In addition to Japan being well known for its culinary delights, the country also enjoys a rich tradition of storytelling and folklore. Beautifully bringing the two together in a marriage of sensory bliss is Nazuki in the Tsukiji district of Tokyo.
Entering the restaurant, guests descend an escalator swathed in a sublime blue light to find themselves in the largest restaurant space in Tsukiji. Boasting seating for 94, the main hall is awash is digital projection mapping that changes to fit any number of themes. With large aquariums teeming with tropical fish flanking the entrance, the walls, tables and even the floor come alive with images of coral reefs and graceful ocean life. The projections can be changed to suit the season, ranging from beautiful cherry trees in blossom in the spring and colorful fireworks in summer to vibrant fall foliage and snowy wonderlands in winter. The restaurant can also provide custom images for corporate events or wedding receptions.
Although the restaurant offers various delicious lunch and dinner courses, the Story Course (¥8,500, tax included) is particularly popular with foreign residents and visitors alike. Offering dishes that represent scenes from popular traditional Japanese folktales, the fusion of food and fantasy is unprecedented in Tokyo. After images of the story are projected on the walls of the private room in a way that allows all members of one’s party to view them, food that has been cultivated to match the story arc is artfully presented to diners.
In the story, “The Crane of Gratitude,” the first scene shows a kind old man free a crane that has become stuck in a trap. This is followed by a selection of fresh, carefully chosen sashimi served on dishes that represent the crane lying on a bed of snow.
The next scene depicts a young woman visiting the elderly man and his wife on a cold and snowy night. Despite being poor, the couple offers the woman a place to stay. This is followed by a hearty meat and vegetable dish that perfectly represents the hospitality the couple shows the young woman.
As the trio continue to live together, the young woman offers to make some blankets for her hosts. Asking to not be disturbed, the young woman goes into a room to weave. Eventually, she emerges with beautiful blankets that the man is able to sell at the market for gold. The next dish is a delicate fish and vegetable presentation that reflects the elegance of her weaving. The plates are presented on intricate kimono fabric that represents the magnificence of her work.
The following scene shows that, despite promising privacy, one night the old man peeked into the room and was surprised to see a crane at the loom, rather than the young woman. Designed to further highlight the quality of her work, the next course of sushi offers a subtle but perfect balance of flavors and textures.
After having her secret exposed, the crane leaves the couple in the final scene. The meal ends with a selection of seasonal fruits and chilled sweet treats to complete the dinner story.
The staff is also happy to offer sake recommendations that complement the tastes and textures of the food.
Explanations of the stories are available in English in splendidly illustrated booklets, as well as English menus. An extensive list of drinks is available including single-malt Scotch and various high-end sake offerings.
Nazuki, in addition to the main dining hall, also has several private rooms that can accommodate from 2 to 44 people (when partitions are removed), allowing for more private functions. These rooms also boast digital projection mapping, offering diners a unique experience.
People living in Tokyo are privileged to have the opportunity to experience both superb dining and traditional Japanese folktales in the heart of central Tokyo.
Address: B1F, Tsukiji KY Bldg. 4-7-5 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Weekdays 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm, Saturday 11am-10pm, Sunday 11am-9pm