So I finally re-discovered the correct term for “Japanese Meal Set” after a ton of googling. It’s Kaisek-ryori. 懐石料理. A traditional multi-course Japanese dinner; the East Asia take on haute cuisine. Kaiseki and kaiseki-ryori are different: the former is a set menu of select food served on an individual tray, whereas the latter refers to a simple meal that a host serves to guests before a ceremonial tea. It aims to balance the tastes, textures, appearances, and colors of food. Only fresh and seasonal ingredients are used, since that is when food is most flavorful. The plates are chosen to enhance the appearance and theme of the meal. We were never taught the proper sequence to follow through when eating kaiseki, but there are about 14 potential components to the meal.
Kyoto is famous for its kaiseki, so it’s sometimes referred to as Kyoto cooking. The cost of kaiseki dinners is crazy expensive! Anywhere from 15,000 to 40,000 yen per person, about $200-500 USD. Unless you have a ton of dough to through away, definitely go with a tour if you want to experience kaiseki on a daily basis ;).