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best not to miss places in tokyo and kyoto? also best whale and fugu?

Drehound Apr 24, 2009 11:33 AM

hi I am in kyoto now and heading to tokyo soon! would appreciate help!

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    zaijin RE: Drehound Dec 18, 2009 09:35 PM

    Well, for whale the obvious place to start might be Kujira-ya in Shibuya (right below the 109 Store). It serves full course meals of various kinds of kujira (= whale).
    Here's the url: http://www.kujiraya.co.jp/
    Here's a map in English: www.tradina.com/0334619145/map.html

    However, for a much more atmospheric evening with plenty of good sake (especially Uragasumi), there's Taruichi in Kabukicho (Shinjuku). It's not that easy to find but worth the search. Here's a map (also a coupon for a free beer):

    As for fugu, there's too much choice: one option that's central might be Genpin-fugu, which is down the side street next to Midtown. The look is pretty modern/cool, with lots of tanks of live fish. Here's a map (plus coupon for a free serving of kara-age) in Japanese:

    Also in Roppongi but more traditional and much pricier (¥3-40,000/head -- and remember cash only!) is Ajiman (now with a Michelin star to its name).
    Lunch is affordable though:

    7 Replies
    1. re: zaijin
      Yukari RE: zaijin Dec 19, 2009 10:09 AM

      I agree with the chain store, Genpin Fugu. Branches throughout the city, and they specialize in fugu.


      1. re: zaijin
        FoodDude2 RE: zaijin Dec 24, 2009 03:47 PM

        So how dangerous is it really to try Fugu??

        1. re: FoodDude2
          lost squirrel RE: FoodDude2 Dec 24, 2009 06:07 PM

          Not very, I think people barely ever die from it at a decent restaurant.
          The deaths I read about tend to happen in some greasy spoon with an unlicensed fugu chef who decides to give it a try, to very poor results.

          Correct me if I'm wrong, but many places serve farm raised fugu which isn't poisonous at all (the tetratoxin[possible] come from the poisonous coral/anemones that the fish eat)

          1. re: lost squirrel
            jem589 RE: lost squirrel Dec 25, 2009 02:36 PM

            I'm pretty sure Genpin is serving farmed fugu - it's available year-round at a fraction of the price of the winter tora-fugu. They also have a lot of branches, like 50 in Tokyo alone. I went one time (Ryogoku) and was really turned off by the quality. Pre-sliced and dried out sashimi, things like that.
            Torafugutei is the other big chain.
            I'd like to try a higher-end place, just once...I keep saying it should be this year, but paying Y10k for something I expect to be bored by is difficult to get up for.

            1. re: jem589
              lost squirrel RE: jem589 Dec 27, 2009 05:45 PM

              That's the same reason I haven't tried it yet. Maybe someday, but it just doesn't seem like a a real 'destination meal'

              1. re: lost squirrel
                Ninisix RE: lost squirrel Dec 27, 2009 07:37 PM

                Going to sing : “sorry angels, sorry so…” without any regrets in saying it, I do appreciate the cheap chainstore Genpin ‘’torafugu’’! Nothing against, even the 1st food poisoning in Japan is still on “fugu”. For the record, and depending on species, 2gr to 20gr in 20 minutes can be fatal. The “licence", or the cooking authorisation, is limited by region and can`t be used in other areas. Dangers are, as said by Lostsquirrel and by a food researcher, are more on home cooking, the farm Fugu used (as I expect in Genpin) don`t produce Tetradoxin in substitute salt water opposed to sea water. In comparison of the “fugu karage”, the best ones have been in Kyushu and in a fine japanese dining (not only a fugu menu).
                For whale, for a first idea in Tokyo, please try the “tachiguizushi Magurobito’’ in Ameyoko on the Okachimachi JR station. So accomodating that you will be able to order 1 by 1 (and not by kan by 2), they have a choice on raw whale (with ginger) and bacon whale (with mustard) without any nose ! Also, I will recommend the “kawahagi (filefish)”’ with his lever. This place is just a standing sushi bar, it will be cheap.

                1. re: Ninisix
                  lost squirrel RE: Ninisix Jan 4, 2010 09:18 PM

                  Also for whales - Yushin in Asakusa specializes in whale.
                  They offer lots of different kinds of canned whale, jerky and some other stuff as well. The canned whale/jerky make great gifts for out of towners (sometimes!)

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