There is no denying that Tokyo’s nightlife and restaurant scene has taken a hit over the past 18 months. Even after coronavirus restrictions were eased back in March (before the current fourth state of emergency), some restaurants found that the regular crowds of customers were not forthcoming. Others simply fell by the wayside, joining the more than 700 bars and restaurants nationwide that filed for bankruptcy in 2020.

With pandemic-related restrictions set to last until Aug. 22, and the future still uncertain for Tokyo’s drinking and dining establishments, you’d be forgiven for assuming there’s a deficit of new eateries joining the culinary scene. Precisely speaking, that hasn’t been the case.

But opening during the pandemic has allowed restaurants to adapt to the “new normal” in advance, designing spaces with built-in takeout windows and distanced tables — and, perhaps crucially, planning for limited opening hours.