A true flavor of Kyoto in the heart of Ginza. Leaving behind his lifework in the old capital, the former chief chef of Wakuden has embarked on a brave challenge of recreating an authentic experience in Tokyo. From the water used to make the dashi to the variety of fresh produce, Ginza Fujiyama takes you on a culinary trip to Kyoto, making it among the most popular new restaurants in town.
Newly opened in March 2019, the fully-renovated restaurant sits inside a building that also houses some of Ginza’s top culinary establishments. Here, Chef Takao Fujiyama maximizes his impeccable skills he accumulated over the years at Wakuden to showcase the best of Kyoto cuisine, ingredients and culture itself.
“I take the same approach to cooking here in Tokyo as I did in Kyoto,” he says. “I cook with a feeling of gratitude for all that Kyoto has taught me.”
Bringing with him a superb sense of culinary aesthetics as well as passion to create something truly genuine, Fujiyama spent more than a year preparing for its launch. In order to create a space that is worthy of his original Kyoto cuisine, he worked closely with vendors, designers and craftsmen on every small detail.
Inside, even the scent takes you back to the quiet old streets of Kyoto. The refined interior is packed with his own ideas, where old traditions meet new approaches. As basic principle, he came up with a unique concept of building a Sukiyabashi architecture using non-traditional and western materials.
As you look around, you can see that every corner of the room is set with wonderful wooden features. The wide countertop in front of the open kitchen is not the typical light-colored hinoki wood you often see at high-end Japanese restaurants. Instead, he has chosen a plank of American redwood, which he coated with lime to bring out that beautiful marble pattern of the grains. The unique wave-like pattern brings out the shapes and colors of the dishes.
The eight chairs set along the counter are designed by Danish artist, Niels Otto Moller, adding a touch of modern design to the space.
The private rooms make you forget you are in central Tokyo. Set with subtle details such as low windows and artwork by Kaiun Kamitsukasa, the two rooms are inviting, peaceful and relaxing. The chef also went out of his way to find to source interesting pieces of wood. The main pillars are made from Japanese lacquer trees found in Tango in Kyoto. The little countertops use a type of African wood called supari, while the rims of shoji window screens are fitted with red cedar trees from Yoshino.
A true flavor of Kyoto in the heart of Ginza
The seasonal omakase menu is made up of a dozen of breathtaking dishes, featuring treasures from the seas, mountains, rivers and valleys surrounding Kyoto.
“I get my inspiration from the ingredients themselves,” he explains. “I try not to overwork them as I believe simple is best.”
At the heart of Fujiyama’s cooking is the dashi, which is made using Rishiri kombu seaweed and three types of dried fish flakes. The water is shipped directly from a source in Tango, and is used to cook all the dishes, including white rice.
Served in a delicate glass bowl made by a contemporary artist Genta Suzuki is sashimi of righteye flounder, topped with needle-like strips of crispy dried seaweed. Cured lightly using makombu seaweed, every bite unleashes great umami in your mouth.
The hassun plate, served in a deep lacquer tray, features a colorful assortment of delicious bites including tora velvet shrimp, fried aori squid, string beans in sesame dressing, tempura of taranome shoots, raw sea urchin and karasumi salted mullet roe. What a celebration of the four seasons.
The silky thin udon noodles, made with yacon, are draped beautifully on a plate and topped with a generous scoop of starlet caviar. Sprinkled with some yuzu citrus skin and white sesame oil, the combination of flavors is simply unforgettable.
Small sweetfish from Biwa Lake is fried and grilled. The aroma of the fish pairs so well with Tadasu vinegar, infused with water pepper. Kinome herb adds a refreshing accent. Fresh eel from Miyazaki Prefecture is charcoal grilled without sauce, and later dressed with sansho peppercorns.
The gorgeous piece of sirloin steak is cooked to perfection after soaking up all the flavors in a special marinade made of apple vinegar, sake, mirin and soy sauce. The meat is cooked in its flavorful juice and is packed with rich umami. In the spring, the sweet beef is served with refreshing Japanese pepper flowers.
Even after moving to Tokyo, Fujiyama’s procurement routes remain unchanged from his Kyoto days. Treasuring the relationships he’s built over the years, he likes to source most of his fish from Ise, Tango and Akashi. Going forward, he wants to expand his network in the Kanto area.
The rice grains come from Tango in Kyoto. He likes to incorporate different kinds of meat in his cuisine, including wild game meats like duck and wildbore. The fresh wasabi is grown at the foot of Japanese Alps in Azumino.
The water used to make the dashi broth and rice are shipped from Tango in Kyoto as well. While he hopes to adjust to his new life in Tokyo, there are just some things he can’t compromise, the water being one of them.
Fujiyama has accumulated an eclectic tableware collection, among which are the beautiful lacquer bowls made by artist Rika Tanaka, the daughter of Fujiyama’s tea ceremony teacher . Made specifically for the opening of Ginza Fujiyama, Tanaka created a set of five large bowls, each designed with motifs of waves inside the lid. She is currently working on a set of smaller bowls.
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥5,000
- The price includes our booking fee of ￥5,000