Experience Kumamoto through its traditional cuisine—linking tradition with the future, guided by
Satoshi Okumura of Okumura
Kumamoto City’s Shinmachi neighborhood has long flourished at the foot of Kumamoto Castle, one of the three most famous castles in Japan. This historic area is home to the Japanese restaurant Okumura, in business for 150 years. As a long-standing dining institution, it preserves Kumamoto’s history and culture. Each room adorned with hanging scrolls depicting the seasons and opulent furniture of historical significance evokes the restaurant’s past as a traditional Japanese establishment, providing guests with a warm sense of hospitality.
In 1992, Chef Satoshi Okumura joined the historical small-plates restaurant Kyoto Cuisine Yugyoan Tankuma Kitamise, where he learned the basics of Japanese cuisine. He has been at Japanese Cuisine Okumura since returning to Kumamoto in 1999. Here, he interacts with local food producers, acts as a spokesperson for the farms that underpin Kumamoto’s food world, and constantly strives to impart the wonders of the cuisine and its environment to his guests.
Chef Okumura works hard every day to source the right ingredients. His philosophy is that food is most delicious when it uses locally grown ingredients, is crafted by local chefs using local seasonings, is served in locally made tableware, and is enjoyed on-site.
Among these foods, he is passionate about preserving and popularizing Suizenji nori, one of Kumamoto’s legendary traditional ingredients. He is involved in developing a number of products using this nori, such as somen noodles that contain Suizenji nori. He continues his efforts to help preserve Japan’s ancient traditions and pass them down to future generations. This includes cosponsoring the Niiname-sai festival with local food producers every November.
Through his Premium Menu, Chef Okumura wants everyone to taste Kumamoto’s local cuisine and learn about the local history. In addition to classic dishes such as horsemeat sashimi, mustard-stuffed lotus root, and Kumamoto-style scallions, his menu is based on the inspiration he receives from his discussions with producers about tableware, equipment, and the like, and it uses traditional Japanese methods of preparation. His offerings to diners draw on the historic background of each dish and why that dish has long been a mainstay of Kumamoto cuisine.
Chef Okumura does not make each and every food served to guests himself. The mustard-stuffed lotus root is sourced from the Mori Karashi Renkon store in Shinmachi, in business for 400 years. He wants to use the restaurant’s local dishes to give diners a sense of the entire history of the Shinmachi neighborhood. As a partner in safeguarding Kumamoto’s food culture, he shows hospitality to everyone in town.
The ingredients Chef Okumura uses have been carefully selected following personal visits and discussions with producers. The chopstick rests are decorated with a Higo inlay, one of Kumamoto’s traditional crafts. The tableware is from kilns in Kumamoto Prefecture, such as the local Shodaiyaki Takemiyagama kiln and the Kodayaki Denshichi kiln in the southern part of the prefecture. Diners can truly enjoy the entire range of Kumamoto tradition and culture.
At the restaurant, guests can purchase the local tableware used in the Premium Menu.
Please come and experience the climate, surroundings, and history of Kumamoto Prefecture with the Premium Menu at Okumura restaurant.
Address:1-1-8, Shinmachi, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture 〒860-0004
Business hours:Lunch, 11:30–15:00; dinner, 17:00–22:00
Reservations for the Premium Menu
Each restaurant has different ingredients in its Premium Menu, so diners may enjoy Kumamoto’s seasonal dishes. Please directly contact the restaurant for details.
Premium menu (reserve five days in advance)
Price:25,000 yen per person