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Nov 12, 2012 09:06 PM

Feedback for Tokyo Eating Trip Feb 2013


Been following the threads and would like some feedback for my eating itinery.. I got 4.5 days of meals to plan and the 2 meals that I really wanna splurge on are Sawada and Takazawa. Travelling in a party of 4

Day 1
5am Arrival
Breakfast - A little nuts but is sushizanmai open this early?
Lunch - Tonkatsu ( Maisen/Butagumi)
Dinner - Uochin at midtown
Day 2
Lunch - Unagi(Nodaiwa/Kandagawa)
Dinner - Takazawa
Day 3
Early morning Tsukiji plus Sushi Dai/daiwa
Lunch - Ramen (Gogyo)
Dinner - Midori Sushi followed by late night yakitori at an izakaya
Day 4
Lunch - Sushi Sawada
Dinner - Yakiniku (Jojoen/Jumbo)
Day 5
Lunch - tatsukichi
6pm flight

Any suggestions on what's good for breakfast in tokyo? Realise I havent included any shabu shabu/sukiyaki/tempura/non japanese restaurants.. Im sure we will try to sneak a meal or 2 extra in between somewhere. Any glaring must tries that I have omitted? Have already been to Mizutani and Ryugin previously

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  1. Shinjuku Tatsukichi doesn't open for lunch.

    1. Sushizanmai has some branches which are open 24 hours, but all are open from early morning. To help with breakfast recommendations, could you tell us where are you staying?

      1. Day 3 is kind of repetative. Sushi Dai/Daiwa are going to be a long wait with 4 people for OK "value" sushi. Midorizushi is pretty much a similar experience in the PM...
        ...Sawada you had better work on booking. It's only counter seating, you have to call exactly one month before, you have to reconfirm two days before, and they may not accept reservations for 4 persons, nor reservations from abroad. Just look into it. Miyakozushi near Nihonbashi is a top rated place on Tabelog and they do have a table for 4.......Suggest dropping yakiniku and doing nabemono or something more Japanese.....Day 1 shop I think you mean Uoshin in Nogizaka, next to Midtown.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Silverjay

          Regarding Miyakozushi (of which there are, I believe, four in the Nihonbashi area), the table is only for people to sit while waiting. I have never seen anyone served at the table. As for making reservations, the soonest you can now make would be for late February or maybe March. Also, they do not speak any English there, only Japanese.

        2. Thanks for feedback...

          I will be staying at AZABU COURT (4-5-39 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0047)

          Uncle Yabai: Thanks, I might just move Shinjuku Tatsukichi to Dinner day 3 and then midori sushi to lunch on day 5

          Silverjay: Noted on the 'sushi overload' day. Might move tsukiji and morning sushi to day 2(are they open on Sunday?) Dont think my family is too keen on nabemono but it's probably a toss up between yakiniku but leaning towards teppanyaki at intercontinental akasaka. Fingers crossed on the Sawada booking

          Thanks for all the feedback so far; any suggestions for good midpriced izakayas that are worth going and are they open for lunch?

          6 Replies
            1. re: greedyb

              In general, izakaya are either closed at lunchtime, or else they offer some sort of budget donburi that's not nearly as interesting as their evening offerings. I generally stick to specialty restaurants (tonkatsu, tempura, etc.) at lunchtime.

              By the way, Yukari in Nihonbashi, which serves kaiseki in the evenings, does very nice prix-fixe lunches starting at Y2100. ( )

              1. re: Robb S

                Miyakozushi in Nihonbashi, with 6 weeks waiting list, is a place 'a la mode'(2 books published about it, one by a manga writer), but this sushi-yasan is actually following old way sush stylei,.. even if the chef is in his 30's, he doesn't speak english.. usually Japanese are very nice with foreigners, it feels a bit too izakaya with its range of sake, people speaking to each other,.. good ambiance.
                The 'tennen unagi(=wild eel)' season is from September to February, and, in my opinion, such eels are good. At unagi Kandagawa, place is nice (booking necessary), the 'uzaku' is very good, unagi is large rich .. recently I also tried unagi Ishibashi in Edogawa bashi, I loved it, as i like my unagi to be well grilled !!
                For tonkatsu, here a link of a recent review on Butagumi  
                Butagumi will be more expensive, Katsukura in Takashimaya Shinjuku is easy to access, .. prefer the upgrade menu of 'special tonkatsu' than the cheaper menu that was not as juicy..
                Sushi sawada, try to book it by your hotel.
                Sushi tour, OK, but what range of prices are you targetting for your sushis ?

