Japanese Sake - Find your one and only!

Sake is Japanese alcoholic beverage which is made only from rice, malt and water. It goes through the process of and fermentation and filtration. It matches well with Japanese food. Discovering about sake will add another fun to your Japanese dishes.

From thousands of sake, we are going to give you a list of sake that we recommend.

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1. Hakkaisan from Nigata prefecture
Hakkaisan is very famous in Japan. Its taste is fruity that is what we recommend for the ones who try out sake for the first time.

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2. Dassai from Yamaguchi prefecture
This sake is known well not only in Japan but also in the world. It is also known from a scene of an anime, Evangelion. The character, Satomi, drinks Dassai. If you are a anime fan, you should definitely check it out!

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3. Kokuryu Shizuku from Fukui prefecture
Kokuryu is made from snowmelt water in Fukui and high quality rice. Kokuryu Shizuku is the face of Kokuryu series.

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4. Juyon-dai from Yamagata
Juyon-dai was became on sale about 20 years ago and became very popular. Its taste is fruity and sweet. It is known as one of the best quality sake from Yamagata.

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5. Kubota Manju from Nigata prefecture
Kubota Manju is known as the best of all Kubota series. It is very light as water that it is said that people who don’t like Japanese sake can even drink it. It goes well with white-fish sashimi, tofu and nabe.

Even though there are still thousands of kinds to try out, you can start from those five. As you discover more and more, we hope you will find your one and only.

If you are interested in Japanese Sake, Sake Brewery Tour would be recommended.
http://foodtourstokyo.com/sake-brewery-tour/

Gyu-Katsu Motomura - Popular Gyukatsu restaurant in Shinjuku

Gyukatsu has become well known among young generation in the past few years. It is a beef cutlet that is quite similar to pork cutlet by its name, however, its taste is completely different. If you are looking for an opportunity to try out Gyu-Katsu, Gyu-Katsu Motomura is where you should start.

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What is Gyu-Katsu?
As I mentioned earlier, Gyu-Katsu is beef cutlet and the beef is supposed to be rare. It is covered by thin batter which is made from panko. The outside is crispy but as soon as you start chewing, it starts to melt in your mouth. Since it is deep fried, it sounds like it is heavy to eat but you will be surprised by how light it actually is. It is as simple as fried cutlet but you have so much to discover once you eat it.

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How to order Gyu-Katsu
Their menu is very simple. Only thing they offer is Gyu-Katsu set menu. Basic set menu comes with beef cutlet, cabbage, potato salad, pickles, rice, miso soup. You can choose the size of beef cutlet and the price varies depending on it.

1. 100g (Basic set menu) 1,100yen
2. 100g (Basic set menu with yam) 1,200yen
3. 130g (Basic set menu) 1,300yen
4. 130g (Basic set menu with yam) 1,400yen
5. 260g (Basic set menu) 2,100yen
6. 260g (Basic set menu with yam) 2,200yen

How to eat Gyu-Katsu
You can put salt on Gyu-Katsu or dip it in soy sauce with wasabi or horseradish onion sauce and eat it with rice. If you order a set menu with yam, you can put yam on rice which adds a great taste.

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Notice
Because Gyu-Katsu Motomura is very popular and the restrant is very small, there is a long line especially around 6 pm to 8 pm. You should avoid those rush hour if you don’t want to wait in line for more than an hour. But luckily, now Gyu-Katsu Motomura has 6 restaurants in Tokyo area: two in Shibuya, Shinjuku, Shimbashi, Hamamatsucho and Yaesu. We recommend the one in Shinjuku since it is the least crowded.

Basic Information of Gyu-Katsu Motomura in Shinjuku
TEL: 03-3354-0171
Address: MOTO Building, First floor, 3-32-2 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Tabelog: https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1304/A130401/13185438/

Mt. Takao - It’s not just about hiking, it’s also about food and culture.

Mt. Takao is located in Tama, Tokyo and it is a great place to escape from a busy life in the city. In this season, you can enjoy the leaves changing color into red and brown. Many people think enjoying the nature there is the only thing you can do, however, you can also enjoy unique food and culture there. So if you are a foodie or want to experience Japanese culture, Mt. Takao is a place for you!

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[What to eat]
These foods can be found at the bottom of the mountain, while climbing the mountain, and at the top.

