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No matter what the season, kaiseki meals offer a succession of finely prepared delicacies designed to bring the diner tranquility and appease his appetite without awakening the passion of gluttony. As a Japanese proverb says, "a stomach four-fifths full knows no doctors"—such is the wisdom of abstinence.
Each of the courses of a Kyoto-style kaiseki has a special name and standard style of cooking as listed below. All courses are served on beautiful handcrafted pottery and ceramic works of art. Kaiseki is one of the rare opportunities for a person to touch, weigh and dine upon antique dishes which might otherwise remain locked in a glass case in a museum. Hot sake is served when a course does not contain either a hot soup or tea.

Gohan (located on the diner's left)
Freshly prepared rice to be tasted first, since rice is a symbol of life and beginnings.
Miso-shiru (located on the diner's right)
Clear miso soup made with sweet white miso or shiro miso which is specially used in kaiseki as opposed to the red miso soup (akadashi) which is normally served in restaurants.
A tasty dish (usually of raw seafood, often sashimi); literally "located" (zuke) just "beyond" (muko) the first two dishes mentioned above.
A clear broth in which the ingredients are "piled up" (from the verb moru) mountain-like and served in a lacquered bowl (wan). Herbs related to the season—which is, after all, what "seasoning" is all about—are served along with the clear soup (also called suimono). Garnishes (suikuchi) float on top, through which (kuchi) one sips (sui) the soup, savoring its first taste impressions.
A charcoal "broiled" entree
A flavorful "chopstick wash" consisting of a salty or sour plum soup (salt and plum being the Japanese characters for "seasoning") and other ingredients to reflect the mood of the season and the tea ceremony theme of gathering together.
A special delicacy arranged artfully and asymetrically on a small square tray (eight ha inches sun on a side)
Pickled vegetables (literally "a fragrant thing") to refresh one's mouth.
Sweets or fruit (kudamono) served in layered wooden boxes to prepare the mouth for the contrasting purity and bitterness of ground tea (ryokucha) which is to follow.
Green tea (tea in its natural state before it undergoes a fermentation process to turn it brown) served in a bowl after being whipped up ceremoniously from powder and hot water into a frothy brew.

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