Lead Review (The Kamogawa Food Detectives)

  • Book: The Kamogawa Food Detectives
  • Location: Kyoto
  • Author: Hisashi Kashiwai, Jesse Kirkwood (Translator)

Review Author: tripfiction



The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwa, heart-warming novel set in KYOTO.

heart-warming novel set in KYOTO

Translated by Jesse Kirkwood


What a charming and heart-warming novel this is! All of us go through life, associating particular foods and dishes with certain periods, people and memories. I know, for example, that I am unable to recreate my mother’s pasta sauce just the way she made it – I can make a pale imitation that is appreciated by others but I know it is missing just a certain something.

And this is where father (Nagare) and daughter (Koishi) team specialise in re-creating dishes that have been important to the visitors in their diner, who have sought out their specialist cooking and sleuthing skills. They will go to significant lengths to understand the composition of a dish, the provenance of ingredients, and the special je ne sais quoi that embodies the essence of the requested dish. Once created, there is the pleasure (and pain) to behold on the faces of the recipients, who savour the culinary delights. Dishes that transport a widower back in time, a mackerel dish to conjure up memories of childhood, a specific beef stew….



This is a very quiet novel that transports the reader to Kyoto, with cooking flavours and smells, delightfully described dishes to stimulate the taste buds and a tantalising glimpse of location.

heart-warming novel set in KYOTOIf you want to enhance the Japanese experience that this novel will undoubtedly provide, then we can recommend watching The Makanai on Netflix, a lovely story about cooking for a maiko household. Enjoy!

Tina for the Tripfiction Team

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