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Visiting Tokyo from NYC for the first time!! (Researched)

Hello, I'll be visiting Tokyo during the 3rd week of November for work. I have 8 dinners and maybe 6 lunches at my disposal. Based on what I read on the boards, I've come up with a tentative list and would appreciate some feedback. Any must haves that I'm missing, any duds on my list?!?

I'll be staying at the Imperial Hotel and working in Marunouchi building. I'll be dining by myself and I do not speak Japanese. I've requested a friend who speaks Japanese for help with the reservations but I'm not sure if all of the following accept reservations or not.

1. Saturday dinner: Yoroniku
2. Sunday lunch : Hirosaku
3. Sunday dinner: Sushi Saito (I understand that this is probably going to be hard given that I have only a month to go. Any suggestions on what to replace it with? Sawada just seems to expensive :(
4. Monday dinner: Tempura Kondo
5. Tuesday dinner: Butagmi
6. Wednesday dinner: Daisan Harumi
7. Thursday dinner: Takazawa (If I don't get this, then the next option is RyuGin)
8. Friday dinner: Torishiki
9. Saturday lunch: Nodaiwa
10. Saturday dinner: Uoshin Nogizaka
11. Sunday lunch: Sushi Taichi (What time does this open?)

As you can see, I do not have any Ramen, Soba or Udon here. I was hoping to do that for my weekday lunches. Can someone please help me figure out possible options that are close to the Marunouchi building? I was thinking about Ramen (Gyoukai Tsukemen & Tonkotsu), Udon (Tsurutanton?), Soba (Narutomi? This does not seem close to the office).

Any other lunches around the office that are must haves?

I also wanted to add some Bakeries and Food Halls but there are so many that I can't decide.

Bakeries (I'm probably going to kill a lot of names with my spellings): Pompadour, Vie de France, Roule, Tolo, Robouchon, Isetan@Shinjuku, Donq, Ameya Citaro Mitsukoshi, Viron, Sadaharu Aoki, Boulangerie, Pascal Caffet, Mont St. Clair, Patisserie Paris S'eville, Sebastian Bouillet, Chez Cima, Le Cour Pur, Viron, Echire Butter, Hidemi Sugino, Tes Souhaits, Laudree, Baloyau, Pierre Herme, Paul Hevin, Jean Francois, Fedrick Cassel.

Food Halls: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/920032 and Nisshin, Hanamasa & Meijiya.

Can someone please help me narrow this down to maybe 3-4 bakeries and 2 food halls. Also, I'm a complete noob when it some to food halls. Are there any must buys? Anything that can be transported on an international flight is fine.

Breakfasts! I haven't planned anything yet but what can I try in the morning (before work so pretty early I guess)? I'm prepared to wake up as early as required to try something delicious :

)

Finally, bars! Anything that is unique to Tokyo that I won't get in NYC? I read an article about cocktail bars in Tokyo but I'm not sure if they are different from the ones in NYC.

Thank you very much!

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  1. For ramen, just go down to Tokyo Ramen Street in Tokyo station across from your hotel. Some of the best options in Tokyo have shops down there - if you want ramen you are lucky to be close by. Be prepared to wait in line.

    http://www.tokyoeki-1bangai.co.jp/en/

    1 Reply
    1. re: la2tokyo

      Great. Rokurinsha@Tokyo ramen street seems to be very close to Marunouchi Building! Thank you!

    2. You should do Daisan Harumi on a Saturday (lunch or dinner, same menu). Much better value for the same fish, more relaxed atmosphere.

      I am 99% sure that Sushi Saito is closed on Sundays.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Asomaniac

        Also: just out of curiosity, why Yoroniku?

        1. re: Asomaniac

          Thanks! Just wanted to try a Yakiniku place. Do you have a recommendation?
          I had Yoroniku, Ebisu Champion Penthouse, Jumbo Shiragne, Toraji, Le Beouf in Yoga and Ayanokouji on my list.

          1. re: Asomaniac

            this blog post kind of did it for me

            http://sfreelife.com/2012/03/24/yoroi...

            1. re: Asomaniac

              Yoroniku is good. My fave yakiniku in town.

              1. re: FourSeasons

                Any suggestions on what to get there?

