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Minimalist sushi restaurant in Japan makes gorgeous use of wood

The 250-square-foot spot used to be a dry cleaning shop

A small building on a street corner glows through a single door on one facade and a tiny window on the other. Hiroshi Mizusaki

Perched inconspicuously on a street corner in Fukuoka, Japan is a tiny sushi restaurant with a glorious makeover story. Formerly a rundown dry cleaning shop, the 250-square-foot Sushi Takigawa has been transformed into a bunker of wood and warmth for the ultimate minimalist dining experience.

Architecture firm Case-Real retained the original angular shape of the structure but replaced the beat-up facade with an off-white stucco. It opted for no windows and a clean wood door that’s invitingly illuminated at night.

A chef works behind curved wooden counters. The walls are all wood. Hiroshi Mizusaki
A collage showing a wood-clad bathroom with small sink and oval mirror, and a corner view of the restaurant with wood walls and angular wooden chairs. Hiroshi Mizusaki

Inside, the small space is clad in wood. Its centerpiece is a large curved ginkgo wood countertop that encases the chef as he prepares the sushi. Behind the countertop a curved clay wall is made from the same material as the ceiling, creating a subtle contrast to all the wood.

The space is intentionally sparse—All of the mechanical systems are hidden in the ceiling, while the cooking supplies and utilities take shelter underneath the counter. The effect is one of stunning simplicity and serenity. Just add fresh fish.

A wooden counter curves around the chef’s workspace and a clay wall in the back. Hiroshi Mizusaki