Tokyo and Kyoto for a first timer.
- josephml1 Aug 19, 2012 08:40 PM
First thank you for taking the time to read and post in this thread.
I am looking for an advice about where I should eat in Tokyo and Kyoto.
I am looking for the kind of places you most go... and do not miss there.
I am wide open for suggestions.
You can provide me advice about most go, fast food for hurry days Maybe a good market.
You will struggle getting many responses as you are asking a very, very general query. (Budget? Type of food? etc.) This board contains very many suggestions already - why don't you take the time to do a search of this board for something that interests you (e.g., sushi, yakitori, ramen, kaiseki, whatever) and then ask a more focussed question?
You are right...
I am looking for Non expensive kind of places to taste what local eat.
Its my firts time in japan. To be Honest I am looking for the kind of food you should eat in your visit to japan.
Maybe Yakitori and Ramen.
Its my first time there and I am celebrating my honeymoon :)
Thanks for your kind advice.
I'm planning my first trip too.
I hope you don't mind me suggesting, but would recommend you spend some time reading basic guides to Japanese food and Tokyo food on sites such as http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e620.html and then come back to Chowhound and use the search function to read about specific recomnendations for specific types of restaurants and then you can ask for feedback on your tentative plans?
One book that i have found very useful is Yukari Sakamoto's book, Food Sake Tokyo. She also has a blog by the same name. The book has a lot of information about the different neighborhoods and types of food and might be helpful in narrowing down what you are interested in. Once you know what types of food, budget and general location you are interested in, people on this board are great about giving you specific recommendations. You can also get up-to-date picks by using the Japanese language website, www.tabelog.com, using google translate to translate from the Japanese.
Congratulations on your wedding!
I'm in this process too. I'm trying to finalise my rough itinerary for attractions/ sightseeing and then tie the food recommendations in to where we'll be. There are a few places we'd consider travelling to just for the food but as our time in Tokyo is limited, it's hard working out which. As someone who loves my food, I'm finding it hard not to centre everything around the food but a) we have a tight tight food budget so suspect we can find suitable options for our price point wherever we are already and b) I don't want to miss my key sights in Tokyo...
Hard but fun process!
Research, research, research!!
Go click on the search button and search up Kyoto and Tokyo and see what interests you.
I would highly recommend having ramen in Tokyo while you are there.
My personal favourite is Mutekiya in Ikebukuro (Tokyo).
We had a very interesting meal at Giro Giro in Kyoto. My fiance loved it. I thought the food was good but everything else about the restaurant made it quite amazing. It's a small restaurant just on the river bank with the entire wall facing the river made out of glass. Especially well priced considering typical Kyoto prices.
Nishiki Market in Kyoto is worth walking through
Make sure you also go to the Gion District in Kyoto.
I would also recommend walking the Philosopher's Path in Kyoto.
You can click through the restaurants on Tripadvisor to see some places that foreigners have been before.
For low end budget - I really like Matsuya and Soup Stock Tokyo.
Matsuya is a fast food chain that serves gyudon (thin sliced beef on rice) and curries.
You should also check out the food floor (basement) of large department stores. These are called "Depachika" and have a wide variety of foods to see and eat. I really love the Depachika at Isetan in Shinjuku (Tokyo) - they have branches of some of the best patisseries in the world there.
We spent some time in Kyoto in July - beautiful city with a lot of food options. You can go from simple to all-out and everything in between. This is all by memory so forgive me if it's a bit rambling or opaque.
It won't be hard to find food around Japan - Kyoto is no exception. Kyoto's main train station - it's huge - has enough food options to keep you busy for a week of meals and then some. Ramen alone has a large section of one floor with (I think) eight counters side-by-side. Okonomiyaki is not a Kyoto specialty, but even this dish has at least four counters on one of the food floors.
Every major train station has at least one major department store either attached to it or very close by. Isetan depaato (department store in Japanese) is attached to the Kyoto station, and every depaato has at least one basement floor dedicated to food counters, and most likely at least the top floor dedicated to restaurants. Isetan had two sub-level floors for food and I think just the top floor for restaurants. And I think one of the two basement-level floors was dedicated to just sweets and desserts - amazing. Looking at your avatar, you'll be in trouble. :) You'll find several counters offering samples, and you'll know what's really good by the lines/crowds around specific counters. It's really a mind-blowing experience for Hounds.
One will almost always find a food market attached to either the depaato and/or the train station. Usually these markets offer a broader selection and higher levels of foods than their neighborhood counterparts. You'll appreciate these for things like seasonings or other dry goods you may want to consider taking home. If you're staying at a machiya, you might even consider doing some food prep as well, so the markets will come in handy.
Being that this is your first trip to Japan, you really need to govern your urges when walking through these food-dense locations. Everything looks great and most of it is very good to great if the particular food items are to your liking. Even the convenience stores have decent food - several levels of quality above the U.S.-equivalents.
We were sightseeing like crazy in Kyoto, and we often were too beat by the end of the day to prepare for formal dinner plans, so we often stopped by these depaato food courts and counters to have our meals or take the prepared food back to our machiya. This is very easy to do, considering the breadth of prepared food counters. Determine your budget, walk the floor a couple of times, and hone down your meal component selections.
As modern as Japan is, the vast majority of businesses are on cash-basis. Don't count on relying on your credit cards, or even your ATM card - it won't work at most banks, and you will be relegated to using it at either the Post Office ATMs with a daily limit of 10,000 yen (plus service charge); or if you're lucky, you will find a bank that does business worldwide (like CitiBank), where your ATM card will work - but banks like Citibank are not plentiful in Kyoto. Bring travelers cheques and swap them for local currency at the airports, train/subway stations or money changers in the city. Japan is very safe, but tourists are definitely not immune to pick-pockets (tsuri).
As I already briefly mentioned, ramen is ubiquitous. We were staying about six blocks from the Marutamachi subway stop. We didn't think about this going in, but while it's centrally located to many tourist sites, there were tons of tourists. The food options can be precarious - lots of what would be the equivalent of food barkers are soliciting your business. We walked past them and tried to use our "instincts" and found a really good ramen place called, "Tsuru Kame," which means "Crane Turtle," two very auspicious creatures in Japanese culture. Here's my post from July, and pardon my misspelling on the name of the eatery. I didn't notice it until it was too late to edit. "Kama" means, "sickle" in Japanese, so I screwed up!
We enjoyed a kaiseki meal at Tanaka-ya, directly adjacent to the Gion district. I will try to locate the number/address. But honestly, kaiseki options in this town are huge. Many are threads dedicated to this topic are on this board, so do your homework! Kyoto's streets, alleyways and walkways can be oppressively tight by American standards, and Tanaka-ya's location is somewhat hard to find. But GPS, my limited ability to read Japanese, and a little luck got us there. Be sure to check out your options for smart phone access for your trip.
Western Kyoto was my favorite area - beautiful natural scenic beauty, more spread out, and quaint neighborhoods surrounding the shrines and the Sagano bamboo forest. The neighborhoods are sprinkled with homes whose fronts double as small artist galleries and shops. We took a leisurely walk through these neighborhoods and really fell for this area. The homes were beautiful and the people were very warm. We had a wonderful lunch at Anju, which is about a block from the train station. They specialize in tofu, yuba and Wagyu beef. A little fancy for the neighborhood, but I'd go back again without hesitation.