Tradition, lineage, continuity: These are the fundamentals that underpin Japanese cuisine, and they are every bit as important as considerations of seasonality or seafood. Increasingly, though, the old ways are being rejected as staid, outdated and out of touch with the 21st century. But not at Nihonryori Yukimoto.

Ask chef Takayuki Hagiwara and he may admit this was one thing on his mind when he decided to build a new, larger branch of his father’s well-respected restaurant. Should he change his style and adopt the lively (and more popular) kappō format, with customers sitting at a counter overlooking an open kitchen, in direct contact with the chef?

Or should he stay loyal to the established kaiseki system, serving each party of guests in their own private room with the kitchen far out of sight? Ultimately, there was no question: Hagiwara was determined to stick with tradition, the one he’d grown up with and trained in for so many years. But that didn’t mean he was stuck in the past.