Sushi, Unagi, Kujira
Kujira or whale is now available all over Japan. Small whale (dolphin)
is available only at certain port town, for example, Taiji and Izu. Sick
of farmed meat (beef, pork, chicken)? Controled hunter foraging make sense?
Living in nature or in cities? Welcome to Japan, seeing is believing! Asakusa has Kujira only restaurant.
No more red meat but fish you are looking for? Welcome to islands country on western edge of Pacific Ocean! Japanese people tend to be patient to wait on long queue for tender sushi outside of (old) Tsukiji Fish Market. Toyosu (new) Market has less waiting lines, especially in weekdays. But someone who wish not to wait 2 - 3 hours (really!!!) to taste best-sushi-ever-in-your-life at Sushi-Dai (quality 9 price 8), you may taste the similar (quality 8 - 9 price 3 - 5) without waiting at the following restaurants in Asakusa and nearby, and of course much better in cost performance (30 - 50 percent of Sushi-Dai). Actually local Japanese people know that Asakusa is next to Tsukiji/Toyosu/Adachi markets (in mind), and many of those famous sushi restraunts have their branches here in Asakusa. Just some example lists below.
Hidden gem along Keisei Line (between Narita Airport and Asakusa, quality 8 price 3), Sakae Sushi (Zushi) in Tateishi is only standing, no chair, which means what you eat has bare cost-affective style. Nama-Hotate, Shirako, Anago, Akagai-Himo, Ama-Ebi are awesome!
Newly opened standing-bar-style sushi restaurant is Sushi Bar Benkei in Kanda (just one stop north of Tokyo station) ....... quality 7 price 2, lunch has great deals. Original restaurant is actually in Niigata, fish mainly comes from Sado-island between Russia and Japan.
30 seconds walk from Kaminarimon Gate has SushiZammai is widely known not only in Asakusa but whole Japan. The owner is the man who several times did auction off million dollar Oma-Tuna. One warning, if you do not wish to feel sin, please avoid ordering live-fish from the water tank right in front of your table.
Cheap but good (quality 7 price 3) has this chair-less (there is no seat) but standing style sushi (Tachi-Gui in Japanese), weekday lunch has even better rate (quality 7 price 2). Some pictures are available at Maguro-Bito (Okachimachi) and Maguro-Bito (Kaminari-mon). It is worth paying international flight only to eat this sushi everyday! here in Tokyo. Visit Maguro-Bito to be a Tuna-Man!
468 (Yoroppa) in Nishi-Asakusa, finished his 10-year-training at Kyoto Sushi Restaurant, wanted to introduce the best of Kyoto here in Asakusa. Only 6 seats with counter table. Bou-zushi (sushi), Shime-saba (Battera), Imo-sui (soup) cannot be missed.
Unagi (eel) is also well eaten in Asakusa, Unatetsu has Hitsumabushi (not Himatsubushi) is one of your best choice. Yes, best O-Cha-Zu-Ke (Cha-Zu-Ke) with eel in Tokyo. One menu has three delicious tastes at once. Irokawa is the one with Binchou-Char-Coal grill. Master passed away early 2014 but family member can do exactly the same, very special once-in-your-life lunch.
Dojo (not child of eel) is also available here in Asakusa, cannot say which is the best, Iidaya dozeu (dojou) or Komagata dojou. Better to go Komagata if you were looking for Whale meat. Dojo is actually loach or weatherfish in English, of course, not Aikido dojo nor Judo dojo nor Karate dojo.
Even before commercial whaling started July 2019, nearest port from Tokyo where you meet whale hunters and butchers is Wada/Wadaura (2019 video, warning and advised). Only 26 whales per year, maybe less from 2019 onwards. From Tokyo (same platform for Tokyo Disney Resort station, Maihama), you may catch JR limited express to => Awa-Kamogawa or Tateyama, then local train to => Wadaura station (where you can see and touch real bones of whale on the train platform!). The port is just short walk distance from the train station, famous rice terrace field is not far either.
Top 5 WaGaShi
Cannot tell which one is better, but surely truly extremely exclusively
FujinGaho rings bell?
