Japan Travel /access restricted/


Since three years Japan has been closed from the rest of the world reminding us of Japan’s closure Sakoku literally translated as “chained country” was the isolationist foreign policy of the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate under which, for a period of 265 years during the Edo period (from 1603 to 1868), relations and trade between Japan and other countries were severely limited, and nearly all foreign nationals were banned from entering Japan, while common Japanese people were kept from leaving the country.
Finally opening the borders to the rest of the world please visit Japan and be sure to follow the SOS procedures to fastback otherwise it is a nightmare: https://www.hco.mhlw.go.jp/fasttrack/en/

Japan is a complex place, layers and layers of intricate details, some visitors enjoy peeling back the layers while others prefer to see it more superficially. I have been in Japan for over 30 years, and I am still puzzled by some regular occurrences, and I ask my self why. As a tourist, you can easily enjoy Japan and for the first time, it is wise to take it easy, do not pack too much into your travels and allocate sufficient time to each journey.

I compiled this basic information for friends to pick and choose what best suits their own interests. I do advise first time travellers to focus on Tokyo, Kamakura and Kyoto. If you are a contemporary art lover, you can incorporate Naoshima and visit Tadao Ando designed Benesse House Museum.

I always recommend Kyoto as a place to spend some time but consider the city and the temples are spread out from east to west and from north to south. A driver and car is recommended there as an absolute must.

Then you have onsen and a visit to onsen is one of those memories you’ll never forget, and its either something you’ll love or hate. Onsen is all about sleeping on tatami and living in a Yukata for 24-hours. The cuisine is all Japanese except breakfast which is usually a choice between western or Japanese: https://mesubim.com/2014/11/23/yagyunosho-part-v-breakfast/

If you decide to visit an onsen beware they charge by the person and it is quite costly, although well worth it. You have two meals and a private onsen in your room. If you decide to go ask me for some more advice.

In Tokyo, I am always asked about the fish market, and if you are keen to see it, I recommend asking the hotel to arrange a guided tour given tourists are not welcome there in the early hours anymore. It is forbidden to access Tsukiji during work hours and the rules have changed so be careful not to awaken early and go there to be disappointed.

Eating sushi at the market is touristic at best, and if you have any interest go very early or you’ll be forced to line up for hours. If you want to try Daiwa at Tsukiji, go straight to building 6, and claim your spot in the line up. At 6:30am and you wait for about 40 minutes. Counter-only seating in the tiny space was very tight. There was barely any elbow room with 12 to 16 at one time and four chefs behind the counter. This sushi is fresh but I am afraid to say that fresh fish isn’t the only prerequisite for sushi tasting better.

In fact, as a side note, and not to turn anyone off sushi, so don’t be squeemish after reading this. Raw fish poses a threat and in most countries, in Europe there are strict regulations on deep freezing fish to kill all bacteria. There is a very good reason. I’ll share the words of a Japanese medical surgeon who was describing how people go fishing and come back after eating fresh caught fish with terrible gut wrenching pain. The problem is, when fish is too fresh you can risk anisaki, a worm that bits the stomach walls. It isn’t life threatening yet it is painful and frightening.

So back to sushi at Tsukiji, and sushi in general; all sushi chefs practice the same techniques to treat all fish and free them of all types of small host worms. The techniques involve salt and vinegar, a common technique used. At the same time, fish that is too fresh can pose issues and so factor into the equation the quality. In the Tsukiji it is more fresh than in most other places, but quality in Japan has multiple degrees. If you watch Pocket Concierge, you can see sushi ranging from ¥15,000-¥50,000, and for a good reason. The low end isn’t worthwhile even if the photgraphy makes it look up to snuff. There is no quality at the low end, it cannot be possible. So, when eating raw fish consider the minimum cost per person is ¥20,000 and up. Don’t fool around with random places, hygiene is critical in eating raw fish.

Onto another topic, travel so I added Kamakura to the list for travellers who wish to have a little more cultural activity, and perhaps a stroll at the seaside beach. It is all a matter of priority and for us, we enjoy a short morning trip to Kamakura, a soba lunch and back home: https://mesubim.com/2016/04/01/hawk-fake-wasabi-matsubara-an/

Here are some options of things to do while in Tokyo;

– Shopping /plenty of options/
– fish market /requires a guide & avoid the fish at the market/
– Museums /numerous depending your preferences/
– Temples /numerous/
– Gardens /numerous/
– Key Sightseeing e.g. skytree, Tokyo Tower, etc.
– Relaxation & Spa
– Contemporary Art Galleries /many/
– Cuisine /quality choices/
– Kids Gifts /kiddyland/
– Music /many options/
– Coffee /many/
– Animal Cafes /few/
– Palace /Tokyo & Kyoto/

Tokyo is often the priority for any traveler and they sometimes wish to start off in Tokyo and finish in Tokyo. Otherwise, you can start in Kobe, Osaka, or Kyoto and finish in Tokyo. But from my experience, Tokyo is best at the beginning and at the end of any trip because most travellers are anxious to have one last time for shopping in Tokyo before departing Japan.


Eating is Japan is a treasure trove, but at the same time what we consider a treasure and what you are used to, are two different animals. The cuisine in Japan is not “nobu” styled, and if you come to Japan and expect to eat Nobu you’ll be challenged, or even shocked, and or uncomfortable. Foods in Japan are based on domestic ingredients, so each restaurant specializes in one food., e.g. yakitori is chicken and only chicken, and sushi is usually fish only and raw, and tempura is only fried, and ramen is only noodles. So when you choose a specific culinary experience you’ll need to take into consideration what you can and cannot eat.


You must be cautious about where you eat because dietary substitutions can be complex, and result in disappointment. Japanese chef’s do not understand the very basic ideas of food restrictions, and even allergies are often problematic. For example the basis for “Washoku”, traditional Japanese kitchen is a base named dashi, and all dashi is made with fish and seaweed. So if you cannot eat fish stock, it gets even more complex. If you have any kind of dietary restrictions you must be selective in your choice of restaurants. This needs to be arranged well in advance and my recommendation to use Pocket Concierge to help you in managing your preferences. For vegetarians meals that won’t disappoint are also possible, however in general eating is a pleasure, and most people are fascinated by the variety of foods.

