With tea-ceremony kaiseki as the basis, we at Kyoto Kitcho seek to prepare Japanese cuisine using the finest seasonal ingredients, served in carefully chosen vessels and arranged with utmost care to please the eye as well as delight the palate.
Ever since opening a tiny Japanese restaurant in Osaka in 1930, founder Yuki Teiichi devoted himself unflaggingly to cuisine, hoping to introduce the glories of Japanese haute cuisine to the world. Soon he was operating several branch restaurants, which in 1991 began to function independently. The Kyoto Kitcho fleet now includes five luxury restaurants and two retail stores. We sincerely look forward to welcoming you.
Origin of the name “KITCHO”
When founder Yuki Teiichi opened his first restaurant in Osaka, he asked local painter Suma Taisui to come up with a name that could be used anywhere in Japan. Taisui chose the name “Kitcho” from good luck (“kitchou”) bamboo branches sold at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine in Naniwa-ku, Osaka, as charms to ensure business prosperity.
KITCHO owners past and present
Founder YUKI TEIICHI
In 1901 Kitcho founder Yuki Teiichi was born the son and heir of the owner of a Kobe restaurant called “Nakagencho.” Though he longed to enter further education, his unrelenting father began training him to be a chef from the age of 15.
When Teiichi was 24, his eyes were opened to the world of tea by an encounter with Chakaiki - records of tea gatherings made by tea ceremony master Matsudaira Fumai (1751–1818), ruler of the Matsue domain (today’s Shimane Prefecture) and a famous tea master. At the same time, he decided to devote himself to the art of cuisine. He opened a small restaurant at 29, and less than ten years later he established Kitcho, Inc. He also married and became the father of five, a boy and four girls.
Throughout his lifetime Teiichi made an exhaustive study of the tea ceremony and single-handedly brought kaiseki cuisine into the limelight. Kaiseki had been a light prelude to the elegant pastime of tea-drinking, but Teiichi placed it in the mainstream of Japanese haute cuisine. In recognition of his inestimable contributions to Japanese culture, in 1981 he became the first person in the culinary arts to receive the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon from the Japanese government. Then in 1988, he was awarded the Prize for a Person of Cultural Merit, another first for a Japanese chef.
His national fleet of restaurants was taken over by his son, and he died in 1997, mourned by admirers from every sphere of life.
2nd-generation owner TOKUOKA KOJI
Teiichi’s son-in-law and the second owner of Kyoto Kitcho was born in a restaurant in Hyogo Prefecture in 1936. At age 16 he began training as a chef in Kobe, and joined Kitcho five years later at the recommendation of a friend. In a matter of months he resolved to work exclusively at Kitcho for the duration of his career.
He worked at Koraibashi Kitcho in Osaka and Tokyo Kitcho, leading both of them to great success. At age 30 he married Teiichi’s second daughter, Junko, and together they took over the management of Arashiyama Kitcho.
While carrying on the Kitcho identity established by his father-in-law, marked by traditions of cuisine and décor influenced by the tea ceremony, Koji laid the groundwork for the present style of Kyoto Kitcho through a host of creative innovations. He also oversaw the expansion of Kitcho restaurants into new locations.
3rd-generation owner TOKUOKA KUNIO