Image 1: This place is like a hidden pearl: a modest and slightly run down exterior but inside is one of the most scenic gardens and, even better, a kitchen that produces one of the most famous kaiseki in town.

Image 2: With almost 100 years of history, Tsuruya was once a designated place for members of Kyoto Imperial Palace. Many well-known figures have visited here including Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, and Deng Xiaoping.

Image 3:
Closed during Christmas period.
They also have a branch in The Peninsula Tokyo.

Image 4:
As in any traditional Japanese houses, shoes must be removed before entering.

Image 6:
We got a spacious private room for just two of us...

Image 7: ...with a superb view.

Image 8:
This is like a painting to our dining room! Stunning!

Image 9: The historical house, the tatami room, the kimono dressed servers, plus this surreal garden - we felt like living in a fantasy world here. This place really allows you to immerse yourself in their traditional culture!

Image 10:
Alright, let the culinary journey begin. A warm floral tea to start.

Image 11:

Image 12:
This is the first course of the USD$200 menu.

Image 13: A collection of various mashed bean balls, deep-fried prawns, egg custard, fava bean, lily bulb, and Konnyaku in a cup. We came across Konnyaku many times in Kyoto - made with yam, tasteless but a strong elastic texture!

Image 14: Sashimi plate came with a dark soy sauce on left (for sea bream) and soy & lemon (for bonito) on right.

Image 15:
Bonito with a touch of ginger and sea bream underneath.

Image 17:
A umami-rich soup with shrimp and fish ball, lemon zest, and shiitake.

Image 19:
Tempura of Aburame (greenling) and Ainame (fat greenling).

Image 20:
A cute eggplant.

Image 21:
Steamed fish with sticky rice and kogomi, the sprout of fern.

Image 22: Poached bamboo shot with bonito flakes and kinome garnish. All courses so far were very subtle, or simply bland to be more direct.

Image 23: Finally something more heavy to brighten up our palate. A grilled mackerel with miso sauce. Brilliant combination of strong flavoured meaty fish with a deep flavoured miso sauce! Best dish of the meal!

Image 24: Continue to enjoy our meal while absorbing the natural landscape.

Image 25: Next, came a big bamboo pot of rice.

Image 28:
Rice with green pea

Image 29:
Soup with konnyaku, seasonal herbs, and miso.

Image 30: We first thought this green melon must be honeydew.

Image 31: It was sweet, very aromatic, and exceptionally juicy. It tasted like cantaloupe rather than honeydew. I am not a fruit-person at all, but I wished I could have this melon everyday! The best melon in our life!

Image 32: We then flipped it over and notice it was indeed a cantaloupe, but a green-flesh cantaloupe!

Image 33: We then followed our server for a tour of the house.

Image 34: They have five other rooms plus two banquet halls each can hold more than 100 people with an impressive garden view. SEE VIDEO HERE!!!

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