Masataka Hosoo is the 12th generation chef at his family’s tailor-made textile and kimono house, HOSOO. His home is Japan’s traditional craft capital, Kyoto, and as a local whose family stretches back hundreds of years to the city, he may know her better than anyone in the field.
This interview is part of The world is local, a worldwide collaboration between the seven international editions of Condé Nast Traveler in which 100 people in 100 countries tell us why their territory should be your next destination.
Tell us about your connection to Kyoto and Japan.
My connection to Kyoto dates back to the 17th century. As the 12th generation and current CEO of my family business with our roots in the traditional kimono and obi weavers in the Nishijin area of Kyoto, I am part of one of the many cultural traditions that can be found in Kyoto and Japan, such as the Japanese Tea Ceremony and Japanese art of flower arrangement. As the former capital of Japan, Kyoto was the center of arts and commerce, where the latest trends and innovations flourished. As we continue through the 21st century, I would like to lead HOSOO in the continual pursuit of the answer to the question “What is beauty?” by combining traditional Nishijin dyeing and weaving techniques with the latest technology.
We are in Kyoto. Plan our meal day.
For breakfast, a great place to start the day is Tan, located by a stream in the Higashiyama district, which serves seasonal Japanese cuisine. For lunch, Itsutsu Restaurant serves soba and other Japanese dishes. Before going to dinner, why not visit the K36 rooftop bar, at the Seiryu hotel, located near the Kiyomizu shrine? You can have a drink with a 360 degree view of Kyoto at dusk. Dinner is a dining experience at Tempura Matsu, located in the Arashiyama district in western Kyoto. It serves traditional Japanese cuisine in courtyards with the ultimate tempura dish. A true example of Kyoto culture at its best, which is why this is a popular place to dine with local chefs.
What should we buy and where should we shop?
Rokuroku Dou Art & Crafts Gallery is a place to appreciate the craftsmanship of contemporary arts and crafts with an emphasis on ceramic works. And the Yamahon Gallery is a place to go for contemporary arts and crafts from Japan.