- National registered tangible cultural property, the former residence of Kobayashi Eizo (Mr.)
- Address: 4-14-2, Ohto, Chuo-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama, 338-0012
- Restaurant hours & Rate;
-Weekday lunch 11:00 – 13:00, 13:10 – 15:10 /// 2900 JPY – 8000 JPY
-Weekend lunch 11:30 – 15:00 (13:30 L.O.) ///4900 JPY – 21000 JPY
-Dinner 17:30 – 22:00 (20:40 L.O.) ///4900 JPY – 21000 JPY
-Closed day: 1st Monday of month
-We recommend you to reserve in advance.
- Access: 8 minutes by foot from KitaUrawa Station, Keihin-Tohoku Line
15 minutes by foot from MinamiYono Station, Saikyo-Line
We have parking with capacity of 12 cars.
About keeping cultural property.
“Nikiya” is registered to national tangible cultural property. This is a residence of the former politician in the Showa Period that well has left the past atmosphere.
Good old Japanese houses have been pulled down gradually and Japanese seasonal customs and traditional events have also disappeared. Japanese cuisine has changed instant food in succession.
To pass Japanese genuine “residence” and “cuisine” – this is our task that is allowed to be named as national registered tangible cultural property.
About task of Japanese cuisine
It is Japanese cuisine that produces not product but event. The blessings of seasonal nature are original, an owner is a dramatist, a chef is director, and a cuisine is a performer. Then dishing up is make-up, Japanese dishes are costumes, interior is set scene. And Kaiseki cuisine is a drama with several acts, guests are leads, “Nikiya” is the theatre.
About our Kaiseki cuisine
We, at “Nikiya”, cook rice in special oven called “Kokusai Momigara Kamado”.
This oven was invented by the former landlord, Eizo. By using this oven, chaff (usually it was consider as waste ) could be fuel and ashes could be potash fertilizer, so “Kokusai Momigara Kamado ” became one of the most popular instrument in farm village in poor period. For this great achievement, in 1946 Emperor Showa visited Eizo’s company “Kokusai Jukougyo”.
Main dish is “Kagoshima beef” and “Nozaki beef”. “Nozaki beef” by Mr.Nozaki Kikuo and Mitsuhiro is only one branded beef, that has been authorized to official branded beef in Japan as individual (usually branded beef authorizes area, for example “Kobe” and “Matsuzaka”. In metropolitan area, this beef is always served only at “Nikiya”.
Enjoying delicious Japanese cuisine like mountain vegetables and seafood, drinking together, tasting Japanese beef with wasabi at the last moment and finishing by rice and misosoup—-we serve like this. We call our cuisine not “Kaiseki (tea ceremony dishes)” but “Kaiseki (set of dishes). This is also our particularity.
About origin of residence
The former owner of this residence, Kobayashi Eizo was not only an inventor but also politician. After graduating from Tokyo Institute of Technology, he had started to run foundry and produced a lot of his inventions. Especially an oven “Kokusai Momigara Kamado” became one of the most popular instruments for farm houses and had intended to be a politician. Finally he became the Minister of Health and Welfare at the first cabinet by the Liberal Democratic Party with conservatives’ coalition, which was formed in 1955.
This residence, that was house of military, was bought by Eizo during world war2 and through extension was completed as the present residence. Part of dining was built in 1935, western-style room was built in 1947 for Prince Takamatsu’s visit and the big Japanese-style room with 40 tatamis (mats) was built in 1948. In those days there were few facilities like hotels or halls, so politicians needed own big residence for meetings and events. In October 2002, this residence was registered to national tangible cultural property.
About origin of name of restaurant “Nikiya”
This family, Kobayashi, was one of minister of Mouri family, who dominated in the Chugoku area and at that time their name was “Hayashi hizen no kami”. In Meiji period they changed their last name from “Hayashi “to “Kobayashi” when they changed their position from “Bushi (Samurai) to tradesman. Then they established business of canned food, keeping the former name “hayashi (this character consists of two trees (木木)” ) to “Nikiya(二木屋)”(ni means two, ki – tree, ya- store). This business succeeded in Onomichi city in Hiroshima prefecture and exported their products- cans of fish and fruits to Hawaii at the peak. Kobayashi Katsuko (Eizo’s mother) was in charge of seasoning for can. Moreover she gave lectures and cooking classes as a cooking expert. Eizo kept her recipes that were made 100 years ago and they have still kept in Kobayashi family.
“Nikiya” is revived name of store through 100 years and to reproduce taste of Meiji Period from her recipes – this it our next task.
Seasonal festivals “Sekku(節供)”
and traditional interior by seasons “Shitsurai(室礼)”
Since we opened “Nikiya”, we served seasonal festivals “Sekku” for March & May and its reputation was quite better than we expected. We guess the reason why it has become difficult for usual house to set stair decoration. We think that now Japanese restaurant like “Nikiya” with old style residence is only one place where Japanese seasonal customs and traditional events can be kept, so we has tried to decorate interiors according to seasonal customs.
As we investigated, we learned that in Edo Period “5 Sekku” (seasonal festivals 5 times in a year) were celebrated and were holidays. 1st January is called “Jinjitsu(人日)”, 3rd March – Joushi(上巳), 5th May – Tango(端午), 7th July – Shichiseki(七夕) and 9th September – Chouyo(重陽). In Edo Period people celebrated these “Sekku” with wish & gratitude.
In my personal matter, birthday of my father, Ichiro, was 7th July and his anniversary of death is 9th September. Both days fells on “Sekku”, so we started to realize “5 Sekku of Nikiya” in earnest. Especially we are proud of collection of “Hina” dolls for Joushi (3rd March) and exhibit a lot of dolls like museum.
“Takigi – Noh (薪能) in Nikiya”
Our biggest event in a year is “Takigi ?Noh” in autumn. We construct just a stage in the garden. Then real pine tree plays a role of scenery, Takigi (firewood) and light-up for garden that we usually use play a role of stage lighting and special sound system is not set. This small “Noh” may be very similar to former ones in samurai residences in old times.
Total guests are only 70 people, so then can feel breathing of actors and listen sound of the rustle of costumes and look not only stage but also shade of residence, the Moon and spirits of trees… there is original subtle and profound beauty, that can be not seen in “Noh theater” or big “Takigi-Noh” at famous shrines.
Noh-actors are “The Square” from Komparu school of Noh; Mr.Tkahashi Shinobu (Important Intangible Cultural Asset), Mr.Tsujii Hachiro (Important Intangible Cultural Asset), Mr.Yamai Tsunao and Mr Inoue Yoshiaki. Kyogen-actors are Mr.Ohkura Kichijiro (Important Intangible Cultural Asset) and his son, Mr.Ohkura Noriyoshi. We will continue our special stage with them in future.