          2. Hello everyone,

            I'm about to leave for my trip in a few days and I wanted to get an idea of the location of the places that I plan to visit, the trains that I need to take, etc. This ended up being harder than it had originally seemed since I found some posts about google maps not being accurate. I would be thankful if someone could please help verify if the following locations are accurate or not?

            1. Sushi Iwa
            - Address seems to be *gen building 1F, 6-3-17, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061.
            - But, but the location on google maps seems to be different from what is there on http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8661...
            - Using the above mentioned link, I tried to put together a route from Ginza Station to the Dupont Shop - http://goo.gl/maps/rCt96.
            - Around where I'll look for a flower shop and the picture from the link -http://chowhound.chow.com/uploads/6/7...
            - Can someone please advice on which one's correct?

            2. Daisan Harumi
            - Address: 1-17-7 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
            - Google maps - http://goo.gl/maps/Zz5Pd.
            - From the SkinnyChopsticks blog - "If you’re thinking of finding this address on Google maps, you won’t have much luck finding it. Based on our own experience, I’m able to pin drop approximately where this restaurant is on Google Maps. Get off at Shinbashi station (either via JR train lines or the metro) and walk towards the area with the pin drop on the Google Map below." - http://skinnychopsticks.com/wordpress...
            - Can someone please confirm as to which is correct?

            3. Sushi Taichi
            - Address: 6 Chome-4-13 Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to, Japan
            - Google Maps: http://goo.gl/maps/N34R3
            - From https://plus.google.com/1138738638610... - "Oh and it's almost impossible to find, even with Google maps."
            - Is the google maps location off?

            If someone could help check the locations on google maps for the following, that would be very helpful.

            4. Mansei Mikage - http://goo.gl/maps/p6fqW
            5. Yoroniku - http://goo.gl/maps/XNpEs
            6. Anago Tamai - http://goo.gl/maps/DSWmf
            7. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - http://goo.gl/maps/YP76K
            8. Tempura Kondo - http://goo.gl/maps/dY9tT
            9. Butagumi - http://goo.gl/maps/jaHrf
            10. RyuGin - http://goo.gl/maps/XZ6kk
            11. Fuku - http://goo.gl/maps/4hoa7
            12. Nodaiwa - http://goo.gl/maps/Xc2oD (from the Kamiyacho Station
            )13. Uoshin Nogizaka - http://goo.gl/maps/yTfjs

            7 Replies
            1. re: indiefoodie

              Ideally, have a smartphone with you with google maps, and tabelog for pictures of the shop exterior, add 15 minutes or more to your travel times for walking around in circles once you've arrived at the right block, and you'll do just fine :)

              Also, please pay attention to the station exit you want to take, as getting out in the wrong place can be both time consuming and disorientating in some of the larger stations.

              e.g. for Daisan Harumi:

              http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1301/A13010...

              I'm not sure what the problem with google maps is supposed to be, I haven't been to Daisan Harumi, but the restaurant's site indicates they're behind the Shinbashi Resona bank, which seems to be about where google puts them. (note that because of the quaint address system, google is often going to be wrong about where in a block a restaurant is, but less often about where the entire block is...

              )

              As for Sushi Taichi - get yourself to Ginza 6-4 (this should be trivial) and then look for it based on this sign. Note that many places that are "impossible to find" in Ginza are simply in that alley that runs through the center of the block.

              http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1301/A13010...

              1. re: Gargle

                Thanks Gargle! I did that already :) I have a list of photographs of the places that I plan to hit that I got from Tabelog (thanks to Silverjay for http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/889632) and some other blogs. As per your suggestion, I'll go to the places early and then try to use the pictures that I have to locate them.

              2. re: indiefoodie

                Sushi Iwa moved last year in August, now the location is Ginza 8-5-15 near a florist, and just go straight from the street between the Sony Bld and the Hermes Bldg,..

                1. re: indiefoodie

                  Recommend picking up a Tokyo City Atlas. This is a smallish portable street directory with maps for most central Tokyo neighborhoods showing all sorts of useful stuff (numbered blocks, metro exits etc) in English (unlike Google maps). If you don't have access to a Japanese book-store prior to departure, someone in your Tokyo office will know a likely shop in the Marunouchi area to find one.

                  Failing this, most central metro stations will have a neighbourhood map just after the turnstiles, again with block numbers, metro exits etc. These are helpful for orienting yourself as you exit the station and you'll see folks snapping away at the illuminated map with their phone cameras.

