Japan's Kansai region, which encompasses Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, is the world's new gourmet capital according to the latest Michelin dining guide.
The highly respected guide awarded its top rating of three stars to 12 restaurants in the region, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. That gives it more three-star restaurants than any other region in the world, surpassing Tokyo's 11, Paris' 10 and New York's five.
Japan is now home to 23 three-star restaurants in total, almost catching up with France with 25.
But some critics have questioned the generous distribution of stars to Japan, saying tire-maker Michelin is using the ratings "to pump up its primary business" there.