in the midst of these times, we can continue cooperating with the local people.”

The 160-odd attendees were delighted with curated platters prepared by some of the listed chefs, as well as drinks provided by MHD.

During the event’s talk session, the motivation behind making the Destination Restaurants list now was discussed. The judges selecting the restaurants, Yoshiki Tsuji, Naoyuki Honda and Takefumi Hamada, explained that while there are many food-related awards, this one aims to create reasons for Japanese and foreign visitors to go out of their way and plan gastronomy tourism. The three said they hoped the award would have a positive impact on local communities and producers by bringing restaurants and chefs in untapped areas to the public’s attention.

Award-winning chefs of Destination Restaurants 2021 | Haruhi Kato

Award-winning chefs of Destination Restaurants 2022 | Haruhi Kato

The Japan Times’ chairperson and publisher, Minako Suematsu, gave the opening remarks. | Haruhi Kato

Ambassador of Belgium Roxane de Bilderling talked about sister city Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. | Haruhi Kato

Hiroshi Funamoto, Japan Tourism Agency director, administration division | Haruhi Kato

Destination Restaurant of the Year 2021 and 2022 winners Kanji Kobayashi (left) and Eiji Taniguchi | Haruhi Kato

Destination Restaurants judges from left: Yoshiki Tsuji, Takefumi Hamada and Naoyuki Honda led the panel session at the event. | Haruhi Kato

The Japan Times Sustainable Japan Magazine, editor-in-chief Yoshikuni Shirai | Haruhi Kato

Destination Restaurants 2021 chefs and judges with Minako Suematsu | Haruhi Kato

Destination restaurant 2022 chefs from the selected restaurants with judges and Minako Suematsu | Haruhi Kato

Toast | Haruhi Kato

Haruhi Kato

Tasaki & Co., Ltd. vice president and chief financial officer Takaya Iida | Haruhi Kato

Vice president of Open House Kazuhiko Kamata led the toast | Haruhi Kato

Haruhi Kato

KOUTAROU WASHIZAKI

KOUTAROU WASHIZAKI

KOUTAROU WASHIZAKI

KOUTAROU WASHIZAKI

KOUTAROU WASHIZAKI

KOUTAROU WASHIZAKI

KOUTAROU WASHIZAKI

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