Meet the Mastermind of Modern Day "Traditional" Cuisine

Japan has a time-honored style of vegetarian/vegan-centric cooking known as Shojin-ryori. It is based on the Buddhist belief of non-violence to all living things, so meat and fish are not used. How it differs from vegetarian or vegan cuisine is that Shojin-ryori has the rule to “use only ingredients that do not stimulate worldly desires.” This means vegetables such as green onions, garlic and ginger are not used as their strong odor is believed to cause negative states of mind. Shojin-ryori is divided into two types: the first type was created for Buddhist monks training at temples, and the second type was created for entertaining the writers and artists visiting the temples.

Daigo is run by the young, fourth generation restaurateur Mr. Yusuke Nomura, who is constantly taking on new challenges despite inheriting a restaurant with a long-standing tradition. Using his knowledge gained from training in the world of French cooking, he implements Western food presentation and always has over 100 wines on hand. More recently, it is also known as a Michelin 2-star restaurant.

He demonstrates flexibility and ideas that are not bound by the conventions of Japanese cooking. The dishes Mr. Nomura prepares in accordance with the season are all fresh and alluring. Even though his dishes are low in sodium, there is fullness of flavor and you will not be left unsatisfied.

Daigo is a reservations-only restaurant with all tables in their own rooms. Each room faces the Japanese garden from which you can enjoy the scenery by seasons. You will not believe that you are the center of the Tokyo metropolis close to Tokyo Tower. It is like a quiet retreat where you can relax. We hope you will enjoy the traditional yet uniquely Tokyo vegetarian cuisine.


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Experience Personal Tea Ceremony with a Great Master

Tea ceremony was originally enjoyed only by a limited number of high-ranking people mainly in Kyoto. In the 17th century, it became popular in the capital city of Edo (now Tokyo) among samurai and ordinary citizens. Since then until the present day, various styles of tea ceremony have been created in Tokyo while carrying on its tradition.

Tokyo, serving as the center of culture and economy for over 400 years, is home to numerous unique and exclusive venues developed by members of various business fields and circles, where the best tea makers and masterpiece tea utensils are found. As a result of these factors coming together, Tokyo gives you wide options of first class tea ceremony experiences not seen in other cities.

Tranquilitea (Charen) is a tea ceremony specialist in organizing and hosting tailor-made tea parties. The director of Charen, Ms. Hoshina says, “I would like for people who come to Tokyo to experience the authentic tea ceremony in a casual manner and I hope to seek new possibilities for tea ceremony while connecting with people from various countries.”

She comes from a Daimyo family (Samurai lord) that can trace its roots back to the Edo period (1603 – 1868), and all of the tea utensils she prepares for us are masterpieces. Her background also allows her access to various exclusive venues in Tokyo and make some special arrangement there. For example, they offer you a real “Tea Kaiseki”, the tea ceremony with Kaiseki style course meal, at “Tsujitome”, a Michelin 2-star Kaiseki restaurant. As tea ceremonies are held in English, there is no need to worry about the language barrier. We would love to have you try your hand at creating your own unique tea ceremony in Tokyo. 


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The Peninsula Spa

Spa Journey in Tokyo

Tokyo offers a blissful spa experience where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the big city and relax the mind as well as the body, without traveling afar. Here you will receive state-of-the-art, luxurious treatments that combine methods from around the globe, with Japanese beauty regimens that have been passed on for years, cutting-edge research, and the delicacy and hospitality of Japanese aestheticians.

The Peninsula Tokyo is located in an ideal location facing the Imperial Palace. The spa on the 5th and 6th floors is the only place in Japan, or in the world, where you can enjoy bountiful treatments with legendary Peninsula service. From the moment you arrive at the reception, the spa—designed to take you on a ‘Spa Journey’—transports you away from everyday life to a blissful experience. The traditional Japanese interior is usually designed with shoji – doors or windows with translucent Japanese paper on a lattice frame. The treatment rooms, which are furnished with shoji screens in a warm wood tone, are available with double capacity for couples to enjoy.

Also, it is the only spa in Japan to offer treatments such as Monaco’s results-driven anti-aging facial treatments, as well as hand and foot care supervised by Bastien Gonzalez, a global podiatrist. In addition, the Spa’s signature Qi Healing treatment is an exclusive experience, offered only at The Peninsula Tokyo.

It consists of a back massage using relaxing wood scent oils, followed by a full massage of the soles of the feet while the back remains warm with a mugwort hot pad. After reflexology to stimulate the backs of the legs and promote blood flow throughout the body, the treatment is completed with a scalp massage using camellia oil to nourish elegant hair and relieve tension around the eyes and forehead. Wrap yourself in the gentle aroma of Japanese hiba and mugwort plants to relieve stress and feel rejuvenated.

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Clé de Peau Beauté

Experience Japans Passion for Wellness at Luxury Salon Clé de Peau Beauté

Shiseido’s Clé de Peau Beauté is a name that is today synonymous with luxury. The proudly Japanese beauty company has been offering the highest quality beauty, skincare, cosmetic, and wellness products since 1872. In the almost 150 years of its existence, it has remained not only the nation’s leaders in its field but an influential force both across Asia and more recently across the world.

Today, Shiseido owns about 40 different beauty brands. They range from budget to the most upmarket, luxury products money can buy. Clé de Peau Beauté is one of the company’s most prestigious offerings. Tokyo is where you’ll find Clé de Peau Beauté’s flagship salon where guests can experience both the rejuvenating qualities of the product delivered with the ultimate in Japanese omotenashi (traditional hospitality) culture.