I won’t bore you with a long list of protocols in Japan, however, there are many and a few are considered key while others less important.The first protocol is being on time, not changing plans and remaining respectful. Most foreigners decide at the last moment to change their minds. This in Japan is a big “no-no” and if you change your mind and time schedule, your host will explode from frustration. Japanese have a deep sense of respect for being on time and being one minute late is considered rude. If you would be late, it is key to call minimum 30-minutes before the appointment. All you need to say is, “I am sorry I am thirty minutes late” and providing an explanation isn’t important.

Let’s start with the basics:

1. No tipping is required except at Ryokan and the protocol is to hand it at the start of your trip in an envelope, and make sure the money is clean and not folded. The appropriate amount is ¥5,000-10,000.
2. Handling money has a specific protocol in most shops and even in taxis there is a money tray, so place the money slowly and carefully without throwing it onto the tray. Do not directly hand money to Japanese in shops, or anywhere.
3. Taxi doors open automatically and do not open the doors or attempt to exit from the roadside as it is considered dangerous and it is.
4. Chopsticks, place them where you find them, and nowhere else during mealtime. Do not place them in any bowl, or use them to spear foods. Please always place and maintain your hashi (chopsticks) parallel and on the chopstick holder when not in use.
5. Campai (pronounced kam-pie) means cheers and it is customary to have a drink at the start of a meal. Your host will pour for you, so you take the bottle and pour him. Always hold the glass when someone pours for you
6. Shaking hands, so if you shake hands never squeeze the hands of Japanese, as bowing is a normal protocol and squeezing is not acceptable.
7. Dressing is important, and according to the situation (not too casual) as Japanese are often formal, so not track suits ever, and when you see people badly dressed they are often Chinese.
8. Shoes sometimes need to come off so pay attention to these kinds of situations, and if there is a step up, it means shoes off.
9. Speaking and telephone discretion should always be used and if you are in a public environment always be quiet and respect the environment.
10. Eating drinking in public is not common but happens but be cautious about walking with beverages.
11. Garbage Bins are scarce in Japan and on the streets, you are expected to dispose of your own garbage where you are to avoid carrying it.
12. On an escalator always stay to one side and that’s the left side so people who are more rushed can walk freely without any obstructions. In Osaka people stay to the right side.

Some travellers consider a visit to Hiroshima as a must to see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. A place continuously appealing for the elimination of nuclear armaments and the realization of permanent world peace. It is divided into east building and main building. At the east building, the history of Hiroshima (Hiroshima-no-ayumi) dealing with the A-bomb exposure period is presented through picture panels, films, and figures concerning factors related to the historical background at the time. In the main building, the museum shows the devastation caused by the atomic bomb in detail. The Peace Memorial Park, in which this museum is located, is known as a famous cherry blossom viewing site.

You have Naoshima a place for those seeking contemporary art and the architecture of Ando, all in a unique setting. While we have never been, we have helped numerous people to reserve there, and it can be a hassle as it is often full.

This is a basic level of information for planning a trip to Japan and for most travellers, 7/10 days is more than sufficient to see Tokyo, Kyoto, etc.

In planning a trip, you need to decide your places and priorities, and I recommend to travellers to determine what they wish to accomplish before planning their trip.This is key to the success of travel here, and cramping too much in can make it very tiring.


I am asked where should I stay in Tokyo, a difficult question to answer because for each person they have his/her preferences, and the options for hotels are based on location and proximity of those things you wish to do. But basically, the city is divided into east and west. Most tourists stay in either Shinjuku, Roppongi, Marunouchi, Ginza, and or Shibuya because there is plenty to do and walking distance to shopping makes it easier well.

But almost everywhere there are shops and the map is divided between east and west: left side in Black is where you could spend time but it is not to say the Blue area is boring, it is bustling with shops as If you look at a map, you’ll see that Tokyo retains some of its Edo Period features, most notably a large green oasis in the middle of the city, site of the former Edo Castle and today home of the Imperial Palace and its grounds. Surrounding it is the castle moat; a bit farther out are remnants of another circular moat built by the Tokugawa shogun. The JR Yamanote Line forms a loop around the inner city; most of Tokyo’s major hotels, nightlife districts, and attractions are near or inside this oblong loop, so the subway is useful and quick.

Back to where to go Left side of the map west is the Black Area on the map:

Shibuya Crossing is one of the busiest intersections in the world. During rush hour, you’ll find more than 1,000 people crossing this famous spot. When it comes to people watching and lots of Japanese it’s the place. In Shibuya, there is plenty to see, department stores, international brands and lots of odd shops selling knick-knacks. In fact, there is Tokyu Hands a place many enjoy although it isn’t for everyone nevertheless interesting to see and walk up to the top floor to burn some calories and have an iced coffee and then down and explore each floor: https://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/en/

And after Tokyu Hands, the area has lots of shopping and if you cruise the neighborhood you’ll find supreme, second-hand shops, music vinyl specialists and so many kids of variety. https://www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/en/list/shibuya/ and there is are numerous Tokyo hands in Tokyo but Shibuya is best.

From Shibuya you can walk to Harajuku District is the center of Japanese fashion and youth culture. Start by checking out the endless boutiques and vintage shops on Takeshita Street and the main road Omote Sando has the famous Prada building and the Nezu museum: http://www.nezu-muse.or.jp/en/and in and around Prada there is some small streets parallel which is interesting to see. I do like the building made by Kengo Kuma selling Taiwanese cakes: https://www.sunnyhills.com.tw/index/ja-jp/so go and try the cake if you wish.

In the same area, you can find a decent coffee: http://www.shozo.co.jp/news/ a kid of strange Japanese coffee shop with good small cakes. If you prefer Blue Bottle it is next door and in this area, if those don’t suit you try: https://www.maisonkitsune.com/mk/cafe-kitsune/which is nearby and kind of stylish. If you are a serious coffee fanatic there are other options yet further away but interesting: https://mesubim.com/2015/12/01/shokunin-tanaka-bear-pond/  and the owner is cool yet “otaku” and has his own way of doing things, so no photos.

Now away from coffee and onto once you’ve worked up an appetite: it isn’t Japanese but it has a twist and it is casual and nearby and in the same area. The area of Shibuya, Omote Sando, Harajuku, and even Shinjuku is almost all within reach. The area is huge with numerous things to see, do and eat. I have no idea what you like or what you can and cannot eat but here is some ideas: curry, tonkatsu, soba, sushi (probably your wife’s favorite and your too) and tempura, and lots and lots more.

