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Flying Solo In Tokyo?

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Boston Chowhound, annual work trip to Tokyo, have Saturday completely on my own. Any suggestions from fellow 'Hounds about fun parts of the city to visit with lunch and dinner on my own? Staying close to Shinagawa train station. Adventure local dining for lunch, somewhat nicer within reason for dinner. Open to any and all options. Have done sushi around Tsukiji, Paddle House etc. Thanks!

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  1. I have a preference for the Azabu area- either Azabu Juban (which has great soba restaurants) or Nishi Azabu (which has a great tonkatsu place.) But Tokyo is your oyster- any neighborhood has at least one great place. Depends on what you want to eat.

    1. For lunch, it really depends on where you want to explore. There will be Saturday lunch options in high tourist and shopping areas like Asakusa/Kappabashi or Harajuku/Omotesando/Shibuya or Shinjuku or Ueno.... Not sure what your idea of adventure lunch dining is. If you've already explored much of Tokyo on past visits, you can consider riding down to historic Kamakura for the day. It's a one shot express train from Shinagawa and there are plenty of tourist options between the sights and the station...For dinner, better to specify a cuisine, style of dining, specifics, etc. Shinagawa isn't a dining destination itself but is convenient to a lot of places.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Silverjay

        Great suggestions from gkanai and Silverjay - thx. I hated being so vague but the options are almost overwhelming. I guess in general I was looking to move beyond sushi, tempura, shabu-shabu - have done those. For me, adventure dining in a Chowhound mode means less touristy, more local, not so high end (especially since on my own dime).
        Any thoughts to the idea mentioned on the Boards about hiring a guide to eat with you? The menus in those 'adventure places' can be pretty overwhelming. The idea of eating on my own amplifies that a little. The solo diner in Tokyo is not so uncommon, including for dinner?

        1. re: ChowMD

          Solo dining is common throughout Japan.

          1. re: Silverjay

            Did you know that the ChuoDori (ChuoAvenue) is crossing Tokyo from Ginza to Ueno. So why not do a 2-3hours walk ? Start by a lunch at Sushi Taichi (menus under 3000 or under 6000), then go to the avenue ChuoDori corner of Wako, then go straight, direction Matsuya. You will pass by the big 5 floors stationary Ito-Ya, buidings of Kyobashii, the last glass architectural building, the bridge of Nihonbashi,Mitsukoshi Nihonbashi, Mitsui Art Museum in just going straight. Until September 04, there is an exhibition about Japanese bridges and their importance in Japan (also, some references to the short story of Mishima '7 bridges'). If you pause for shopping and tea, you might as well pay a visit to the knife shop in front Mitsukoshi. Continue to Kanda, and you will then reach the big Akihabara electronics aera, you will see on Saturday all the anime game play outside, it will be crowded ! Continue always straight and you will join Okachimachi, the landmark is the Matsuzakaya on your right!
            For diner, book the Izakaya Shinsuke (counter 1st floor) 100 meters from the Matsuzakaya, the lotus are in the Shinobazu Pond. Command a beer at first, and then order 2-3 plates on the menu succinctly translated in English and cold sake!
            Easy and adventurous for a goumet/historic journey..

            1. re: Ninisix

              This is a great walking tour! In Ginza/ Shinbashi, you can make detours to the prefectural antenna shops. In Nihonbashi, there's the brand new Coredo complex. It's a fancy brand new mall, but there are shops dedicated to traditional foods and such on the ground floors. By the time you get to Akiba, it's the old style market Tokyo blended with the hi-tech Tokyo, and then on to Okachimachi- which is just old school. And then the northen side of Ueno and Shinobazu Pond harken back to Tokyo's pastoral beginnings. There's a small "Old Edo" museum right next to the pond and of course the non-deliberate manga-like statue of Saigo Takamori. There's usually a few food vendors in the park on Saturdays, but the stalls and shops in Okachimachi make better snacking.

              1. re: Silverjay

                The only problem I see with this is the weather; it is going to be way too hot and humid to walk that much. subways might be a better way to get around or, once in Chuo-ku (ie, just north of Shinbashi), the 100 yen Edo bus.

                1. re: edozanmai

                  Because there's no vending machines or convenience stores along to the way to grab a cold drink and cool off.

                  1. re: Silverjay

                    After have checked it, the more convenient bus on a week end on a rainy day or on a 30degrees hot day is the Shitamachi Bus. Route map = Tokyo Station Marunouchi North Exit in front of Oazo building ~ Nihonbashi Mitsukoshimae ~ Kandaeki Mae ~ Ueno Matsuzakayamae ~ Ueno Koen ~ Asakusa
                    On week days, the best choice for the same route connection will be the MetroLink Free Bus from Tokyo Yaesu Exit that will stop in front of Nihonbashi Mitsukoshimae, then the bus line 42 or the Manseibashi near Kanda, stop at Okachimachi. And then the Shitamachi bus from Ueno Matsuzakaya
                    Mae.
                    One day bus pass is at 500.-yens, so you will be able to use it on your way back !!!
                    All the walking way, you will have convenience store.
                    And I do agree to switch off the vending machine as it need to use the same capacity of electricity as a household !!

                    1. re: Silverjay

                      I have a feeling Silverjay does not live in Tokyo. If he/she did I am sure they would know what it is like to walk multiple kms in the heat and humidity. It really doesn't matter how many vending machines and or mini-marts are along the way; if you go for a long walk you are going to be drenched from sweat. The rain is an entirely other matter. And as Ninisix pointed out, at least until her/his posts were taken down for ???, vending machines do use a lot of electricity. And although I do not want to come across as a big supporter of Tokyo governor Ishihara's campaign against vending machines (and pachinko), I do agree that in this summer of conserving electricity (setsuden), it may be worthwhile to reevaluate why there are so many of these electricity guzzlers. And as a note to Silverjay, today, in between rain showers, I rode my bike along much of the route that you suggested to walk. And I do not believe I saw any machines vending cold drinks. And definitely none supplying cold towels or clean, dry shirts.

                      1. re: edozanmai

                        Lived most of my adult life in Tokyo and grew up in Washington D.C. Never let a little mugginess or rain get in the way of exploring either city on foot. I walked this very route earlier this year. If you use Chuo Dori as a rough navigational guide going north, and walk up it or Sotobori or Showa, you'll not be bereft of convenience stores and vending machines.

            2. re: ChowMD

              I'd agree that solo dining isn't uncommon in Tokyo. Probably the most comfortable places to dine alone are: 1) hotel restaurants; 2) cafes; 3) restaurants in shopping centers or department stores; 4) anyplace with a counter.

              Hiring a guide to eat with you sounds a bit excessive for casual dining.

              1. re: Robb S

                And especially if you are concerned about your dimes!

          2. If you end up needing to stay close to Shinagawa station, check out the shinatatsu ramen street, a collection of seven or so ramen shops. Here's their site:

            http://www.shinatatsu.com/raumen/inde...

            And here's a good write up of one of them, tonkotsu based:

            http://www.ramenate.com/2009/07/beyon...

            2 Replies
            1. re: ninnikuramen

              Fantastic input, right down to the wattage. Much appreciated. Am here now. Will go get lost over the weekend. Still open to any additional brilliant insights. Thx again.

              1. re: ChowMD

                Yesterday, late in the afternoon, dark clouded and humid, I have decided to do distance walking again...and my 'high energy' has been a matcha + wagashi at Yamamotoyama Tea Shop, just after the Nihonbashi Takashimaya. That made some jealous, the set was at 600-yens with the matcha done the 'urasenke' way (=with a foam layer ).