Tokyo has undergone redevelopment in recent years, with new buildings being constructed one after another. For various reasons, historic old buildings are also being demolished and reborn as something else.

As traditional townhouses and shops continue to disappear one by one, being replaced by modern buildings, areas that retain a strong sense of the old atmosphere have become very precious. Nezu is one of them. Despite being only about 15 minutes by train from Tokyo Station and easily accessible, it is a place that still exudes the atmosphere of the old downtown area of Tokyo.

"Hantei", located near Nezu Station, is a restaurant operating in a wooden building constructed over 100 years ago, making it a recommended spot to experience a retro atmosphere. Although renovated several times, it still retains its old charm. As it is also close to Yanaka Ginza, it's a great place to stop by during a stroll.

Reasons to Recommend Hantei

A Japanese-style house Built During the Meiji Era

Source: Tabelog

"Hantei" is a restaurant operating in a precious wooden Japanese-style house built over 100 years ago. The building is designated as one of the nation's registered tangible cultural properties.

The imposing presence of "Hantei" that makes everyone stop in their tracks is something that has been passed down since the building was constructed. While it is not easy to continue using an old building, thanks to the passion of those involved, we can still have the valuable experience of dining in a historic building that retains its old history.

Currently, the part of the building facing the main street is entirely covered with a steel frame. This was an unavoidable renovation due to road expansion work. Personally, I feel it symbolizes how a historic building has adapted to modern times and survived.

On the first floor of the restaurant, there is also a room that uses an old Japanese-style warehouse. You can dine inside that warehouse, which is personally one of my recommended seating areas.

Old Townscape Viewed from the 2nd and 3rd Floors

Hantei-2nd floor
Source: HOT PEPPER Gourmet

One of the features of the "Hantei" building is that it is a three-story wooden structure. All floors from 1st to 3rd are used as a restaurant, with table seating as well as tatami (Japanese straw mat) rooms where you need to remove your shoes.

From the windows of the 2nd and 3rd-floor seats, you can look down on the townscape of Nezu, which people from 100 years ago must have also gazed upon. Nezu has been a lively area with many shops lining the streets for over 100 years. If you're lucky enough to dine on the 2nd or 3rd floor, be sure to gaze at the tiled roofs from the windows. The tiled roofs are also a characteristic of traditional Japanese-style houses, providing a classic view.

While undergoing renovations, "Hantei" has maintained its three-story wooden structure. Take in the contrast between the rooftops that people from 100 years ago would have seen and present-day Tokyo. Note that you cannot specify your seating when making reservations.

Commitment of a Kushiage Specialty Restaurant

"Hantei" is a restaurant specializing in kushiage (deep-fried skewers), where ingredients are skewered and deep-fried. Despite being fried food, befitting the traditional and dignified building, the cuisine is refined and sophisticated, with a commitment to quality ingredients.

In particular, they emphasize using ingredients that are in season. From vegetables and meat to fish and shellfish, they inherit the sophisticated culture of the Edo era from over 150 years ago when planning their menu.

The dishes are served a little at a time so you can enjoy them freshly fried. They also use a high-quality, independently blended oil to bring out the flavors of the ingredients. Despite being fried food, the light texture makes it popular among elderly patrons.

Recommended Menu Items

Source: HOT PEPPER Gourmet

Hantei's Hiruzen (Lunch Course)

Hantei's Hiruzen is a kushiage (deep-fried skewers) lunch course menu. The course includes 8 types of kushiage, side dishes, vegetable sticks, rice, and dessert. The kushiage are small and refined in size. As of May 2024, the price for Hiruzen is 3,630 yen.

The menu uses seasonal ingredients with ingenuity, so you can enjoy a different taste every time you visit. Experience the Japanese traditional culture of enjoying the seasons through cuisine. Personally, I recommend spring mountain vegetables and autumn mushrooms, which are delicious.

Note that you cannot generally choose the contents of the kushiage yourself. If you have any food allergies or ingredients you cannot eat, be sure to inform them in advance.

Hantei's Yoruzen (Dinner Course)

Hantei's Yoruzen is a kushiage (deep-fried skewers) dinner course menu. The course includes 12 types of kushiage, as well as side dishes and vegetable sticks. You can enjoy a variety of flavors in small portions. As of May 2024, the price for Yoruzen is 5,500 yen.

The Yoruzen menu also uses seasonal and recommended ingredients, allowing you to savor seasonal ingredients that can only be enjoyed at that particular time. Seafoods like shrimp and oysters are also delicious.

Note that while you can have the kushiage with either sauce or salt, it is generally recommended to have meat skewers with sauce and seafood or vegetable skewers with salt.

As with the Hiruzen course, you cannot choose the contents of the kushiage yourself for the Yoruzen course. If there are any ingredients you cannot eat, be sure to inform them in advance.

Seasonal Kushiage

Kushi age
Source: Tabelog

There is a time when every food is at its most delicious and nutritious, and the Japanese traditionally valued eating ingredients during their peak season. Hantei's seasonal kushiage carries on this culture by carefully selecting ingredients.

The ingredients change every month. For example, in May, the menu may feature broad beans, new potatoes, and ayu (sweetfish), a river fish. Ayu, which has been a favorite of the Japanese since ancient times for its refined, light flavor, is a prized ingredient as its fishing season opens in May.

When enjoying the kushiage at Hantei, savor not only the flavors but also the colors, aromas, and the sense of the season. Adding seasonal kushiage to the lunch set is also recommended.

Access to Hantei

Hantei is located just a 2-minute walk from the "Nezu" station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line. The restaurant is only about 50m from the station, so there's little worry of getting lost. Look for the large, old three-story wooden house covered with an iron lattice facing the main street.

Nezu, where Hantei is located, is about a 15-minute subway ride from Tokyo Station. It is also close to Ueno Station, home to museums and a zoo, within a 20-minute walking distance.

Address: 2-12-15 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station Access: 2 minutes walk from Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line [Nezu Station]

Reservations Recommended

It is recommended to make reservations at Hantei. As a popular restaurant among both Japanese and international tourists, there are many days when it is fully booked. You can make reservations by selecting the date and number of people on their official website, or by phone. Due to the crowds, there is a time limit of 90 minutes for the Hiruzen lunch course and 120 minutes for the Yoruzen dinner course. There is also a children's set menu available.

While you cannot request specific seats, if climbing stairs is difficult, you can request a table seat when making the reservation. Be sure to arrive on time for your reservation.

Reservation Link:

Information for Hantei

- Business Hours: 11:30-15:00 (Last order 14:15) / 17:00-22:00 (Last order 21:00)
- Closed: Mondays (Tuesdays if Monday is a holiday)
- Phone: 03-3828-1440
- Official Website: