One week in Tokyo and Kyoto, where to start?

I have to say that Tokyo has some of my favorite places to eat and i have only spent a handful of days here. Thanks Google Gourmet for the tip about Ichiran! I visited the one near Ginza, Ichiran Shimbashi, this morning and it was very good! When i saw the bowl my first thought was that it looked a bit unassuming, but the broth and pork were very good. Plus the noodles were precisely as i ordered, slightly firm.
And i navigated the ordering process with nary a mistake! Well, no big ones.
I ordered the regular set in the top left of the machine which seems like a good choice for a newby.

It is actually turning into a warm day, 55 degrees or so, so i got an iced coffee at the Tullys underground between my hotel and Tokyo Station, though i had a hard time finding it. The underground here is a labrynth worthy of a minotaur. I was lost until i spotted my old fave, Yoshinoya, a middling chain of Donburi cafes that i like because you can get a decent meal for a great price and the menu is easy for a clueless traveler to navigate.
One of my favorite things about traveling is a very petty thing.
I love it when i go to a place far from home where i have had good food, good coffee, or a comfortable room to sleep in.
And both my phone and my laptop remember the WiFi password.

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Fantastic!! When in doubt, hit the button on the top left. :slight_smile: I’ve taken to ordering a “set” at ramen-ya’s and similiar.

We’ve also gotten addicted to the Hoshino drip coffee chains. Hoshino is “authentic”, as in Japan authentic. Reasonable prices (order the set), service is wonderfully trained and consistent. Great place to relax with a cuppa or some drip coffee for a break, order the Japanese souffle or pancake set. A set would be around usd$7.

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I am trying to find a tempura restaurant as close to Kyobashi Station as possible for dinner, sticking close to the home territory tonight. I am thinking about Shiroebi-tei Tempura Tokyo Station.
I think that is how it is spelled? I tell you what. I thought vowel placement was hard to figure out in Ulaan Baatar. Japanese makes Mongolian vowels look easy.
But now you got me started down the coffee path! I looked at the Hoshino coffee and it looked fairly good but they have some hole in the wall dishes that look kind of interesting. Like Hoshino Beef Curry or Beef Stew Omelet w Rice. And what in the world is a Baked Souffledria? LOL! I think that may be a Google Translate special. But at just ¥350 a pop, I can take a shot or two.
I will probably still do Tempura tonight but tomorrow? I want to try to get a bowl of Kitsuneya Gyudon if I get there early enough to beat most of the line.

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"The original doria is also recommendable but, at Hoshono Coffee, in a large cup, rice is covered with soufflé(whipped and baked egg white maybe)!!

Hoshino Coffee (5) Hoshino Coffee (6)

"soufflé doria.

The rice under souffle part is flavored with ketchup, so the taste may be a bit similar to omelet with rice, which is also popular menu in Japan. But the texture of soufflé is much better. It is melting in the mouth

That is not traditional Japanese food but it’s worth trying the texture in Japan.

Souffle doria” is available only at Hoshono Coffee chain shops."


My mind was blown when a client took me to a REAL tempura bar some time ago. Watching the chef prepping and frying each piece ala minute to our order is a treasured memory! Fried food don’t get much better than this!!!

Love the hole in wall curry joints. Little jars of help-yourself pickles to complement your curry goodness. Gorgeous Japanese (raw) eggs to break onto your curry. Coco is the equivilent of Yoshinoya for curry in Japan. They have ticket vending ordering also, with pics and English.

Looking forward to vicariously eat with you during your trip!!

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Not exactly close. Branch of a enjoyable tempura meal we had in Osaka recently.

eta: 35 minutes by JR

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Some of the upscale department stores have really nice tempura restaurants Inside.

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There is an outpost of Ichiran by my office. It’s some of the most expensive ramen around if not the most expensive. Good but not worth the price in comparison to places like Ippudo or Totto. I am a bit flabbergasted seeing the prices in Tokyo and then knowing what they charge in NYC. Its twice the cost. Gives me reason not to go again. I don’t like being taken advantage of.

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I had some tips from a Japanese chef living in Toronto. I was able to eat in Tokyo for roughly the same prices I pay in Toronto or NYC. I tend to keep most of my meals while traveling to $40 USD or less, with an occasional $80 USD splurge, except for maybe Geneva where this was impossible.

