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eating in Japan

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starting next week we will be in Tokyo, Hakone, Hiroshima and Kyoto. We are very excited! If you have any do not miss restaurants please let me know.   I'm on the wait list for Molecular Tapas Bar

if you're going to Kyoto, maybe this piece on Kyoto will be useful , including food here- by a friend who lived there (and also used to work FOH at 15 East & Ducasse)   no idea how useful/usele

hi, just saw this. yes, i met her here in NYC and she's terrific. We worked on an event together (or, rather, volunteered for). When i first met her she was Karla Yukari

That would depend on what you mean by "do not miss". Do you want a Michelin 3 star experience or are you looking for local cuisine that you wouldn't find outside of Japan? In Tokyo, there are about a few dozen ramen shops that I would say are not to be missed, or some unagi places, or shops dedicated to making pristine oyako-don, or monjayaki, or yoshoku, or dojou-nabe, just for starters. In Hakone, I think you will be better off at one of the good ryokans for food, since it's kind of an upscale resort area. In Kyoto, you should concentrate on tofu or yuba cuisine, and obanzai-ryori (Kyoto's homestyle seasonal, regional cooking), as well as Kyo-ryori that you'll find at the upscale ryokans and ryoteis. For Hiroshima, it's oyster season, so look for that, as well as the regional version of okonomiyaki. The Hiroshima region is also known for "kozakana" (small/baby fish) which are used in sushi as well as other washoku preparations. Anago is another specialty of the Hiroshima area, especially around Miyajima.

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Hiroshima is known for its Okonomyaki and there is a whole district dedicated to its preparation. It is also known for Anago, the salt water eels and you can find stalls everywhere on Myajima Island, which I am sure you have planned to visit.


In Kyoto, the Nishiki food market is definitely worth visiting and I was sent to a kai-ten place near Kyoto City hall called Moshashi, which is definitely one of the best I encountered on my trip.


If you have time, do what I did and spend a day with someone from the W.I.K, (Women's Institute of Kyoto) whose aim is to make connections around the world through a love of food.


I didn't warm to Harkone, but still remember the wonderful Gyoza at The Gyoza Centre of Gora, which are considered some of the best in Japan


In Tokyo, I had my best meals at the yaki-tori bars in the backstreets of Ueno, close to the station and became slightly addicted to the tori-karage (fried Chicken)


Also head to Ryogoku or "Sumo town" for the Chanko Nabe, the Sumo stew and make sure you spend time in the food halls of some of the larger department stores, if only to see square water melons and $100 bunches of grapes. Kappabashi is worth a trip to see the shops selling the plastic models of food that can be found outside just about any restaurant.


I am assuming you are visiting Tsukiji in Tokyo and that is definitely not to be missed. Get a guide and get there early. I thnk i was there about 5am and, with our guide had access to the auctions. Afterwards we ate at a place called Kujiro's


here are some posts from my EAT MY GLOBE blog






Hiroshima and Tokyo Fish Market


Hope any of this helps





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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...

Any recent recommendations in Tokyo?


Stay clear? No really, friends were there during the earthquake, stayed a week more and left a week early. Unless you have to go, this is a place that truly scares me right now. Okay, I'd go to Japan over the Middle East. Can I ask what prompts you to go? Humanitarian duty?

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eta: (response to tsquare)


We have some meetings that we could avoid or postpone if we had to, but I'm not that worried. Right now we plan to go in about six weeks, by which time Godzilla will hopefully been defeated by Rodan, or at least sealed in a concrete jail.


As for aid, I think the truth is they don't need any and they certainly don't want any, except in saving Tepco's precious property.


prasantrin - not yet, but it's on the list. It's been six years since we went there last, so I don't really know anything newer than that and what I assume Michelin will tell me.

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Trying to narrow down the list is exhausting. Michelin is pretty much worthless - their ranking between restaurants of the same genre seems to be purely based on decor and service (not to mention price), and then you have many other sources with various agendas, budgets and levels of timeliness. At the end of it all you still need a Japanese serial phone call maker (a service that's not to be confused with a concierge).


Some blogs we've run into:



http://foodsaketokyo.wordpress.com/ (also the basis for a book in the most excellent Terroir guide series)
















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I like Robb, but bento.com is sometimes like the gaijin's version of Yelp. I've had very limited success with their recommended restaurants, but it's a great resource (for major areas of major areas) for finding restaurants.


I also take Chubby Hubby's reviews with a grain of salt.


I still think Aronia is worth a try if you haven't already been there. And although Yamamoto's style has changed quite a lot since my first visit, I'd go back to Ryugin again, too. As a whole, it's still one of my favourite restaurants (in part because the staff is always so charming and welcoming).

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Yeah, bento is a good directory. A lot of the recommendations are ancient. Aronia and Ryugin on the list (I think both probably enjoy a fair amount of blogger-generated hype, but I imagine they're very good regardless).

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Ishikawa was a maybe, saw some not-very-enthusiastic reviews, didn't have Kojyu or Edition at all, both look good. We're thinking of a long weekend in Kyoto so we'll probably budget some Kaiseki there as well. Have you been to Creations de Narasawa?

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