Posts Tagged With: Japanese cuisine

The Japanese secret to staying young for longer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wasabi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wasabi, the Japanese condiment which offers a delicious kick to the nasal passages with every bite, has long been embraced in Japan, and more recently other parts of the world. However, aside from accentuating sushi or playing jokes on friends, the pungent plant has been found to provide anti-aging effects in recent years.

 

For those who turn up their noses at the thought of a daily dose of wasabi, you may reconsider when you realize how easy it is to benefit from the sulfinyl found in it. That’s right: it keeps you pretty for longer!

 

 Sulfinyl

 

A lot of what goes on inside of a wasabi plant is accredited to a sulfur/oxygen bond called sulfinyl. When the plant is damaged the sulfinyl is combined with other molecules to make 6-methylthiohexyl isothiocyanate (6-MSITC). Stay with us. In short, this chemical group helps to give wasabi its unique taste, which is believed to be a natural pest repellent.

 

Studies are also finding that the 6-MSITC created by wasabi can lower the reactive oxygen in the body. Reactive oxygen is said to be related to cancers and the weakening of the body due to age. Other research is suggesting that wasabi’s unique sulfinyl compounds are also good for blood circulation and reflexes.

 

 Know your wasabi

 

So we know that wasabi is great but first you have to make sure you’re actually eating real Japanese wasabi. The wasabia japonica plant is a little tricky to farm and yields don’t tend to meet the demand for it. As a result much of the wasabi sold and served is actually mixed with horseradish known as seiyo wasabi (Western Wasabi) in Japan.

 

Although the taste is good, horseradish doesn’t have the same 6-MSITC health benefits of its Japanese cousin. So read the label before buying!

Wasabi explanation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dorito's with wasabi

Obviously your best bet would be buying a fresh wasabi rootstock, but they can be rather pricy and hard to maintain. After grating, the taste of wasabi dramatically decreases in only minutes.

 

On the other hand, powdered wasabi would have had most of the 6-MSITC processed out of it. Unfortunately this means that Wasabi Doritos and Wasabi Beef chips, despite tasting awesome, will not prevent aging… they probably accelerate it.

To get the best of both worlds we recommend the wasabi sold in tubes like toothpaste. As long as you check the label, it won’t take much to begin lowering your reactive oxygen.

 Just a teaspoon a day

According to studies, one would have to consume a minimum of five milliliters (one teaspoon) of wasabi a day to begin recieving the effects of 6-MSICT. You might want to consider a spoonful of it in the place of your morning coffee for a truly potent pick-me-up. Besides, it’ll help clear those tubes during the cold season!

Also, if you happen to not love the spicy zing of wasabi, no problem! Since 6-MSITC is very durable against heat you can just cook it up with something and reduce the nose-burning taste while maintaining the health benefits.

These types of health studies can be shaky at times, so we can’t guarantee eating wasabi will keep you cancer-free. However, it takes almost no effort at all, so why not give it a try? In fact, I’m going to start putting it on my morning McGriddle to try and undo the years of damage it’s no-doubt done to me.

 

Advertisements
Categories: Japanese technology, News about Japan, Stories about Japan, What to eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things to do: Have birds eye view dinner in the Tokyo Skytree

Taste of sky: Shokkan Solamachi-ten is located on the 30th floor of Solamachi's East Tower, and serves family-friendly Japanese cuisine.

Taste of sky: Shokkan Solamachi-ten is located on the 30th floor of Solamachi’s East Tower, and serves family-friendly Japanese cuisine.

Timing is everything at Tokyo Skytree. in daylight the urban sprawl below just looks banal; at night, the city lights gleam with romance, but you can’t see to the far horizons. get there for sunset, though, and if conditions are right, the view can be little short of magical.

The same applies when you pick a place to eat at the city’s most popular tourist attraction. At peak meal times there are waits of up to an hour. But arrive early or as the crowds are thinning, and there’s every chance you will waltz straight in.

