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Enjoy the bounties of nature at this secluded haven in Tokyo's woods
In the woods at the foot of Tokyo’s Mt. Takao is Ukai Chikutei, a secluded "kaiseki-ryori" restaurant that looks out over a gorgeous garden complete with a koi pond and water wheel. Guided by a "wabi-sabi" aesthetic, this tranquil restaurant’s traditional interior is minimalist and understated, but the cuisine is rich with umami flavor.
Ukai Chikutei’s menu highlights the finest bounties of the season: seasoned bamboo shoots in spring, tender ayu sweetfish fresh off the grill in summer, matsutake mushrooms in autumn, and yellowtail and crab in winter. For an even more delightful dining experience, pair your meal with take-sake: rice wine in a bamboo cup, as the restaurant takes pride in its association with bamboo. (The “chiku” in “Chikutei” means “bamboo.”)
Along with the dishes, the scenery changes with the seasons, too. All of Ukai Chikutei's rooms come with a view, so as you savor your meal, gaze out and enjoy nature’s display: cherry blossoms in spring, lush greens on a fine summer day, the glow of fireflies on a summer night, and red leaves in autumn.