A 120 year old gem disappears
With the building boom induced by the '2020 Tokyo Olympics,' a lot of historic residences have been marked to give way for modernity and convenience. This is the story of one of these houses.
We are greeted by Mr. Yoshino. He is the chef of 'Bange', the Japanese restaurant that will be the last tenant of this Tokyo villa. We are shown around the beautiful Japanese garden and the various buildings. The stories of the people that have lived and worked here will fade away, but today, you can still feel them in every room.
The villa was built around 120 years ago in a densely populated area of Tokyo, close to the Tokyo Tower. Today, hardly any old buildings are left in the neighborhood. The villa is sandwiched between skyscrapers. One of them, an eyesore of an architectural project, is also on the destruction plan. It is easy to imagine a complete redevelopment of the whole area with a new shiny soulless mall/mansion skyscraper emerging from these historic grounds.
It was hard to find out what the story behind this villa was. And there was not much we could uncover. You would think it is famous for its age alone. But it is not. This has probably made its eventual destruction even more likely. Initially, it was owned by a politician, later acquired by the Mikimoto family, the famous pearl traders. It has then later been bought by the prefectural government of Kagawa as an office space and just around ten years ago been turned into a restaurant.
The official reason for the destruction is 'fire safety'. Together with 'earthquake safety' on the very top of the list of the most convenient excuses for the handling of old buildings that prevent the lucrative development of prime-property.
As long as it is still there, you can make a reservation with the number below, and enjoy a fantastic Japanese dinner prepared by Mr. Yoshino and his team. Get a seat on the sofa, enjoy the illuminated maple canopy, have a glass of wine and soak up the history.
Tabelog FOodie: https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A130702/13039584/
Home Page: http://sanuki-club.tokyo/
Address J: 東京都港区三田1-11-9 東京さぬき倶楽部
Address E: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Mita 1-11-9