Noma Plans Next Pop-Up Restaurant in Kyoto

René Redzepi's crew last went to Japan in 2015 to run a pop-up in Tokyo.

Noma heading to Japan
Photo: Noma Kyoto

Noma is more than just a three-Michelin-star (finally!) restaurant in Copenhagen; it's a global culinary phenomenon, earning René Redzepi rock star chef status. And like any rock star, he's gone on to tour the globe. Noma has operated pop-ups in England, Tokyo, Australia, Mexico, and New York.

Now, the Noma team is on the move again: Redzepi and company have announced they are heading back to Japan.

In 2015, Noma operated a pop-up in Tokyo at the Mandarin Oriental for three weeks in January. This time, they're heading nearly 300 miles west to Kyoto. "For the past two years, we have been studying, traveling and researching the city of Kyoto and the Kansai region — in particular, kaiseki cuisine," Redzepi began in the announcement. "This spring, we return to the place where so much of our own journey began."

The pop-up will run for ten weeks from March 15 to May 20, operating one lunch and one dinner service from Wednesday to Saturday at the Ace Hotel Kyoto. Reservations are only available as a prepaid package that includes both food and drinks costing diners € 775 (about $685) plus a 10% service charge.

As for scoring a spot, Noma says that reservations will be released on Monday, November 7 at 1 p.m. CET (that's Central European Time in Denmark) to Noma newsletter subscribers. "Reservations can be made for tables of 2 and 4," Noma writes, "some reservations will be offered on shared tables. Kindly note that due to the very limited seating, most of the reservations will be for tables of 4 guests. We therefore encourage you to gather a party of 4 ahead of the reservations being released." Hotel room packages will also be available.

Redzepi explains that 95 people involved with Noma — "everyone from the kitchen and front of house teams to the office, management, and families" — will be attending the pop-up, "an opportunity for us to travel as a team and shake off the last 2.5 years of the pandemic." The chef says that the menu will source ingredients from "local farmers, hunters, fishmongers, and foragers and will work very closely with this local network of suppliers." The meal "will reflect the sakura season in Kyoto, yet, we will not be a Japanese restaurant."

Earlier this year, Redzepi announced that 2023 will be "our final year with Noma as we know it," and he concluded his letter about the move to Japan with a similar sentiment. "We need an adventure," he writes, "one that will prepare us for our next and greatest transformational journey yet — a new chapter for [Noma], which will unfold in 2024."

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