It happened again- I bookmarked way too many restaurants in my Michelin Tokyo guide. I had more dining establishments bookmarked than we had days to eat. So, the inevitable needed to happen… I began to edit out choices and pare down to the absolute must […]
Month: May 2012
After the Kyoto and Nikko trips, we headed back to Tokyo. Back to the 24 hour city, all night karaoke/bars/clubs, and back to the great food! Above is a colorful character in Shinjuku whom I couldn’t resist taking a photo of.
One morning, we woke up at the crack of dawn, got some coffee, and waited for the park to open up so we could see the late cherry blossoms. Shinjuku Park is a great place to see cherry blossoms- there was a nice variety of trees, my favorite were the white blossoms, but there were also light pink and dark pink blossoms as well. This park is in the middle of the city and there is a section where you can enjoy both the tranquil park and see the tall buildings of Shinjuku at the same time.
Harajuku is a bustling neighborhood, especially on the weekend. It gets crazy here! You can see the sea of people flowing through the narrow streets where there are countless shops, cafes, and ice cream and crepe eateries. If you’re looking for creative street fashion, make sure to go during the weekdays. We went on a Thursday and it was so much better in terms of people watching than the weekend. But, if you just want to be part of the madness, go on a Sunday.
After a busy day people-watching and endless walking, it was time to do a little sight seeing and take a relaxing stroll through the tree-lined walk on the way to Meiji-Jingu shrine.
Dinner at Komameya was a totally unique and very “Kyoto” experience. Komameya is a restaurant known for its yuba (derived from soy beans/pure soy milk that comes in a variety of forms- see below) and it sure lives up to the expectation- in terms of experiencing yuba. We decided to go for the set menu (Yuki Course) over the a la carte in order to sample a wider variety of courses than what we might normally be inclined to order.
First course: A trio of tastes and textures. Black sesame bean curd, sweet and sour (one each) with pickled vegetables.
Second course: Yuba “sashimi” with soy sauce on the side and bean curd in olive oil (?)Third course: Takenoko (bamboo shoot) soup
Fourth course: white fish with ,mushroom, pink peppercorns, and asparagus
Fifth course: Salad of yamaimo (mountain potato), takenoko, and grilled yuba in a lightly flavored brothSixth course: Deep fried shrimp, shishito, yuba. Right about here, we became quite full and were not sure how many more courses were coming. Things were slowing down…Seventh course: Kombu (seaweed) salad, yubaEighth course: Rice and raw egg, tsukemono (pickles) on the sideNinth course: Green tea “pudding” (similar in texture to a panna cotta) and matcha (powdered green tea) syrup
Oh my! We made it! Yes, we’re full of yuba and beyond had our fill- the last two courses really put me over and it was a good thing we had a substantial walk back to the hotel.
This restaurant (one of 3 locations) is located on the third floor in the same building as a large Starbucks and the restaurant sign in in Japanese only (across the street of Daimaru, but on the same side (on the corner). We found Komameya through this site which was very helpful for finding eating places in every neighborhood.
Kyoto is one of those large but manageable cities that has so much to offer in terms of traditional sights as well as delicious food at every turn down pretty much any small street. Above is Pontocho, a narrow pedestrian only street lined with restaurants, […]
After a blowout weekend in Tokyo, it was time to hop on the Shinkansen and head to Kyoto. I love the sleek and comfortable bullet train, so efficient and on time. My only complaint was the lack of cool air. It progressively got warmer and warmer and then stuffy. At this point, it was time to pass out and get some rest. Upon arrival, there was a downpour in Kyoto. No matter, there were still lots of folks out and about in the city center. After checking in, we grabbed the camera and headed out into the crowds. Here are some of the fresh new sights we saw:
Cemetery wedged in between modern buildings smack in the middle of the city.We trekked up to Fushimi Inari, the sprawling Shinto Shrine where all we did was walk up, up, and up the mountain. Huffing and puffing all the way- that was just me. I love these foxes (there were tons of them, all slightly different) and the countless shrine gates we saw along the way.
After some sightseeing, we were ready to check out Nishiki Market, best known for superb produce, a vast variety of pickled vegetables, and supplier to many local restaurants. Check out the mouth-watering offerings: