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  • Dining Hall of the Meiji Imperial Court

    26 July – 9 November 2017
    Meiji Kinenkan (Main Building)

    You may have visited the Meiji Shrine near JR Harajuku Station. But did you know that the shrine runs a wedding complex, opened in 1947, near Akasaka Palace?

    The complex Meiji Kinenkan (the Meiji Memorial Hall) is holding an exhibition to mark its 70th anniversary this year (at the main building, admission free). It sheds light on the imperial dining of the Meiji era, from the end of the 19th century to the early 20th century. During the exhibition, visitors may taste a dish and a desert from that period, to be served at the historical hall with splendid interiors.

    “Dining Hall of the Meiji Imperial Court” at Meiji Kinenkan (amuzen article)

    ◆ Dining Hall of the Temporary Imperial Palace

    The Meiji Kinenkan’s main building (today housing banquet rooms and a lounge) was built in 1881 as an annex of Akasaka Palace, which was the temporary palace of Emperor Meiji. The building was used as the dining hall of the first emperor of modern Japan. Apart from the rituals presided by the emperor, the imperial banquets were held here for foreign dignitaries. At that time, the revision of unequal treaties with Western powers was of the utmost political importance. It is also at this venue that several meetings of drafting the 1889 Meiji Constitution took place.

    “Dining Hall of the Meiji Imperial Court” at Meiji Kinenkan (amuzen article)

    ◆ The Meiji imperial dining

    The exhibition features 29 selected items to highlight the imperial dining of the Meiji period. Among them is the menu of an official dinner, from the collection of Tokuzo Akiyama (1888 – 1974) who served as the chef at the Imperial Palace. Also on display are a replica of dinner dishes for Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, as well as an example of fine Japanese crafts, called “bonbonnières”, given to the dinner guests as a souvenir.

    “Dining Hall of the Meiji Imperial Court” at Meiji Kinenkan (amuzen article)
    Replica of dinner dishes (13 May 1887)

    “Dining Hall of the Meiji Imperial Court” at Meiji Kinenkan (amuzen article)
    Bonbonnière (17 May 1911)

    ◆ Emperor Meiji’s curry au canard and Mount Fuji ice cream

    Visitors may taste historical dishes during the exhibition period at Lounge Kinkei in the main building.

    Duck curry is a menu that was served to Emperor Meiji and his distinguished guests. This rich, spicy dish with duck meat is reproduced for the first time in 133 years, under the supervision of Meiji Kinenkan’s chef of Western cuisine, and based on the historical documents.

    Mount Fuji ice cream is a desert still served today to foreign guests at the imperial dinners. Smooth vanilla ice cream, to represent a snow cap, tops Mount Fuji made of matcha ice cream. A sauce of chocolate, pistachio, caramel, raspberry and vanilla, symbolizing Fuji Five Lakes, adds aromatic notes to it.

    “Dining Hall of the Meiji Imperial Court” at Meiji Kinenkan (amuzen article)
    reference photo

    Special menu set “Duck curry rice and Mount Fuji ice cream”

    【Place】 Lounge Kinkei (or Lobby if the lounge is in use for wedding banquets)
    【Hours】 Weekdays until 13 September: 11:30 am – 3 pm (last order);
    Weekends, national holidays and weekdays from 14 September 11:30 am – 8 pm (last order)
    【Price】 3,800 yen (tax and service charge extra)

* The above is the information known at the time of publication and subject to change without prior notice.

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