Clé de Peau Beauté, always striving to offer the best skincare treatment available. Here at the Clé de Peau Beauté salon, guests can learn more about the brand while experiencing a skin treatment in a spa specifically made for Clé de Peau Beauté’s products.

When you visit Clé de Peau Beauté salon, one of Clé de Peau Beauté salon’s beauty specialists will assess the condition of your skin and will create a treatment that best suits you. To make sure the services are always of the highest possible standard, all of Clé de Peau Beauté salon’s beauty specialists take part in the Clé de Peau Beauté’s specialist training program.

It’s all about using premium products in a luxurious setting and experiencing the best in service, skincare, and wellness Japan has to offer.

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HIROCOLEDGE - Hiroko Takahashi

Rediscovering the Kimono for the Modern Age in Tokyo

The kimono is Japan’s most iconic traditional garment. It came into being during the Heian period (794-1192) and still to this day remains a wardrobe staple for both men and women. More than just a garment, however, the kimono has shaped the nation’s artistic, textile, and technology culture quite unlike any other garment in the country.

Tokyo is the home of Japan’s progressive kimono culture, and you can experience a whole gamut of different kimono ideologies and projects here. If you want to wear traditional kimono and wander around some shrines, there are plenty of places to do that. However, if you want to see something that melds cutting edge art and design and the kimono, there are places like artist Hiroko Takahashi’s stunning studio nestled in the quiet neighborhood of Narihira, Sumida.

Today from her studio, Takahashi mixes modern ideas, geometric designs, and stylish contemporary aesthetics with the classic kimono silhouette. She founded her brand “HIROCOLEDGE” in 2016, and her work and ethos are so representative of Tokyo’s progressive attitude, and it’s landed her plenty of attention both locally and across the world. “The simplicity of the kimono creates a unique result for whoever wears it; it triggers my artistic sense,” she says. “You can’t recreate a style perfectly; the kimono comes out different every time. I want to change how kimono is perceived in the modern world by combining the modern style with traditionalist ideas. Tokyo is a great place to do that because it’s a trigger point for the rest of the nation. At the moment, the world is looking at Tokyo as the representation of Japan, and we want to showcase what we can do.”

While classic kimono studios may be closed off to outsiders, Takahashi’s studio is open to the public and those interested in meeting with her or learning more about her work. Spending some time rediscovering the kimono for the modern age is an excellent way to see just how Tokyo is propelling the history of the nation into the present day.

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Chokokuji Temple

Zazen in the Heart of Tokyo

If you are tired from the noises of the Tokyo metropolis, there is no need to flee far away. If you want to give your mind a rest, why not try zazen at Chokokuji?

Chokokuji, located in Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo, is the Tokyo Betsuin (branch temple) of the Sotozen Eiheiji Temple founded around 500 years ago. The Kannon-do hall houses a Kannon statue about 10m high, known as the Juichimen Kannon Bosatsu Zo, or the Eleven-Faced Bodhisattva. Here people have worshipped the Kannon on its sacred ground since ancient times and it has watched over the people with beauty and nobility as they have repeatedly overcome disasters.

If you look at Chokokuji’s official website you will see that you cannot make reservations for the zazenkai offered to the public on Mondays. However, on an order basis, it is possible to make reservations for zazen on other days. We do recommend that you have an interpreter accompany you to zazen.

You will sit on a zazen zabuton (cushion) known as a “sabu” where you will place one foot on the opposite thigh and tuck your other leg under you. You will sway from left to right using the three points of both knees and your buttocks to stabilize you as you breathe in and out deeply from your abdomen. Open your eyes and look at the floor approximately 1m in front of you. A bell will signal the beginning of zazen.

The Buddhist monks will teach you the basic spirit of ichigyo zanmai (zazen is not for profit, but to sit is to realize enlightenment) and shinjin ichinyo (mind-body unity).

Why not take the opportunity to take part in some quiet zazen in the middle of a hectic city to help you face yourself and your mental concentration.

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Galerie Nichido

Visit the Oldest Western Gallery in Tokyo

To say Japan’s artistic prowess is legendary would be an understatement. The country has an art history and legacy that permeates almost every facet of classic Japanese culture. When it comes to influence throughout Japan, Tokyo is the birthplace for culture and trends. If you want to learn about the broad landscape of Japan’s art history and future, the entire chronology is here at Tokyo’s doorstep.

Ginza’s iconic Galerie Nichido is one of the Japan’s most important landmarks in the world of modern Japanese art, especially oil paintings. In 1928, this gallery was established — making it the longest still surviving Western-style gallery in Japan. Its survival throughout this almost century-long lifetime is due to a multitude of reasons beyond being home to brilliant modern artworks.

Chieko Hasegawa, one of the key figures behind the proudly family-run institution, chalks the success and legacy of Galerie Nichido up to its ability to move with the times. Hasegawa herself is an art legend; she was awarded the d’Officier dans l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur by the French government for her work. She’s also an endless fountain of captivating art anecdotes. Hasegawa has interviewed Dali, whose entire persona, she suspects “was an art performance itself” and has been painted by Andy Warhol, whom she recalls, “he asked to take my portrait and then sent me an invoice for the work! Nobody had ever done that ever or since!”

For those who want an exclusive Tokyo art experience, you can meet Hasegawa and chat with her about her illustrious career, traveling the globe and meeting legends of the modern art world as you admire the works hanging on the walls of Galerie Nichido. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind immersive art experience where ‘omotenashi’ hospitality and high art combine.

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