 Oyaki
Oyaki is a Japanese dumpling made from buckwheat dough. There are usually Japanese vegetables (nozawana) or red sweet beans stuffed inside.
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 Goma dango
Goma dango is dango with sesame. Once goma-dango is toasted, they put sweet soy souce based sauce on it. The outside is crispy and the inside is chewy as mochi.

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 Nameko-jiru
It is soy sauce based soup with Nameko mushrooms. You can have Nameko-jiru on the top of Mt. Takao with a beautiful view.

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 Ayu no shioyaki
Ayu no shioyaki is salt-grilled sweetfish. You can find it at the bottom of the mountain.

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 Tororo soba
Tororo soba is soba noodle with grated yam. You can find this at the bottom or the top of the mountain.
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 Miso Konnyaku
Miso konnyaku is konnyaku with sweet miso sauce.

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As you can see, there are so many kinds of food around Mt. Takao, enjoy them with a beautiful nature there!!!

One of the best Abura-soba in Ikebukuro, Tokyo "Musashino Abura Gakkai"

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What is Abura-soba?
For those who have never heard of one of our unique food, Abura-soba, it is basically ramen without soup. Because of its name, (Aburra means oil and soba means noodle) a lot of people think it is so heavy, however, it is actually healthier than ramen. It has become dramatically popular in the last few years due to its delicious taste. If you are a ramen fan, let’s take a further step this time and try Abura-soba.

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Musashino Abura gakkai
Musashino Abura gakkai aka Gakkai is very famous among students even though it is located in Ikebukuro, which is a very competitive area for ramen/abura-soba restraurants. Even if there is a line, don’t worry. It usually takes 10 to 15 minutes and we promise it’s worth the waiting in line process.

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What to order
We recommend basic abra-soba. The price is only 630 yen. You can buy a ticket in front of the door and give it to a stuff. You can add extra noodle for free.

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How to eat
Once your abra-soba is ready, you can add a little bit of spicy oil and vinegar. Then, you should mix it all well and eat it before it gets cold.

Tripadvisor
Musashino Abura Gakkai

Kaiseki - Perfect in Presentation and Tastes

What is Kaiseki?

Kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, is served one little dish at the time. Each meal, dishware and the design of the restaurant are presented in a very refined manner, and adjusted to reflect the season. The meal consists of 6-15 different kinds of food. The restaurant staff are all very polite and treat diners with exceptionally thoughtful hospitality.

Kaiseki Restaurant.........Tankuma, kitamise
This restaurant dish completely changed my image of Kaiseki. In my daily life, Kaiseki course is served for special occasions, wedding, funeral, or memorial services. I had thought that kaiseki looked better than it tasted. I was wrong. I could tell differences in a single bite of the steamed fish. Everything was perfect: balances of the taste, texture, and appearance. That was the moment I found out the truth about Kaiseki. Enjoy delicious traditional Japanese cuisine with your tongue and eyes. This restaurant’s branch in Kyoto is one Michelin-starred.
Lunch from 5,000yen Dinner from 10,000yen

(Photos: Google, Reference:jnto.go.jp)


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Teishoku (Set Meal) - Ask for Another Free Dish -

One of the foreign tourist’s complains is small portion but high price. Do you know that many Japanese Teishoku restaurants offer another bowl of rice and some dishes at no extra charge?

Various dishes are available through Teishoku - main dishes from sashimi, grilled fish and several kinds of deep-fried, and side dishes from tofu, vegetable and chawanmushi (steamed egg and broth mixture with chicken and vegetables). It comes with rice, miso soup, and pickles on the side.



Popular Main Dishes of Teishoku

Sashimi (Raw fish)
The texture and flavor are the large part of enjoying sashimi. Have you tried soft and sweet squid, creamy scallops, and sophisticated richness of medium fatty tuna?

Tonkatsu (Deep-fried breaded Pork cutlet)
An irresistible crunch texture outside and moist and flavorful meat inside. Very tasty.

Gyoza
A parcel of juicy filling (usually pork and vegetables) encased in a dumpling wrapper are pan-fried to well-browned crispy bottom and lightly steamed to create the nice contrast in mouth.

Karaage (Deep-fried Chicken)
The little chunks of soy-sake-ginger marinated chicken coated in cornstarch/flour are deep-fried until super crispy. Juice coming from the meat when bite. Japanese fried chicken is a beer-lover's best friend.

