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  • Writer's pictureKriti Shah

A Modern spin on Japanese Restaurant Elements


Japanese design style has a unique place when talking about interior design. It can be distinguished easily from other design styles, owing to the distinct features that characterize it.

In the past couple of years, with the increase in mental health awareness, the need for clutter-free, minimal designs has increased. Therefore, more and more designers are integrating Japanese elements with contemporary design to create sleek spaces.

Elements of Japanese Restaurant Design

The Japanese culture is very vast and complex. To put it plainly, the Japanese style is minimal and evokes peace. The basis of this style is clean lines, geometric shapes, and clutter-free space. The key elements that define this style include -

1. Natural materials like Wood and Bamboo- Wood has been known to dominate Japanese homes and eateries without concealing it with paint to appreciate its rawness. The best way to make a connection with the outdoors is to use natural materials like wood and bamboo in the form of furniture, window frames, walls, or ceilings.

source: pinterest

2. Use of plants - Incorporating nature is a crucial part of Japanese interior design. Traditional Japanese plants like bonsai, palms, and bamboo are the most common ways to add greenery to a space. Generally, floral arrangements are not used to keep things sleek and minimal.

source: Lee WonHo

3. Sliding doors or screens - Traditional Japanese houses had screens that acted as partitions to divide the house. These were generally light and patterned to allow a play of light and shadows. The sliding door is another common feature of Japanese interiors that is used to save space.

source: pendulum mag

4. Natural lighting - To maintain a connection with the outside Japanese interiors tend to be very open and soaked in natural light. Huge expansive windows and skylights on the ceiling helps in keeping harmony with nature.

source: GG Achard

5. Colors - Neutral colors inspired by nature form the color palette for a typical Japanese interior. A brown wooden base is dominant in the design of furniture, wall claddings, and the ceiling. Grey stone flooring, along with the greens from potted plants make up the most popular color schemes.

source: Maxime Brouillet

Examples of Modern take on Japanese Restaurant Design

1. Mimi Kakushi by Pirajean Lees - This Dubai restaurant inspired by the 1920 Japanese jazz age, exudes a rich and lavish interior. A former nightclub converted into a restaurant, the original layout with level changes guides the new floor plan. The interiors are heavily textured with hand-painted walls, stained glass windows, and beaded curtains. Dark brown lattice screens divide the floor plan into private spaces. A Japanese colonial bar and an open kitchen add notably to the theatrical aesthetic. The eastern elevation is fully glazed with bespoke stained glass windows to filter the harsh Dubai sunlight, whereas the southern side is covered with beaded curtains. A straw ceiling grid hides the ventilation and electrical equipment.

source: Maha Nasra Edde

2. Gochi by Mim Design- A modern take on traditional Japanese elements, Gochi is a Japanese Bistro located in Melbourne. The design follows a warm color scheme of black and red, departing from the minimalist light colors of traditional Japanese style. The warm colors bring a sense of coziness to the space. Screened red sliding doors going from the floor to ceiling segregate the space from the passageway, also evoking intrigue. A woven rope ceiling and custom-made chopstick lighting adorning the walls give subtle nods to the culture. Furniture design has been kept minimal with clean lines and solid colors.

source: MIM Design

3. Kotori by Coletivo de Arquitetos -This 350 sq meter restaurant is a narrow space with table seating and a bar in the middle. The Brazillian firm uses traditional Japanese wood joinery techniques to create different elements in the restaurant. On the facade, wooden cladding is created with brackets to give a hint about the interiors. The narrow space is delineated with the help of a wooden lattice ceiling, which starts over the bar. Over the bar, it acts as a showcase for books and plants. The furniture is covered in finishes to resemble traditional Japanese paper, whereas other finishes around the space include wooden slats and green accents.

source: Rubens Kato


The Japanese interior design style is unique and known for its simplicity. Interesting compositions are created when designers add their personal and regional touch to this style. As illustrated above, nature forms a significant part of it. Using natural materials like wood and stone with traditional greens to create a highly functional, light, and neat space is the crux of this design style.

If you need help with designing your restaurant, email us at or leave us a message here. We'll be happy to help you out.

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