Kyoto: Assari-kei & Kotteri-kei Ramen (aka Kyoto Ramen)

Restaurant: 天下一品 知恩院前店 (Tenkaippin)  null 
Address: 〒650-0025 京都府京都市東山区松原町272-5
Area: Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu, Japan
Nearest Station: Gion-Shijo (祇園四条)

This morning, we took the Hikari Shinkansen from Kobe to Kyoto. After we settled in our Airbnb place in Gion (the famous geisha district in Kyoto), we had Kyoto ramen for lunch! Continue reading

Kobe: Dinner @ うまいもん魚河岸屋

Restaurant: うまいもん魚河岸屋  
Address: 〒650-0025 兵庫県神戸市中央区相生町4-3-3
Area: Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo, Japan
Nearest Station: Kobe (神戸)

For dinner, my childhood friend’s father asked my sister and I what we haven’t tried yet in Japan. We only had sushi from the market. For us, sushi from the market was already fresh and better than the ones back at home, but it wasn’t exactly restaurant-quality sushi… So, they took us to a restaurant near Kobe Harborland for the real experience, with sushi and sashimi!

We started off with sashimi, which is thin slices of fish served with wasabi. It is also usually the first course in a (formal) Japanese meal. Continue reading

Hyogo: Kobe Beef

Restaurant: あぶり肉工房 和黒 新神戸店 (Wakkoqu Shin-Kobe)  null 
Address: 〒650-0002 兵庫県神戸市中央区北野町1丁目1
(新神戸オリエンタルアベニュー 3F)
Area: Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo, Japan
Nearest Station: Shin-Kobe (新神戸)

Today, my sister and I visited my childhood friend of over 25 years, in Kobe. We met at an oralism school I attended, and my mom kept in touch with her mom through Christmas cards. After my friend and I were old enough to write, we would then write each other almost every year. They visited us in the Bay Area a few years ago, and now we have a chance to visit them!

Kobe is a great suburban-like place for my sister and I to unwind from the bustling Tokyo. In fact, everytime my friend’s mom looks at the Kobe harbor, she is reminded of the Bay Area. Take a look at the photo below, and you’ll see why!

When you’re in Kobe, you’ve gotta have Kobe beef! By the way, ‘Kobe’ is pronounced ‘Ko-BEH’, not ‘Ko-BEE’ like that NBA player… Continue reading

Japan: Curry Udon

Restaurant: こんぴら茶屋 (Kompirachaya) null 
Address: 〒141-0021 東京都品川区上大崎3-3-1 (坂上ビル 1F)
Area: Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan
Nearest Station: Meguro (目黒)

Tonight was our last night in Tokyo, so we wanted to eat at a restaurant nearby our Airbnb place. I wanted curry, and my sister loves udon. We found a curry udon (カレーうどん, kare udon) restaurant near Meguro Station! So we each got what we wanted, just a block down from our place! Continue reading

Tokyo: Tokyo Ramen

Restaurant:青島食堂 秋葉原店  null 
Address: 〒101-0025 東京都千代田区神田佐久間町3丁目20番1号
Area: Akihabara, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Nearest Station: Akihabara (秋葉原)

Today, the sister and I went to Akihabara (also called Akiba by the locals). We decided to get ramen for lunch (finally!) at a ramen bar 5 blocks from the station. Continue reading

Japan: Eihire

Restaurant: 茶茶Ryu-rey  null 
Address: 〒107-0062 東京都港区南青山5丁目8-3
Area: Aoyama, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Nearest Station: Omotesando (表参道)

My sister and I had dinner with a friend at a izakaya, where she introduced us to eihire yaki (エイヒレ焼き), a favorite and popular item among locals.

Eihire (エイヒレ) is commonly known as stingray fin, but it could also refer to skate fin (the two are similar species). Yaki (焼き) means to grill. Eihire yaki means either grilled (dried) stingray or skate fin. Continue reading

Tokyo: Macaron Yaki

Bakery: pâtisserie Sadaharu AOKI paris   null 
Address: 〒150-0002 東京都渋谷区渋谷2-21-1 (渋谷ヒカリエ ShinQs B2F)
Area: Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Nearest Station: Shibuya (渋谷)

Before coming to Tokyo, I came across a Tokyo Eats post about Sadaharu Aoki’s “Tokyo Macaron Yaki”. It’s a matcha flavored imagawayaki (round, thick cake typically filled with red bean paste) with a chocolate macaron inside! Continue reading

Yokohama: Naporitan (aka Napolitan)

Restaurant: Straw Hat Café (カフェ 麦わらぼうし)    null 
Address: 〒181-0013 東京都三鷹市下連雀1丁目1-83
Area: Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan
Nearest Station: Mitaka (三鷹)

My sister and I went to the Ghibli Museum today! The museum was literally full of the artworks of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. It was incredible seeing how much effort was poured into each animation. If you’re a fan of their works, do not miss out on this!

If you’re a foreigner visiting Japan, be sure to get tickets three months ahead through your local JTB agency. For those in the United States, find how to order tickets by clicking here. Alternatively, if you have a friend/family in Japan, they can get it from a Lawson convenience store ahead of time before it’s sold out. The difference between the two ways, is the JTB voucher does not have any entrance time restriction.

We had late lunch at Straw Hat Café, the sit-down restaurant at the museum. An English menu was available upon request, and their menu also changes according to season.

I ordered “Neapolitan with Naughty Meatball” (¥1,200), a wheat noodle dish made with ketchup and topped with a large meatball. There were also two quail eggs, bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, and grated cheese in the dish. Continue reading

Tokyo: Izakaya @ Shirubee

Restaurant: Shirubee (汁べゑ 下北沢店)  null 
Address: 〒155-0031 東京都 世田谷区 北沢 2-18-2 パインクレスト北沢 1F
Area: Shimokitazawa, Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan
Nearest Station: Shimokitazawa (下北沢)

Five of us had dinner at an izakaya in Shimokitazawa, a college town / hipster neighborhood in Setagaya. It was crowded at some parts of the area, but not at the street the izakaya was located on. Continue reading

Mount Takao: Tenguyaki

Bakery: Kasumibaiten (香住 売店) 
Address: 〒193-0844, 東京都八王子市高尾町 2205
Area: Hachiōji, Tokyo, Japan
Nearest Station: Takaosanguchi (高尾山口)

Today, we hiked up Mount Takao, which is located in Western Tokyo. If the sky is clear, you can easily see Mount Fuji from the summit!

It took us an hour by train to Takaosanguchi Station from Meguro Station. Then we walked through an area full of shops and restaurants before approaching the cable cars at the base of the mountain. You can either walk up Trail 1 from the base or take the cable cars, to halfway up the mountain. Most people purchase a round trip ticket of ~¥1,000 for the cable cars and hike to the summit from halfway point. There are chair lifts going up and down the mountain, but it was saldly out of service when we went.


At the halfway point (near Takaosan Station), there was a bakery selling Tenguyaki (天狗焼き), a taiyaki with the face of Tengu. “Tengu” is the long-nosed goblin, and god of mischief, as well as patron saint of the martial arts, that roams around Mount Takao. The Nihon Sun and Wikipedia has more info on Tengu, if you’re interested. Continue reading