Lonely Planet Writer

Inside the Tokyo restaurant with its own indoor forest and cave

Tokyo has no shortage of incredible and unique restaurants offering every kind of food imaginable. A world famous culinary hot spot, the city has something to impress everyone, and now, that includes a tranquil, nature-inspired restaurant in the heart of the fashionable Roppongi district that serves visitors a selection of delicious grilled meat specialities in a stunning indoor forest.

The bottom floor of Nikunotoriko has a long table in a cave inspired by Antelope Canyon in Arizona.
The bottom floor of Nikunotoriko has a long table in a cave inspired by Antelope Canyon in Arizona. Image by Ryoji Iedokoro Architecture office

Located just three minutes on foot from Roppongi Station on the Toei Oedo Line, Nikunotoriko is open every day for lunch and dinner and serves yakiniku, a Japanese speciality that sees small pieces of meat and vegetables being cooked by customers on tabletop grills. The restaurant also offers dishes from the kitchen, including kimchi, stone baked bibimbap, fluffy egg soup, salads and fried chicken, and even includes a special ten-course tasting menu consisting of premium aged meat from Japan, priced at ¥6000 per person ($56).

Yakiniku means 'grilled meat', is a Japanese term which, in its broadest sense, refers to grilled meat dishes. Yakiniku also originally referred to the 'barbecue' of western food
The restaurant specialises in yakiniku. Image by Ivan

Consisting of two floors in a newly constructed building, Nikunotoriko features a distinctive interior design that makes the dining experience completely unique for customers. The theme follows a return to nature, and the first floor has a long table in a cave-like setting that was inspired by Antelope Canyon in Arizona with handmade mortar and paint, while the second floor features semi-private floor seating with steel pipes that mimic trees, creating the feeling that diners are immersed in a quiet forest, with the structures also acting as non-invasive partitions between guests.

The upper floor of the restaurant is designed to make customers feel as if they are eating in a forest.
The upper floor of the restaurant is designed to make customers feel as if they are eating in a forest. Image by Ryoji Iedokoro Architecture office

Designed by Ryoji Iedokoro Architecture office, the restaurant also contains an open top barbeque space on the roof, where guests can enjoy meals under the stars.

More information on visiting Nikunotoriko is available at the official website.