Kyoto & Tokyo - 3+ days / 4 nights in each
my girlfriend and I are going to Japan the third week of April. We will be staying in Kyoto first for four nights, and then in Tokyo (Asakusa) for another 4. Can the Japanese chowhounders makwe some good lunch and dinner recommendations for two NYers looking to runt he gamut? We would like to go to Nara as well for a day trip, so a lunch rec there would be great too.
On my list are:
- sushi at Tsukiji: Sushi-Sen?
- Kaiseki in Kyoto in the $100~YEN12,000 or less range (if possible)
- superior tonkatsu (with kurobuta pork? or other 'heritage' breed?)
- your favorite tempura
- a good-cool-fun izakaya
- great ramen
- a little off topic but... karaoke?
- things this gaijin doesn't know about...
On this board, broad, catch-all posts often yield only a smattering of replies. You'll get the most options and most details by doing some due diligence via the search function. Tsukiji sushi, tempura, izakayas, and ramen are popular topics and most information will be fresh from within the last year or so. And there's individual reviews about many places. There's not a huge pool of regulars here like the NY boards, to pick up and answer these type of queries in a lot of detail. If you post your "research" findings and ask for opinions, directions, etc., you're more likely to get the most of things..........For karaoke in Tokyo- surprised it doesn't come up more often- unless you speak and read Japanese, your best bet is to go to the large karaoke places in foreigner frequented areas- i.e. Roppongi, where your transaction can be handled in English and you'll fiind a good selection of English songs. My favorite karaoke chain is "Karaoke Tetsujin" (Iron Karaoke Singer)- http://www.karatetsu.com/ . Good selection of songs, good all-you-can-drink deal, and a nifty automated ordering system. They've got aobut a dozen locations in Tokyo.
The best sushi I've ever had in my life has been at Daiwa Sushi, in the Tsukiji Fish Market. The 40-plus minute wait on line is worth it as far as I'm concerned. The Sea Urchin is one of the 3 or 4 freshest, best things I've ever tasted. (There was a recent post about this place - other C-Hounders helped me remember the name of the place)
The best gyoza I've ever eaten is at a place in the Ueno section of Tokyo called Shoyu. There are two outposts - one nestled right underneath a railroad, next to another local dive legend known, in English, as Motsu Nabe King. The other one is about a block away, and also serves decent Ramen, although hardly the best I've ever had in Tokyo. The old area of Ueno is actually pretty compact and tight; if you ask about Shoyu, someone is likely to know of it and to direct you there.
Apart from this, I would encourage you to follow Silverjay's advice, and do a search on the Japan board.
Happy travels, happy eating.