Michelin Guide Tokyo 2024 awards 23 fewer stars than the last edition

This year's Michelin Guide Tokyo also introduced a new category with 194 restaurants

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen
Staff Writer, Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Bulgari Il Ristorante Niko Romito

Michelin has just released its 2024 Tokyo guide, but the results aren't what we were used to expecting. While the city is widely praised for consistently boasting the highest total number of Michelin stars in the world, this year’s featured restaurants have 23 fewer stars than those in the 2023 guide.

The number of Michelin stars awarded to Tokyo restaurants in 2023 tallied 263, while this year's guide awards 240 stars. The amount of Michelin-starred restaurants has also decreased, with the latest guide featuring 183 Michelin-starred restaurants compared to 200 in the 2023 guide. 

Here’s a breakdown of the categories: 

  • 12 restaurants with three Michelin Stars, including 1 new entry
  • 33 restaurants with two Michelin Stars, with 1 newcomer
  • 138 restaurants awarded one Michelin Star, 16 of which are new
  • 127 Bib Gourmand restaurants, adding 9 new spots
  • 11 Michelin Green Star restaurants, with 1 new addition
  • 194 Michelin-selected restaurants

To compensate for the fewer stars, and perhaps to make the guide more inclusive, Michelin has added a new category for recommended establishments, known as ‘Michelin-selected’ restaurants. It’s unclear whether the 194 venues featured as ‘Michelin-selected’ are near-star quality or simply haven’t been fully reviewed yet, leaving the category's purpose ambiguous. We think the situation has more to do with the latter, since critics are likely still playing catch-up after Japan’s post-Covid border reopening in October 2022. 

For the restaurants that inspectors did manage to visit, a few were highlighted for having dishes ready to become some of the most memorable of 2024. These include a plate of tofu and wasabi from two-Michelin-starred Ginza Fukuju (courses from ¥48,400 per person) and onion boiled in salted water from Myoujyaku (¥39,600 per person), which also boasts two stars. While simplicity in cuisine can be profound, the focus on two-ingredient dishes seems to downplay the complexity and creativity typically celebrated in fine dining.

Photo: Maz(L-R) Central chef-owner Virgilio Martínez and Maz head chef Santiago Fernandez

Despite some concerns, there are also positive developments to acknowledge. Harutaka, a sushi restaurant in Ginza, has been promoted to three stars, showcasing chef Harutaka Takahashi's exceptional Edo-style sushi. Maz, merging Peruvian and Japanese cuisines, makes an impressive debut with two stars. Additionally, 16 new restaurants have earned their first Michelin star, ranging from Bulgari’s Il Ristorante Niko Romito to sushi specialist Hiroo Ishizaka.

Although the Michelin Guide's effort to diversify and expand its scope is commendable, the latest edition's vague categorisation and simplistic dish highlights indicate a need for more nuanced and elaborated recognition of Tokyo's diverse and rich culinary scene.

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