I will help you with restaurants if you need more direction or see here: https://mesubim.com/2014/01/23/tokyos-30-best-sushi/ it is old yet they are more or less the same.



I almost forgot Deuce café: http://deuscustoms.com/flagships/residence-of-impermenance/  and it is fast food yet cool food and we use it from time to time if in a pinch for western-Japanese foods. In and around Deuce café are lots of funky shops and it is worthy to explore yet these areas are mixed with vintage and brands and not far away is Omote Sando’s main road with none other than Tadeo Ando’s Omote Sando Hills: https://www.omotesandohills.com/en/ an odd shape and perhaps boring to some extent but many enjoy it.

Iconic Harajuku style while in Tokyo manicure from Jill & Lovers: http://www.jillandlovers.jpwe never tried however you can at your own risk, just kidding but if you need hair and nails it is must book in advance in Japan as the saloons are everywhere. There are more than McDonald’s and Starbucks, it is insane and many are busy at all times.

Speaking of busy, you can try: https://store.tsite.jp/daikanyama/english/ again in the reach of the same Neighbourhood. If you like this quadrant stay in Roppongi.

To check out some nice food in Tokyo, you can head to Ebisu and eat traditional Japanese eateries or Robuchon’s Castle, a gastronomy experience. Speaking of Robuchon once again, the atelier is popular if you like Japanese-French in Tokyo. Japanese are/were fanatics of French food so there are thousands of good restaurants serving French just so you know: https://www.robuchon.jp/latelier-en and this Robuchon is located in the Roppongi and in the Hyatt complex, it is a huge mixed-use development.

We adore Korean food in Japan, it is extremely good and they have excellent beef and veggies: https://mesubim.com/2016/04/06/shins-korean-bbq-menu-tokyo/and you need to try Korean, you cook yourself. The owner is a close friend and his ingredients are wonderful, and his beer is super cold in a frosty glass, and that is a Japanese fetish.

There are good Japanese beef alternatives as well, and they adore to cook using Sumi and in particular “shabu-Shabu” – namely: https://mesubim.com/?s=shabu+shabu and avoid Sukiyaki, it is too sweet, however, if you like sweet: https://mesubim.com/2016/03/21/shabu-or-sukiyaki/

The service is excellent at these 3-hotels below: the Ritz is very good and the hotel starts on a high floor: and below is a marvelous shopping complex, and it has many yummy and good shops; Precce for shopping foods to take home, traditional cakes, traditional foods and lots of shops including on the top floor of the shopping are some cool shops: https://www.tokyo-midtown.com/en/ and there is the Suntory Museum as well as their shop which has nice items, and the park next door. The Ritz area is high-rise but it is easy to access the areas which you will like most and Ginza.

The Okura Hotel is a brand newly constructed project, and it is special considering its history.

Hyatt: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/japan/grand-hyatt-tokyo/tyogh?src=corp_lclb_gmb_seo_aspac_tyogh

Ritz: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/japan/tokyo?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2

Blue Area on the map: the Blue area on the map is trendy and there are some good men’s and women’s shopping around and in the Neighbourhood. The coffee is Japan is everywhere and in Ginza or Marunouchi you can walk to Hermes and see the building, all in glass blocks.

Each area in Tokyo has it’s own shape and form, so you should start with Ginza and Marunouchi and see it for what it is, and in and around Ginza you can travel a few minutes up to Coredo: https://mitsui-shopping-park.com/urban/nihonbashi/ and from there visit the mandarin and have a pizza at their pizza bar, it is quite costly for what it is, yet super popular.

You are in Tokyo’s answer to Manhattan; Ginza is famous for its insanely high rent and ten-dollar cups of coffee. This is the place to go when you want to spoil yourself with upmarket shops, restaurants, and galleries. Beef, yes meat and most people love Japanese beef and dream of it, do you?

If you do get ready for a small delicious beef steak: https://mesubim.com/?s=steak+tokyo+aragawaand it is fine dining and “takai” but many love it, or the sister restaurant: it is atmosphere dull and good gyu: https://mesubim.com/2015/11/18/gorio-tokyo-steak/both these are top end if you are not a vegan or a vegetarian or afraid of meat, just the price is scary.

If your fancy is electronics, the famous for its endless lines of electric stores, Akihabara is a tech lover’s heaven. The district is known as an electric town, and you can find anything and everything here. There are arcades and games galore alongside tons of anime and manga spots. While you are there you can see a maid café, yes odd but popular. The manga-style waitresses dress in traditional maids’ uniforms and call you master. There are a variety of different maid cafés, including some with guys waiting tables. You won’t find this anywhere else and I have never tried it, no time. If that grosses you out take a stroll in Yoyogi park or Ueno Park, both are large gardens yet I prefer Yoyogi as a park. But if you aren’t interested in Parks you are surrounded by lots of shopping and Kitte: http://jptower-kitte.jp/en/

Ginza 9: http://www.ginza9.com/language/index.html are both new and are good to explore including the B1.

Taito Ward and Asakusa is not far from you: at the heart of the Taito District is Asakusa with its impressive Senso-ji Temple. This beautiful seventh-century traditional temple is Tokyo’s most famous, yet very-very touristic and nothing to compare to Kyoto.

Asakusa has a fascinating history. If you are planning to do any walking tours, this is the place to do it. With a rich history of kabuki theaters and red-light districts, you can spend hours wandering around and taking it all in. You can also visit Kappabashi where they sell all the restaurant equipment if you cook, or go to eat ramen at one of my favorites: https://mesubim.com/?s=matador+ramen but be aware Ramen shops have line ups and often impolite people work there. If you like spicy, I took Matteo there and he managed to eat the spiciest they have: https://mesubim.com/2015/01/24/kikanbou-ramen/

Maybe the Tokyo Sky Tree is a television broadcasting tower and landmark of Tokyo. It is the centerpiece of the Tokyo Sky tree Town in the Sumida City Ward, not far away from you, it is the tallest structure in Japan and the second tallest in the world at the time of its completion. A large shopping complex with the aquarium is located at its base. But more easy could be Mori Tower observation deck, and you can see their museum.

