Ukiyo means “joy of life.” The “U” in Ukiyo means “space,” while the “ki” means “joy” and the “yo” signifies the temporality of human beings. It expresses our wish that once a customer enters Ukiyo, the place is found to be full of joy, with all the gloomy matters left behind to enjoy a refreshing experience. This wish of ours is embodied in “Ukiyo Daruma,” a traditional character and symbol based on Buddhism. Daruma is regarded as a talisman that, even when there are difficulties in life, brings something good afterwards-the symbolism that was derived from the characteristic of a Daruma doll, which always bounces back to its original position no matter how many times it falls over. Please try finding this motif of Ukiyo Daruma scattered across Ukiyo in engravings, paintings and drawings.
The history of Ukiyo dates back to the mid-19th century, toward the end of the Edo period. The founder, Jinnosuke, started it as a catering restaurant that used fresh seafood available in Takada. Later, in the latter half of the century, Ukiyo became a ryotei under the reign of Jinnosuke’s son-in-law, Yatsuzo. Since then, across three centuries it has been a prestigious ryotei, cherished by a variety of renowned guests and famous cultural figures, including two visits of a member of the imperial family.