Karaage Restaurant - Eat Karaage as much as you want............Toridori
You can eat deep-fried chicken as much as you want at this restaurant when you order the deep-fried chicken set menu (Karaage Teishoku). Price is less than 1,000yen. It’s only for lunch. You will be asked how many chicken you want. They serve as many as you want. You can ask them again and again.

Teishoku Restaurant - Eat bowl of rice and side dishes whatever you want............Torafuku
Teishoku restaurant serves good and simple everyday Japanese food. This restaurant cook rice with old-fashioned stove (Kamado). Kamado cooked rice is surprisingly good with aroma, fluffiness, and springy texture. You can choose two main dishes from wide selection of teishoku main dishes. Eat bowl of rice and side dishes whatever you want. Good for both lunch and dinner. Lunch from 1,500yen Dinner from 3,000yen

(Photos: Google, Reference:jnto.go.jp)


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Okonomiyaki - Savory Pancake for Lunch or Dinner -



Japanese savory pancake, okonomiyaki, is not like a sweet and honey dripping pancakes for breakfast. The surface of okonomiyaki is crispy and crunchy, and the inside is soft, fluffy, sticky, salty, and smooth - a good mix of flavor and texture are all in one bite. Common ingredients include: wheat flour, egg, cabbage, pork, shrimp, squid, beef and etc. The brown okonomiyaki sauce is brushed over the surface, mayonnaise are squeezed across the surface, and bonito flakes and aonori are sprinkled on the top.

Okonomiyaki sauce is sweet but a little sour and spicy. Common ingredients include Japanese Worcestershire sauce, honey, ketchup and ginger, etc. - really tasty. Okonomiyaki sauce taste similar with Tonkatsu sauce. Both sauces can be drizzled on fried foods or used as a secret ingredient in dishes like stew. Tonkatsu sauce’s rich flavor and umami come from vegetables and fruits.

Okonomiyaki Restaurant - Cooked by the Chef.........Chibo
You don’t have to cook okonomiyaki at some okonomiyaki restaurant. Grilled dishes are all prepared by the chef. They offers variety of okonomiyaki menu, with different combinations of okonomiyaki filling - beef sinew, spring onion, mochi rice cake, potato and cheese, etc. One of my favorite is Modanyaki mixed with cheese. Beautiful and delicious okonomiyaki.
Lunch from 1,200yen Dinner from 3,000yen

Okonomiyaki Restaurant - Cook It Yourself.........Sometaro
At most okonomiyaki restaurant, customers get to choose their own favorite ingredients and cook the pancakes themselves on a flat iron grill at the table. You might ask your waiter for advice or help, come by to turn on the grill, when to flip the pancake and when to take it off the grill.

Are you interested in the old-fashioned atmosphere of Showa period of time? This restaurant was loved by writers and actors at that time. Sitting on tatami mat at low table, the Showa style, and the good old days have been lived here. This long-established shop is not only renowned for okonomiyaki but yakisoba, fried with sliced pork and vegetables like cabbage and bean sprouts served with Yakisoba sauce. They are all tasty and yummy. You are going to love it.
Lunch, Dinner from 2,500yen

This restaurant is located in Asakusa town which has an old, traditional feel with the famous Sensoji temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. Numerous shops along Nakamise-dori Street runing along the approach way to Senso-ji Temple carry a variety of Japanese traditional goods such as folding fans, toys and kimono, etc. It is a lovely shopping street that attracts many foreign visitors. The "Kaminari-mon" (Gate of Thunder) with its huge red lantern suspended above the gate's entryway is a famous landmark.

(Photos: Google, Reference:jnto.go.jp)


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Tempura - Light as a Feather -



You may think that the deep-fried tempura have oily and unpleasant texture by a hard batter. I can say that you haven’t met the quality of Japanese tempura. It’s light as a feather.

The ingredients are covered in a batter made from flour, egg, and cold water. High class restaurants are known for using strictly selected fresh seasonal ingredients. Popular ingredients are seafood and vegetables - shrimp, squid, sand borer fish, sweet potato, pumpkin, and eggplant, etc. Chefs spend a lot of time researching the effects of oil, oil temperature and length of deep fried time against quality of the flour.