Aman: https://www.aman.com/resorts/aman-tokyo

Peninsula: https://www.peninsula.com/en/tokyo/special-offers/rooms/luxury-in-advance?gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIusGg55fS5gIVDHZgCh3qegsmEAAYASAAEgLc-_D_BwE

Mandarin: https://www.mandarinoriental.com/tokyo/nihonbashi/luxury-hotel?htl=MOTYO&kw=MOTYO&eng=google&src=local

And lastly, this is very useful to check the availability of restaurants and to make bookings: https://pocket-concierge.jp/en/

There are other newer hotels since and some more hip and less known such as the Trunk Hotel, a boutique property located near Shibuya: https://trunk-hotel.com  And since Covid the Edition which is preferred by many travellers yet the location is B+: https://www.editionhotels.com/tokyo-toranomon and there is One Tokyo a different kind of hotel: https://www.onetokyo.com/en/accommodation/

2019 Itinerary: Japan_2019

So back to sushi at Tsukiji, and sushi in general; all sushi chefs practice the same techniques to treat all fish and free them of all types of small host worms. The techniques involve salt and vinegar, a common technique used. At the same time, fish that is too fresh can pose issues and so factor into the equation the quality. In the Tsukiji it is more fresh than in most other places, but quality in Japan has multiple degrees. If you watch Pocket Concierge, you can see sushi ranging from ¥15,000-¥50,000, and for a good reason. The low end isn’t worthwhile even if the photgraphy makes it look up to snuff. There is no quality at the low end, it cannot be possible. So, when eating raw fish consider the minimum cost per person is ¥20,000 and up. Don’t fool around with random places, hygiene is critical in eating raw fish.

Onto another topic, travel so I added Kamakura to the list for travellers who wish to have a little more cultural activity, and perhaps a stroll at the seaside beach. It is all a matter of priority and for us, we enjoy a short morning trip to Kamakura, a soba lunch and back home: https://mesubim.com/2016/04/01/hawk-fake-wasabi-matsubara-an/


Some travellers consider a visit to Hiroshima as a must to see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. A place continuously appealing for the elimination of nuclear armaments and the realization of permanent world peace. It is divided into east building and main building. At the east building, the history of Hiroshima (Hiroshima-no-ayumi) dealing with the A-bomb exposure period is presented through picture panels, films, and figures concerning factors related to the historical background at the time. In the main building, the museum shows the devastation caused by the atomic bomb in detail. The Peace Memorial Park, in which this museum is located, is known as a famous cherry blossom viewing site.

You have Naoshima a place for those seeking contemporary art and the architecture of Ando, all in a unique setting. While we have never been, we have helped numerous people to reserve there, and it can be a hassle as it is often full.

This is a basic level of information for planning a trip to Japan and for most travellers, 7/10 days is more than sufficient to see Tokyo, Kyoto, etc.

In planning a trip, you need to decide your places and priorities, and I recommend to travellers to determine what they wish to accomplish before planning their trip. This is key to the success of travel here, and cramping too much in can make it very tiring.


I advise guests to survey Pocket Concierge to ascertain a better understanding of what food types are available in Japan, and to see the cost of a meal. This is a very useful tool to select high-end cuisine in Japan because hotels have difficulty to book restaurants due to the fact that many concierge have to manage clients not showing up on time, etc. This has caused many restaurants to deny concierge from hotels to book directly.

Website: https://pocket-concierge.jp/


https://www.japan-experience.com/japan-rail-passHere are some options of things to do while in Tokyo;


This isn’t current and at the time there wasn’t other resources, so you had to develop your own but try Pocket Concierge for a better list.

Sushi 2008 JL: prices have changed since 2008 🤣🤣 and availability is rather hard since Covid or here as they call it Corona: sushi-tokyo-jls-list-version-completed-2008


We love this place – a cool spot for a sandwich:http://deuscustoms.com/cafes/harajuku/


Japan is unique and enjoying Japan is easy if you are open-minded. It is difficult to compare a trip to Japan to anywhere else. The most significant change in travel is the general courteousness of Japanese people, the size of Tokyo, food variety, and general standards. Japanese people are extraordinary, and they are mostly willing to help foreigners with whatever their needs may be.

You will experience an extraordinary level of integrity with Japanese, for example, my brother left his Leica camera in a taxi and the driver brought it back to the hotel and dropped it to the front desk. And one of our friends took a taxi to the Tsukiji (fish market) and it was 03h00am and the market was closed, so the driver took them back to their hotel and refused to accept payment.

Integrity is very much a part of the local culture and respect is a common denominator. Always stay composed, never raise your voice, and be patient at all times. Be aware that things move slowly sometimes especially when it comes to purchasing services or goods.

In Japan slow is a sign of quality and respect and it demonstrates that care has been given. You can wait a long time in a shop to have a gift wrapped and I mean a long time. These are some of the elements that make Japan special so remain patient.

You should also consider that Japanese are very visual people so this includes the idea that small is precious and cute is considered “kawaii” said like “hawaii” but with a “k.” This denotes something as being a pleasant and nice surprise and refers to humans or objects. Japanese are very dedicated to the Japanese way of life but at the same time engage foreign aspects and elements, such as Starbucks and other fast foods. These are novel in Japan and represent a certain change, a sense of enjoying overseas.

That’s the good side and now the difficult. Japanese are slow, small things can be excruciating and make you feel crazy. Japanese are not always the best problem solvers, and if they are it can take forever. You need to exercise patience at all time, and realize that wrapping a small gift at a shop can turn into a twenty-five minute affair.


Tokyo is one of Japan’s 47 prefectures, consisting of 23 central city wards and multiple cities, towns, and villages west of the city center. The Izu and Ogasawara Islands are also part of Tokyo.

Prior to 1860’s Tokyo was known as Edo, hence Edo sushi, a small castle town in the 16th century became Japan’s political center in 1603 when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there. A few decades later Edo had grown into one of the world’s most populous cities.

With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the emperor and capital moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo the “Eastern Capital”. Since large parts of Tokyo were destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, and in the air raids of 1945 but the people of Japan have demonstrated immense courage and this city is so impressive in so many ways.

Contrary to common perception, Tokyo also offers a number of attractive green spaces in the city center and within relatively short train rides at its outskirts. Tokyo offers unlimited choices of shopping, entertainment, culture, and dining. The city’s history can be appreciated in districts such as Asakusa, and in many excellent museums, historic temples, and scenic gardens. If you are spending time in Tokyo you need to think over carefully your priorities to optimize your time there. This map gives you a sense of the geography of one area of Tokyo.


