Skip to main content

Eating Our Way Through Tokyo and Kyoto

With only a few days in Tokyo and Kyoto, to take even a snapshot of the food scene takes eating at half a dozen restaurants each day.

Starting early, we visited Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market to see the fresh catch of day being sold in the warren of stalls. While we were there, we ate at the dozens and dozens of food stalls that rim the outside and inside of the market. 
Our first stop at 8:00 a.m. was Ryu Sushi where we had a sashimi plate and a sushi sampler. The fish was what you would hope for, eating at a restaurant so close to the fish market, fresh, clean tasting and delicious. For me, there was a huge eye-opener: mackerel.  

The few times I have eaten mackerel at home, it tasted fishy and oily. At Ryu Sushi the mackerel sashimi was mild tasting, sweet and buttery. Mark Bittman always writes about how much he likes mackerel. Now I understand why.

In our short time at Tsukiji we ate sashimi, sushi, tamago, pork ramen and soba with shrimp tempura. 
From the Tsukiji market we had lunch at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Hard to believe, we were still hungry.  We enjoyed a delicious multi course lunch before we visited the Meiji Shrine and had a leisurely walk in the rain around the Yoyogi, the magnificent, forested park surrounding the temple. 
For a small donation, a member of the Shrine's staff will hand write your prayer that will be transcribed on a piece of wood and hung on the wall surrounding the tree at the entrance of the temple.
Dinner was back at the Park Hyatt Tokyo but this time at the New York Grill with its fabulous view of Tokyo. The steaks were delicious. Japanese beef is outstanding.
In the morning, some of us had American style breakfasts with eggs and pastries. I had a Japanese breakfast at the Park Hyatt. There were so many dishes, I would have happily stayed longer but we had a schedule to keep so off we went to Tokyo Station to get on the bullet train to Kyoto.
Kyoto has a friendly competition with its much larger rival, Tokyo. From a visitor's point of view, it is definitely an easier way to experience Japanese culture. Smaller, less crowded  and easier to navigate--traffic in Tokyo is a mash-up of rush hour mid-town Manhattan, Seattle and the 10 freeway in West Los Angeles. Going anywhere in Tokyo takes forever.  In Kyoto, you get where you want to without hassle.

Kyoto also is a great city to cool out and relax. The thousands of temples in the city offer locals and visitors the chance to enjoy nature and quiet contemplation. 
We had a Shojin vegan meal at a Zen temple at the Golden Pavilion and, at Ryoanji Temple, we enjoyed the plum blossoms, a sure sign that spring has begun. 
The Zen spirit is evident at Ryoanji as you walk around the lake, you'll notice that damaged trees are not cut down. They are lovingly supported with bamboo poles and tied carefully with rope to prevent further damage.
In my next post, I'll talk more where we stayed in Kyoto--the Hyatt Regency Kyoto--the temples we visited and put up more photographs from the Lantern Festival, the elegant French-Japanese fusion restaurant Misogigawa and our sake sampling at the izakaya bar, Ichi in the entertainment district.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Video Walk-Through in Tsukiji Fish Market: Fighting To Save Tokyo’s Culinary Heritage

The video tour of Tsukiji found below is also on my YouTube Channel: Secrets of Restaurant Chefs.

Located in central Tokyo, Tsukiji (pronounced "skee gee") is the largest fish market in the world with separate wholesale and retail areas. Besides being the source for most of the fresh fish served in Tokyo’s sushi bars and restaurants, Tsukiji is the best food court imaginable. On a recent trip to the market, like everyone else on the crowded sidewalk, I had come to see what wonderful ready-to-eat dishes were for sale. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew I would find something delicious at one of the closet-sized stalls. In those tiny spaces, chefs stand close to customers as they prepare sushi and sashimi with freshly caught ingredients. Fat oysters steam in shinny stainless steel pots. Thick braids of smoke rise up from scallops and crabs cooking on blazingly hot grills. Tempura vegetables and shrimp sizzle in hot oil before arriving crisp and tender on a paper plate. Ram…

The Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival 2016 - Up Close and Personal with Chefs, Winemakers and Mixologists at the Lexus Grand Tasting

You may have heard of the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival but you might not have attended. The Festival celebrated food and wine in venues in and around Los Angeles for four days, August 25-28.
In its sixth year, the Festival expanded to the West Side with events at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica and the Barker Hanger at the Santa Monica Airport.
If you have attended Barney’s twice-annual sale at the Barker, you know the cavernous space. A football field sized interior without character was transformed for the Festival. Off-white fabric was draped along the walls, giving the warehouse the feeling of a very large, very elegant tent.
Because the venue was sponsored by Lexus, there were half a dozen beautifully polished cars outside and inside the hanger.
People were dressed like people always dress in LA. Casual, very casual and red carpet premiere chic.

Local chefs from the Los Angeles area were joined by chefs from as far away as Miami to celebrate the Festival. Walking from…

Farm-to-Table Finds a Home in Spokane and Northern Idaho

Heading inland from Seattle, a city he knows well, our foodie adventurer, David Latt, explores Spokane and Eastern Idaho in search of restaurants that fly the flag of the farm-to-table movement. 


Like fashion, food delights the soul but is often subject to hype. "Organic," "Natural" and "Low Fat" have been co-opted by marketing campaigns, obscuring the true intent of the words.
When we think of "farm-to-table," we imagine a farmer driving a beat up 1980's Ford pick-up to the back door of a neighborhood restaurant and unloading wooden crates filled to overflowing with leafy bunches of arugula, round and firm beets, thick stalks of celery, fat leeks, freshly laid eggs, plump chickens, freshly cured bacon, ripe apples, dark red cherries and juicy peaches.

The high quality product inspires the chef who quickly writes the menu for that day's meals. 


In the ideal, a farm-to-table meal reconnects diners with the seasons and the land. Such a meal de…