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Feedback on 6-day eating in Tokyo

My husband and I are going to Japan for 6 days in August and we're obsessed with food. We're planning to have one (1) over-the-top sushi meal at Harutaka and if possible, keep the rest of the meals to under $100 for both of us. Please take a look at our food itinerary below and let us know what you think. Does it leaves you screaming "I can't believe they left out __________?" If so, fill in that blank. And let us know where you stand on the OR. We also want to leave room for spontaneous meals while meandering.

Day 1: Stay in Shibuya
LUNCH: Tenkou (tempura)
DINNER: Torishige Honten OR Fuku (yakitori)

Day 2: Tsujiki market, Hama Rikyu, Asakusa, Ginza
BREAKFAST: Daiwa Sushi
snacks: Tsukiji Market in the outer market ( donburi rice bowls, ramen)
LATE LUNCH: Tofuya Ukaitei (tofu)
DINNER: Ukaitei (steak)

Day 3: Shinjuku, Harajuku (meiji jingu park), Kabuchichu
BREAKFAST: ?
LUNCH: Ramen (Ramen Jiro OR Menya Kissou OR Ivan Ramen OR Chukasoba Ito)
DINNER: Harutaka (sushi)

Day 4: day trip to Nikko
BREAKFAST
LUNCH
DINNER

Day 5: Tue | Akihabara, Roppongi Hills
BREAKFAST: ?
LUNCH: Matsugen Ebisu OR Kanda Yabusoba (soba)
snack: nanxiang xiao long bao
DINNER: Buri Ebisu (standing bar)

Day 6: Free Day
BREAKFAST: back at Tsujiki for sushi?
LUNCH: Ramen/Food Court?
DINNER: ?

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  1. P.S. We didn't have kaiseki or kobe on there cuz we're planning to have those in Kyoto and Osaka the week after.

    2 Replies
    1. re: BigAppleEater

      So far looks pretty good. I'm not a Tokyoite so there are others on this board who are in a much better position to steer you to and away from certain selections. However, the one that jumps out at me is the fact that you state you want to have one blow-out sushi meal and want the rest to come in under $100 - yet you've listed Ukai-Tei on Day 2. From my experience on my last trip to Tokyo - and, granted, I did go whole hog wherever I ate - Ukai-Tei was my most expensive meal. And some of the other places I went to included such heavy-hitters as Chateau Joel Robucon, L'Osier, and Hamadaya.

      1. re: BaronDestructo

        Yikes, I guess I didn't really look up the costs of Ukai-Tei. It was recommended by a friend. Maybe have to leave that one out. Thanks!

    2. So far looks pretty good. I'm not a Tokyoite so there are others on this board who are in a much better position to steer you to and away from certain selections. However, the one that jumps out at me is the fact that you state you want to have one blow-out sushi meal and want the rest to come in under $100 - yet you've listed Ukai-Tei on Day 2. From my experience on my last trip to Tokyo - and, granted, I did go whole hog wherever I ate - Ukai-Tei was my most expensive meal. And some of the other places I went to included such heavy-hitters as Chateau Joel Robucon, L'Osier, and Hamadaya.

      1 Reply
      1. So far looks pretty good. I'm not a Tokyoite so there are others on this board who are in a much better position to steer you to and away from certain selections. However, the one that jumps out at me is the fact that you state you want to have one blow-out sushi meal and want the rest to come in under $100 - yet you've listed Ukai-Tei on Day 2. From my experience on my last trip to Tokyo - and, granted, I did go whole hog wherever I ate - Ukai-Tei was my most expensive meal. And some of the other places I went to included such heavy-hitters as Chateau Joel Robucon, L'Osier, and Hamadaya.

        1. I loved my visit to Ivan Ramen last December but bear in mind that it only opens for lunch (11.30am - 5.30pm) on Saturdays and Sundays.

          I'm a huge fan of izakaya eating so I would say that's a significant omission from your eating itinerary.

          5 Replies
          1. re: oonth

            I'll plan accordingly with Ivan's Ramen and rethink the izakaya additions. We're planning to hit up Momen and Endo Sushi in Osaka. If folks have recommendations for Kobe anywhere in Kyoto or Osaka, let us know!

