One of the main reasons to go to Japan is to eat all the delicious food! And you can never really go too wrong at most places in Japan since Japanese customers demand delicious foods. I feel like the Japanese were the first real foodies, way before the US got on that bandwagon.
This first restaurant I went to was near our hotel, the Niwa Hotel in the Kanda district. My mom and I were watching a local Tokyo news segment when they coincidentally went around the Kanda district. It featured this tempura place, which has been around for over 80 years. The Kanda district was one of the few districts left undamaged after World War II and so there's a lot of great old restaurants and shops (see my post on the area around the Niwa Hotel).
I got the osusume (or the recommended dish) which was the tempura don (rice dish) with eel tempura.
We sat at the counter and chatted with the chef who is a big fan of Hawaii, a 7-time Hawaii marathon finisher (the guy on the left), and an avid fan of Jake Shimabukuro.
That's the storefront.
Can't go to Japan without some ramen. The best ramen I've had was this place in Shibuya, right next to Tokyu Hands (not pictured above). It was filled with business men and construction workers (and zero women--it was one of those loud and rough lunch spots meant for a good quick meal, not a place for housewives to luncheon). But that pic above is not from that place. This is a ramen shop where housewives do luncheon, on the top floor of the Omotesando Hills mall. It's called Ramen Zero for the supposed zero additives to the broth, but that also meant almost zero taste. The noodles were good but I wouldn't recommend this place. Go to Shibuya!
Sushi at a spot in Ginza. It was alright, but to get the good stuff you might as well go to Tsukiji (it's nearby).
Every since I was a kid one of my favorite things about Japan is their dessert, from shaved ice to parfaits. Before I would get the chocolate parfaits but now I almost always go for the matcha (green tea) flavors since you really can't get it better anywhere else.
Shabu Shabu (hot pot Japanese style) was delicious (though not cheap, but it's worth trying).
This is in Kyoto, along the Kama River. Nothing beats drinking and eating small plates of traditional Japanese food, alongside a river. And the weather was perfect!
The dish above was roasted traditional Kyoto eggplant (which grows in a spherical shape, not the usually oblong shape), topped with miso and bits of ground beef.
Salt chicken. This dish was amazing! The skin was super crispy while the inside was super moist. And not too salty either so you could really taste the chicken. Best chicken I've had in years.
And some warabi mochi for dessert.
Another day, another dish of mochi. This was inside the Kyoto Station, on the newly built side. It's another ramen shop, but since it was hot we decided to get cold ramen noodles.
It was delicious!
They show the mochi cooking in the restaurant storefront.
Another day, and yet another mochi dish. This one is also grilled but lightly covered in a sweet miso-like dressing. And this stand, along with numerous other food stands can be found in front of the Fushimi Inari temple in Kyoto (just wrote about this earlier this week).
We also had some fried chicken (so good!!!!). Perfectly moist, crispy, and not overly doughy.
I had this matcha float perfection at the cafe in front of the Kyoto National Museum. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Kyoto (highly recommend it!) and the museum is right across the street. We went there for a late breakfast (it opens at 9:15AM) and its the perfect spot to eat outdoors and look at the museum grounds. It's just as good, if not better than the breakfast buffet in the hotel.
And my last meal out in Japan was at Tsukiji market, which is a MUST-GO for anyone visiting Tokyo. The actual fish market will be closing down this year to make space for the Olympic Village for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But rest assured all the outside stalls of food and shops will remain. For now, you can still get a bowl of super fresh raw fish, shrimp, and sea urchin for a pretty good deal (this is the kaizen bowl). They have several of these stalls and they're all the same company so you can't miss it!!