Prior to my Tokyo / Hakone / Fujikawaguchiko trip, I did a lot of research finding a variety of different Japanese foods to eat – sushi, ramen, unagi, BBQ beef, soba, udon, Kaiseki, pancakes, seafood donburi, and tempura. And trust me, even after 9 days, we felt that we were not able to eat all the Japanese meals we wanted, because there just simply wasn’t enough time to do and eat everything! We ended up not eating one of the soba noodles I researched, missed a udon shop we wanted to try because they ran out of udon noodles, and sometimes just didn’t feel hungry enough.
For booking restaurants in Japan, you will probably need to use the websites https://tabelog.com/en/ and https://omakase.in/. With the huge influx of tourists going in to Japan these days, along with locals just dining outside in general, it is highly recommended that you book at least a month, preferably 3 months, prior to ensure you have a table booking, otherwise it can be difficult to book. Also it is recommended to have someone who knows Japanese to help you book because with the websites, you will have to rely on Google translate sometimes and sometimes the translation may not be understandable, so you might end up booking a set menu when you actually could have just booked a table with a la carte instead (what happened to us with Yoroniku Ebisu).
This post will focus on restaurants we ate only in Tokyo, as I will do separate posts for Hakone and Fujikawaguchiko and talk about the trip itinerary including the restaurants for those. It will talk about which ones were yummy and worth the price, and which ones that weren’t. Continue reading Recommended Places to Eat in Tokyo
In my last post on One of the Best FOOD Trips Ever in FUKUOKA, I covered not only the places we went to eat and which ones I recommended, but I also covered the accommodation and transportation (car rental really) for our trip to Fukuoka, so you can just read that blog post for more info. Or if you’re interested in visiting the southern side of Fukuoka, like Aso and Beppu, you can see my photos at Fukuoka, Aso, and Sea Hell in Beppu for some of the things I did (and ate, but the eating aspect was terrible because we joined a tour agency).
So let’s dig straight into the things to do in Fukuoka, which also included us going north and visiting places like Kitakyushu, Akiyoshidai, Yamaguchi, Nagato, and Hagi. I’ll be writing in order of the things we’ve done.
Continue reading Shrines and Limestones, Fukuoka and North
I’ve actually been to Fukuoka before a couple years ago, but during that time we joined a tour group that brought us to these horrendous restaurants. I didn’t write much, but there are a couple of photos you can see at Fukuoka, Aso, and Sea Hell in Beppu. During that trip, we focused more on the southern parts of Fukuoka. As such, this time we focused more on the northern side of Fukuoka.
Anyway, the tour guide trip we were on brought us to these ridiculously atrocious restaurants. In fact, some of these restaurants were overcharging, with the help of the tour guide, who managed to convince us to HAVE to try this Kinki fish for USD 250 that turned out to be undercooked, with lots of bones, and not delicious at all.
That trip, I had an incredibly poor impression of the food in Fukuoka.
THIS time, since we planned and managed the trip ourselves, the food experience was the opposite of what I had compared to my first trip in Fukuoka, in that we had extraordinary food experiences, from sitting near the seaside BBQing raw oysters to eating traditional and sumptuous traditional Japanese traditional cuisine. I dare say this was one of THE best food experiences I’ve ever had, and I’m about to share with you some of the restaurants we went to. What a difference planning a trip by yourselves and joining a tour group makes. I’ve always been AGAINST joining tour groups, as you can manage your time however you want if you’re going by yourself and you can plan the restaurants YOU want to go to rather than being brought to tourist restaurants where the tour agency probably gets a cut or commission from bringing us there.
For things to do, you can read about my blog post Shrines and Limestones, Fukuoka and North.
Continue reading One of the Best FOOD Trips Ever in FUKUOKA
As iterated from the previous post, I went to an International Travel Expo in Hong Kong just one week ago. Took a lot of pamphlets and brochures, and wanted to share some resources that I got.
Niigata in Japan (70 minutes from Tokyo)
50 years ago Niigata was an important trade hub with the highest levels of culture and the largest population in Japan. The resonance of Jomon era pottery from 5000 years ago and modern day art.
