Ramen/Soba/Street food pointers
I will be in Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto for 2 weeks in October. I would like to eat cheap but well. (Dont we all) But I fear I will be overwhelmed with the options out there. Any suggestions as to any secret treasures I should try in any of these cities? Also interested in farmer's markets. I plan to head to tsujiki market and ameyoko market but if there are any others i should see perhaps in kyoto, please let me know. Thanks!
Your questions about Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto have been asked here many times before, and there are many past threads on this board with specific advice that's probably more useful than what's been posted here so far. All are available through Chowhound's search function. If you have follow-up questions about a specific kind of food that interests you, I'm sure you'll get some helpful response here.
In answer to your market question, Nishiki Market in Kyoto is well worth a visit: (http://www.bento.com/kansai/phgal-kyotomarket.html ). And when you're in Osaka, Kuromon Market can be a fun place to see: (http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/8193.html).
I'd also highly recommend Hanshin Department Store in Osaka (http://www.bento.com/kansai/phgal-depa4.html ) and Daimaru Department Store in Kyoto (http://www.bento.com/kansai/phgal-dep... ). Department stores are the Japanese equivalent of farmers' markets.
As for specific food recommendations, I'd suggest you try several specialty restaurants including cuisines like tempura, tonkatsu, vegetarian shojin-ryori (in Kyoto), yakitori and maybe unagi. You can find very reasonably priced versions of most of these in department store food floors among other places. Not all restaurants in Japan are difficult to find; many are quite easy.
Then try several izakaya at dinnertime and explore the menus - there are many threads on Chowhound about izakaya. Tokyo has over 100,000 restaurants, but if you narrow things down by neighborhood and type of cuisine, I'm sure you'll get some useful recommendations here.
As far as Tokyo goes, my advice would be to eat whatever appeals to you once you get there and not to get hung up trying to find any place in particular. It can be extremely difficult to find specific places in Tokyo with its nameless and non-rectilinear streets and alleys, and it is much harder to find bad food than excellent food. That said, eat at a sushi stand at tsujiki (IMO, you don't have to wait hours in line for one of the popular ones, they are all really good) and don't overlook the department store/train station food courts and restaurants. Also eat at one of the eel places by Ueno park - there are two of them and they are both excellent (one is more popular than the other, but they are both really good).
re: una mas
At Okachimachi JR station, on your left, go on the food basement MATSUZAKAYA, on Sunday's at 15:00 PM, the fish district will show a whole tuna cut. It is more a market than a department store : "irashaimase" are present. Each department store is diffrent *The Isetan Food Baesment store is as a jewelry, I can't resist !
After, the MATSZAKAYA you can walk on the "ameyoko street" and have a japanese spaghetti's style at SPIGA like "mentaiko" or "asari-shimeji(ask for spice)" or eel, or the very durty one ramen "chinchinken" on the cross gallery of the omeyoko.
Then, if you want to continue, go to the direction of the Ueno pond Shinobazu, I think there is still "lotus flower" and go straight to Nezu. There is the a corner shop of "ogura" ice (japanese sweet bean ice) referred as IMOJIN :
http://www.rurubu.com/sight/detail.aspx?BookID=B1500520 (looks like
)In Yanaka, there is many shop traditional shops as "tof shop", "konnyaku shop", "senbe shops", ... If you can visit the Museum Asakura Choso, a house with an inside garden draw by an architect... All the concern on the Nippori district. A ramen on the same side, japanese "shina soba", or "tantanmen" : http://ramendb.supleks.jp/shop/5512
That is quick post, I hope it will help !
re: una mas
"As far as Tokyo goes, my advice would be to eat whatever appeals to you once you get there and not to get hung up trying to find any place in particular"
Hmmmm.... interesting advice. I can't say I agree, though. This board might not exist at all, if that were the case! If you'd like to follow specific recs when you travel, go ahead and try to print out an address using Google Maps, plus the name of the restaurant in Japanese. If you don't succeed, you can always revert to the 'wandering around' strategy.