And it is not coincident that Asakusa is connected both Ginza and Nihonbashi on Tokyo Metro Ginza Line. No guide book can tell how good these sweet shops, but locals are appreciating the heavenly made sweets! This column is to introduce some special tenders not only for your own satisfaction but also to bring back for your friends/families. What is a life without sweets! They all go along very well with green tea, actually with genmaicha.
Asakusa Kozakura Karintoh Karinto Kozakura
Address : Asakusa 4-14-10, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Telephone : 03-5603-5390
Open : 10:00 - 17:30 (Closed : Sunday)
Nearby Station : Asakusa Station
Karintoh is the name of the snack which is made of wheat, egg and a bit of sugar. Deep fried then powdered by sugar cane snow. One of the best presents/souvenirs of Asakusa for all ages. Box and ribbon are kawaii as well. Kozakura in Japanese means small cherry blossom. Love cute things?
Ueno Usagiya Dorayaki Ueno Usagiya
Address : Ueno 1-10-10, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Telephone : 03-3831-6195
Open : 09:00 - 18:00 (Closed : Wednesday)
Nearby Station : Ueno Station
There are literally thousands of Dorayaki sweet shops in downtown Tokyo, but many of Dorayaki cravers would come to Ueno only to get this one. Bring into nearby Ueno park to eat one, you may bring the rest back home to eat to feel the happiness. Usagi (rabbit) Manju (sweet) melts so well, too. Expires in 2 days including the day you purchase (which is the same day they make the sweets).
Kuya Monaka Kuuya
Address : Ginza 6-7-19, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Telephone : 03-3571-3304
Open : 10:00 - 16:00 (Closed : Sunday, National Holidays)
Nearby Station : Ginza Station
Originally opened in Meiji 17th (1884), famous Japanese author Natsume Souseki often came to this shop for this Monaka, he sometimes mention how good it is in his several stories, most well-known is Wagahai ha neko de aru. Without reservation, you won't be able to get it. Not only the roasted soft crispy husks but sweet bean anko is masterpiece. Not first class Japanese sweet, but suites (sweet) class Japanese okashi (^^)
Ichigenya Kintsuba Ichigen-ya
Address : Kohjimachi 1-6-6, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Telephone : 03-3261-9127
Open : 08:00 - 17:00 (Closed : Sunday, National Holidays)
Nearby Station : Hanzomon Station
Still alive this modern days, the traditional way to make this Kintsuba, sweet bean anko is different from the one of Kuya, no one can judge which one is better. Sweet and salt, the combination is somewhat your own life? Special mouth-watering of Tokugawa Edo, Tokyo.
Sake and Whisky in Japan
World famous brand DASSAI brewed in Yamaguchi, west of Hiroshima, has only
top quality sake as they stopped making cheapo-range. Tokyo has their official shops, one at Tokyo Square Garden Kyobashi on Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, the other
one at Mitsukoshi in Ebisu on JR Yamanote Line. If not once in a month,
maybe once a year, how about tasting, sipping, enjoying a glass of life
at Bar 23? Twenty-three means that you'd throw away the rest of rice (77
percent of rice). Life is to fulfill 100 percent, not only 23 percent (^^)
Everyday happiness you are looking for? Once NHK TV drama took place with linking Asakusa and Niigata, eel restaurant in Asakusa cannot be referred without one of the best Sake in Japan. Hakkaisan, literally meaning of Eight Ocean Mountain, can be seen the best picturesque view from Muikamachi (literally Six Day Town). Their brewery is in top secret zone, but thanking to modern technology, you can actually catch the satelite view at Google Map :p
Do not drink and drive the wrong side of the road! And your itinerary can be scheduled at JapanRouteFinder. Just a few example below (without JR Pass).
