Japan crowned culinary capital of the world with 29 Michelin three-star restaurants after dethroning the French
Japan has become the food capital of the world with the highest number of restaurants with three Michelin stars - knocking the French into second place.
There are 29 three-star restaurants in Japan - compared with 25 in France in the latest edition of the guide.
In total Western Japan now has 296 Michelin stars in the new 2012 book which is published tomorrow.
Kyoto: The region had the highest concentration of Michelin stars with 15 - one more than Tokyo
Marc Veyrat: France lost one of its three Michelin star restaurants when he shut down la Maison de Marc Veyrat
Last year the two rival culinary capitals were level with 26 top restaurants each - but the Japanese raced into the lead when Marc Veyrat’s eaterie in Savoie la Maison de Marc Veyrat closed down.
For good measure, a further three of their restaurants were given the highest Michelin rating.
The rise of the Japanese has been remarkable - because the Michelin guide was only launched there in 2007. The makers have long been accused of having a French bias.
Bernard Delmas, Michelin president in Tokyo, said: ‘Japan is a unique country with many cities full of high-level cuisine.
'That is why, even in the fifth year of the arrival of our guide in Japan, we continue to discover new stars to introduce to our readers.
Japan’s culinary centre is Kansai with 15 three-star restaurants. The area centres on Japan’s second-largest city of Osaka and the ancient capital of Kyoto.
The region has three more top rated restaurants than Tokyo which last year received more stars than any other city in the world.
The Michelin award is especially respected in Japan, where diners are willing to wait in long lines and pay high prices at noted establishments.