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Apr 24, 2009 11:33 AM

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

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

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  1. 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:
    Here's a map in English:

    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

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

      1. re: zaijin

        So how dangerous is it really to try Fugu??

        1. re: FoodDude2

          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

            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

              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

                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

                  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!)