JR Train (about JPY7,000 including Shinkansen fare, less than 2 hours)
Tokyo => (Joetsu Shinkansen) => Echigo-Yuzawa => (Joetsu Local Line) => Muikamachi
JR Local Train (JPY3,740 with at least two transfer, 5 hours)
Tokyo => (Takasaki Line) => Takasaki => (Joetsu Local Line) => Minakami => (Joetsu Local Line) => Muikamachi
Highway Bus (JPY2,900 from Ikebukuro on JR Yamanote Line, 3 - 4 hours)
Asakusa / Ueno => (Tokyo Metro / JR Yamanote Line) => Ikebukuro (Highway Bus) => Muikamachi
Mukamachi has small ski resort (not as major/big as GALA Yuzawa) named after Hakkaisan. Their Youth Holstel had closed in 2008, but there are as well as many onsen ryokan in the area, just an example => very traditional and authentic style ryokan, highly recommended, here you go,
Ojiya Furusato no Oka
Kiyotsukyo Onsen YH
House of Light
Free alcohol tasting (limited quantity!?) all over Japan!
Nikka (Yoichi) Whisky : their peat in Hokkaido is as same as the one in Scotland!
Sapporo Brewery : day tour is called kengaku
Sapporo Bier Garten : Beer Garden, of course
Musashino Beer Factory: just west of Shinjuku Tokyo
Suntory Hakushu Factory : in Yamanashi-ken, good day trip with Kawaguchiko
Tomi-no-oka : Japanese Wine, Koshu!
Suntory Yamazaki Factory : between Kyoto and Osaka
And here's the "BEST" of angel's sharing !(^^)! because you got bored with Hakushu and Hibiki and Chita? You must be very serious! In Saitama-ken, there is a small company called Chichibu Distillery, which produces Ichiro's Malt with very limited volume. Already planning to visit the distillery? Here's the way from downtown Tokyo (from Tokyo Ryokan).
It is true that Japan is No.4 consumer of world coffee beans only after
EU, the USA and Brasil. As you might have assumed, downtown Tokyo has many
thousands of coffee shops. 7-Eleven sold more than a billion cups each
year, and nubmers are rising-sun! In this column, unique all-about-cafe
is linked, and some useful information for those who would like to be an
owner of your taste. You may visit some of them before you open your stylish
cafe shop in your city, before you decide which part of downtown Tokyo
you would like to move into. Already an owner? already a resident of Tokyo?
wanna be lost in translation? you may add some "bean" and "aroma"
which could lead more spirits into your life (even temporary life) in Japan.
Gallery ef in Kotobuki, Asakusa at www.gallery-ef.com/
The used-to-be storage house (Kura in Japanese language, now you know why there is Kuramae or Kura-mae station next to Asakusa on Toei Subway Line) built in 1868 moved to Jindaiji, western Tokyo. Tiny cute cafe opened in new place here in Kotobuki, Asakusa.
Tera Cafe in Daikanyama at http://tera-cafe.com/
Tera is Temple. Are you interested in sipping a cup of coffee (maybe maccha latte?) while discussing about life&death with monk, yes, Harvard graduated real monk, at this modern temple? It is worth paying flight tickets only for this (^^)
Asakusa Bunka Kanko Center has Cafe Rion
At famous architect rise located in front of Kaminarimon Gate, also very near to new Tokyo Tower ....... you will surely enjoy coffee with the bird view of Sensouji Temple and Skytree and Sumida river (Sumidagawa).
MUJI Cafe&Meal at http://cafemeal.muji.com/jp/
All about MUJIRUSHI RYOHIN (known as MUJI), the map shows only for the one in Yurakucho, but they have branches in Shinjuku, Hibiya, Minami-Aoyama and even in Kyoto.
anImate cafe at https://cafe.animate.co.jp/
Anime collaboration cafe is hot recent years, happening not only in Ikebukuro, Akihabara, but also in Sendai, Nagoya, Osaka and throughout Japan.
Bach Kaffee in Minami-Senju (north of Asakusa) at www.bach-kaffee.co.jp/
Born in 1968. This is THE coffee shop which desiged own meister (production of Daiwa Tekkojo), started using them in 2002. The shop owner also hold a seminar/class/lesson to any coffee lovers at his coffee shop. Mr.Taguchi is the master of coffee in Japan.
Cafe Otonova in Asakusa at https://ja-jp.facebook.com/cafeotonova/
One of the back street, very hidden location in western Asakusa, east side off Kappabashi.
