Kanji Kobayashi ** – 14th of Asia’s 50 Best

Chef Kanji Kobayashi : Villa Aida restaurant is all about “AGRIGASTRONOMY”



  • 2 Michelin Stars & Green star in Wakayama
  • 14th @Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants 2022
  • 18th @Top Best Vegetable Restaurants 2021

More 2 Stars chefs here.  Other Japanese chefs here.

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Born in Wakayama Prefecture, the eldest son of a dual-income farmer, he spent his childhood helping out in the fields and running around between rice paddies.
 At age 21, Kanji Kobayashi left his hometown and flew to Italy, traveling solo on a one-way ticket.
After working at an Italian restaurant in Osaka, I moved to Italy. I used vegetables and herbs we grew up in the field next to restaurant to create dishes that can only be tasted here. While offering the possibilities of a farm restaurant, I visited various places, met people and reflected my experiences into my cooking.

The four years I spend in Italy became the foundation of my cooking, and the Italian culture of “campanismo”, cooking with ingredients that can be found within hearing distance of the church bells in each city, is still the basis of my cooking.

By cooking in a culture of “campanismo,” I learned to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the local ingredients. I came back to Japan and opened villa AIDA in December 1998. I went through a lot of trial and error and finally reached to my current style  which I named “AGRIGASTRONOMY”. Vegetables are the stars at Villa Aida. Having grown up in a farming family, Kobayashi now grows much of the organic produce used in the restaurant – or buys from his neighbours. Kanji Kobayashi says there are more than 100 different vegetables growing in the surrounding fields.

We have seven fields next to the restaurant, where we grow the un vegetables we serve. Our policy is to continue to create new creations by applying my cooking skills and experience to the local ingredients of each seasons. We dare not create specialties in order to cherish the natural climate and give shape to the season of the moment. We believe that sublimating the Japanese culture of eating seasonal ingredients at the right time of the year, which has been practiced by the Japanese people since ancient times, into gastronomy is the true taste and richness of life.
Villa Aida is a secluded retreat in the heart of rural Wakayama, about one hour south of Osaka. Opened in 1998, it is run by chef Kanji Kobayashi and his wife Yumi as a rustic restaurant serving innovative Italian-inflected cuisine. Since Villa Aida opened in 1998, we received several recognitions :
-Appeared on “Jounetsu Tairiku” in July 2020.
-Received the 11th Shizuo Tsuji Food Culture Award in 2020.
-Ranked 18th in “Top Best Vegetable Restaurants” in 2021.
-Ranked 14th in “Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants” in 2022.
-2022 Michelin 2 stars &green.
-Author of “Cooking Inspired by Nature” (Shibata Shoten)