There are places and spaces in Tokyo that make me feel right at home even on my very first visit. You know that fuzzy feeling when you step inside and think “oh, I could move in and live here. Today. Now.” That’s how I felt about this little cafe tucked away in the atmospheric neighborhood of Nishi-Ogikubo. Cue: Re:gendo.
I loved how this century-old kominka –traditional Japanese has been meticulously refurbished without losing its face, yet incorporating modern elements, colors, and textures.
The menu is completely vegetarian – a somewhat rarity in Tokyo. You have an option to choose from two set courses: a vegetarian sushi plate (they use fruits and veggies as toppings) or a set of seasonal musubi (rice balls) or tofu. We ordered both.
Before the food was served I couldn’t take my eyes off the details of this place. Sadly, it was packed, so I didn’t dare to wander around too much. But I wanted to soak in every single detail: dated wooden window panes and textured glass softly letting in the light, linen curtains that paired so well with the seemingly worn-out fabric coasters, bare grey concrete walls and tall ceramic vase featuring branches of barely open plum blossoms. Located in the quaint and non-touristy residential area, this venue is actually a restored cultural house and dates back to early Showa era. It was rebuilt, revived, and relocated to Tokyo from the ruins of the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine – the largest silver mine in Japanese history located in Shimane prefecture.
We didn’t have to wait long till the food arrived, meticulously arranged and carefully curated selection of vegetarian fare: tofu skin for me, and vegetarian sushi for Naomi as main courses. They were paired with various vegetables (leak and daikon were my favorite), pickles, bowl of rice and miso soup. Everything was tasty alas a bit under-seasoned to my liking. They also serve afternoon delights: tea and sweet or savory treats, in case you’re looking for something lighter.
I surely will come back – perhaps summertime – for the inexplicably satisfying Zen feeling this place gave me. Most importantly, I want to go back for some of the pottery that we were served with as they sell it in their zakka shop.
Hope you’ll get to visit this special spot and will love it as much as I did.
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