The concept of a “meal fit for royalty” often sparks imagination but rarely manifests into an experience, especially for those unfamiliar with dining in regal settings or within the confines of a monarchy. However, envisioning an actual feast worthy of kings and queens presents an intriguing quest for luxury food enthusiasts worldwide.
One Japanese culinary virtuoso, Tomoya Kawada, seems to have accomplished this feat. The esteemed Halekulani Okinawa, a luxurious resort in Okinawa Prefecture, is teaming up with Dining Out to present a “three-night exclusive gastronomic experience at a UNESCO World Heritage site”—the illustrious Shuri Castle.
During three evenings (Feb. 10-12), Kawada will curate an extraordinary dining affair inspired by ancient customs and regal cuisine that once graced the tables for “Sapposhi”—the Chinese envoys attending the coronation ceremony of the king in the historic Ryukyu Kingdom. The collaboration between chef and venue couldn’t be more fitting: Kawada’s restaurant, Sazenka, proudly holds three Michelin stars, making it the only Chinese restaurant outside the Chinese-speaking world with such a distinction.
Functioning as the headquarters for Ryukyu kings from the 15th century until Okinawa’s integration as a Japanese prefecture in 1879, the Shuri Castle remains a UNESCO World Heritage-designated site steeped in history. Despite undergoing renovations after a devastating 2019 fire, the event will take place outdoors, leveraging the castle’s grounds, offering a scenic backdrop found nowhere else on Earth.
The entire experience embraces the opulence of the meal, the castle’s ambiance, and the hotel’s luxury. Exclusive to guests of Halekulani Okinawa, only 25 tickets are available each night, ensuring a one-night stay in a lavish suite, round-trip transportation to and from the dinner (a 45-minute journey each way), and, of course, the sumptuous dinner itself.
Prices may fluctuate based on the current exchange rate, with the estimated total cost for this package ranging from $3,280 to $6,095, contingent on the suite’s size. Additionally, tickets are accessible to Halekulani Okinawa guests at $2,776 per person, encompassing transportation to and from the castle.
Furthermore, guests at Halekulani Okinawa attending the dinner have the flexibility to extend their stay beyond the night of the gastronomic event and relish the luxurious amenities of this 5-star property located in the village of Onna. Attendees of the dinner must be 13 years or older.
Jun Yoshie, the General Manager of Halekulani Okinawa, expressed immense honor in collaborating with Dining Out, aiming to introduce Okinawa’s exceptional culinary offerings and rich culture to their discerning guests. He emphasized the hotel’s mission to integrate local culinary and cultural heritage into every facet of the guest experience.
The dinner experience promises a historical reenactment of the Ryukyu Kingdom, a characteristic not uncommon in the “Dining Out” event series, which features premium outdoor restaurants open for short periods several times a year across various Japanese sites. Notably, the Shuri Castle isn’t a typical restaurant setting, making this an extraordinary experience worth journeying for.
As per royal traditions, when invited to a castle, one should never decline an opportunity to stay for dinner.