Sake Pairing Taken to a New Level

Sake Pairing Taken to a New Level

A faint light in a back alley of Kagurazaka leads you to Fushikino. Many people, regardless of their nationality, visit this restaurant which has been awarded a Michelin star and is known for its impeccable cuisine and hospitality. 

At Fushikino, one can experience food and sake pairings. Mr. Yusuke Miyashita, the owner of the restaurant, is not only a licensed sake sommelier (kikisakeshi) and sake craftsman (sakasho) but is also well-versed in tea ceremony. “If we had a restaurant like this in Kyoto where people respect the traditional way, it would soon close down. It is only because we are in Tokyo that we can try new things and receive such praise and keep going,” says Mr. Miyashita.

The lineup of sake selected by the licensed sake sommelier and sake craftsman compliments the cuisine and satisfies many of his guests. As a sakasho and kikisakeshi, Mr. Miyashita is not only expected to know what type of sake goes with certain dishes but what type of sake is best suited to a particular crowd or atmosphere. Vast knowledge of how sake is made, how it tastes and how to store it is required. Moreover, the taste of sake changes depending on what cup is being used. Fushikino has a large variety of cups, many of which are valuable works that are hundreds of years old. Fushikino has innovative ways for you to enjoy sake that you can’t at other restaurants such as sake mixes, sake and rose water, etc.

Fushikino is a place where the owner, who is extremely knowledgable in everything about sake and the spirit of tea ceremony, will warmly welcome you. The food and sake pairings served here are all omakase, or chef’s selection, and Mr. Miyashita has absolute confidence in his cuisine and sake selections. How about experiencing great pairings of sake and dishes that are not available anywhere else? 


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Kinsaryori: Edo Period and Tea Ceremony Cuisine

Kinsaryori: Edo Period and Tea Ceremony Cuisine

On a corner in Akasaka, Tokyo, stands a modern building. If you were to walk by it, you probably wouldn’t realize that it is a cooking school. Kazunari Yanagihara, the President of Yanagihara Cooking School, is the son of Toshio Yanagihara, a predecessor of the Kinsaryu school of kaiseki cuisine that dates back to the Edo period. Mr. Yanagihara, along with his son, Naoyuki, who is Vice President of the school, studies and teaches Japanese cooking and tea kaiseki daily. 

Edo kaiseki Kinsaryu is called “Kinsaryori” and is said to have started around the Edo period. At the height of the Edo period, many cooking techniques were honed and passed down. Kinsaryu is a way of cooking for the tea ceremony. In addition to knife handling, attention to ingredients based on the season, and the presentation of the food, this school of cooking values the handling of the dishes and the manner in which they are served.

One of the feature classes at the school is the “dashi” cooking class. Naoyuki Yanagihara leads this class in English and shares with his students his knowledge and techniques regarding dashi such as the differences in the taste and aroma of the kelp depending on where it comes from and how to make katsuo shavings. 

At the end of the class, you will be able to sample the dashi and probably be surprised by its delicate taste. This is a class that you should take in order to learn the depth of dashi which is the essence of Japanese cuisine. Of course, if you wish, you may also request classes for other types of cooking.


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In Tune with Nature and Universe

In Tune with Nature and Universe

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. Also, 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 a Michelin 2-star restaurant in Tokyo. It 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.

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 beautiful. 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 seasonal views. 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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Your Own Tea Ceremony With A Great Master

Your Very Own 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.

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.

Tranquilitea (Charen) is a tea ceremony specialist in organizing and hosting tailor-made tea parties. The Director of Tranquilitea (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, 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”, a combination of the tea ceremony and 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 party in Tokyo. 


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The Peninsula Spa

Spa Journey

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 lavish 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 Japanese interior is designed with shoji and Japanese paper. The treatment rooms, which are furnished with shoji screens in a warm wood tone, are available with double capacity for couples to enjoy.

The Peninsula Tokyo 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 beautiful 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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A Modern Twist to Edo-style Sushi

A Modern Twist to Edo-style Sushi

In a quiet residential area in Oomori Kaigan stands a sukiya-zukuri Japanese house. (Sukiya-zukuri are houses influenced by tea house architecture).

Matsunozushi started in 1910 as a sushi street stall in the Shibashinmei area of Tokyo. The second generation owner of Matsunozushi moved it to Oomori Kaigan. As a young child, the fourth generation and current owner-chef, Mr. Yoshi Tezuka, accompanied his father to purchase fish. He learned how to expertly choose fish and once he started school he began learning how to properly use a knife. On a mission to convey sushi culture to the world and to learn about different cultures and hospitality, he spent four years as a professional ski guide in Europe and North America. Yoshi takes advantage of his cross-cultural communication skills by serving guests from all over the world on a daily basis.

One of the special items on the menu is the Omakase Course with an English explanation for overseas guests. This is a tailor-made course for guests that can accommodate religious or lifestyle dietary restrictions. Also, while serving guests, the fourth generation chef-owner, Yoshi, will provide an explanation in English about the history and culture of sushi and differences in the areas where the fish comes from. Matsunozushi can make possible such a special course because of the owner’s strong commitment to not just giving his guests a meal but having them learn about and enjoy Japanese food.

Matsunozushi, through which Edo (former name of Tokyo) restaurant culture and Edo-style sushi has been passed down over the years, will continue to deliver its message to the world through its sushi.

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Experience Japan’s Passion for Wellness at Luxury Salon 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.

For more information, please contact us.

Reimagining the Kimono with Tokyo Artist Hiroko Takahashi

Reimagining the Kimono with Tokyo Artist Hiroko Takahashi

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. But 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.

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 modern age.

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Zazen in the Heart of Tokyo

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 Juichimenkannonbosatsuzo, 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.

For more information, please contact us.

Mind-Blowing Sensory Experience

Mind-Blowing Sensory Experience

Tokyo is known as a very wellness conscious city and offers a variety of activities for maintaining your health and beauty. For example, Tokyo allows you to enjoy various styles of yoga from traditional Indian or original Japanese yoga that are popular for both locals and visitors. “Tokyo is an excellent place to explore yoga because it has such a large variety of venues in which classes are held” explains the Hotel Gajoen team.

Gajoen is an over 90-year-old Japanese-style luxury hotel complex that hosts a unique ‘Morning Art Yoga’ experience. There is something special about doing yoga while surrounded by the scent of tatami. Since breathing, when you do yoga, involves inhaling and exhaling through your nose, the relaxing effect obtained from the sense of smell is very important. The scent of the “soft rush straw” plant used for tatami contains the same components as that of the relaxing effects of a forest bath.

In addition, because vanilla essence and the aromatic components of black tea are included, every time you take a deep breath you will be healed by the scent of the tatami straw and feel a deep relaxing effect. You will also see the beautiful art spread across the ceiling and walls as you do your poses. Classes are available to both hotel guests and visitors, and can be tailored to the level of the participants from beginner to advanced. Instructors can also hold classes in English.

After the one-hour morning session, you can go to the Executive Lounge, which is usually open only to hotel guests, and have a luxurious breakfast. Fresh and flavorful vegetables, green smoothies, and choice dairy yogurts are available to give your body a morning boost. This is a special wellness experience that expertly combines mental and physical health with art.

For more information, please contact us.