Translated by Greg
Kagurazaka Kado - Try Japanese Cuisine In A Traditional Home
Just one minute away on foot from Kagurazaka Station is Kagurazaka Kado, a former traditional home converted into a Japanese restaurant. Here you can enjoy food and drinks in a truly authentic Japanese atmosphere.
Written by NakagawaAyana
Located just one minute away on foot from Kagurazaka Station (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line) is Kagurazaka Kado. This eating establishment with its rich, dark paneling, is housed in a restored traditional Japanese home.
When you take your shoes off at the entrance and step inside, the feeling of a traditional Japanese home spreads out before your eyes, making it apparent that the building's sixty year old atmosphere has been put to good use.
In August, at the height of summer, I stopped in here for a visit. My face felt flushed from the intense heat outside.
Inside the shop premises on the left side, you'll see a traditional Japanese-style room with tatami (*1) flooring. For those not used to sitting on the floor, there's no need to worry because there's regular table seating in the back as well.
Before the new shop owners took over the space, they made a special request to have the inside of the house left as it originally was. This was to create a relaxing atmosphere in which customers feel as if they've just returned home. The floor to ceiling columns, the fusuma (*2), the window frames and other features were all left intact, just as they were some sixty years ago. This space has a tasteful elegance to it and is very comfortable.
*1 Tatami: a style of traditional Japanese flooring. The fabric of tatami is made by weaving rush grass (igusa) together, which gives off a faint fragrance.
*2 Fusuma: sliding doors used to separate rooms in a Japanese home. The frame is constructed of wood and then covered with Japanese washi paper or cloth.
Homemade Cuisine That's Both Tasty and Healthy!
The food tray in the picture above is called a zen and serves one customer. In the past, the zen were important because the Japanese ate their meals while sitting on the floor or tatami, but now with the increasing use of tables, the zen has come to be used less frequently.
At Kagurazaka Kado your food will be served on a zen, so you'll be able to experience the Japanese traditional style of eating.
There are five main choices on the menu. In addition to the Kado teishoku (a set meal), there are fish, meat and vegetable teishoku, all priced from 750 to 850 yen.
The photo above features a vegetarian teishoku using cooked vegetables. Today you also have the choice of ordering steamed rice filled with niblet corn.
Eggplants and other summer vegetables have a naturally cooling effect on the body and are indispensable foods for this hot time of the year. On the other hand, vegetables such as carrots and gobo (burdock root) which are harvested in the winter, tend to warm the body up.
Japanese people try to learn the characteristics for each vegetable, and make it a point to eat vegetables when they're in season, in order to make use of these health benefits. The staff at Kado also share this same philosophy when it comes to food preparation and cooking.
This is the deep fried saba (mackerel) teishoku with miso flavoring (a seasoning made from fermented soy beans, used since ancient times). This set meal comes with genmai brown rice. It also includes miso soup and tsukemono pickles, and a minimal amount of cooking oil is used so you can rest assured that you're eating a healthy meal.
A Place to Enjoy a Relaxing Drink in the Evening
At night, part of the shop's premises become a kappo (*3) izakaya. Across from the room with tatami flooring, there's a space that becomes a standing-only drinking area with a doma (*4), or earthen floor. So in the evening, guests can enjoy a completely different kind of mood and atmosphere.
*3 Kappo: A restaurant with chefs who specialize in top quality Japanese cuisine. It has mainly table and counter seating. If you sit at the counter you can watch the chef perform his magic as you enjoy your meal.
*4: Doma: A traditional earthen floor found in a Japanese home, in which conventional flooring materials aren't used. Guests don't need to remove their shoes in this area.
Inside the shop, there were several varieties of home-made wine and spirits, brewed from fruit such as sakura cherries, strawberries, plums, and yuzu fruit, and also shoga (ginger). By all means please try tasting some to see what kind of flavor they offer.
For food and drink, customers are kindly asked to pay beforehand. In the standing-only drinking area, they have a large selection of magazines including ones showcasing Tokyo, so even guests who can't read Japanese can enjoy looking at all the pictures.
At Kagurazaka Kado, guests can have a meal while sitting on tatami flooring during lunchtime, and in the evening they can sample drinks in the standing bar while walking on an earthen floor.
So how about going to Kagurazaka Kado where you can savor delicious food and drink while experiencing a truly Japanese atmosphere?
Address: Tokyo, Shinjuku, Akagimotomachi 1-32
Hours: Lunch 11:30-16:00 (L.O.14:00) Dinner 17:00-23:00 (entry ok up until 21:30)
Holidays: Open every day of the year (however closed some days during the summer and during the New Year's period)
Wi-Fi Access: No
Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard
Menus in Other Languages: Japanese
Nearest Station: Kagurazaka Station (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line), Ushigome-kagurazaka Station (Toei Oedo Subway Line), Iidabashi Station (JR Sobu Line), Iidabashi Station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line / Nanboku Line).
Access: 3 minute walk from exit # 1 at Kagurazaka Station, 5 minute walk from exit A3 at Ushigome-Kagurazaka Station, 10 minute walk from the west exit of JR Iidabashi Station, 10 minute walk from exit B3 at Tokyo Metro Iidabashi Station
Cost: Lunch 1000-2000 yen, Dinner is 4000-6000 yen
Website: Kagurazaka Kado (Japanese)