Everybody knows that Tokyo is one of the food capitals of the world. Here are a few things any traveler should have on their menu.
Savor Some Sushi
If you spent any time in Tokyo and didn’t feast on sushi, your friends and family might just put you on plane and send you back for a return visit. It might be tough to get a seat at world famous Sukiyabashi Jiro, but there are plenty of other options: look for fancy fare at Kyubey or Tsugu Sushimasa, head down to Tsukiji’s sushi spots for some of the freshest fish around, or go for a playful take on conveyor belt sushi at Sushi Go Round.
Get Down with Oden
A classic winter food, oden comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, all served up in a hot broth. Everything from miniature sausages to boiled daikon or tomatoes fits into the category of oden, but perhaps the best-known variety are the many items that are made from fish cake or konnyaku. You can find restaurants that specialize in oden (try Samon under the Nakameguro railway tracks), but there’s really nothing wrong with getting it from the combini. Not sure what a particular item’s called? Just point at the pictures and you’ll be fine.
Help Yourself to a Bowlful
Ramen is one of the country’s most recognizable soul foods, and pretty much every prefecture puts its own spin on the noodle. Here are the basics: shio ramen means a salt based broth with a pretty light flavor, shoyu is a soy sauce based soup, and tonkotsu features a broth made from pork bones. More exotic versions of the dish can feature soup flavored with everything from tomato to green curry.
Wagyu is Japanese beef that’s known for its rich marbling and its decadently succulent flavor. Of course, this kind of quality doesn’t come without a hefty price tag, but this is one luxury that you’ll definitely want to spring for. Some of the best places to splurge: either of Ukai-Tei’s locations (there’s one in Ginza and one in Omotesando), Yoroniku in Aoyama, and Kobe Beef Kaiseki 511 in Akasaka.
Leave Room for Dessert
If you’re looking for sweets that are going to be as fun to look at as they are to eat, you’re in the right place. You can find unicorn cupcakes and other creations at Monarch of London in Shibuya, while Dominique Ansel in Omotesando or Ginza has more brilliant confections on hand than Willy Wonka. For sheer technicolor explosions, try Gram Factory’s shaved ice shop in Shimokitazawa, or the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu themed Kawaii Monster Café in Harajuku.
Feast on Fast Internet, Wherever You Are
No matter where your sense of adventure – or your appetite – takes you in Japan, you don’t want to miss out on uploading your pictures and posts, finding your way around, and staying in touch with your friends while you’re on the go. When you rent a Pocket WiFi from Global Mobile, you can be online all the time, with blazing fast LTE. Service is available for as little as ¥200 a day. For more details, visit www.gmobile.biz/softbank/inbound.