That’s definitely the way to do it at Shokkan Solamachi-ten. Dinner service opens from 5 p.m., which at this time of year is right around sunset. While most other visitors are taking in the view as the city lights up for the evening, you can claim pole position right outside the restaurant’s front entrance.

Almost invariably there will be a few places unreserved, if not at the most coveted tables right by the floor-to-ceiling picture windows, then at the counter, where you sit right in front of the busy open kitchen watching your meal being prepared. If, like me, you enjoy the theater of a Japanese kitchen, those are the best seats in the house.

As at the original branch in Shibuya Shokkan serves Japanese cuisine with a casual, contemporary inflection. Stylish, relaxed and affordable, it offers enough creativity in the kitchen to draw in a youngish crowd but without alienating those with more dyed-in-the-wool tastes.

The menu may be nigh-on identical, but the demographic is anything but. Skytree is a magnet for visitors of every age, and Shokkan, which is located on the 30th floor of a building adjacent to the tower, serves them all: dating couples, groups of old codgers, parents with adult children, and extended families with kids of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. It also has a comprehensive, well translated English menu to ensure everyone’s taken care of.

And for that reason, there are different strategies for approaching the menu. Those with children in tow mostly pick out a couple of dishes to share, followed by a more filling rice or noodle dish, and close with a dessert. Then there are omakase (chef’s choice) set meals (¥5,000 or ¥7,000) for those who want a little taste of all the trademark Shokkan dishes.

But there is also a third approach, and this can be the most rewarding. You can treat Shokkan as an izakaya (tavern), ordering a couple of dishes at a time in tapas style, to go with your sake or shōchū (or beer or wine).

Where to start? Well, just about everyone goes for the house-specialty appetizer, slices of raw vegetables served with a dip of tomato-miso. The thick paste of vivid red is one of the original ideas that helped put owner-chef Kan Sato on the map, and its intriguing savory-sweet flavor is a surprising hit.

Alternatively, try the rolls of crab and wakame (seaweed) wrapped in yuba(soy-milk skin) and topped with a tart, refreshing gelee of ponzu (rice vinegar mixed with soy sauce and dashi stock). Other options as nibbles include deep-fried ginkgo nuts or slices of lightly smoked duck breast.

There is also a list of seasonal specials (in Japanese only). Current offerings range from plump oysters on the half shell, freshly flown down from Hokkaido, to lightly seared anago (conger eel), in bite-sized morsels served with small dabs of aromatic sanshō pepper paste.

These are all ideally suited to the extensive sake selection. Some 17 regional brews are kept in the refrigerated cabinet by the entrance — recommendations here would include Kikuyoi, Tengummai Gorin and Kokuryu — which are available in either one- or two-person servings.

At this point, food with a bit more heft is called for. The “Grilled” section of the menu obliges with miso-marinated chicken, Platinum pork (it’s a breed from northern Japan) and steaks of tender, well-marbled premium Kuroge wagyūbeef. A small steak is included in the more substantial ¥7,000 course, though if you don’t like yours rare, you will need to specify otherwise.

The other signature dish comes toward the end of the meal: kamameshi rice, prepared in small individual pots together with seafood or vegetables. Salmon and ikura (salted salmon roe) is a great combination, and so is zuwai crab cooked with mushrooms and butter.

The top-of-the-line item is Shokkan’s self-described “famous seafood paella.” This is cooked in a wide earthenware donabe casserole, and comes laden with generous amounts of salmon and its roe, clams, mussels and small, pinksakura-ebi shrimps. Just as you’d get in Spain, the rice is cooked with a nice crisp brown crust at the bottom.

By this time, night will have fallen, and the glitter of the low-lying city below will be matched by the lights reflected in window glass from the open kitchen. With the effects of the sake kicking in, everything takes on a cheerful glow.

