I went to Japan a few months ago and documented my experience in video format. I think one of the most popular things to do in Japan is eating Japanese food. So if you are wondering what to eat and where to find it, watch the video and follow me on this Tokyo food tour. Some restaurants and bars we went to are popular recommendations, but some others are truly hidden gems. Enjoy the food experience in Tokyo! The comments below are further explanations of the experience that I didn’t get to mention in the video.
IZAKAYA AND OTOSHI AT OMOIDE YOKOCHO
The first day in Tokyo we went to Omoide Yokocho, a very popular street full of bars call izakaya. This area in Tokyo is a must, so don’t forget to add it to your personal food tour.
In the video, I keep on saying the name wrong… Ikazaya this… ikazaya that… it took me forever to imprint the proper name in my brain… I dare you to count how many times I say iKazaya instead of izakaya.
Anyway, going to izakayas is an old cultural practice that comes from the Edo period, in the late 18th century. Back then, the izakaya was just a sake shop. At some point, people started to stay in for a drink, and eventually, they started serving snacks, too. These snacks are the otoshi, and nowadays they serve them as a type of entry fee. When you sit at an izakaya you will get one otoshi without ordering it. It is expected that you pay for it along with the rest of your order. So when your bill comes don’t be surprised when you see a dish you didn’t order, that’s your first otoshi.
RAMEN FOR LUNCH IN ASAKUSA
On our second day, we went to Asakusa, a very famous neighbourhood in Tokyo, to visit some temples. In my personal quest to search for a tea room for pre-lunch tea (had quite the rant for not finding Japanese tea readily available on street cafes), we ended up in a small ramen house. Ramen is an adaptation of Chinese noodle soup, but nowadays it is very much a Japanese staple. Almost every region in Japan has their own ramen speciality and there is even a museum! Check their website to learn more about how the Chinese introduced ramen in Japan.
SUSHI FOR DINNER IN GINZA
After a whole day walking around Asakusa and Ginza (finally got my tea fix!!) we ended up eating the most wonderful sushi we have ever had. Sushi was a dish I had included in my food tour, so I didn’t want to miss this chance to try it in Tokyo. It was late so we weren’t expecting to find the best-rated restaurant in the area, just some place to eat before heading back to our hotel. We passed by Ginza Core Mall and saw that they had a few restaurants on the basement floor. So there we went. We found a little sushi restaurant, Tsukiji Tama sushi, that was a total win. It for sure doesn’t get the touristy crowd; the menus were only in Japanese and the waiter spoke very little English. However, they were all excited to have foreigners in the premises.
Some thoughts I had while at this restaurant were the following:
Did you know that it requires years of experience to become a sushi master? The waiter was telling me about it. It’s mindblowing!
Another thought I had was the whole eating whale controversy. In the beginning, I didn’t want to eat whale because it felt wrong but succumbed. This situation made me dig deeper into Japan and its relationship with whaling. Very interesting stuff, I am hoping to write a post about that.
OUR LAST DINNER OF THE TRIP: KOBE BEEF
I could not leave Kobe beef out of my food tour. I did a lot of research because I wanted to make sure we were getting excellent quality for this meal, but we didn’t have a lot of choice around the area. You can only find real Kobe beef in Japan and in a few restaurants around the world that can afford to import this type of beef. If somebody is trying to sell you Kobe beef they should have a certificate of authenticity, otherwise, they are simply lying to you. I ordered Kobe beef and Dave ordered a lower grade Wagyu (which literally means Japanese beef). To my surprise, I found his beef much more tender than mine. So, we either got scammed, there was a mistake in the order, or my palate doesn’t make distinctions when dealing with very high-quality foods.
Don’t miss my second video of the Japan video series: Food tour in Kyoto and Osaka. See you soon!
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