Imperial Hotel Lemon Pie

Imperial Hotel Terrace Lemon Pie
Imperial Hotel Terrace Lemon Pie

The main building of the Hotel Okura will be closing at the end of summer. Many are coming to sit in the lobby under the signature lantern lamps. The visitors are a mix of locals and non-Japanese, young and old. It will be sad to say sayonara to this beautiful lobby as we know it.

I wanted to bid farewell to the hotel with a taste of the Okura. The lemon pie at the Terrace restaurant is the original recipe and has not changed in 50 years. It is sweet and tart and has an old school meringue on top. The custard is rich with eggs and the lemon flavor is mild. It is the lemon pies I grew up with, not the fancy tarte au citron available at French patisseries throughout the city. It tastes old and what better way to say adieu than with a nod to the past?

Lemon Pie poster
Lemon Pie poster

A poster of the Lemon Pie at the hotel. It is one of their signature items.

One of the staff escorted me to the Terrace Restaurant and I asked her about the new hotel and if the lobby would be coming back. She did say that plans are to save some of the pieces, such as the lantern lamps, chairs, and tables. If it makes sense to bring these back, then we may be seeing some of these again. The South Wing will remain open during reconstruction of the main building.

Hotel Okura Lantern Lamps
Hotel Okura Lantern Lamps

I’ve stayed in the Hotel Okura years ago for about a week. I never made it to the Terrace Restaurant, and so exploring the hotel was another treat. I was here for business and all I could enjoy of the hotel was my bed and bath.

There is a lovely garden that the Terrace overlooks. Sitting next to me was a group of older Japanese ladies who were very sad about the renovation project. One even walked over to the small pond to bid farewell to the fish. We are all treasuring these last few days.

Hotel Okura

Minato-ku, Toranomon 2-10-4

4 Comments Add yours

  1. What a lovely post. I regret that I will not see this treasure, and I appreciate your sharing it here, so beautifully. Might there be a recipe for the lemon pie? And could you translate the writing on the poster? I cannot tell (old eyes) whether that is meringue or
    whipped cream on top; I can tell that it is magnificent, though, and I can tell that I want a piece right now. In your photo, looks more like meringue…..

    1. Nancie-san, you the pie queen, were with me in spirit. Good question about the recipe. I am guessing it is a hotel secret as they talk about it but never offer up the recipe. The poster says that it is something you should try, they stand behind it with absolute confidence.

      The topping is meringue!

      Looking forward to someday eating a piece of Nancie’s pie, and to treating you to some Japanese cuisine. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

      Have you been to my friend’s ramen shop in Durham called Dashi?

      Big hugs from Tokyo,

      1. Oh my goodness, yes! We loved it. Did not know your friend is the source. COME TRY IT WITH ME! hahahaha someday I know you can’t just gallivant all around. Love following you in Tokyo. Who is your friend? I will say hello next time

  2. Moritz says:

    Looks amazing! There is nothing as amazing as a good piece of cake in an enjoyable atmosphere!

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