Subtone in Asakusa at Facebook Subtone
Magic hands create such a wine glass of coffee. Japanese black beer from Niigata where good Sake is produced is also recommended. Table charge required.
Cat Cafe in Ueno - www.nekomarucafe.com
Are you a cat fan? Not able to bring your loving cat while you are travelling but would like to pad cuties, then this cat cafe should satisfy your minds. Their cat food looks delicious, as it says yummy in its label, but it's for cats! You may order good coffee while feeding the laid back animals.
Gundam Cafe in Yokohama - https://gundam-factory.net/gundam-cafe/
You might have searched Gundam or Yokohama on google to reach this cafe. After and in the middle of your wonderful anime Gundam World, why not sit and relax with Amuro and Sha with their mobilesuits.
Basecamp - https://basecampcoffee.web.fc2.com/access.html
This roaster shop is located in the 2nd oldest shopping street in Japan. The #1 oldest is in Toyama-ken. While you are waiting your beans are being roasted by the shop master, you are served their special coffee. Aroma from the roaster, aroma from inside your body that you just enjoyed drinking, wish you fulfill coffee life in Taito-ku, Tokyo.
All-in-one (cat, rabbit and headgehog) in Asakusa - www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDtipK3YzTs
Nothing to do with the USA but USAGI is the cute hopping animal.
February Cafe - http://tabelog.com/en
Looking for REAL caffe latte in Tokyo? Owner learned a lot and opened his cafe with Italiano LA MARZOCCO FB-80. Espresso to start good downtown walking? This is the best place to begin your day with. Thick toast bread is from one of the top bakery in Tokyo (Pelican born in 1942). Even better one at www.instagram.com/february_kitchen!
Nishi-Asakusa has KuroNekoTei - https://cafe-18089.business.site/
Ramen Noodle in Asakusa
Ramen is Japanese noodle dish originated in China. In more recent decades,
it has become a very popular dish in Japan, adapted to the Japanese taste.
Almost every locality in Japan its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu
(pork bone broth) ramen of Kyusyu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.
Shoyu Ramen : brown, transparent, soya sauce based soup
Miso Ramen : brown, non-transparent, miso based soup
Shio Ramen : transparent, salt based white color soup
Tonkotsu Ramen : white, milky, pork based soup
Niboshi Ramen : brown, dried fish based soup
Tsukemen : self dip ramen, noodle in one, soup in one
Tanmen : find out here in Japan!
Tantanmen : find out here in China! and Japan!
Ikemen : beautiful boy (^^)
Order "a bowl of ramen, please" in Kyushu, then you'll automatically get Tonkotsu soup ramen. In Hokkaido, most likely, you'll enjoy Miso soup ramen. In port town like Ibusuki, Akashi, Yaizu, Kushiro, you may get their original prepared soup usually with fish based soup (sakana-dashi). And here's the best in Asakusa.
Men Mitsuwi (Mitsui)
Origin in mainland China, Tofu, Bean-Curd, Dou-Fu, is widely accepted not
only in Asia. It is healthy (spiritually as well as phisycally) made of
soy beans, you may also enjoy drinking soy milk with or without sugar,
some does with coffee and English tea. Low calories and little fat are
appreciated by ladies all over the world for healthy yoga style diet. Why
not combine with Zen and make yourself spirited away for heavenly life
everyday. This page introduces highly recommended must tofu restaurants
in downtown Tokyo, three of which are actually in and nearby Asakusa. Old
saying in Japan, life in tofu town is nice (^^)
Local Tofu Shop
www.google.co.jp/maps/local-tofu-store in asakusa
This is the local, very traditional and touch-the-ground, tofu store (made by them at their house) here in Asakusa. Where there are lots of tofu shops is good town to live.
Located in one of the biggest red light districts, Uguisudani on JR Yamanote Loop Line, despite such location, the restaurant has the Edo authentic atomosphere with traditional method of cooking inherited more than 300 years. The special water they appreciate from 80m underneath has so called best-fit-tofu liquid, which is actually the rain fell in Edo period (takes about 300 years to naturally purified to reach from Musashi plateau to the valley of singing bird).
