This fall, the retro-modern facility “Kudan Kaikan Terrace” reopened its doors. With touristic highlights in the surrounding area, such as the Nippon Budokan, the National Museum of Modern Art (MOMAT), the famous cherry blossom viewing spot Chidori-ga-fuchi green road, and Kitanomaru Garden with its beautiful autumn leaves, “Kudan Kaikan Terrace” is another addition to the list of fun spots in the Kudanshita area. Enjoy the most delicious gourmet food while strolling through the retro-modern architecture of the building!
Explore the retro cute “Kudan Kaikan Terrace”!
Completed in 1934, the former Kudan Kaikan has a long history of about 90 years. In the beginning, the building was used for military training and accommodation. After WW2, the GHQ (General Headquarters established by the Allied Forces during the occupation of Japan) requisitioned the facility. Then, in 1957, “Kudan Kaikan” became a hotel with wedding and banquet halls.
After many happy weddings, in 2011, the building was damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and had to close. To protect the important architecture, Kudan Kaikan became a “registered tangible cultural property”. And when it was rebuilt, the parts of the building that showed its architectural style of “Imperial Crown Style (teikan yoshiki = Western-style appearance with a Japanese-style tiled roof)” the best, were preserved and got beautifully renovated. Also, seismic isolation measures were taken.
When you enter the building, the design is so harmonious that you can’t tell which part is new and which part is old (preserved). But there is one point that makes it easy to distinguish between old and new. It’s a “line” on the floor!
At the “Kudan Kaikan Terrace Gallery” on the 4th floor, you can learn about the history of the old Kudan Kaikan and the story behind its restoration.
Healthy lunch on the terrace of “Kudan Shokudo”
“Kudan Kaikan Terrace” has an adorable cafeteria on the first basement floor that can be used by anyone!
“Kudan Shokudo KUDAN-SHOKUDO for the Public Good” uses organic ingredients sent directly from farmers all over the country while trying their best to create a well-balanced menu. Instead of throwing away leftover ingredients, they make good use of them in the next day’s menu to reduce food loss as much as possible.
When visiting Kudan Shokudo, you should try the slightly luxurious “Local comfort teishoku”. My teishoku (= lunch set) included breaded chicken, healthy brown rice, fresh vegetables, pumpkin soup, and pickles. The meat was very juicy and the vegetables were very flavorful and fresh. I also like that you can feel the current season reflected in the meal.
Afternoon tea at “VMG CAFE” on the roof garden
On the 5th floor of the historic part of the building, you’ll find a rooftop garden and a stylish cafe.
“VMG CAFE” is a stylish cafe that has just opened. It’s entirely glass-enclosed so that you can see the green terrace. I had the afternoon tea set, which is trending in Tokyo for being “extremely reasonable and outstanding!”.
The contents of the afternoon tea change depending on the season. When I visited the cafe, the Christmas-themed set had just started. Afternoon tea at “VMG CAFE” is characterized by a well-balanced arrangement of savory foods and sweets, all-you-can-drink organic tea (by the brand “Mighty Leaf”), and original blended coffee.
The 10-item set was amazing! Half of the dishes were savory, and the other half were sweets. When looking at the little creations, you can feel the chef’s attention to detail, such as the red scone and the choux pastry with caviar rouge that recreates pine cones with almonds. Just beautiful!
Another highlight of afternoon tea is, well, the tea! With many hot and iced tea options, I tried Mighty Leaf tea for the first time. I was surprised at how delicious and flavorful the tea tasted. Staff told me that many of their customers drink up to 6 types of tea during afternoon teatime.
During my “exploration” of the architecture of the reborn “Tokyo Kudan Kaikan Terrace” and gourmet creations, I had so much fun! Since there are many tourist attractions in the Kudanshita area, be sure to include “Tokyo Kudan Kaikan Terrace” in your sightseeing course! Have fun experiencing the beautiful fusion of old and new architecture!