The Imperial Palace is a place to see and most visitors enjoy the gardens as the Palace itself isn’t accessible to visitors. I recommend focusing more on smaller sites yet it’s important to see and walk through the Palace:



These days they are filled with Chinese tourists on their phones screaming. If you are looking for the food hall experience, I recommend my favorite Isetan in Shinjuku. in B1, there are fruits, meats, and plenty of other Japanese foods, both grocery and prepared foods. The cheese vendor sells a range of imported cheese, and the fruits department is superb. The departments are divided between, Japanese foods grocery, and prepared foods. The B1 also has a tremendous sweets section and a bread area with a variety of Japanese bakers selling international and local brands.

The vendor I often use is Fureika, a Chinese food supplier producing some of the finest in Tokyo. Here you can buy some mapodofu, rice, or seasonal vegetables and ask for hashi for enjoying at your leisure. But do not walk and eat anywhere in Japan as it is just not tolerated. Also, while in a department store, you can sample, and vendors encourage clients to taste their products. Be sure to taste it where it is shared and do not walk away, try it and acknowledge its taste as good by saying “oishi.”

The top floor in the department store Isetan has interesting for Japanese souvenirs, and there is a duty-free floor I stay away from. Enjoy Isetan Shinjuku  and what is has to offer.

There are some alternatives such as midtown Precce, and I suggest a quick visit there if you are either hungry as the facility has some decent options. If you are looking for some products to take home, at Precce make sure to buy Japanese Saran wrap as it is incredible and very useful if you use it at home.

Lastly if in Ginza you can try; Ginza 9, Takashimaya or Wako or wherever but while some offer food products for sale, many are selling brands. Make sure to check the top floor, or the gallery floors for exhibitions.



I do not frequent bars at night, I often frequent wine bars, and I do not recommend guests to the places I go because they involve membership. But there are numerous good cocktail bars you can try.




Tokyo 2022

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The Japanese culture is coffee crazed and you’ll find many options to choose from and here are some of my stories, yet there are ten of thousands to coffee shops.:https://mesubim.com/?s=coffee

Café de l’Ambre has been keeping the Ginza caffeinated since 1948 this a temple of coffee: http://www.h6.dion.ne.jp/~lambre/ but I prefer driving to Setagaya-ku to Bear Pond: http://www.bear-pond.com

Kitsune /Kendal’s favourite/ a Japaneseque styled café located in the heart of Omotesando, or walk over to Shozo cafe, a small cafe with some tasty small sweets located beside blue-bottle. From there we can walk (6 mins) up to Omote Sando Hills, a building of luxury shopping designed by Tadao Ando.

Shozo Cafe:http://omotesando-info.com/webmagazine/shozocoffeestore-commune246/

Sunny Hills: it is nearby Shozo cafe in Aoyama and while it isn’t Japanese it is worth a visit and a taste: https://mesubim.com/2016/01/04/sunny-hills-tokyo/

Bear Pond: my favorite yet not so close to the center: https://mesubim.com/2015/12/01/shokunin-tanaka-bear-pond/


Tokyo has achieved worldwide fame due to its animal cafés. The original craze started with cat cafés but has slowly expanded to accommodate a wide range of animal lovers. With this in mind, we’ve compiled our top spots around the capital, ranging from the ubiquitous cats down to snakes and owls;



If you’re a music enthusiast who swears by vinyl and enjoys digging through piles of second-hand records, then Shibuya will feel like a small slice of heaven. HMV stocks up to 80,000 titles, with around 60% of those being vinyl. The focus is on releases from the ’60s to the late ’90s. Most records on sale in the shop can be tried out on the freely usable laser turntable, allowing you to confirm the sound quality before buying.


The 350 meter high lower deck features wide windows, a restaurant, cafe, and shops. The 450-meter high upper deck is notable for a glass and steel enclosed ramp that spirals around the building.

Hours: 8h00 – 22h00 /never closed/
Admission: 2,060 yen first observatory or 3,090 yen both observatories
Deck Height: 350 meters (first), 450 meters (second)


The Mori Tower also features the 238 meter high, open-air Sky Deck on the roof of the building with exhilarating, 360-degree views over the city. The Sky Deck may be closed due to strong wind or bad weather.

Hours: 10h00 – 23h00 on Fri-Sat 11:00 – 20:00
Admission ends 30 minutes to 60 minutes before closing, and it’s never closed.
Deck Height: 218 meters with the Sky Deck 238 meters


In Yurakucho there a lot of drinking bars and underneath the railway overpass, there are a great number of drinking bars with many repeating customers. The aroma of the food drifts in the air from the open-air stalls, there are many places that will let you order yakitori from one stick and alcohol prices are generally cheap. This would be a good place to go if you want to take a casual dinner. Many of these eateries under the train tracks offer authentic Izakaya and Yakitori where you can have a cold beer and some casual good eats.


Hundreds of electronics shops, ranging from tiny one-man stalls specializing in a particular electronic component to large electronics retailers line the main Chuo Dori street and the crowded side streets around Akihabara. They offer everything from the newest computers, cameras, televisions, mobile phones, electronics parts and home appliances to second-hand goods and electronic junk. But if you are the type to enjoy “peeling through tons” a visit to Tokyu Hands can be fun and there you’ll find lots of gadgets, cooking utensils, etc and go only to the Shibuya branch: https://mesubim.com/2014/12/12/harajuku-girls-not-food/



I prefer to stay away from the touristic spots and see temples in Kyoto and Kamakura.


We love Kamakura for a day trip and its easy to get there by train or car. The city is small and quaint with plenty of tourists visiting there. It is also close to the sea and if you decide to picnic at the seashore be careful with vultures that swoop down for food or pets! Eat @ Kamakura soba: http://matsubara-an.com/


Izu Oshima ‘big island’ forms part of a group of volcanic islands collectively known as the Izu Islands and is technically part of Tokyo. It makes a good hiking and hot springs weekend trip as you can get there via a two-hour high-speed jet ferry.



Naoshima to see the island and the contemporary art they exhibit. Benesse House Museum opened in 1992 as a facility integrating a museum with a hotel, based on the concept of “coexistence of nature, art, and architecture.” Designed by Tadao Ando, the facility is built on high ground overlooking the Seto Inland Sea and features large apertures that serve to open up the interior to the splendid natural surroundings. In addition to exhibiting the painting, sculpture, photography, and installations in its collection, the Museum also contains permanent site-specific installations that artists have created especially for the building, selecting locations on their own and designing the works for those spaces.

