By Chris Schalkx
Dec 1, 2019
IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST the charms of the Land of the Rising Sun. In 2019, Japan gave us even more reasons to visit with this list of the best new openings in the country.
BEST NEW RESTAURANTS IN JAPAN 2019
Sushi Shin by Miyakawa, Tokyo
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental (3)
The first Tokyo outpost of Hokkaido’s Michelin three-starred Sushi Miyakawa has touched down in the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo. From a 350-year-old hinoki cypress counter on the hotel’s 38th floor, Miyakawa’s protégéKazuo Ogura slices, rolls and sears seafood sourced daily from Hokkaido into Edomae-style one-bite wonders right in front of his guests—all with perfectly paired sakes and phenomenal city views to boot.
mandarinoriental.com; omakase menu from ¥28,000 per person.
Spain meets Sichuan in Tokyo’s central business district, where chef Hirofumi Saito opened Textura earlier this year. After raking in a Michelin star with Ichirin, a Chinese mainstay in Tsukiji with a sister restaurant in the seaside city of Kamakura, chef Saito now extends his repertoire to Spanish fare. Served as a tasting set or à la carte courses, Textura’s menu ping-pongs lithely between complementing Chinese and Spanish flavors, but never fuses them both into a single dish.
whaves.co.jp; High Casual dishes from ¥1,700, High End dinner from ¥8,000 per person.
BEST NEW HOTELS IN JAPAN 2019
Shinjuku’s hipster honeypot Trunk(Hotel) has expanded, with its second outpost taking over a former geisha house along a cobblestone alley in Kagurazuka, Tokyo’s “little Kyoto.” Matching traditional tatami floors, a genkan-style entryway and a hinoki-wood bathtub with Charles Eames furnishings and Noguchi lights, this one-room boutique stay is a designer’s daydream.
trunk-house.com; from ¥442,750 per night.
Park Hyatt Kyoto
If it’s authenticity you seek in Japan’s ancient capital, a low-rise beauty wrapped around Kyoyamato, a kaiseki restaurant run by the same family since 1877, is where you want to lay your head. Original artwork and traditional handcrafted items from local artisans fill this 70-room property that emulates a ryokan, with its minimalist décor, earthy palette and paper doors that slide open to reveal views of the hilly historic area of Higashiyama District.
hyatt.com; doubles from ¥81,000 per night.
The Okura Tokyo
After a three-year, 110-billion-yen renovation, Tokyo’s grandest of dames is back looking as elegant as ever before—intentionally. The former lobby was so beloved that petitions were raised to preserve its unique Japanese modernist design. The recent revamp introduced a spruced-up version of its former self, including the iconic plum petal–shaped chairs and hexagonal paper lanterns, as well as a completely new wing, the 41-story Okura Prestige Tower.
theokuratokyo.co.jp; Prestige Tower rooms from ¥58,480 per night.
BEST NEW SHOP IN JAPAN 2019
Muji Ginza, Tokyo
Located in the thick of Ginza, Muji’s new flagship store stocks all the classics you’d expect to find in this minimalist powerhouse. But the brand also shows that it’s about more than white cotton shirts. Spread over seven floors, the Muji ethos translates into a design library, gallery, bakery, two restaurants, and a floor-spanning supermarket. Topping it off is Japan’s first Muji Hotel, where guest rooms make dreams of sleeping in a Muji showroom a reality.