• Features

Hitoshinaya -The Ultimate Food to Eat at the Doorway to the Sky-

  • delicious Japan
  • October 2016

Hitoshinaya pursues the flavor of “dashi” stock, the foundation of washoku Japanese food. It produces cuisine that brings out the flavors of each season’s ingredients. Three specialty restaurants, working together to supply single menu items, speci cally asagohan (breakfast), domburi (rice bowl dishes), and ramen, are joined together under one roof. Hitoshinaya is attracting attention for trying new ideas, in its cuisine and its space, that are unprecedented in airports.

Popular menu items

The most popular menu item for domburi is “chicken and egg rice bowl with special dashi stock”. This is Hitoshinaya’s signature domburi, which locks in the flavor of the dashi. The most popular menu item for breakfast is “shakezen” (salmon tray meal). It’s a rich lineup of one soup and five side dishes with seasonal ingredients. The most popular menu item for ramen is “Japanese dashi stock chicken ramen”. Hitoshinaya’s Japanese dashi ramen harmonizes with the scent and flavor of the dashi.

You’re served a drink as soon as you sit down, but it’s not tea or water, it’s dashi. The refreshing savory flavor and the scent of the dashi tell you it was made with care. This dashi is served in place of tea in all three restaurants. It’s free of charge, with as many refills as you want. The whole restaurant is enfolded in the fragrant scent of dashi, giving the luxurious feel of a high-end washoku restaurant. It’s enough to make you forget that you’re still in an airport.

The supervisor and leader of the kitchen is head chef Hiroshi Nagashima, who is known in the world of Japanese cuisine as a modern master. He says “Haneda Airport is the entrance for Tokyo’s food. Fresh, seasonal ingredients arrive there every day, from all over Japan. As a pioneer of airport restaurants, we always strive to create new culinary culture, while guarding the traditions of Haneda Airport”.

Before and after traveling are the times when you really want healthy food in a relaxing space

The Asagohan breakfast menu is served all day. It’s easy to get run down while traveling, from overeating or fatigue. When you come back from a holiday or business trip, this restaurant invites you to pick yourself up by stopping in the airport to eat delicious washoku that’s easy on the stomach and good for the digestion.

All three restaurants have open counters. The kitchens are also open, and it’s always fascinated to pass the time watching how the food is made. Partitions are made of glass for good visibility and no feeling of enclosed stuffiness. The design lets you share the liveliness of the view without letting anything intrude on the aroma of the dashi.

There are two reasons for the simple menu structure of one item per restaurant. One is that focusing on a limited menu keeps provisioning costs down, so the budget can be used for sourcing better ingredients instead. The other is that exhaustive exploration of a single menu item brings the flavor of the dish to a higher level. Head chef Nagashima says “I kept the menu as simple as possible because I wanted people to taste the flavor of dashi”.