Our Restaurant/Our Founder | Restaurant Nippon


Restaurant/Our Founder


Our founder, Nobuyoshi Kuraoka's mission was to introduce authentic Japanese cuisine to the American public.   As a result, he established Restaurant Nippon in 1963, at which time it became Manhattan's first Japanese restaurant with a dedicated sushi bar and one of the first authentic Japanese restaurants in America. Nippon is the birthplace of the Beef Negimayaki, and a place of many firsts, including the first restaurant in the United States to have a special permit from the FDA to import and serve Fugu from Japan.

Over the years, Kuraoka went to great extremes to fulfill his vision of making Japanese food the world-treasured cuisine it is today. For example, he purchased field in Canada and developed special methods of refining and processing his freshly grown buckwheat in order to make the best and freshest ni-hachi soba imaginable.  He also introduced equipment that allowed for the production of fresh homemade tofu directly on the premises of his restaurants. 

Celebrities, diplomats, and ambassadors, including the likes of Andy Warhol, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger and Yul Bryner have graced Kuraoka's legendary dining room. In fact, almost every serving Japanese Prime Minister since the restaurant opened has dined at Nippon, and Nippon was the first Japanese restaurant to cater in-flight service for Japan Airlines when it established interncontinental service between New York and Tokyo.  Nippon's catering service has also served the Emperor of Japan on two occasions

As a result of his endeavors, Kuraoka received many awards and commondations from the City of New York and the Government of Japan alike.  Although he passed away in January 2018, Restaurant Nippon continues to operate under a team of  Kuraoka's proteges, including his chef of over 40 years and is committed to preserving his vision of presenting high quality Edomae cuisine to the sophisticated Manhattan diner.

Please go here  for our corporate history. 


Interiors Magazine


Serving authentic Japanese cuisine since 1963, Nobuyoshi Kuraoka's Restaurant Nippon offers a selection of traditional edo-mae style Japanese dishes ranging from sukiyaki and tempura to sushi and multi-course kaiseki. Our dishes include special made-on-premises items, including ni-hachi soba (made from 80% buckwheat) and special moments tofu.  


We were the first Japanese restaurant to serve Sushi in NYC, and made global headlines when our founder successfully petitioned the FDA to allow fugu to be important to the US. Nippon is also the birthplace of the Beef Negimiyaki and many other dishes that are now standard fare at many Japanese restaurants and in many Japanese cookbooks.

Enjoy the perfect mix of history and elegance at New York's oldest authentic Japanese restaurant -- now celebrating our 55th anniversary!