The Takazawa Experience

By Mark Ellis

Whether you have come to just visit or you have decided to move here, you will find Tokyo to be one of the most sophisticated cities on the planet.  From the ultra elite to the extremely homey, this city has it all.  If you are willing to go on an adventure I promise you that Tokyo will not disappoint you in the end.  Over the years I have seen a lot of exquisite places in this city. One of the most spectacular and exclusive is a restaurant called Takazawa, which is named after the owner and master chef, Yoshiaki Takazawa.
Chef Takazawa is a food zealot.  He often works 18 to 20 hour days either experimenting and developing new taste or preparing gorgeous meals for his customers.  He is so picky about perfectionism that he only gets 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night.  I was told that even then he is dreaming about food.The results of his tireless efforts are absolutely mind blowing.  Although the minimal price to dine is roughly ¥15,000, you will not find any other place like it on the entire planet.  What you get is more than exquisite food you get to experience the gastronomic world of a true genius.
It seems cooking runs in his family tree.   His parents and cousins from both sides of the family are all culinary artists.  At the age of 18 Chef Takazawa attended a French cooking school where he learned the fine technique of high quality European cooking.  From there he began to become more and more possessed by the desire to understand not just the food itself but the spirit that lives within each ingredient.  What he creates now has been transformed from European into unique compositions, many of which defy classification.  You must go and taste for yourself.
Takazawa is located in Akasaka right on the corner of Akasaka Dori and Sotobori Dori on the second floor of the innocuous looking Sanyo Akasaka Building.  It is very difficult to find.  I suggest you take the address, the phone number and a cell phone GPS, just in case.  They have been at that location since 2005 when the restaurant use to be called Aronia, after the sweet and sour super fruit.   In May of 2012 the name was changed and the number of seats served was increased.
If you decide to go to Takazawa you must make a reservation.  Getting a seat is incredibly difficult.  People travel from other countries hoping to sit at one of his tables.  What makes getting a seat even more difficult is the fact that he only serves ten customers a day.  That, quite possibly, makes Takazawa the most exclusive restaurant in Tokyo.
Everyday Chef Takazawa and his wife buy their ingredients fresh from local markets.  Their shopping is specifically tailored to the menu they will serve each night.  If you make a reservation and cancel within 3 days you will be charged a cancellation fee, which increases as you get closer to the reservation day.  The plus side of cancelling your reservation is that some other lucky soul will get a chance to go.
For more information visit their website