Accommodations – Akakura Onsen Ski Resort, Akakura Kanko Resort Ski, Ikenotaira Onsen Ski Resort, Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort, Sekionsen Ski Resort, Lotte Arai Resort, Qupidvalley Ski Resort, Charmant Hiuchi Ski Resort, Naeba Ski Resort, Kagura Ski Resort, Kandatsu Kogen Ski Resort, Iwappara Ski Resort, Gala Yuzawa Ski Resort, Joetsu Kokusai Ski Resort, NASPA Ski Garden, Okutadami Maruyama Ski Resort, New Greenpia Tsunan Ski Resort Continue reading ITE – The Lesser Visited Places in Japan
It’s been a couple years since I went to Fukuoka, Aso and Beppu. We joined one of those tour groups so I didn’t prepare any itinerary. As with most tour groups, there were a lot of bus riding, a lot of mediocre restaurants, and some OK hotels that we stayed in (so clearly this wasn’t my decision).
This will be purely a photo blog.
Dome shaped hotels in Aso Farm Village. They also have Dom shaped onsen Continue reading Fukuoka, Aso, and Sea Hell in Beppu
This year was Fuji Rock’s 20th year hosted by SMASH Corporation Limited.
This trip was somewhat unexpected for me. I “raised my hand” to say that I would go and let my friend did most of the organizing. Even about 2 weeks before the event, I hadn’t heard back from him about any confirmations for hotels, the flights, or even the event tickets themselves, so I thought that I wouldn’t be going to FUJI Rock after all. Thank goodness that this trip actually went through, because I had a lot of fun. Continue reading FUJI ROCK 2018: The Experience, Tips and Strategies, and More
Having to find a destination that can fit an itinerary for 5 days, wasn’t hot in the summer, wasn’t raining, was affordable from a trip from Hong Kong, was easy to get around and walk around, and a city that we haven’t been many times before or recently, we settled on Nagoya.
To visit the major sites of Nagoya, you could probably do it in 3 days. So since we were there for 5 days, including the flights, we decided to also pay visits to Shirakawa-gō, Kanazawa, and Tojinbo.
Nagoya is actually the fourth largest city in Japan, but you definitely wouldn’t see it that way when you arrive here. The city represents a sense of calmness, serenity, peace, and all things that a city wouldn’t possess. Yet at the same time, there is everything you want from a city – interesting people, convenient transportation, lots of food, and more. It’s just organized and cleaned up well here.
I’ve written about a post about Nagoya before, so if you haven’t already, please check out Let’s Drive: Nagoya (Japan Part Three). I’ll try my best to not overlap any sort of information. Continue reading Nagoya Again and Also Kanazawa
You read that right, Tokyo is like a bento box. A perfect metaphor as I sat watching my friend struggle to think of a way to eat his bento box… without a spoon. You’d expect a bento box bought in Family Mart to come with a spoon somewhere in the packaging, but actually you would need to get the spoon individually. I guess he didn’t double check as we were rushing to take the train to Shinjuku from the airport… trains in Japan are never early, never late, always punctual, and so we wanted to be at least 2 minutes early to the platform. Continue reading Tokyo Is Like A Bento Box
Just like you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a travel destination by its pictures. I’ve been to places where the photos are prettier than the location, but Okinawa is the opposite – just when you think the island is just about the beaches and the sea (like Kenting), Okinawa provides a lot more than water activities and tanning.
Even though American military (navy) is based on this island, don’t think that you can speak English anywhere. In fact, treat it as if you were at anywhere else in Japan – they couldn’t speak English most of the time! Body and hand signals are vital if you don’t know how to speak Japanese! Continue reading Okinawa aka All You Can Eat Agu Pork
Both Nara and Kobe are places convenient from either Kyoto and Osaka. While Nara is famous for its deer, Kobe is famous for its beef. Whereas I could spend a whole day in Nara, I would definitely spend less than half a day in Kobe… besides eating, there really isn’t anything else to do there! Well, except for shopping probably.
There’s going to be a lot of walking in Nara as the park is pretty big. I had a big luggage with me, since I just checked out of Osaka and planned to go to Nara first before heading to Kyoto for my accommodation at night. It would be ridiculous for me to carry a huge luggage around. Thankfully, there was a Nara City Tourist Information Center next to JR Nara Station where you can leave your luggages there from 9am to 7pm (Tel no. 0742 27-2223). Continue reading Nara Deer, Kobe Beef