The wait staff make up for their hesitations with a genuine desire to please. The food is not premium high-end fare — in fact, at times it seems a bit soulless — but it’s perfectly suited to the easygoing atmosphere.

Best of all, though, Shokkan is child-friendly, no-smoking, wheelchair-accessible and open year-round without any holidays (not even New Year’s Day). There are few restaurants in the city that can match that.

SHOKKAN SOLAMACHI-TEN
 Address
Tokyo Solamachi East Tower 30F, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo;
 Website View URL
 Phone 03-5809-7251
 Nearest Station Oshiage Skytree (Hanzomon, Toei Asakusa and Keisei-Oshiage lines); Tokyo Skytree (Tobu Skytree Line).
 Open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (L.O.) and 5-9 p.m. (food L.O.).
 What Works Casual, creative, family-friendly Japanese fare with a stupendous view.
 What Doesn’t The specials of the day are only written in Japanese.
 Smoking Not permitted
 Price per head Set lunch from ¥1,200 (kid’s plate ¥800); dinner menus from ¥5,000, also a la carte.
 Credit Cards Major cards accepted.
 Language English menu available; a little English spoken.
Categories: Things to do, Where to eat | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to drink… Shochu (Japanese gin or vodka)

barrels

 

While sake is familiar to millions outside of Asia, shochu is the drink of choice amongst the Japanese. Since 2003, shipments of shochu within Japan have outstripped sake and the trend shows no sign of reversing.

Shochu can be made from barley, sweet potatoes or rice and is distilled like whisky, unlike sake, which is brewed similarly to beer. The shochu is then aged in oak barrels giving the drink more kick (it averages around 25 percent alcohol, rising to 40 percent for some barley shochus) and a deeper flavour.

The famed Shinozaki brewery has been producing sake and shochu for over 200 years. Here Hiroyuki Shinozaki, CEO offers his tips for how to enjoy shochu:

‘The difference between different types of shochu is huge, be it rice, barley or sweet potatoes it is a case of finding what suits you. For me though, the best shochu is made from rice.’

‘If you are new to shochu, look for a bottle that is around 13 percent alcohol, the stronger shochus are more of an acquired taste. ’

‘Although you can drink shochu neat I’d always recommend diluting it with water to bring out the taste.’

‘Rather than just throwing the water in, as you would with whisky, you should dilute the shochu the night before you plan on drinking it. That way it blends overnight allowing the water and shochu to fuse. Don’t be impatient – a good shochu is aged for four years, it deserves one more day.’

‘Once you are ready to drink the shochu heat it gently in a pot of hot water – never, ever, use a microwave. The drink is best served at about 38 degrees Celsius, body temperature. It’s not a cup of tea after all.’

SHINOZAKI details

SHINOZAKI Co., Ltd, 185 Hiramatsu Asakura-shi, Fukuoka 838-1303
Telephone +81 946 52 0005
www.shinozaki-shochu.co.jp/shochu_index.php

 

Categories: history of Japan, Japanese customs, Japanese technology, Must see, Things to do, What to buy, Where to drink | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where to eat: Tempura Buono, finger licking good

A fine spread of tempura and accompaniments

Buono, an Italian-named but authentically Japanese tempura restaurant in the back streets of central Tokyo’s Nishi-Azabu neighborhood, about 10 minutes on foot from both Roppongi Hills to the east and Hiroo Station to the south. Buono’s concept is as appealing as its menu: serve top-quality tempura at accessible prices so that average people can experience what this well known Japanese specialty should taste like.

The chef at Buono claims to have spent his past 39 years in tempura kitchens, starting out at the age of 17. He’d always worked in expensive, upscale restaurants before venturing into Buono’s more reasonably priced bracket. The clientele may be different (including riff-raff like us), but the product is the same.

