Nihonbashi is a historic area. This business district in Tokyo flourished during the Edo period; it’s home to Japan’s first department store, Mitsukoshi; and you’ll find elements of Japanese tradition at every corner. It’s fitting then that a new noh-inspired theatre restaurant has decided to set up shop here.
The interior is rich and elegant – and that’s not surprising considering it was the work of artist Hidetomo Kimura. Kimura is well known for his creation for the annual Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium event, which feature uniquely-shaped water tanks housing hundreds of koi fish. Well, that explains the large golden koi motif on Suigian’s wallpapers.
A 5.5-metre square stage sits in the middle of the restaurant, backed by a large bonsai tree painted by Kano, one of the most famous schools of Japanese painting back in the Edo period. The performance on stage changes daily between noh (classical Japanese musical drama), kyogen (comic theatre) as well as traditional dance.
During our visit, we were treated to a 20-min long act of a noh play, performed by the pioneer Yoshiyuki Kanze and his son Yoshimasa. While a standard noh performance lasts several hours, Suigian aims to provide a short snippet as an introduction to the original, full length production that’s being performed in surrounding theatres.
For beginners, you’ll be glad to know that there will be a video and live narration by one of the actors introducing noh and the background of the performance. It’s currently only conducted in Japanese – but English translation will be available soon. You’re seated up close to the stage, with a clear view of the performance.
The sushi dinner, which is included in the package, will be served after the performance. We had a platter of Edomae-sushi, Osaka-style sushi plus chakin, which is a small parcel of rice wrapped with egg. It was a good introduction to the different regional varieties of sushi.
During lunch and dinner, the set meals are provided by Edomae-sushi pioneer Sushi-ei. But you can come for tea as well, where you’ll sip on premium green tea paired with traditional Kyoto-style confectionery, courtesy of tea shop Fukujuen, which has a 200-year history. We also recommend that you stay after dinner as from 8.30pm, the restaurant turns into a fancy lounge and bar, where you'll be able to order from the à la carte menu and the extensive selection of sake.
For more information on Suigian, click here.