Eric Ripert is the New York Times four star and Michelin 3 star chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin in New York City.
We recently traveled to Japan with Chef Ripert and Condé Nast Traveler to discover a land where history and culture are both actively being preserved and celebrated. Chef Ripert gets an “up close and personal” look at some of Japan’s timeless traditions, culinary customs, artisanal crafts, ancient architectural landmarks, and other local experiences.
See how Japan seduces top chef Eric Ripert with unforgettable experiences.
The first stop in Chef Ripert’s journey, Kanazawa is also referred to as “Little Kyoto,” and is heralded for its incredible food as much as its sights. Here you will experience the epitome of elegance and flavor a traditional Geisha dinner, the bustle of the Omicyo Fish Market and one of the oldest tea houses in Japan.READ MORE
Yamanaka & Fukui
Chef Eric Ripert discovers something you can only find in Japan.
After stopping at Kanazawa, Chef Ripert journeyed south with stops in Yamanaka and Fukui where you will stay in a quaint ryokan, be pampered by the hot springs, and take in some of the same experiences as Chef Ripert, all surrounded by a serene and tranquil world.READ MORE
Just a short journey beyond Tokyo is where you will find the same discoveries and rich experiences of authentic Japanese culture that inspire Chef Ripert.
Kanazawa is packed with art museums and regional crafts, but is best known for its well-preserved heritage and 200-year-old districts. “When I travel to such a storied place like Japan, I like to absorb everything—the different flavors, traditions, and landscapes,” says Ripert. “Kanazawa is one of the most inspiring places I’ve been to.”
OMICYO FISH MARKET
Established in the mid 18th century, the Omicyo Fish Market has been supplying the region with choice delights for approximately 280 years…
SOY SAUCE BREWERY
Chef Ripert says it is essential for him in the art of cooking to know your ingredients. “Soy sauce has always been kind of a mystery to me…”
A GEISHA DINNER
Kanazawa is regarded as the best place in Japan for Kaiseki. Often considered a pinnacle of Japanese haute cuisine, Kaiseki is a feast of…
JAPANESE OCHAYA TEA HOUSE
“When I entered the tea house in the Higashi Chaya district, a historic neighborhood in Kanazawa, I really felt like…”
Featuring a walking path along seasonally blooming flora leading to one of the oldest tea houses in Japan, the 400-year old ceremony…
“I was really seduced by the beauty of what the wagashi chef was doing and then when I tasted the confection it all came together…”
“At the Izakaya I was fascinated by the chefs; they were so lively and the food all looked beautiful. I’m seeing all the dishes coming out…”
Slide show: see more photos from Eric’s time in Kanazawa
Yamanaka & Fukui
Blissful natural hot springs, indulgent ryokan, and a beautifuland serene setting makes a Yamanaka and Fukui experience about as far away from that of Tokyo as one can get.“There’s a timeless quality to the everything—the natural beauty, the sense of history, and the rich crafts,” says Ripert. “Every time I visit, I find that I can’t wait to come back to see what else I can experience.”
KAYOTEI, A JAPANESE-STYLE INN
Yamanaka’s onsen hot springs are a mesmerizing blend of nature and tradition, and are prized by the Japanese for their healing and purifying qualities. Visitors can stay in one of the luxurious traditional…
The Kanazawa and Yamanaka regions are the birthplaces of many traditional Japanese arts, including lacquerware and gold leaf handicraft called “Makie,” an art form roughly 1,300 years old. “While watching a wood turner…
There’s a palpable spirituality and energy in this sacred temple, the second head temple of Japan’s Soto school of Zen Buddhism, which was founded more than 750 years ago. “Visiting the Hokyoji Temple was an uplifting…
SOBA NOODLE RESTAURANT
It’s fun for me to watch someone like the soba noodle chef at work – everything in Asian cooking is different from western cooking and it can be humbling to watch. I was hesitant to try it, but at the chef said to me, put your hands in and go!
TAKAMURA, A JAPANESE KNIFE STUDIO
Unlike most knife manufacturers, Takamura manages every step of their knife-making process. “As a chef, you know right away if a knife is Japanese made…”
Perfect rice, organically grown, is the mission of Mr. Tanaka, an affable farmer who can often be seen with a wide brimmed hat in his paddy. He started growing rice in the more laborious way over twenty years ago.
“Tasting the different sakes at Born Brewery was a unique experience. The flavors are structured like classic wines are – they’re refined, complex and harmonious. Some of them have backbones like a fine cabernet.”