For the full tempura experience, the best choices are the 3,500-yen and 5,000-yen sets. While not exactly cheap (except in relative terms), you will remember your meal fondly. Go full out, while you’re there.  The first course will probably be okayu—a small, bland portion of boiled rice that prepares your stomach for what’s to come. This will be followed by numerous servings of tempura and complements such as sesame tofu and the finest ika (squid) sashimi. The selection changes according to what is fresh, so don’t be surprised by variations.

If you are only interested in tempura without all the extras, Buono’s 1,800-yen Chef’s Recommendation includes 7 types, highlighted by the ever-popular (and gargantuan) ebi. One lesson I learned during the evening was that aficionados don’t dip their ebi in tempura sauce—they prefer to lightly sprinkle it with salt. Our table was set with three kinds of salt: matcha (green tea), sansho (spicy) and regular.

For smaller budgets and appetites, there is a ten-don (variety of tempura on rice) and a kakiage-don on the menu for around 1,000-yen each. Kakiage is a mixture of tempura ingredients all fried up together. You can find some very uninspiring ones in convenience store bentos, but the kakiage served at Buono is a nice meal in itself.

The refreshment options are plentiful, and the staff are happy to help you make some good choices to match your meals.

A final word of advice, should you find yourself at Buono, is to inquire about the “secret” menu of whatever is fresh and not in the regular rotation. For us it was ayu, a freshwater fish with a light, tasty meat. It is this kind of unique (or unique-seeming) experience that makes my time in Japan memorable.

If you enjoyed this article then please like my facebook page www.facebook.com/tokiotours

 

Categories: Where to eat | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What to eat: Summertime (ramen) noodles

Hiyashi Chuka: Ramen’s Summertime Sibling

Hiyashi Chuka, a dish of cold ramen noodles with a chilled tare sauce and vibrant toppings, is one of the best parts of summer in Japan. Characterized by pale yellow ramen noodles and colorful toppings of sliced ham, cucumbers, and fried eggs, this seasonal dish has become a culinary icon for the Japanese summer.

The name Hiyashi Chuka literally means “chilled Chinese food.” The dish first appeared in Sendai about 80 years ago as a combination of Western, Chinese, and Japanese influences. However, neither Japan nor China claim the dish as their own and, despite its commercial success, the origins of Hiyashi Chuka are virtually unknown. This dish of chilled ramen noodles and refreshing toppings has spread throughout Japan, becoming one of the most popular dishes to eat during the hot summer months. Some consider Hiyashi Chuka an iconic treat, especially in the southern areas of Okinawa, Osaka, and Kyoto.

Hiyashi Chuka itself is an aesthetically gorgeous dish. It is composed of springy, pale yellow ramen noodles, dipped in a light brown, sweetish tare sauce, and topped with sliced fried eggs, cucumbers, and ham. Other varieties of Hiyashi Chuka also contain sliced carrots, ginger, chicken, tomatoes, bean sprouts, sesame seeds, and barbecued pork. All of these colorful toppings are arranged methodically on top of the bed of chilled ramen noodles in a circular fashion, producing both a beautiful and delicious meal. The careful arrangement of the dish highlights the importance of presentation, as well as taste, in Japanese cuisine and culture.

Although convenience stores and ramen shops both serve this summer staple, the quality of the Hiyashi Chuka varies greatly depending on the shop where it is purchased. Most 7-Eleven or Lawson convenience stores sell pre-made Hiyashi Chuka in typical, plastic containers in the Bento lunchbox section. Since they are sold pre-packaged, the ramen noodles from a convenience store Hiyashi Chuka are typically chewier and less flavorful than if they were freshly made. At a ramen restaurant, on the other hand, the noodles are softer and almost melt in your mouth.

Since Hiyashi Chuka is such a simple dish, you can taste the price difference from a convenience store, a cheap ramen restaurant, and a more expensive traditional restaurant. For cheap Hiyashi Chuka, made freshly at a ramen restaurant Ban-Nai (also known as Bannai) is a popular choice. They have over thirty branches in Tokyo, as well as a few outlets in Osaka, Iwate, and Nagano prefectures. High quality Hiyashi Chuka depends on the location; there are many well-known traditional restaurants with popular Hiyashi Chuka offerings, it’s best to ask the locals where their favorite place is!

