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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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