I know, I know, I said I was done with the Nikko stuff, but there were just so many cool things there, I couldn’t resist…forgive me everybody 😀 . But I do think you’ll find this information interesting if you ever have the chance to go. During my day trip, I went to this restaurant called Meiji no Yakata (明治の館 or めいじのやかた) which translates to mean Meiji’s Mansion. I though was pretty freakin’ cool. The restaurant had a slightly formal, western ambiance. I didn’t realize it, but this restaurant has a cool history behind it.
I don’t know the whole story so forgive me if I botch a few of the details. Although the sign says 1977 (I assume that’s when this place actually became a restaurant), from what I understand, this restaurant was formerly a stone villa owned by FW Horn, an early American trading company. What was an American based corporation’s villa doing in Japan, you ask? Well, FW Horn was quite big into the phonograph/gramophone records business. I’m sure phonographs weren’t the company’s only type of business dealing, but there was a time when the phonograph business was very profitable. Phonographs were so popular in fact that there were phonograph manufacturing companies set up right here in Japan. I believe this villa was established for foreign traders. It’s so interesting to see the connections. Ah what I would give to have a time machine just to go back, sit silently and just see what this place was like back in the early to mid 1900s. Cool right?
So if you check out the restaurant’s website, http://www.meiji-yakata.com/meiji/index.shtml,the first image you see is a phonograph, and now you know why 🙂
Meiji on Yakata is within walking distance of the Nikko Toshogu and is a great place to sit down, rest your feet, have some tea, and some delectable lemon cheesecake. Judging by the different cakes the restaurant had for sale, I’m guessing cheesecake must be the restaurant’s claim to fame, but don’t quote me on that. It was a great way to end a day of sightseeing, and exploring.
The website I mention above also has the phone number and directions to get you there. I hope you get a chance to go!
One other cool thing about going when I did was that Meiji no Yakata happened to be the site of a movie production. There wasn’t much filming going on the day I was there. But I could see the professional grade movie cameras through one of the upper floor windows. This was the reason there were three vintage cars parked on the main lawn. I am not a car buff so I didn’t know the makes and models of the different cars, but I did see that one car was a 1952 Aston Martin. I know enough about cars to know that modern-day Aston Martin isn’t the cheapest car in the world. I just know that the cars looked awesome, and I was lucky to see them.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, those cars were fully functional…check it out:
See you next time, everybody,