For an authentic Japanese culinary experience, it pays to get down…literally. Dining the traditional way on tatami floor mats gives visitors a great new perspective of local food – here are five restaurants that will floor you!
Overlooking pines, a carp-filled pond and pretty garden below Tokyo Tower, elegant Tofuya Ukai features vibrant padded seats on tatami mats (with a gap below tables for stretching your pins). Homemade tofu is its speciality, served in soup or cooked over wood charcoal, with seasonal seafood and veg.
Garden-set, family-run Kamachiku serves delicious udon noodles and sake sips in a Kengo Kuma-converted stone warehouse in boho-heritage Yanesen. Backdropped by dark wood and white walls, slim, square yellow mats flank low tables on its second-floor tatami area, making for an alluringly atmospheric night.
Swish through the curtain at 1801-founded Komagata-dozeu to savour a taste of Asakusa’s Edo period. Neat patterned cushions line pale tatami mats in the ground-floor dining area, with windows overlooking a verdant garden. The loaches braised in sake steal the show.
Cosy Minami-Azabu alleyway eatery Yamada Chikara, named after its elBulli-trained chef-owner, offers stunning, seasonal molecular gastronomy sets, paired with Euro wines. The poised post-meal tea ceremony on tatami mats is exquisite.
For a fun-fuelled spin on tatami dining, get nautical with a Nakakin Yakatabune Boat Cruise. Its trad houseboats embark from Shinagawa, dishing up Japanese lunch and dinner, including shrimp and veg tempura, while you sup on views of Sumida River, Tokyo Bay and Odaiba. Kampai!
Tofuya Ukai / 4-4-13 Shiba-koen / Minato-ku / +81 3 3436 1028 / 11am-8pm daily / ukai.co.jp
Kamachiku / 2-14-18 Nezu / Bunkyo-ku / +81 3 03 5815 4675 / lunch & dinner Tue-Sun / kamachiku.com
Komagata-dozeu / Tokyo Komagata 1-7-12 / Taito-ku / +81 3 3842 4001 / 11am-9pm daily / dozeu.com
Yamada Chikara / 1/F / 11-15-2 Minami-Azabu / Minato-ku / +81 3 5942 5817 / 6pm-midnight daily / yamadachikara.com
Nakakin Yakatabune Boat Cruise / 1-1-17 Higashishinagawa / Shinagawa-ku / +81 3 3471 4531 / 11am-9.30pm daily / nakakin.com