Decoding the Secrets of Washoku and Ukiyo-e
Visitors to Tokyo are doubtlessly familiar with the iconic imagery of the city of Edo captured in ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and needless to say Japanese washoku cuisine will no doubt nourish you on your travels. However, as ubiquitous as these forces are, they have a tendency to become background noise and rarely actively engaged with; the origins of the delicious dish a mystery, and the figures in the ukiyo-e altogether anonymous. But you are not alone, even for Japan's residents, some traditions are very much taken for granted, and it was out of this wish to reconnect Japanese people with their own culture that two very unique exhibitions were born in the same Nihombashi venue.
First we visit The Mysterious Restaurant of the Food God "Tabegami" exhibition to pay homage to Japanese washoku cuisine, with a journey that will take you through the fundaments of Japanese food culture, before rewarding you with a delicious meal in the restaurant of the gods at the end. Accompanying you is your guide, a Japanese fox called Uka, a figure who appears in Japan's oldest literary text the Kojikias the familiar of the deity of food and agriculture Ukanomitama, but here given a modern twist and voiced by members of idol group Nogizaka46. At the hands of experienced technical maestros MOMENT FACTORY you will journey through the four seasons, the fundamental cooking techniques at the heart of the cuisine, as well as the tableware that completes the picture. All of the interactive high-tech installations make art of food, before you finally ascend to the restaurant itself where renowned head chef Hisato Nakahigashi will make food an art.
In the second exhibition, Super Ukiyo-e: The Edo Code, we begin with the ukiyo-e prints beloved in pre-modern Japan, but likewise give it a modern twist, turning the usually small prints into expansive digital landscapes that teleport you from present day Nihombashi back to Edo of old. Through the themed rooms you will learn the meaning behind the iconic imagery that will take you from Nihombashi Bridge itself through kabuki theatres and pleasure quarters, right into the realm of fantasy where the ghosts and monsters of Edo folklore are brought back to life. The usually static imagery is rendered anew in interactive animated displays that capture the energy of Edo life, and you will leave knowing how to deconstruct the deeper meaning of the ukiyo-e images that continue to capture imaginations worldwide.
The Mysterious Restaurant of the Food God "Tabegami"
Super Ukiyo-e: The Edo Code