Fugu and matsubagani
7F Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, 1-1-2 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 100-0006
+81 3 3423 8006
Chief reason to visit: Chef Seiji Yamamoto marries Japan’s kaiseki tradition with a style and sensibility that is both contemporary and highly accessible, even for those visiting Tokyo for the first time.
A few words on the chef: For 11 years, Yamamoto trained under one of Japan’s most revered chefs, Hirohisa Koyama of Aoyagi restaurant. After opening Nihonryori RyuGin in 2003, he gained acclaim for his use of modernist techniques. These days his approach is more traditional but always with an emphasis on premium seafood and produce at the peak of its season.
Typical dishes: The menu at Nihonryori RyuGin changes constantly to reflect each new season – its latest incarnation focuses on ‘the prodigality of Japanese nature.’ Among the highlights are bamboo shoots and wild herbs in spring, sweetfish in summer and the wild mushrooms of fall. Signature dishes include the evocative ‘A Message from the Coast of Japan’ and ‘Philosophy on the Ichiban Dashi.’
What’s in the name: Nihonryori RyuGin means “Japanese cuisine;” and RyuGin, meaning “dragon’s voice,” derives from a teaching in Zen Buddhism.
Other ventures: In the spring of 2012, Yamamoto set up Tenku RyuGin in Hong Kong. In 2014, he opened Shoun RyuGin in Taipei, which makes its debut into the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018.
New beginnings: After more than 15 year in Roppongi, in summer 2018 Yamamoto relocated his iconic restaurant to a plot three times the size of the original, now claiming nearly 5,000 square feet in Tokyo’s new Hibiya Midtown luxury development. Diners pick between seats in the main dining room, one of two private rooms, or one semi-private room.