                  1. re: shakti2

                    I'm not sure what your problem is with Google Maps - they also show numbered blocks, metro exits, and useful stuff in Romaji. They're also generally more up to date than Tokyo City Atlas.

                    1. re: Robb S

                      The Atlas has been a superb aid for getting this anglophone out-of-towner to a specific destination in Tokyo, so I'm always happy to recommend it.

                      Whereas a fairly typical issue with Google Maps for Tokyo - I'm looking at its Ginza map now and seeing some dept-store ground-floor plans on Chuo-dori, but nothing which says in roman letters whether they might be Mitsukoshi or Matsuya or something else, info which might actually be useful if I'm trying to orient myself along the main drag in search of a specific address.

                      1. re: shakti2

                        Well Google Maps can tell you where you're actually standing, so I think it wins in the orienting-yourself department.

                        Personally I've found the Atlas to be rather uneven when I've tried to use it - for example a number of train stations just a few stops outside the Yamanote loop were simply missing the last time I looked at it. Perhaps it's improved since then, but it certainly didn't give me confidence.

                2. Are there any must-eat (if not that, then good) lunch recommendations around the Marunouchi building? I plan to hit Ramen Street but am not sure of what is around there? Soba, Udon, Curry, anything else that does not take too long is fine. Thank you!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: indiefoodie

                    Marunouchi, well, yes..if you want to go for a quick yakitori, exactly in the 5th floor of the Shin Marunouchi Bldg, Yakitori Banchou is a nice destination for Yakitori and French mix menu.

                  2. Did you get a reservation for Yoroniku? I couldn't get a sense of whether or not I could walk-in for lunch.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: shake N baik

                      Yeah, at 5 PM.

                    2. Hi, does anyone know how long does lunch at Sushi Taichi take? My lunch reservation is at 12 PM and my flight's at 5:30 PM (Narita) so I just wanted to make sure I have enough time at hand. Thank you!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: indiefoodie

                        2 hours is enough, Yurakucho station is one station from Tokyo that have direct trains to Narita in less than an hour..

                        1. re: Ninisix

                          What are the differences you notice between Sushi Iwa and Sushi Taichi? Different use of shari?

                          1. re: CaLBeaR1227

                            @CaLBeaR1227, I haven't been to Taichi yet so all I know for now is that Iwa is excellent! Maybe one of the Japan regulars has some insight into how are they different from each other.
                            I'm looking forward to Daisan Harumi and Taichi and seeing how all of these fare up against each other.

                            1. re: CaLBeaR1227

                              Oh I've seen that you are going to Sushi Saito, I would be glad to have your comparison between Saito-San and Iwa-San. I prefer Sushi Iwa nigiri over Saito San.
                              Taichi is a very famous in Tsukiji, and their fish is top grade (for the price), red vinegar nigiri, aged maguro(depending on season)... Sushi Iwa propose rather more simple pieces, like 'nihama(hamaguri)' , without brushing sauce to be able to fully taste the clam, one piece 'ebi' to eat in one time...

                            2. re: Ninisix

                              Thank you Ninisix! Would talking a taxi to Narita be quicker? If yes, then I can do that. It's an international flight so I guess I would need to get there a little earlier than I would need to for a domestic flight.

                              1. re: indiefoodie

                                Sure, it would be quicker (not by much), and cost you a multiple of what you paid for the lunch...

                                1. re: indiefoodie

                                  Cool down.
                                  Why are you so afraid to not arrive on time ? Your flight is at 5:30 pm, you can quietly have lunch, take a train from Tokyo station direct to Narita and arrive 2 hours before your flight. If you are worried about this time arrival to Narita, just buy your ticket first - you will know exact time of arrival at Narita, so what time for departure, and then go with peace of mind to sushi Taichi.
                                  But typically 1h Tokyo-Narita + 2h before 17h30, i.e. departure around 14:00-14:30 (check precise train departure time), is not that tight and leaves room for a good sushi.

                                  1. re: indiefoodie

                                    I have done this several times in the past, i.e. had 2 hour-ish lunch at 12 noon, after that picked up my luggage that I stored in train station coin locker, then catch a train to Narita and had always managed to arrive with time to spare before my 530pm flights. For train to Narita, I had always used either Skyliner or NEX.