What a roller coaster the past year has been for Tokyo’s long-suffering restaurants. In early July, chefs and customers alike toasted what seemed like the return of better times. But within a fortnight those hopes were dashed yet again, with pared-back opening hours and the reimposition of requests (read “heavy pressure from the powers that be”) for all establishments to stop serving alcohol.

The state of emergency — currently the city is under its fourth to date — will be in effect at least until the end of August, leaving us in a limbo of uncertainty, without even the glimmer of an Olympic windfall. And yet, despite the gloom, there have been bright rays of positivity, with a steady trickle of excellent new openings.

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