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.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.