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Kinoji lies well off the beaten track, on an unremarkable stretch of a nondescript avenue. But that only makes it easier to spot the bold, contemporary lines of the five-story architects’ building, in which Kinoji occupies the basement level.

The only indication of its existence is a rust-brown bast fiber noren, illuminated from above by spotlights and inscribed in the cursive style with the kanji of its name. Brushing through this and making your way down stairs of immaculate battleship gray, you step into a space of textbook Tokyo minimalism.

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