If you have a chance, try eating Hiyashi Chuka at many different places and prices to find your favorite. While the ingredients vary depending on the prefecture, these delicious yellow, springy noodles that have become synonymous with summer in Japan are guaranteed to make you smile.

If you enjoyed this article then please like my facebook page www.facebook.com/tokiotours

Categories: Japanese customs, What to eat | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Only in Japan: A restaurant with monkeys as waiters

A Japanese restaurant has changed the face of customer service by employing two monkeys to help with the table service.

The Kayabukiya tavern, a traditional ‘sake house’ north of Tokyo has employed a pair of uniformed Japanese macaque called Yat-chan and Fuku-chan to serve patrons.

Twelve-year-old Yat-chan is the crowd-pleaser as he moves quickly between tables taking customer drink orders.

Monkeys working as waiters

Monkey business: Yat-chan moves quickly between tables taking drinks to customers at the Kayabukiya tavern

The younger of the two, Fuku-chan is quick to give the diners a hot towel to help them clean their hands before they order their drinks, as is the custom in Japan.

Yat-chan and Fuku-chan, who are both certified by the local authorities to work in the tavern are well appreciate by customers, who tip them with soya beans.

‘The monkeys are actually better waiters than some really bad human ones,’ customer Takayoshi Soeno said.

Tavern owner Kaoru Otsuka, 63, originally kept the monkeys as household pets – but when the older one started aping him he realised they were capable of working in the restaurant.

Yat-chan first learned by just watching me working in the restaurant,’ he said.

‘It all started when one day I gave him a hot towel out of curiosity and he brought the towel to the customer.’

A regular of the tavern, 58-year-old Shoichi Yano, says the animals are like her children.

‘Actually, [they’re] better,’ she said. ‘My son doesn’t listen to me but Yat-chan will.’

Some clients, like retiree Miho Takikkawa, say Yat-chan appears to understand their exact orders.

We called out for more beer just then and it brought us some beer,” she said. “It’s amazing how it seems to understand human words.’

The monkeys work in shifts of up to two hours a day due to Japanese animal rights regulations.

But the owner is hoping to bring up the next generation of monkey waiters, and is already training three baby monkeys to work as waiters.

Watch the skilled monkey waiters at work

Address:

かやぶき

栃木県宇都宮市御幸本町4688

028-662-3751

Categories: Japanese customs, Must see, News about Japan, Stories about Japan, Things to do, Where to drink, Where to eat | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hiroshima, full of charm in so many ways!

Hiroshima is only a four hour shinkansen (bullet train) ride away from Tokyo so a perfect place to go to on a long weekend. (I do seriously advise you to take a bit of time to enjoy not only the war monument this place is famous for, but also some of the other treasures this area has to offer. Hiroshima ken (prefecture) is the place of two World Heritage sites and the senic Setouchi Region located on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea is full of charm in so many ways.

Hiroshima

Located on the western part of the Honshu mainland, Hiroshima Prefecture has its southern part facing the seto Inland Sea and its northern part surrounded by the Chugoku mountain ranges. The prefectural capital is Hiroshima City, which was left in the ashes in the blink of an eye and left many scarred for life, by the first atomic bombing in homan history during WWII, but achieved a remarkable recovery after the war. Now, this beautiful international cultural city attracts many people from all over the world. serving as a hub of developing cultural and international friendships. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which aims to remind future generations of the horrors of war and appeal for lasting peave, are located in the city itself.

