How would you describe your travel style? Are you a risk-taker, preferring to live it up on the edge? Or are you more relaxed in your tastes— enjoying learning new things while sitting back with some good food, drink and company? If you fall into category two, I have just the dining experience for you: Shinjuku’s Nanairo Temariuta. An elegant restaurant known for its unique atmosphere, Nanairo Temariuta is a culmination of sensory pleasures: delicate tastes and pleasing architecture. This is the ultimate experience for the travelling foodie!
In Japan, temari are literally hand-sized balls made from the beautiful and delicate fabrics of kimonos. Colourful silk is woven together into visually stunning, hand-crafted balls that were originally meant for play, dating back to the 7th century. Over time, temari have come to be recognized for their artistic beauty and are now often given as gifts to represent friendship, loyalty and caring. So, you may be asking, “What’s the connection to a restaurant in Shinjuku?” Well, a few steps inside and you will quickly realize that diners are feasting on their meals inside large temari—the red and gold balls fill the restaurant, making it a pretty spectacular sight to take in. A mixture of natural woods, rich golds and reds, and soft lighting—even the diners who don’t get to sit in the temari structures still benefit from a truly extravagant dining experience. The colour choices and design are reminiscent of the regal richness of the Heian period, dating between 794–1185. So enjoy the flavour of your meal while surrounded by a taste of history!
Speaking of food, the offerings at Nanairo Temariuta live up to their beautiful surroundings. Some of the popular dishes include sushi, served, of course, in the shape of delicate temari balls. The mixture of tastes and textures, in combination with pleasing presentation, makes munching this sushi a truly enjoyable act. Other delectable seafood offerings include a variety of sashimi to choose from. If you aren’t so much into the seafood, fear not. Nanairo Temariuta is equally well known for its chicken and pork dishes, as well as a number of vegetable options. The menu is best described as a mixture of traditional dishes with modern-day twists. For the mature diner, there is also a drink menu to have fun with—try some different pairings of food and drink! While, like most theme restaurants, your bill will end up a little higher than at your average dining establishment, this is definitely one theme restaurant that won’t leave the foodie in you wondering if the cost was worth the meal on your plate.
Like many theme restaurants, Nanairo Temariuta can be a busy place. Remember, it’s located in the eclectic Shinjuku area of Tokyo, a destination popular with native Tokyoites as well as tourists. If you’re hoping to score a table, it is recommended that you call ahead to arrange a reservation, or risk waiting in line. On the other hand, the atmosphere is so pleasing that spending some extra time waiting for a table really wouldn’t be all that bad!
Temari are a cherished symbol of friendship— a representation of the special bond between friends. Fittingly, Nanairo Temariuta is an elegant and comfortable setting in which to spend special moments connecting with the people we care about, while eating food that is crafted with thoughtfulness and creativity. What could be a more perfect way of spending our time?
Friendship, food and Shinjuku
Fun facts to know when dining out
- Shinjuku is home to a population of about 337,556 and spans 18.23 km2, so strap on your running shoes!
- Temari were originally introduced to Japan from China, and were historically used as part of games similar to dodgeball.
- The creation of temari balls has become something of a hobby, especially for moms and dads.
- Temari were also made as gifts to symbolize friendship—a tradition that extends to today!
Located just a quick walk away from Shinjuku Station East Exit, the restaurant is easily accessible by the Yamanote Line or Chuo Main Line.
Humax Pavilion Shinjuku East 5F, 3-28-10 Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Sun–Thurs: 5 pm–12 am Fri–Sat: 5 pm–4 am