                1. re: Ninisix

                  Robb S - thanks, will see whether can we fit that into the schedule though i suspect I'm running out of meals

                  Ninisix - Admittedly first time hearing about miyakozushi so will have to go do some reading up about it. Apart from sawada, we hoping not to spend more than 10,000jpy per head at other sushi places and thus far midori and those at tsukiji come to mind...
                  Assuming if you take price and crowd out of the equation which of these restaurants would you choose - Unagi - Kandagawa/Nodaiwa/Obana and Tonkatsu - Butagumi/Katsukura/Maisen?? These are likely lunch options

                  1. re: greedyb

                    After checking your location, i have found out that you're at Azabu Court, so in Minami-azabu.  Butagumi Tonkatsu is in Nishi-Azabu, so you are in a walking distance. With a group of 4, you can order about 6 different pork. Butagumi is the best enjoyable as share pork party .. the quality of pork is quiet nice at Butagumi, it costs 3000yens to 4000yens per person.
                    For Unagi, i do like Kandagawa better, I usually order 'uzaku' at first and then a 'unaju'(takes 45mn). The place is also very old and kind of secret house, behind the crowd of Akihabara... that feels special. The unagi at Nodaiwa, when it is the season of "wild', is good. 
                    Sushi, under 10,000.-yens, as you are looking for a  sunday lunch right ? Mizakozushi is open at lunch only on Sunday's and has a lunch 'omakase' at 5000yens, Sushi Taichi open also on Sunday and in Ginza offers a lunch at 5000yens. As for the sushi experience, important is the possible comunication with the chef, so I recommend Taichi - although I am not really sure about his English, I think it is rudimentary. Ask for the free english map at the Koban(police box) at the Ginza Crossing.
                    For another lunch, and one michelin star, sushi Ichi behind the Ginza Chanel Building, has a lunch at 3000yens, and pretty complete enough.
                    Closed on Sundays.

              2. re: greedyb

                Sake no Ana does great lunch sets starting from ¥1,000. If your feeling up to it, you can also try some of their extensive selection of sake while you're there.


              3. Trip Report Feb 2013

                Thanks everyone for your feedback/suggestions. Just got back from my trip and it was so good I am back to saving up for my next trip. Below is the restaurants i went to with brief comments.

                Day 1
                Rokurinsha(Tokyo Ramen Street) - Fresh from the airport and just managed to get in at 930am after a 5 min wait. Unfortunately could not order the usual tsukemen option and had to settle for the Breakfast version... was still really good though.

                Nodaiwa - Went to the branch at the same floor as Sushi Jiro and birdland, was strangely empty when we were there for lunch. Best unagi I have eaten to date, not sure if I would make a return trip

                Shin Hinomoto - Food was good(especially gyoza stuffed chicken wings) but do feel it was a little overhyped and we landed up filling up at a yakitori joint below Yurakucho station

                Day 2
                Sushi Daiwa - Line at Sushi Dai was too long when we got to Tsukiji market at 515am but we managed to get in Sushi Daiwa after a 15 min wait. Sadly, sushi failed to live up to expectations and probably not worth the early morning and lines.

                Butagumi - This was best tonkatsu we have ever eaten and great fun being able to sample a few different types of pork and well worthy of the hype. The Fillet(Hire) portions were cooked beautifully.

                Takazawa - Amazing experience being able to see a chef be inspired by nature and then expressing it in his food. Chef Takazawa also came across incredibly humble for his talent. Very expensive because of his wine list but glad I got to try it once, not sure if I would go again.

                Day 3
                Tsunahahi Honten - Manage to avoid the long lines on a Sunday by going at 1130am and tempura was really good value.

                Uochin Nogizaka - Maybe this izakaya isnt popular on these threads because its favoured by foreigners but we thought seafood here was really fresh and was amazing value

                Gogyo - Kogashi miso ramen, very good

                Day 4
                Midori sushi - Went to midori after Ameyoko market was such a disappointment. 1 hour wait but still do think midori sushi is one of the best value sushi in tokyo.

                Jumbo Yakiniku - Similar to the experience we had at their branch in Singapore but slightly cheaper. They do turn tables really quickly and we were told 'last orders' for at 9pm for our 8pm reservation as they had a 915pm reservation for the same table

                Day 5
                Tetsu - Tsukemen at Roppongi Hills. Was good on its own but think we preferred Rokurinsha's version.

                Sawada - Best sushi experience and worth all the hype that everyone has given it. Would definitely return again if given the opportunity. Chef Sawada is both friendly/humble and personifies everything that is good about the artisan.

                Day 6
                Ichiran breakfast and off to the airport...

                Would definitely go to Uochin,Butagumi and Sawada again, looking forward to trying Fuunji and Toriki in future.

                4 Replies
                1. re: greedyb

                  On Sushi Sawada, there has been comments on the difficulty to make a reservation. As i understand, you didn't stay in a hotel - that might have helped you for the reservation, so how did he go ? Thank you for your report, very clear, and hope to see you soon in Tokyo..

                  1. re: Ninisix

                    You're right, I think for non residents, they insist on hotel concierge reservations. It was a little cheeky of me but I stayed one night at the conrad and booked Sushi Sawada through them before moving over to the service apartment as mentioned above. Cool, will give you a shout on my next trip

                    1. re: greedyb

                      was it difficult to book a reservation at Sawada?

                      1. re: PorkyBelly

                        I honestly wouldnt know, would simply venture a guess that its down to how good a relationship the restaurant has with various hotel concierges? I just gave the concierge the dates I was in Tokyo and said I was happy to take a reservation at any time on any day and got lucky. Hope that helps