Tempura Restaurant sitting at chef's counter............Tentsuyu
The best way to eat Tempura is sit at the counter facing the chef. "Tempura is best piping hot," great care is taken in order to be able to eat all tempura while still hot. I found this Tempura’s ultimate luxury in Tokyo. I usually eat 4-5 tempuras for a dinner with rice and miso soup that make me full enough. But I ate 8-10 tempuras one after another and still asked for a kakiage bowl (which was introduced on a TV program). The pleasure of tempura’s crispy texture with its aromatic flavor and light after-taste was beyond words. Delicious tempura is a guilty pleasure. I ordered Omakase course that let the chef make recommendations. The chef asks “Is it ok to serve shrimp for next?” or “Do you go for today’s special?” just at the right moment. It is fun. Reservation is strongly recommended for chef’s counter seats.
Lunch from 2,000yen Dinner from 60,000yen

Tendon (Tempura Bowl)
Deep Fried Dishes Pair Well with Rice Bowl food is usually the choice for informal dining. This incredibly popular option enables people offers a quick and satisfying meal.

Tempura is a good example for bowl food. Crisp tempura laid over a bed of rice. Unique flavors are combined in bowls.

Tempura Bowl Restaurant............Iseya
Tempura rice bowl includes two jumbo prawns, vegetables and kakiage cooked with a mixture of sardines, prawns and shellfish on rice at this old-fashioned establishment. Unexpected huge tempura made me laugh. How could I start eating? Tasty sauce (mixture of soy, sake and sugar) offered a good balance of sweetness and saltines and created a perfect harmony between tempura and rice.
Lunch and Dinner from 1,400yen

Learn more about Tempura? (NHK world)

(Photos: Google, Reference: saveur.com, jnto.go.jp)


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Soba - with a Variety of Japanese Cuisine -



Many foreigners complain that most restaurants are single dish oriented like sushi. Some Soba restaurant serves not only an artisan hand-made Soba but variety of traditional Japanese cuisine made from carefully selected pure ingredients. You can just order what you like to eat from variety of appetizers and entrees: Sashimi, Tofu, Tamagoyaki, Tempura, and fresh vegetable salad that all pair well with Sake (Rice wine). Dishes can be shared. There is no rules. Please don’t forget to order soba noodles.

Soba is a type of thin noodle made from buckwheat flour. Soba restaurant used to be known as a Sake-serving eatery. Visiting a soba restaurant in the early evening alone to eat soba as a topping and drink sake acquired the status of a popular snobbish hobby in Edo period.

Soba is served with dipping sauce and toppings. Pick a cluster of soba noodle, lift it up from the basket and dip less than half of it into the sauce. Don’t be afraid to make noise when slurping the noodle.

Soba and Variety of Japanese Cuisine Restaurant............Kokonotsuido
Lunch from 2,000yen Dinner from 5,000yen


Dashimaki Tamago
Fluffy and layered slightly sweet omelet


Fire roasted fresh bamboo shoot with miso sauce









Beef and vegetable salad









Wagyu and vegetable grilling set menu

You can grill yourself over the old style Japanese charcoal grill


Croquette

Crisp and creamy bread-crumbed fry containing mashed potatoes, ground pork/beef, and onion.


(Photos: Google, Reference: weblio, hotpepper)


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Sukiyaki (Wagyu Pot Meal) - Tokyo’s Budget Lunch -



A lot of restaurants offer introductory versions of their signature menus for lunch at midday in Japan. The dinner costs a lot more than the price of lunch.

Sukiyaki is a popular one-pot meal. The thin strips of Wagyu have been simmered with tofu, onions, leeks, and shimeji mushrooms with a lightly sweetened soy sauce. Dip in a raw egg when eating. Rich soy sauce mixed with raw egg give the beef mildness.

Sukiyaki Restaurant............Imahan
This restaurant serves many types of Wagyu dishes, sukiyaki, shabu-shabu and steak. Limited numbers of bargain lunches are served at midday at Asakusa shop. The low prices but high quality remain the same. Their Wagyu is soft, tender and tasty.
Regular menus Sukiyaki bowl lunch 2,000yen. Lunch from 1,500yen Dinner from 6,000yen

This restaurant is located in Asakusa town which has an old, traditional feel with the famous Sensoji temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo. Numerous shops along Nakamise-dori Street runing along the approach way to Senso-ji Temple carry a variety of Japanese traditional goods such as folding fans, toys and kimono, etc. It is a lovely shopping street that attracts many foreign visitors. The "Kaminari-mon" (Gate of Thunder) with its huge red lantern suspended above the gate's entryway is a famous landmark.

What is Wagyu? Wagyu - Kobe is not the only choice -

(Photos from Google, Reference: jnto.go.jp)


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