OMOTENASHI The Spirit of Selfless Hospitality
This is the very essence of kaiseki cuisine and tea ceremony. Although tea ceremony or the "Way of Tea" sounds daunting, it is not all that removed from what we Japanese do on a day-to-day basis. Upon inviting guests to one's home, we make an effort to ensure that both the garden and house are tidy. We arrange flowers, hanging scrolls, paintings and photos which we hope will be to the visitors’ liking. And we show our hospitality by treating them to good food and sake, followed by after dinner tea, coffee and sweets. It is essentially the same thing.
However, the food presented to the guest must be a treat. This does not imply that the food has to be lavish or excessively expensive. If one takes the literal meaning of the Japanese characters for the word "gochiso", the host is expected to "run around preparing food for the guests". The spirit of "Omotenashi" therefore refers to the lengths that the host is prepared to go to ensure that the guest has an enjoyable experience, regardless of whether the food being served is lavish or plain.
chef Masaharu Shimamura