The Horigawa, or “Moat River” has long played a major part in the history of Nagoya. Dug to provide a means of carrying rocks and timber to the castle site during it’s construction, as a water feed for the castle’s moat, and in the years of Edo Period peace acted as a route for the ferrying of rice, textiles, and all manner of supplies to the heart of Nagoya. For that reason, many kura, traditional styled warehouses once lined the waterway. Over the years, particularly since the end of the war, the numbers have dwindled, and now there are but a handful left.
The remaining few can be found close to Nagoya’s centrally located skyscraper, International Center. Today the 270 year old warehouses have been fully restored and have been given new lease on life. One such use is as a restaurant, and one of the best is named after the area and street along which it can be found, Shikemichi. Shikemichi consists of two old kura side by side. The smaller is now used as a gallery and party room, while the larger is the delightful restaurant itself.
The restaurant specializes in an intriguing amalgamation of east meets west, catering Japanese styled French cuisine. Chef Matsuura Hitoshi started his career working for a respected resort hotel chain. He knows his vegetables, he knows his wines, and he knows his business! Matsuura specializes in Terrine, small portions of exquisitely created selections of cold meats and vegetables delicately arranged into artistic servings.
Shikemichi is open daily except for Mondays and the third Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of the month for lunch between 11:30am and the last order at 2pm, and for dinner from 5:30 pm and the last order taken at 9pm. Four lunch courses ranging from 2,600 Yen to the 5,800 Yen course are available, and the menu changes to match the seasons and the whims of the brilliant chef. Same too with the dinner courses starting at 6,300 Yen for a six course fare with tea or coffees included, up to the 12,600 Yen course. Courses generally consist of an appetizer, a terrine, a fish dish, a meat dish, a dessert, fruits and nibbles and to end it all off special tea or coffee is served.
The Gallery is also put to good use as a popular event venue for both formal, and informal gatherings, parties and of course art showings. Special event courses and menus , such as Christmas, Valentines’ and other such themed special nights are scheduled regularly.
The Shikemichi Restaurant provides some fine wines and a wide selection of fine regional sake too. Prices range from 1,000 Yen for a glass. Or from 4,800 Yen for a bottle of red or white wine. Sake prices start at 800 Yen per cup. The prices have never bothered the regular clientele who take every opportunity to enjoy this western flavor in a traditional, historical Japanese kura. Ideal for a business lunch or a romantic dinner, or just an eating experience, write down the phone number and keep it in your wallet!
In 1986 Nagoya City designated the historical Shikemichi area as one for preservation, however over the past few years there has been a noticeable change in the area as many of the remaining old homes and businesses have been demolished and modern dwellings erected in their place. Thankfully, the ones around the Shikemichi Restaurant remain, keeping that old town image. Be assured, one thing that will not disappear soon, is Shikemichi Restaurant.