            1. re: BigAppleEater

              Just a note - Kobe is a city near Osaka and Kyoto (so if you ask for recommendations for Kobe it's a little confusing). Kobe beef is a kind of premium beef, but there are many others in Japan.

              1. re: Robb S

                Thanks. To clarify, I wanted to know if it was necessary to eat Kobe beef in Kobe, or whether we can get just-as-good Kobe beef in Osaka/Kyoto. And if so, which specific restaurant?

                If we have to eat in Kobe, where should we go?

                I guess we wanted to see what the big deal is with Kobe beef. If you think there are better beefs to be had in Japan, do let us know!

                Thanks again!

                1. re: BigAppleEater

                  While I personally am not much of a beef eater, most of my Japanese friends swear that Matsuzaka beef is much better than Kobe beef. They are of the opinion that Kobe beef is simply more famous overseas due to marketing/exporting.

                  1. re: deraumai

                    There seems to be a fixation with Kobe (and other premium) beef amongst visitors to Japan. As Deraumai points out above Matsuzaka beef is highly prized by many Japanese people and in Nagoya/Gifu where I spend time on my visits to Japan, Hida beef is highly rated. Personally I've enjoyed trying all the varietals but they are all heavily marbled and I find it an intense eating experience, for me after the first couple of mouthfuls, the pleasure starts to diminish. It's also an expensive meal, I don't think you can keep it below $100 for 2 people.

                    Alternatively (or additionally), I would strongly recommend trying Japanese pork, chicken and, if it doesn't faze you, horse meat. Again there are prize breeds in many regions but a good example would be Kagoshima black pig, the kuro buta shabu shabu I had last December in Kagoshima itself was one of the best dishes I've ever eaten in Japan. Other than pata negra in Spain, I really don't think you can find pork of this quality in the Western world.

                    Chicken in Japan can be a revelation. You can find specialist chicken shops in some cities (Nagoya is famous for these) and whether sampling chicken sashimi, yakitori, sukiyaki etc, once again the flavour of the chicken itself is exceptional, a stark contrast to much of the bland, flavourless chicken found in the Western world.

                    Finally horse meat sashimi (called basashi or sakura in Japanese) is definitely worth a try, the versions I've eaten have been lean, succulent and slightly sweet. It's on the menu at Toki No Ma which you've added to your schedule.

          2. I'd agree with the Baron - skip the Ukaitei steak if you're already having Kobe beef in Osaka - no need for two Ukaiteis in the same day. That's a lot of ramen and sushi; you might want to try some other specialties at lunchtime like tonkatsu and unagi (eel) or even a Japanese curry. Ivan is pretty far out of town just to go for a bowl of noodles.

            Buri is a good place to stop on the way to dinner; you might want to visit an izakaya in that neighborhood (such as Toki No Ma) for a real sit-down dinner rather than stand all night. And I'd agree with oonth that izakaya are noticeably missing from your itinerary (other than Fuku). You might even want to check out some izakaya with regional dishes from Kyushu or Okinawa.

            Kabukicho (I assume that's what Kabuchichu means) is part of Shinjuku and you can see it pretty quickly (assuming you go at night; there's nothing to see in the daytime). You might want to add Omotesando/Aoyama to your list, as it's just down the road from Harajuku. Check out Tokyo Midtown while you're in Roppongi.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Robb S

              Revisions:

              Aug 8 | Tsujiki market, Hama Rikyu, Asakusa, Ginza at night
              BREAKFAST: Daiwa Sushi
              snacks: Tsukiji Market in the outer market (donburi rice bowls, ramen)
              LATE LUNCH: Tofuya Ukaitei (tofu)
              DINNER: street food near Ginza station and/or Kagurazaka and Ningyocho

              Aug 9 | Shinjuku, Harajuku, Omotesando/Aoyama, Kabukicho
              LUNCH: Ramen (Ramen Jiro or Menya Kissou or Chukasoba Ito
              snacks: Isetan depachika
              DINNER: Buri Ebisu (standing bar) and izakaya (Toki No Ma)

            2. Looked at the dates you went, I am heading out next week and was wondering if there is anything you would change on your itineary? Any winners/losers. Looks like you laid out a real nice blueprint...curious on your feedback as my "parameters" were pretty much same as yours, especially the one blow out sushi night...

              Thx in advance