The Museum’s artworks are found not just in its galleries, but in all parts of the building, as well as in scattered locations along the seashore that borders the complex and in the nearby forest. Benesse House Museum is truly a rare sight where nature, art, and architecture come together, in an environment containing numerous site-specific works created for the natural environs of Naoshima or inspired by the architectural spaces they inhabit.


Baggage can be transported separately from Tokyo to Kyoto and your luggage will be sent separately to the hotel in Kyoto because you just take overnight wear for this segment of the trip at Naoshima if you travel onwards to Kyoto.

– Transfer to Haneda Airport Tokyo
– Haneda Airport to Takamatsu Airport

Transfer from Takamatsu Airport to Takamatsu by private minivan with English guide Visiting Ritsurin Park is suggested. One of Japan’s finest gardens, Ritsurin Park is a world-class cultural heritage property that encompasses 185 acres and includes six ponds, 15 bridges and 13 hills in a park design of great variety. The Edo Period park has been designated a spot of special scenic beauty and there are said to be more than sixty separate views within the park, which took over one hundred years to construct. The name “Ritsurin” means “chestnut woods” and shows that the entire park area was once covered with chestnuts in years past.

Ritsurin Garden is a daimyo (feudal lord) garden, which was completed in 1745 over a period of one hundred years. Designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty, this spacious garden features 6 ponds and 13 landscaped hills. While strolling you can enjoy the changing landscape, therefore it is said that the variety of scenery has the attraction of “ippo ikkei” or a change in scenery with every step. In the garden, there are buildings, such as Kikugetsu-tei teahouse, where you can have matcha (powdered green tea) while viewing the picturesque landscape, and the Sanuki Mingeikan (Folk Craft Museum), where Sanuki folk crafts are exhibited. You can also enjoy a ride on a Japanese boat, the “Senshu maru”

PDF File on Ritsurin: https://www.my-kagawa.jp/en/pdf/se01.pdf

– Takamatsu Pier to travel by ferry to Benesse.
– Transfer to Benesse House by private minivan

Address: Gotanji, Naoshima, Kagawa
T.+81 087-892-3223

About the Islands: http://benesse-artsite.jp/en/about/island.html

Full day sightseeing of Naoshima by private minivan with Guide visiting Chichu Art Museum that was constructed in 2004 as a site rethinking the relationship between nature and people. The museum was built mostly underground to avoid affecting the beautiful natural scenery of the Seto Inland sea. Artworks by Claude Monet, James Turrell, and Walter De Maria are on permanent display in this building designed by Tadao Ando.

Despite being primarily subterranean, the museum lets in an abundance of natural light that changes the appearance of the artworks and the ambiance of the space itself with the passage of time, throughout the day and all along the four seasons of the year. Taking form as the artists and architects bounced ideas off each other, the museum in its entirety can be seen as a very large site-specific artwork.

o Benesse House Museum
o Chichu Museum
o Lee Ufan Museum
o Art House Project
o Ando Museum

Take a Bath @ Naoshima: this is an art facility created by artist Shinro Ohtake where visitors are actually able to take a bath. “I♥︎湯” was created to provide both a place for Naoshima residents to rejuvenate and as a venue for exchanges between Japanese and international visitors and locals to take place. The exterior and fittings of the bathhouse, from the bath itself to the pictures decorating the walls, the mosaics, and even the toilet fittings, all reflect the universe of the artist.

The bathhouse is operated by the Town-Naoshima Tourism Association. Visit and soak in the tub, and experience art with your entire body.
website: http://benesse-artsite.jp/en/art/naoshimasento.html

TESHIMA Art Museum

Uniting the creative visions of artist Rei Naito and architect Ryue Nishizawa, Teshima Art Museum stands on a hill on the island of Teshima overlooking the Seto Inland Sea. The museum, which resembles a water droplet at the moment of landing, is located in the corner of a rice terrace that was restored in collaboration with local residents. Structurally, the building consists of a concrete shell, devoid of pillars, covering a space 40 by 60 meters and with a maximum height of 4.5 meters. Two oval openings in the shell allow wind, sounds, and light of the world outside into this organic space where nature and architecture intimately interconnect. In the interior space, water continuously springs from the ground in a day-long motion. This setting, in which nature, art, and architecture come together with such limitless harmony, conjures an infinite array of impressions with the passage of seasons and the flow of time.


1.Kenroku-en (Kanazawa) “garden which combines six characteristics”[3] – the six aspects considered important in the notion of an ideal garden: spaciousness, serenity, vulnerability, scenic views, subtle design, and coolness.[4]

2. Koraku-en (Okayama) “garden of pleasure after”, which is a reference to a saying attributed to Confucius—explaining that a wise ruler must attend to his subjects’ needs first, and only then should he consider his own interests.[5]

3.Kairaku-en (Mito) “a garden to enjoy with people.” Nariaki Tokugawa who completed the garden opened this private garden to the general populace. This was a novel concept which eventually led to the development of public park: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenroku-en


The Three Views of Japan is the canonical list of Japan’s three most celebrated scenic sights, attributed to 1643 and scholar Hayashi Gahō. In 1915, modeled on the old Three Views of Japan, Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha held a national election to determine a list of New Three Views of Japan.



Many onsens are filled with chlorine and so just be aware that it is the law and finding an onsen without chlorine is possible but not in the most famous onsens. The very good onsens are not close to Tokyo, and you need to travel some distance to experience the real-deal and its well worth it.


Yagyunosho: https://www.yagyu-no-sho.com/en/index.html
Gorakadan: http://www.gorakadan.com/index_english.html


Kyoto is one of Japan’s best-preserved historic cities, with intact palaces, gardens, 1600 Buddhist temples, and 400 Shinto shrines, among them 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites from Imperial Japan’s golden age.

Kyoto Temples Map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1ONsisWAUAO3kFpKDPob8jJ4mMhk&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&ll=35.00530388109226%2C135.7529812491706&z=12

Kyoto is home to cutting-edge biotech, nanotech, publishing, textiles, and education, including the country’s top medical school. It’s a forward-looking center for art and design, where artists and artisans update traditional techniques into super-cool works with the Zen spirit and the edge of now.

It is also one of the few cities in the world with four distinct and highly photogenic seasons; spring cherry blossoms, swaying bamboo in summer, brilliant red autumn leaves, and winter snow.