Another peculiar aspect of the city is as many as six rivers flow through the city center. Enjoy going through the city on a pleasure cruiser. From the Motoyasu sambashi (pier), you can take a cruiser to the other World Heritae site in Hiroshima, Itsukushima Shrine. You can also take a nice walk on the walking paths along the Motoyasu River, and relax and have a cup of coffee at one of the stylish open cafes near Hiroshima Station.

Founded by a member of the council of five elders, the five most powerful daimyo (territorial lords) chosen by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to serve his son, Mori Terutomo (1553-1625), Hiroshima-jo Castle is also known as Rijo (litterally meaning “Carp Castle”). Ahukkei-en garden is a beautiful circuit-style garden created around a pond, where you can enjoy shopping at department stores, electronics retail stores to stock up on your favourite Japanese gadgets, and shopping malls in Kamayacho and Hacchobori, the city’s central business district, and Hiroshima nightlife at izakaya and bars lining the streets of the Nagarekawa and Yagembori district.

Streetcars help you get around the city. Check out the Hiroshima Omotenashi Pass, a streetcar daypass and special offer coupons for tourist facilities and restaurants.

Itsukushima Shrine 

Miyajima where the World Heritage Site; Itsukushima Shrine, is located, can be reached from Hiroshima Station by train and ferry in about one hour. The hige red torii gate stands in the ocean, and the magnificent shrine building look as if they are floating on the water. Take a ropeway ride to the top of Mount Misen, or if you have the time and energy, hike up the winding path to the top of this majestic mountain, and you can enjoy the great view of islands in the Seto Inland Sea.

Food

The most famous Hiroshima food item is oyster. You can enjoy not only various dishes with fresh oysters, but also the freshest seafood from the Seto Inland Sea. Okonomiyaki (a sort of pancake) is also one of the best known Horishima foods along with oysters. Unlike the famous Osaka okonomiyaki, Hiroshima Okonomiyaki has layers of a crepe like base, a hige amount of shredded cabbage, meat, noodles and lots of sauce. Anago meshi (conger eel fillets cooked in sweet and salty soy-sauce-based sauce on rice) is another popular dish, which is also popular souvenir, momiji manju, a small maple leaf shaped cake filled with sweet red bean paste, will satisfy your sweet tooth. Also, check out Hiroshima’s other newly emerging original dishes, such as gekikara tsukemen (noodles served with an extremely spicy dipping sauce) and shirunashi tantanmen (litterally means tantan noodles with no soup: Chinese noodles topped with a spicy sauce with ground meat and vegetables).

Karuga and Sake

Located in the northern part of Hiroshima Prefecture, Sandankyo Ravine is a famous spot for spectacular autumn leaves. There is a beautiful waterfall surrounded by a deep virgin forest. The northern part of the prefecture is also famous for Karuga. Karuga, which means “God’s entertainment,”is a type of Shinto theatrical music and dance, and the style in this region is charachterized by dynamic yet elegant dancing, colourful costumes, and boisterous music rhythms. You can see it at Kagura Monzen Toji Mura, where you can also enjoy hot springs.

About a 30-minute train ride from Hiroshima City to the east will take you to Saijo in Higashi-Hiroshima City. Saijo is nationally famous for sake brewing, along with Fushimi in Kyoto. There are eight sake brewers around JR Saijo Station. You can sample each brewer’s original sake, as well as look for souvenirs. After walking around the area, you can rest and relax and cafes and restaurants in buildings that used to be sake storehouses. There is an annual festival, called Sake, Matsuri, held on a Saturday and Sunday in mid-October, where about 900 brands of sake from all over Japan are offered for tasting.

Towns in Setouchi

Kure is a port town that was developed as one of the world’s biggest military ports. Mitarai used to prosper as one of the port towns in Setouchi in the Edo period (1603-1867), where sailboats stayed waiting for good winds and tides for sailing to their destinations. You can see the buildings and historical sites which retains the atmosphere of the towns’old days.