I sort of regret I didn’t have any splurge meals in Tokyo. I was travelling with ski friends who aren’t foodies for part of the trip, and my best meals were the ones I where I was able to get away from the group and grab a quick bite .I’m not really into ramen, and only had it once, when friends insisted. I had one excellent cash -only udon meal in Shinjuku, based on the friend’s recommendation.

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I agree that meal prices when dining out in the US having gotten too darn high in many places!
I used to hear how expensive Japan was and then i actually visited Tokyo and the prices were not that bad. My meal w ramen, extra green onion and a draft beer cost me 2090 yen/$15US. No tipping allowed so that would be around $12.50US equivalent, before tip, which is a good price for the quality of the meal!
There are quite a few places in Tokyo where you can get a rather good lunch (without beer or wine) for 1000 yen or less, which is $7US.
Thank you for the thread link, Phoenikia! I will study it! I leave for Kyoto tomorrow so i am just skating over the surface all too quickly here. Department store food halls are some of my favorite places while grabbing a bite in China and Thailand but i have not done it here in Japan!

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This was my January 2020 thread, lots of recs! (Tokyo) : tips and ideas

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Tokyo really rocks when it comes to food. I visited Ippudo for Tonkatsu Ramen and Hoshino for breakfast one day and a pre-train trip lunch the next day, a thoroughly mediocre Gyudon bowl at Sukiya, near my entrance to the Tokyo Station underground complex and a bento box from a random department store in Nihombashi.
Ippudo was a treat, though the ramen was only fair. Great staff, smooth handling of the people in line, worked well with single diners, ordering tablet at each seat, fast service and a cold Coca Cola in a glass bottle with my ramen. Pity the ramen was only fairly good, everything else was really good.

Hoshino is an interesting place, breakfast of Eggslut was pretty tasty, poached egg over creamed potato? House roast coffee was rather good, love the tiny little cream pitcher. The Egg Doria on the lunch menu was fluffy, rich and very good. Never had anything quite like it. The iced coffee was served in a brass mug and was very good. They put me in the left hand section both times, the overhead is just over 6 feet high and I am 6’4" so it was a tight fit but that is where the single top tables are.

Love the underground mall! Did i mention the decadence of the bento boxes at Daimaru? Are they still called bento boxes if they are just in a plastic container? Not sure. Somehow I bought the least attractive one I saw in two days. Not sure how that happened, I think I was just shopped out. It was time to go home so I grabbed the one closest to me at the time.

That is the mall at 6am, it is jamming most of the time.
A few more of the Tokyo Station underground…

Ramen Street, my fave from last year, I did not try it again this year since I wanted to try new ramen places.

Sukiya Tokyo Station for an only ok gyudon. Sad tale. The waitress was a sweetheart, I went to the payment screen as I arrived thinking it was the order screen. She smiled and herded me to the dining bar where I saw the order screen was in front of each stool. Smooth order process, I added pickled veg plus raw egg and got my order promptly. Unfortunately, it was very mild and there wasn’t much of it. The beef was bland and the veg was nearly unpickled, so I was digging deep into the red pickled veg that was in the tub that was at the bar, which kind of made me wonder why I bothered to order the extra pickled veg at all…

I hit Nihombashi Takashimaya Department Store and it was a year end madhouse. Loved it! I wandered about in a Google map induced state of total confusion, could not find anything while I was mobbed by a million avid shoppers. I can not imagine what it must be like to be 5 foot in a scrum like that, the only thing that kept me sane was the fact that I was taller than everyone and could see an exit on the horizon. LOL! Unfortunately the yakitori line was not moving so I bought a rather mundane bento box with soba noodles and a mixture of foods on top. Only so-so. The highlight of my department store visit was the old school elevator and the dude that piloted it. I actually masked up on the elevator since everyone else was wearing one, only times I wore a mask were on the elevator and on the subway. I am a 6’4" gaijin in a society of homogenous short people, I don’t need to stand out even more by not masking in crowded situations. LOL!

All in all, a few fun dishes but no real winner over the past day. Ichiran was my favorite so far. That was good ramen. Katsuneya was closed when I got to it so no good Gyudon. Rats.
Off to Kyoto next.

An oddly chilling rabbit at the Artizon.

Random beautiful architecture.

Are these ubiquitous bamboo decorations a New Years thing? They are nicely festive.

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Great stuff!!! Makes me yearn to be back.

Looking forward to joining you vicariously through your reports.