Visiting Kyoto is exhilarating and leaving time to see the city and temples are definitely a thrill. However, visiting Kyoto requires some advance planning given some temples require advance notice or an invitation. This can usually be arranged by the hotel concierge but don’t leave it to the last-minute otherwise timing is difficult.

So the question is how many days should I stay in Kyoto, and the answer is 2-3 days should be enough to see most things with a daily routine that is busy. If you are inclined to spend some time relaxing, you could add an additional day and that includes a day trip to Nara.

The sightseeing of Kyoto depends on your personal schedule and daily routine. If you get up early and get out of your hotel before 9h00 you can cover plenty of ground each day with 3-4 hours of touring. Touring requires a car and driver and guide given Kyoto temples are filled with details. We have a tour guide and driver we use and if you have interest in his services please let us know in order to assist in arranging him.


So staying in Kyoto boils down to comfort location and type. If you wish to be away from the bustle, you can stay at the river which is considered not central yet more romantic and quaint. If you prefer high-end Ryokan there are some options such as Tawaraya and Hiragiya, both are half board and sleeping is on the floor, so it isn’t suitable for some travelers. Then you have international brands such as Four Seasons, Ritz and Hyatt. These hotels are very similar yet the pricing can vary greatly depending on the season.


Ryokans are a unique experience but before booking any ryokan you should acquaint yourself with the customs. Ryokan owners always wish that arriving guests feel as if they are coming home. But “home” may mean something different from it does for guests from other countries. The amenities of a Japanese inn, or ryokan, are much the same as those of a traditional home. One of the advantages of spending the night at a ryokan while you are in Japan is that it offers you an opportunity to experience the customs and lifestyle of the people. To ensure that all guests feel at home, it is key to know the customs and courtesies observed in a traditional Japanese inn.

Upon your arrival at Ryokan, you’ll notice that the stone walkway leading from the main gate to the doorstep has been splashed with water, a symbol of welcome in Japan. This informs our guests that they are expected and that everything has been made ready for their arrival.

Taking off your shoes as you step up into a Japanese inn is a sign that you acknowledge this welcome, and wish to return your host’s courtesy. Corridor slippers are provided at the entrance and are customarily removed as you enter your room to preserve the delicate surface of the tatami mats. You’ll find an additional pair of slippers for use in the restroom only. If you should wish to venture out into the garden, wooden geta await you on the stone step outside.

The guest rooms are constructed entirely of natural materials-polished wood, sand and clay walls, ceramic tiles, straw mats, paper doors and, windows. The use of these materials creates a totally natural environment, but at the same time necessitates a bit of extra attention, especially since some of our rooms are over one hundred years old.

The tokonoma, or alcove, is one important feature of a Japanese-style room. This is the traditional place of honor. In the old days, a samurai would keep his sword on a special mounting in the tokonoma. There might be a hanging scroll, a flower arrangement, and perhaps a porcelain incense burner or a treasured figurine. Placing anything else there is considered a breach of etiquette. At Ryokan’s art objects that have been treasured family possessions for several generations are displayed in the tokonoma of every room, and guests are requested to take special care not to disturb them.

One room in a ryokan serves many different functions, just as the rooms of traditional Japanese houses do. During the daytime with a low table in the center, it serves as a sitting room or a dining room. After supper in the evening, the table is put up, and thickly cushioned futon bedding is laid down as the same room becomes a bedroom. Both breakfast and dinner are served in the privacy of your own room, where you can enjoy an undisturbed view of the garden. A Japanese-style bath before dinner is a relaxing way to begin.

The bath is a special feature of every ryokan. There are private baths in every room and sometimes larger central baths for families or couples. The communal bath is a popular custom in Japan but bathtubs are for soaking only. Washing is done before you enter, seated on small wooden stools in front of individual water faucets. Splash yourself with water from one of the wooden buckets, wash, rinse then enter the bath for a relaxing soak. The temperature of the water in a Japanese bath may be slightly hotter than most Westerners are accustomed to. This not only relaxes tired muscles but was intended originally to keep bathers warm throughout the cold winter evenings in an age when central heating was not available in Japan. The baths are all handcrafted in the finest cedar, and the buckets and stools.

Please note that room rates at a ryokan are determined per person, per night, with both breakfast and dinner, as well as tax and service are included in the price. Expect anywhere starting from $500/person per night and if you choose the right ryokan it’s experienced to remember.




TAWARAYA has no website and fax only reservations – it is more complicated and rooms choices can be difficult as the ryokan is small and often busy. It is not always a place for a family given the rooms are small. No website.

604-8094 Aneko-ji Agaru, Fuya-cho Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo- ku Kyoto Japan.
T. +81-75-211-5566
F. +81-75-211-2204

HIRAGIYA is a small ryokan centrally located and old-fashioned traditional with the style of a Kyoto Ryokan. It is opposite the street to Tawaraya its rival.
Website: http://www.hiiragiya.co.jp/en/

HOSHINOYA is out-of-the-way and more relaxed and a blend of tradition and modernity:
Website: http://hoshinoyakyoto.jp/en/


UGENTA is a 76 Kurama-Kibune-cho, Sakyou-ku, Kyoto, Japan /Kibune/

Ugenta is a two-room 200-year-old ryokan in the mountain woods just outside Kyoto, which isn’t exactly designed to maximize profits. Put it this way: they’ve got as many tea houses as they have guest rooms, one built a century ago by the current owner’s grandfather for formal tea ceremonies and a newer glass-walled one surrounded by a cedar grove for casual sipping. It would have been easy enough to convert one of them into a third guest room, but then your host’s attention would be that much less focused, and you might have to enjoy your exquisite cup of tea in a setting that’s not precisely in tune with the morning’s mood.

The two guest rooms differ in style: there’s a traditional Japanese-style option, which sleeps up to six and there’s a slightly westernized one, which very comfortably fits four. The differences are subtle, a sunken or raised dining room table, an enclosed wood stove or a fireplace encased in glass, a view of the gorge or a view of the river. In both, the aesthetic is meticulously pared down in a way that shifts the focus to the outside world. And either way, you’ve got a pair of bathtubs, one indoor and one outdoor. For the record, the right choice is outdoor where the views the sounds of the river and fresh forest air are all a little more immediate.