Takehara, known to anime fans as a “sacret place” of the anime series “Tamayura”, is called “Little Kyoto of the Aki area”, where houses of former wealthy merchants still stand behind white walls lining the street in a quant atmosphere.

Attracting people with its calm and magnificent natural landscape, Tomonoura is one of the main scenic sites in Setonaikai National Park. The traditional fishing method, tai-ami, net fishing for red sea bream, is still actively performed in this srea. A special tai-ami event is held throughout May every year, where the dynamic, spectacular fishing thrills the audience.

Onomichi

Nationally known as a town of slopes, a town of temples, a town of literature, and a town of movies, Onomichi has mountains standing very close to the edge of the ocean and slopes with many stone steps, making it a perfect place to stroll around in a relaxed and leisurely way. Walk along the shopping arcade Chuo Shotengai (Onomichi E-no-machi street) from JR Onomichi Station, and you will arrive at Ropeway Sanroku Sation in Senkoji Park. From the park, you can have a good view of Onomichi Suido Channel and Mukaishima island.

Connecting Imabari (Ehime Prefecture) in Shikoku and Onomichi (Hiroshima Prefecture) over a total lenght of about 60km, Setouchi Shimanami Kaido Expressway also includes Setonaikai-crossing Bicycle Route, Japan’s first bicycle path crossing the strait. Going through the islands in the Seto Inland Sea connected with ten bridges, you can enjoy cycling while enjoying the views from the bridges. You can rent a bicycle at one of 14 rental stations and drop it off at any of the stations. Enjoy cycling without worrying about getting back to your starting point!

There will be a Destination campaign by the JR Group from July to September, 2013, which is a national tourism campaign. Go on a trip to discover new aspects of Hiroshima! If you want to go to other places around Hiroshima, get “the Next 10 Spots”brochure when arriving at Hiroshima.

Access to Hiroshima

Tokyo->Hiroshima: fastest 3 hours and 48 minutes by JR Shinkansen (Nozomi)

Haneda Airport (Tokyo)->Hiroshima Airport: 1 hour and 20 minutes by plane

Categories: Must see, Stories about Japan, Uncategorized, Weekend trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where to go: Kawaguchiko at the foot of Mt. Fuji, relax and enjoy the region with your five senses

Mount Fuji is the oconic mountain of Japan that has nurtured religions and arts since ancient times. Mount Fuji has recently been formally listed as a World Heritage Site. Visit the asset components that are scattered around the foot of the mountain to see first hand why it deserves to be a World Heritage Site. Kawaguchi Asama Shrine and Fuji Omuro Sengen Shrine, two of the assets, are located in the Lake Kawaguchiko area. This area with its many hotels, is a convenient place to stay and there are many pedestrian only trails around Lake Kawaguchiko. Touring the many sights on foot with a wonderful view of the mountain and lake is sure to make your holiday memorable.

Cycling trips

Cycling around the Fuji Five Lakes (Fuji Goko) is also fun to do. The 40 km cycling trail from lake Yamanakako, the easternmost of the five lakes, to Lake Motosuko, the westernmost lake is a great ride to take.

Hiking tours

Trekking around the Misaka mountain range on the north side of Mount Fuji offers the best views of the iconic Mount Fuji. The Mitsu-toge route has the easiest access.

Local Food

Hoto is a classic Yamanashi dish. It is a hot stew made with wheat noodles, vegetables and miso. This unique dish was inspired by the climate at the food of Mount Fuji. Hōtō (ほうとう) is a popular regional dish originating from YamanashiJapan made by stewing flat udon noodles and vegetables in miso soup. Though hōtō is commonly recognized as a variant of udon, locals do not consider it to be an udon dish because the dough is prepared in the style of dumplings rather than noodles.

The Lake Kawaguchiko area is home to many Japanese inns (Ryokans) with relaxing hot springs where you can soak while viewing the majestic Mount Fuji. Enjoy the luxurious combination of fresh mountain air, a great view while in a lovely hot spring.

