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Apr 8, 2010 09:42 PM

6 nights in Tokyo -- staying near Shinjuku Station

Hello everybody!
I am hard at work preparing for our upcoming trip to Tokyo April 25-May 1 and it's a trip we are very excited about. Our very first trip to Tokyo and Japan. A lifelong dream come true.

We will be staying at the Sunroute Plaza in Shinjuku. Our goals are really to wander around Tokyo, exploring various neighborhoods without much set plans in mind.

However we would like to schedule at least 2-3 special meals that we won't forget!

Obviously, the most popular places such as Aronia de Takazawa is out of the question as we are too late in trying to make reservations. We are also hesitant about paying out of our nose for meals as we are not really Japanese food conoscenti-- in that we probably won't be able to tell the difference between 5-star and 4-star sushi.

We do love sushi, rolls, tempura, teppanyaki, and every other kind of Japanese we've ever tried and would be eager to try new things while in Tokyo, keeping things authentic however!

So, what I'd like to ask for is the following experiences:

One izakaya, one kaiseki, and one sukiyaki place in Shibuya or Shinjuku or nearby areas-- not asking for the best of the best in a pretentious way along with prices to match, but rather a comprehensive experience that hits the right notes in price-quality, atmosphere, creativity, etc.

As for sushi/rolls we'll be happy to try some out at Tsukiji and along our wanderings-- but if you have places we really should try out feel free to name some!

I've already read thru posts from the past 2 months on this board but find it all very confusing! Lots to process, and so little time!

Thanks in advance

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  1. Hi Tegia- I have to laugh because I am currently planning a trip to Tokyo with my wife for next week -- and we will also be staying at Sunroute. I think we may even overlap a little, I'll look for you!

    I'm feeling badly overwhelmed trying to figure out where to go, Tokyo has a gazillion restaurants and types of food I've never heard of (despite being a pretty serious consumer of Japanese food at home). I hope someone more useful than me will submit some ideas so I can sponge off them too!

    4 Replies
    1. re: pusherman

      Unfortunately nobody seems to be able to help. I guess I'll just scan other posts and glean what I can!

      1. re: tegia

        Yah, there's an overwhelming amount out there. Maybe we can compare notes. So far my "must eat" list consists of-

        Birdland (Yakitori, Ginza)
        Butagumi (Pork, Roppongi)
        Tsurutontan (Udon, locations in Shinjuku & Roppongi)
        Kiji (Okonomiyaki, near Tokyo Sta)
        Steakhouse Satou (matsuzaka beef, Kichijoji near Ghibli Museum)
        Maisen Tonkatsu (Tonkatsu, Aoyama)
        Nishinaka-Dori Street for Monjayaki (Tsukishima)

        As you might be able to tell, I'm not much of a seafood eater...

        1. re: pusherman

          Substitute Fuku for Birdland though - much better skewers.

          1. re: pusherman

            i would go to Katsukura instead of Maisen.

      2. there's a Izakaya that specializes in Kurobuta pork that's good. The Molecular Bar at the Mandarin Oriental is fun. Kurosawa is a good soba restaurant in homage to the director. Definitely get some ramen somewhere but I can't recommend anywhere specific. Check out for more recs. I think anybody could tell the difference between Jiro's sushi, and something below it, but maybe it's not worth the $300 for some people.

        1. Not quite sukiyaki, but we had a great shabu shabu meal almost right across the street from the Shinjuku Sunroute earlier this month. The restaurant was called "Banyoh" and was suggested by a desk clerk at the Sunroute who called and made reservations for us. They have an English menu and, the night we were there, a very amiable English-speaking waitress who happily answered our questions re the ingredients and cooking technique. We ordered the basic shabu shabu (did not include a sashimi appetizer) but ordered the highest quality wagyu beef from Kiyushu. Dinner for two plus a large beer came to about $150.

          1. HAHA what a coincidence (tegia and pusherman) - I`m going to Tokyo between April 22 to May 2nd with my boyfriend and some friends! We should all compare notes =)

            According to this thread:

            Sushi Dai, Sushi Bun and Daiwa Sushi are some of the best in Tsukiji!

            2 Replies
            1. re: jemmy

              I'm in Tokyo with my wife and kids for a food-centric trip as I type. This is an amazing food city. Last night, we went to a yakitori place near Shiabua station. It was excellent with plenty of tasty offal and quite affordable, though I didn't pay the bill. The previous night our party of 4 adults and 2 kids ate ramen at Gogyo. It was one of the most memorable meals of a legendary trip. Their 'burnt" ramen was amazing as were their chicken wings. The bill was around $110.

              Our sushi breakfast at Tsukiji market was beyond words. That being said, I don't know which sushi place it was. Didn't see any Englsih or a menu. We walked into the first place that looked good. There was no wait. It was 7:30 am. $140 for 4 sets. I don't think you can go wrong with sushi at Tsukiji.
              The inner market was just plain scary for us as we had our 2 kids with us. There were so many carts moving fast and people moving around with carts. We felt like we were taking our kids lives in our hands. We spent our time in the nearby shops and had a ball.

              Tonight, we're going to Maison Tonkatsu for fried pork.

              1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                Had Maisen for lunch yesterday, completely awesome! I love the "black pork" -- make sure to ask for an English menu (assuming you need one), as there are somewhat subtle differences in the grades of meat you get.

                Agree on Tsukuji, interesting but somewhat scary. I don't eat sushi, but my wife had some at one of the places across from the main market, and said it was one of the best she had ever had and also very cheap -- all I can say is look for the orange curtains (it's the only orange one in the row of places). We had no wait at all.

                Great ramen tonight at a randomly chosen place in Kabukicho, and great okonomiyaki last night in the station...I really think it's true that it's hard to have a bad meal in this city.

            2. I would so so far and say that nobody can tell the difference between "5-star and 4-star sushi"....