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Minor quibble…”tonkotsu” ramen, not “tonkatsu”. “Tonkotsu” translates to “pork bone” while “tonkatsu” translates to “pork cutlet” (“katsu” is an old bastardization of “cutlet”/“katsuretsu”). I’ve seen these errors often and someone on some site said “I don’t think there’d be a tonkatsu ramen”, but sure enough someone found one and posted it!

As for the “bento” issue, no, they don’t need to be in a lacquered box to be considered a bento and the ones you pictured don’t even include rice and purists would say those aren’t bento at all…just a selection of “okazu” or main/side dishes.

Regarding gyudon/beef bowls, the 3 chains, “Yoshinoya”, “Sukiya” and “Matsuya” are all pretty much the same, but each of them have their own fans. I prefer Matsuya because it’s the least raucous. BTW, the Ginza dept. store “Matsuya” is totally unrelated to the gyudon chain.

Lastly, 2023 was the year of the rabbit, hence the rabbit mural/photo you posted and the pine and bamboo decorations are known as “kadomatsu” (literally “corner pine”) are indeed only put out on New Year’s.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your visit!

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Thank you, TokushimaCook! I hate misspelling words.
Just had a bit of a tremor here in Kyoto, not much but it had everything wobbling about a bit. Maybe a 4.0 but not much more, cleared out the 7-11 across the street though.
I visited Nakau for breakfast, i think i ordered the mother/daughter dish, Oyakodon? I looked that one up, i was misspelling it, too! LOL!
Chicken, rice and raw egg. Pretty good but i again forgot to use the red pickle stuff i like so much. Plus i got tea and a soba noodle soup as well as a small dish of red chili. 1110 Yen for a rather good breakfast. I will be going back. Not fancy but tasty and priced well.

Still drizzling rain a bit, blustery day. And i discovered that you CAN buy happiness! And it is only 100 Yen!

I visited a tapas/pizza/beer (Name might be 100k? It is not on Google maps) place for dinner yesterday. Got a nice IPA. Plus olives, smoked duck and Kyoto pork medallions. Beer was better than the food but all was enjoyable.

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The quake in Ishikawa Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan side, is not all that far from you. Depending on which site(s) you read was either a 7.4 or 7.5 with multiple strong aftershocks and tsunamis. Kyoto City is nowhere near the ocean so you’re safe from that aspect of it all, but please be extra cautious regarding the quake(s). I was raised in Southern California and lived in Japan on and off for close to 20 years and have been through some big ones. I pray for those directly and indirectly affected by the quake(s) and tsunami(s). :pray::pray:

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The locals seem to think everyone dodged a bullet on this quake, i hope they are right. Sounds like the quake was strong but offshore? So far i have not heard about any large tsunamis just a meter or two, and everyone appears to have been warned
I am back at my hotel, all the cafes were packed. Lots of people in formal (?) old style Japanese robes and long classic kimonos. Made for good people watching. The concern i saw during the tremors appears to have disappeared entirely. There have been fire trucks and police car sirens going off but i think they are just responding to false alarms triggered by the tremors.
Hopefully the news remains good but a 7.5 or 7.6 earthquake is no joke. Hopefully any tsunamis will be moderate sized and noone gets hurt.

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Please don’t let your guard down.The estimates of the initial quake have begun to rise and this could possibly be a foreshock to a bigger quake. Tsunamis of up to 5 meters have been reported.

The people whom you’ve seen in kimono are going to “hatsumode”, a traditional trip to a Shinto shrine to pray for a good year…2024, the year of the dragon, is not off to a good start. I don’t mean to preach to you, but I most definitely want you to be safe. :pray::pray:

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I just saw the 5M tsunami warning. Sirens are still going off but i do not think there was any damage here.
I am in a new building that appears to be well built so i feel pretty secure.
Unless there is another quake closer to Kyoto i should be good. :crossed_fingers:
On edit: No sirens for 20+ minutes. Quiet is nice.

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Omg. Earthquakes again?! (I don’t follow general news)

I was in Japan a couple of months ago (Amami-Oshima, Kikaijima, Fujinomiya) and everything was fine. Am currently on a seismically active island in the Canary. The most recent activity was 2 years back.

Take good care.

I experienced an earthquake and 2 days of terrifying aftershocks in Crete 2 years ago. Still emotional whenever I think about it.

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I was just in Heraklion and Chania last March. Loved the island, but not enough to want to experience an earthquake there. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:
I am probably going back in 6 or 8 weeks. Hope it is quiet!

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