Everyone living in Asakusa knows this place. All Tokyoite, especially those who run their own business knows nearby shrine, Ootori Jinja. Torinoichi (2 or 3 days in October every year) invites literally millions of business owners to pray and to get a lucky charm (raking object called Kumade) for their prosperous lives. Bon is just opposite side of the main street from the shrine, in a middle of nowhere block, but offers monthly different menu using seasonal locally harvested vegetables.
Hamasei (not in Asakusa but in Roma, Italia)
One of the best Kaiseki Ryouri Restaurants. Although Asakusa main restaurant sadly closed,this one in Rome has its original menu including Kumi-Yuba-Dofu(Tofu). You make your own Yuba-Dofu (Yuba-Tofu) on your table, and you may drink the rest as soy milk
Ukai (not in Asakusa but in Shiba)
Sister restaurant of well-known Ukai-Toriyama (located in Takao, the mountain area of Tokyo), Ukai-Shiba can be found right next to the old Tokyo Tower (not the Sky Tree new Tokyo Tower). It is one of the top best quality they serve, such style, tradition, zen, you never be dissapointed with their Tofu.
Vegetarian and Vegan
Tofu is not only the dish. Tokyo has much more variety, more and more people
are taking good care of not only their own health but environmental health.
Especially after the Fukushima meltdown events, each one of us has our
own responsibility what to eat, what to buy, what to consume. This page
to introduce you good vegetarian and good vegan restaurants throughout
FujiFuku is almost your private kitchen, located within 2 minutes walk from Tokyo Ryokan.
Brown Rice Canteen has good menu in Omotesando right near to Shibuya, Harajuku and Yoyogi area. Philosophy of whole food is their spirit. Yes, we all human beings are part of whole chain of the universe. Why not start with brown rice? Most outer layer of brown rice is used for polishing wooden floor in authentic temple in Japan (and Tokyo Ryokan as well). Maybe you can polish your spirit into diamond, like The Alchemist in 1988 and like FMA.
AIN SOPH in ginza, shinjuku and ikebukuro is a vegan cafe-restaurant in central downtown Tokyo. One person to relax, couple to happy dine, group and family to celebrate (possible in private room), regardless vegetarian or not, you will not surely regret that you came to Tokyo.
Nouka-no-daidokoro, literally, kitchen of farmer, has branches in Shinjuku, Ginza and Tachikawa.
Nanayoubi has vegan maffin in Jiyugaoka, very nice 10 minutes walk away from the station. Nana is seven in Japanese. Only open from 12:00 to 18:00, but may close earlier when sold-out. And completely closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Seven weekdays is seven weekends (^^)
HappyCow.net and LovingHut.com have more information about Tokyo's veg-life, but here's more continuing lists to add a cent in your life.
Govinda now becomes Gopinatha is Yoga to eat, or shall we say, eating Yoga! Of course, the restaurant is the best friend of Siddhartha. If you were not happy, if you were looking for content of life, we softly recommend Nakano (west of Shinjuku) to find your guru here.
Vege Herb Saga is in Okachimachi between Akihabara and Ueno, also not far from Asakusa, where most of Tokyo Indians are residing. Little Tokyo has in Los Angeles, here's Little India in Tokyo!
Tsubutsubu is changing your way of life, better, of course. Also a famous publisher of Veg-Cook-Book. Trust in your inner child, thank to others, share whole universe, then, happiness is naturally within you yourself.
Bon near Asakusa offers Zen cuisine from Ming Dynasty (arranged in Kyoto). Power of Sanskrit, originated in northern India, came through Tibet, Sri Lanka, China, Korea, now not only in Japan but all over the world.
MOS soy patty series has the power of Mountain-Ocean-Sunshine. Have you tried Lettuce Burger with Soy Patty?
Ozawa in Asakusa has 100-percent-soba (buckwheat).
LittleBird in Yoyogi is gluten-free restaurant.
Onigiri Yadoroku in Asakusa has 100-pecent-rice-ball.
Misoju in Asakusa has some miso with gluten-free.
TokiwaShokudo in Asakusa is authentic local Japanese canteen, not all but most of their menu is gluetn-free.