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The Quintessential Japanese Restaurant

Most often walled off from the outside world, a ryotei is like a villa that has been divided into several small, private dining rooms. These rooms are traditional in style, with tatami-mat floors, low tables, and a hanging scroll or a flower arrangement in the alcove. Servers are assigned to each room to present the meal's many dishes (which likely contain foods you've never seen before), pour sake, and provide light conversation. Think of this as an encounter with the centuries-old graceful, almost ritualized, style of meal service unique to Japan. Many parts of the city are renowned for their ryotei; the top houses tend to be in Akasaka, Tsukiji, Asakusa, and Shimbashi.

Updated: 01-2014

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