Categories: Daytrips, Must see, Stories about Japan, Things to do, Weekend trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where to eat: Breeze of Tokyo for a stunning view of Tokyo’s skyline @ Marunouchi

Breeze of Tokyo

Take your dining experiences in Tokyo to the next level by enjoying an exquisite meal at Breeze of Tokyo, which can be found on the 36th floor of the centrally-located Marunouchi Building. Boasting one of the best night views of Tokyo imaginable, this modern space is sure to impress even the most cynical gastronome. Decorated in dark undertones to highlight the night views outside, the interior consists of a bar and dining area that can be utilized for a variety of situations. A team of Japanese chefs who have studied French cooking techniques works tirelessly in the kitchen, utilizing seasonal Japanese vegetables in ways that deliberately depart from pre-conceived notions of French cuisine. The chefs do not cook to standard concepts of nationality or genre, but rather base their creations on unencumbered ideas. Highlights include the Lunch Course Menu (¥2,600, ¥3,800, ¥5,000) or Dinner Course Menu (¥6,800, ¥9,800, ¥12,000), as well as a la carte options that include Scampi & Zuwai Crab Ravioli served with Tomato Couli & Lobster Cream Sauce (¥2,100), Gratin of Dom Perignon Steamed Wild Flounder (¥3,780) and Roasted Lamb Rack & Shoulder Loin served with a Currant-pineapple Sauce (¥4,440). The menu changes according to the season.

Cuisine:
International

Fusion

District:
Tokyo / Marunouchi / Ohtemachi
Price:
¥3,000 – ¥5,000

Address: Marunouchi Bldg., 36F, 2-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Access: 2 minute walk from Tokyo station
Telephone: 03-5220-5551
Hours: Lunch: 11am-3pm (LO 2:30pm), Cafe: 3pm-5pm (LO 4:30pm), Dinner: 6pm – 12am (LO 10pm)(Mon-Sat); 6pm – 11pm (LO 9pm)(Sun)
Seating: 80

[contact-form][contact-field class="zem_slink" title="Record label" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Record_label" target="_blank" rel="wikipedia">label</a>='Name' type="name" required="1" label="Name"/][contact-field label="Email" type="email" required="1"/][contact-field label="Website" type="url"/][contact-field label="Comment" type="textarea" required="1"/][/contact-form]

Categories: Must see, Where to eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where to eat: Nirvana New York for divine Indian food @ Roppongi midtown

The bland uniformity of your average Indian eatery menu is swiftly forgotten at Nirvana New York, the reincarnation of a well-regarded restaurant that started life in 1970 in Central Park South, Manhattan. Under the eye of Warren Wadud, the son of the original founder, Nirvana serves up Indian cuisine that’s as inspired as it is wallet-busting. With its chic design and brightly patterned furniture, the indoor dining room is appealing enough, but when the weather’s good it’s hard to resist the temptation of the outdoor terrace, which includes sofa seats that are ideal for lounging (if a little awkward for eating a proper meal from). Dinner courses start at ¥6,000, but the lunchtime buffet presents a more affordable alternative: ¥2,000 gets you a selection of curries, salads, hot and cold appetizers and desserts, with naan brought fresh to the table. Surprisingly, perhaps, the curries aren’t the highlight: we’re more enthused by the marinated and pickled vegetables – an explosion of unfamiliar tastes and textures – and the devilishly good garam masala potatoes. It’s enough to turn even the more abstemious diner into an unabashed glutton.

Details

Address 

1F Garden Terrace, Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Roppongi Station (Hibiya, Oedo lines), Nogizaka Station (Chiyoda line)

Telephone 03 5647 8305

Open Mon-Sat 11am-12midnight, Sun & hols 11am-11pm (lunch 11am-3.30pm, dinner from 5pm)

URL www.nirvana-newyork.jp

Categories: Must see, Where to eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.