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Nov 9, 2008 10:37 AM

Brief visit to Tokyo

Unfortunately we only have about 40hours in Tokyo (first time visitors, no Japanese language skills...) so I'm hoping to get a bit of help with a few questions.....

1. We are staying at the Park Hotel in the Shiodome Media Tower arrivng in the evening. Is there somewhere nearby for a good inexpensive meal? I was thinking of ramen, soba or tempura. Even the name of a nearby street with some restaurant options would be great.
2. Is there somewhere near the hotel with good coffee?

3. We plan to spend the next day (a Sunday) in Shinjuku. I read about the depachika at Isetan and thought we could eat lunch there unless there is somewhere nearby that would be a better choice.

4. Is the Tokyu Hands in Shinjuku or Shibuya better for kitchen stuff? I read about Kappabashi-dori being mostly closed on Sunday so we don't have that option.

5. I'm looking for a suggestion for a bar in Shibuya for cocktails before dinner (maybe somewhere with a view) as well as a mid-range dinner spot.

6. We'll visit Tsujiki Market on Monday morning for sushi but I'd also like to find some knives. Is there a vendor there that sells them? Any other 'not to miss' vendors? I'd like to find some yuzu based products since they are impossible to find in Canada.

Thanks so much for any assistance!

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  1. I was just in Tokyo and stayed in Shiodome. You will be very close to both Shinbashi and Ginza. I suggest strolling around to find something that looks good for an inexpensive meal. There was a really good and inexpensive little udon shop that I used to go to near the Shinbashi station, but the area has changed so much that I'm not sure it's still there....

    For a decent (and inexpensive) cup of coffee - look for one of the Japanese chains like Dotour.

    For your Sunday lunch in Shinjuku, I'd recommend Tsunahachi. It's a great place to try tempura. I always tell people to go to the Shinjuku hon-ten as it has a nice atmosphere. The depachika at Isetan is nice, but don't miss the depachika at Takashimaya Times Square. It's amazing! It's also where the Tokyo Hands is located. Not sure which location has better kitchen items though...

    There are several knife vendors at Tsukiji - their selection and pricing vary. I can't recall the names, so just browse the aisles surrounding the market. For yuzu-based products you might also want to check the regular grocery or food stores for things such as yuzu koshyo, ponzu, etc. Those aren't necessarily items you'll only find at Tsukiji.

    Have a great time!

    1. 4. I'd recommend the Shinjuku location, it's much easier to get to (signage) and newer. More elevators and escalators!

      1. 1. There are three big restaurant complexes within 400 meters of your hotel, and they're filled with restaurants of all price ranges. You can start off at Pedi Shiodome, which is just across the street, or check out Caretta nearby, which is much larger. One interesting shop is Konaya in the Caretta complex, which serves curry udon.
        for a map.

        2. There are several branches of Starbucks in Shiodome that are far better than Doutor, in my opinion.

        3. Depachika are mostly for take-out, although there are a few sit-down counters as well. But there are thousands of "better choices" in the neighborhood. Tsunahachi honten (main branch) is a good choice.

        4. Either Tokyu Hands is probably fine; the one in Shibuya is bigger, but harder to find and get around. There's also a shop called Loft in both neighborhoods that also has a lot of kitchen stuff.

        5. The bar-lounge on top of Cerulean Tower is nice, or the bar at Legato. Again there are thousands of choices for dinner. Gompachi (in the same building as Legato) is popular, as is Toriyoshi for yakitori.

        6. Don't forget to look for yuzu-based products when you're in the depachika. Besides Isetan, there's a nice one underneath Shibuya Station called Food Show. Yuzu-kosho in jars is very concentrated and goes a long way.

        Sorry to hear it's such a short trip, but have fun!

        1. Thanks for the replys. It's a big help to narrow down the overwhelming choices! One more question... Is it easy to find small bottles of sake and shochu? Is there a specific store that could be more likely able to help the Japanese language deprived?

          3 Replies
          1. re: h2o

            For sake, go to Hasegawa in Omotesando Hills ( ).

            They have a fair selection of small bottles, and mostly 720-ml size (nearly standard wine-bottle size). And I think one English-speaking staff member.

            If you were here longer, or lived here, I'd recommend Machidaya ( ). They've got a huge selection of one-cup sake, but they're not so easy to get to if you're on a short trip.

            1. re: h2o

              For miniature bottles of shochu, you can try one of the branches of Shochu Authority, a shochu specialty store. One branch is actually in Tokyo Station. It's in the underground part, not directly off the street. A larger one is in the Shiodome complex. Both have good selections of mini shochu bottles- though not of the real premium brands. AND, depending on the branch, Tokyu Hands often has a nice collection of miniatures- including sets with racks. You could also try the booze sections of the electronic store Bic Camera. They usually have a discount liquor section.

              You won't be able to use English at any of these places.

              1. re: Silverjay

                Thanks for the suggestions. No matter what I randomly pick without assistance will probably be better than anything available in Canada anyway...