February 24, 2014

Tokyo JUNKtion: Jicca

by Yoko Kumano


Whenever I visit Tokyo, I look forward to meeting newborns… especially when I’ve followed the progression of their parents. No, I’m not talking about newborn babies. I’m talking about new places to eat.

On our first full night in Tokyo, Kayoko and I visited Jicca, our friend Tori-chan’s place. She opened Jicca last August in Hatagaya, just west of Shinjuku. Prior to Jicca, Tori-chan spent six years at Newport, a cafe/dining spot in Yoyogi-Hachiman, where she created the menu and was head chef. It was a dream of hers to open a place of her own, and she did it!

In Japanese, jikka means hometown. Her own hometown is Minami-soma, one of the hardest hit places during the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, and very close to Fukushima nuclear plant. Minami-soma City is a place known for its rice and vegetable farms. At Jicca, Tori-chan serves dishes with fresh vegetables grown on sustainable, organic farms — locally and afar.

Jicca is on the second floor of a side street off of Nishihara Shoutengai. Look out for the little flag hanging off the second floor.


Follow the sign here to go up a flight of stairs. Jicca is open for lunch and into the night. This woman does not sleep!


The space is small and super cozy. We sat at the bar, with a wide counter made from repurposed wood from a ranch in the states. Once we sat down, Tori-chan offered us a plate of jamon.



And then came a series of small plates showcasing the bounty of the winter season here in Tokyo:

Daidai citrus shochu cocktail. Full of refreshing seasonal citrus for us weary travelers.


Shaved carrot salad that had a really light olive oil dressing. Again, very refreshing after a long day blanketed with some serious jet lag.


The bread she bakes on site has a crispy, rustic texture on the outside and a chewy, mochi-like consistency on the inside.


This was one of the highlights of the meal. It is nagaimo (mountain yam) first grilled then marinated in shio-koji for four hours. She then topped the nagaimo with a drizzle of olive oil. The shio-koji really brought out the umami in the nagaimo.


Lotus root kinpira with peppercorns. A wintery dish.


These fukinotou (fuki blossom) fritters had a quick bitterness that complimented my daidai cocktail. The texture was reminiscent of squash blossoms.


Mackerel, garlic and onions are sauteed and then blended for this pate. This was so savory and satisfying on top of the house made bread.


I love how small places in Tokyo don’t have any large appliances like dishwashers and mixers. It really feels like I am visiting someone’s home kitchen.


At Hour 5, on Wine #4:




Steamed clams with nano hana (dandelion greens). We asked for more bread to soak up all of the sauce.


The Extreme cocktail.


This is a shochu cocktail with ginger syrup and an explosive togarashi topper.


You break the togarashi, discard the seeds and rip the pepper into small pieces and mix them into the drink.

It was Hour 6 at this point and things were definitely being taken to the extreme.



For shime (ending) we ordered the keema dry curry.


This photo makes my mouth water. The tender ground lamb colliding with the dry curry rice was born to soak up all the wine that was enjoyed throughout the evening.

My favorite part about Jicca was that even as a newborn, it had such a presence — like it had been there for a long time, hosting its regulars night after night. It’s the Cheers of Hatagaya, with great comfort foods… and lots of wine.


Gochisousamadeshita, Tori-chan!

Nishihara Hikaru Bldg 2F 2-27-4
Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0066
T: 03-5738-2235


  • chungy
    Posted February 25, 2014 at 1:34 am

    good lord this place has my name written all over it! i can’t wait to go there…

  • Posted February 25, 2014 at 5:43 am

    The food looks amazing – and what an atmospheric place.

  • Will
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Hey this is right by my house!

  • yoko
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    @chungy Are you still planning to go to Tokyo next year? If so, make sure to go here!

    @sakura yes, the atmosphere is so great. really cozy and homey.

    @will GO! Tori-chan is the best. Tell her you are friends of ours.

  • flory
    Posted April 9, 2016 at 11:06 pm


    been wanting to go since you guise posted about it aaahhhh excited that am finally going to be in Tokyo and can maybe try eating here!!!

6 Trackbacks

  • […] away. This is what happened when Yoko and I went to JICCA earlier this year — we ended up staying all night! JICCA is a cozy, enchanting restaurant that should not be missed for anyone visiting […]

  • By Japanify: Grilled Shio-Koji Nagaimo - Umami Mart on October 13, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    […] at Jicca, it was seasoned with some serious magic. Lightly grilling this nagaimo brought out a toasty, […]

  • […] Yoko’s from Tokyo, who opened up her own restaurant called Jicca last year. We visited her at Jicca in February, and at that time we decided that we would find her a venue where she could ‘pop-up’ in […]

  • By An Afternoon in Fukushima City - Umami Mart on March 2, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    […] the horror and devastation! I mean, people still live and work there, right? Our good friend and Jicca owner Tori-chan, whose hometown is in Fukushima prefecture, accompanied us on this […]

  • […] you know by now, Tori-chan is a dear friend of ours who opened Jicca, a restaurant and wine bar in the Hatagaya neighborhood in Tokyo nearly two years ago. She is a […]

  • By Upcoming Event: Tohoku Springs Back on February 9, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    […] City called Little Bird) and our friend Tori-chan, who owns a restaurant in Tokyo called Jicca (but herself is from Minami-Soma, in Fukushima). Tori will cook for the event along with Casa de […]

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