Suigian is the incarnation of Hollywood’s idea of a glitzy restaurant and wine bar located in Tokyo. Futuristic ambient music, and the play of light and shadows in ultra chic and ultra modern interiors, blend seamlessly with traditional Japanese elements.
This trendy spot is located under the Fukutoku Shrine in Nihonbashi. According to historical accounts, the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu, visited this very shrine for the first of many times in 1590. Today, he is revered as a deity. His son Hidetada, the second Tokugawa shogun, visited this shrine at a time when the torii gate was made of raw oak wood, and spied a small sprout growing from it. He nicknamed the shrine Mebuki, meaning “sprout.” To this day, the shrine prizes new sprouts as symbols of new life and growth.
It is against the backdrop of this long and distinguished history that Suigian was conceptualized. Every detail was obviously given careful thought and consideration. Even before you enter, you will be greeted by the delicate fragrance of incense by Shoyeido, a Kyoto-based incense maker established 300 years ago. As you enter, you will walk through a corridor that has been transformed into an art gallery of ukiyoe woodblock and wood cut prints from the Edo, Meiji and Taisho periods. Some 84 Noh masks handcrafted by the Nijo Ningyo Kobo and inherited from the Osaka Nohgaku Kaikan Hall are displayed inside.
But most impressive of all is the center of the restaurant, a stage backdropped by a panel depicting an old pine tree painted in the style of the famous Kanō school of the 16th century. Three times a day, this stage is transformed into a sacred space where guests get a glimpse of authentic traditional performing arts. If you are interested in Noh but find a two-hour long show too intimidating, Suigian makes Noh more accessible. Shows are 30 minutes long with some explanation before or afterwards to appreciate this fine art (sometimes, English translation is available).
Inquire when Kyōgen is showing. You will be treated to a very traditional form of comic theater that proves that humor is universal. Other shows include Ikebana flower arrangement, Bunraku puppet theatre, Gagaku ancient court music, and various traditional dances.
Each show is followed by a special feast. Suigian is probably the only place you can try authentic Edo-style sushi, prepared by chefs from Sushiei, a sushi restaurant established in 1848. This style of sushi is so time consuming to make — fresh raw fish and vinegared rice are pressed together overnight — that this method has practically been abandoned. These are served alongside Osaka-style (pre-flavored fish and rice) and Chakin sushi (sushi wrapped with a thin layer of eggs). This is possibly the best sushi you will ever have, but what makes the meal experience even more aesthetically pleasing are the gorgeous trays and dishes on which the meal is served. Suigian acquired many of its fine lacquerware from Fukiro, a Japanese restaurant located in the tranquil grounds of a shrine in Nagasaki that was at least 150 years old (before it closed in 2017) and had the honor of serving Prince Ito Hirobumi, Japan’s first Prime Minister.
Should you opt for the meal set with matcha and sweets, you will be treated to select green tea from Fukujuen, a 200-year old green tea store from Kyoto, and confections from Oimatsu and Kamesuehiro, esteemed confectionery makers in Kyoto.
Travelers have raved that a dinner-show at Suigian has been the highlight of their Tokyo trip. Come and experience why.
Suigian is a minute’s walk from Exit A6 of Mitsukoshimae-Station of the Tokyo Metro Ginza or Hanzomon Lines. Reservations are recommended due to limited seating.You can purchase dinner-show tickets through e+ or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Prices depend on seating types and meal plans. Suigian offers vegetarian sushi. You can contact them at least three days ahead of your booking to arrange for a meal that accommodates your dietary restrictions.