Ugenta offers some extraordinary meals, in summer, diners are seated on a deck that hovers just a couple of feet above the river. It’s one thing to eat local and it’s quite another to eat fresh eiyu fish that was caught from the water flowing under your table. You are surrounded by mossy river rocks and fragrant cedars. In winter, meals move inside to the privacy of your room, and the menu turns to heartier fare like hot-pot soup, mountain vegetables, and wild boar. Whatever the season, this much is certain: you’re sure to be well taken care of.

Please note: Children under 13 are not allowed and significant dietary restrictions cannot be accommodated by the hotel’s kitchen. Vegetarians, in particular, will have extremely limited options, as even vegetable dishes are prepared with fish stock.

How to get there: Ugenta can arrange a complimentary shuttle service from Kibune station if arranged in advance. Contact CustomerService@TabletHotels.com for assistance with transfers.

2 Rooms

Style: Traditional Elegance
Atmosphere: Secluded
Website: http://ugenta.co.jp

KANRA located at 185 Kita-machi Karasuma-Dori, Rokujo-kudaru, Kyoto, Japan http://www.hotelkanra.jp/en/


RITZ is considered one of the best and they charge for it. Rooms are luxurious yet they seemed cramped. The hotel is well located and the restaurants at the hotel include an Italian venue as an alternative:
website: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/japan/kyoto

FOUR SEASONS I have never stayed there but it is new and said to be nice:
Website: http://www.fourseasons.com/kyoto/dining/

HYATT is our favorite place to stay for various reasons and it is our first choice but it isn’t the newest yet the GM is nice and takes care of us:


Other Staying Options






website: http://kanamean.co.jp/en/room/index.html
website: http://www.ryoutei-yasui.jp/rooms/

Website: https://yado-resort.com/kansai/goshoboh/


This is a good list of temples to choose from and if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Website: http://www.insidekyoto.com/best-temples-in-kyoto


Other places requiring a prior reservation are the Imperial villas are worthy of a reservation:

Shugakuin Villa: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3936.html

Katsura Villa: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3914.html

Temple Closing Times: http://kyoto.tripuzzle.net/lab/time_en.php


We do not recommend travelers where to eat as it is too complicated unless the restaurant is equipped to handle foreigners. But in Kyoto, if you have an unlimited budget Kyoto kitchen’s still can persuade you to appreciate the notion of the Imperial Court and those traditions remain. Local specialties include kaiseki-ryori, a formal, multi-course banquet, usually seated on a tatami floor overlooking a garden. Vegetarian-friendly shojin-ryori offers simple temple cuisine and obanzai is home-style cooking all with various choices according to your interest.

JUNSEI TOFU: is no doubt an interesting intermezzo to the fish and meat in Japan. This is tofu and well done and good flavors and some fish is optional:

Website: http://www.to-fu.co.jp/en/

MENU: http://www.to-fu.co.jp/en/food.html

Kyoto Prefecture Website: http://www.pref.kyoto.jp/en/index.html

TENPURA ENDO YASAKA: eating tenpura is a nice experience and this restaurant is located in the well-known district of the Gion.

Website: http://www.gion-endo.com/english/index.html

MENU: http://www.gion-endo.com/english/menu_lunch.html


This is top-notch and you can enjoy the highest degree of Japanese foods here. The freshest seasonal food in an ethereal, elegant atmosphere and elegant staff members are all committed to offering the experience of Japanese aesthetics and great hospitality. It is possible to arrange tea ceremony and even wine tasting together with Maiko san who is beautifully dressed in kimono. This is extra and the costs can run upwards very quickly and are on request. If you decide to try kaiseki be prepared to spend upwards of $500/person but it’s worth it.

KAISEKI KIKUNOI is well-known for the elegance and grace of traditional multi-course ryotei cuisine. Located on extensive grounds at the foot of Higashiyama Mountain Range in Kyoto. Legend has it that water from a local well called “Kikusui-no-i” was used by the first wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (a key figure in Japan’s feudal era) to make tea, causing spring water to burst forth in the pattern of a chrysanthemum (“kiku” in Japanese) in full bloom. The locals took care of this well for many generations and eventually began to use its water in cooking. This was the origin of the name Kikunoi – literally meaning “chrysanthemum well.” The restaurant itself was established in 1912 and is currently headed by the third-generation owner-chef Yoshihiro Murata.
Website: http://kikunoi.jp/english/about/

Note: reservation request is made by form and they will send you a reservation confirmation email after confirming seat vacancies.

KAISEKI KITCHYO you enjoy the highest degree of Japanese foods here. If you decide to go to eat Kaiseki this is our top choice and reservations are required well in advance – world-class cuisine.
Website: http://kyoto-kitcho.com/english/index.html
MENU: http://www.kyoto-kitcho.com/shoplist_en/arashiyama/info/2017/01/the_model_menu_of_january_2.html

HYOTEI is located near the famous Nanzenji Temple, Hyotei Honten is a Michelin three-starred restaurant that serves refined traditional kaiseki cuisine. The restaurant has been passed down through 14 generations and has a history of 300 years. Take your time and enjoy a course meal in a private tatami room while looking out over the scenic traditional Japanese garden.
Website: http://hyotei.co.jp/en/

OBANZAI is a traditional style of Japanese cuisine native to Kyoto. In order for food to be considered obanzai, at least half of its ingredients must be produced or processed in Kyoto. Ingredients in obanzai cooking must also be in season. Obanzai cooking heavily relies on vegetables and seafood, prepared simply. Consistent with the concept of mottainai (a sense of regret concerning waste), another characteristic of obanzai is the incorporation of ingredients which are usually discarded as garbage.


Yes, beef is expensive but you never eat more than 220grams which is not very much by western standards. So if you wish to try the gyu (cow) from Matsuzaka this is worthy of the price.
Website: http://www.yutaka-steak.com


We have an ex-chef who owns a small light bright restaurant in the Gion and he serves winter styled Piedmonte cuisine. If you wish to eat alternative cuisine this is an option.



There are numerous other choices in Kyoto and it all depends on style and budget. There is Nakahigashi a well-known counter where you eat kaiseki style cuisine:

Then you have the option of Enboca located in a nice traditional style building in central Kyoto serving pizza and other very nice and casual foods. Don’t be discouraged by the notion of pizza because this isn’t a pizzeria, it’s a cool healthy and ingredient-based restaurant with a wood-burning oven.


The broth is cooked and lard added to flavour a unique smoky aroma and taste. Try soy ramen for a thinner, salty broth, or the miso ramen for a denser flavor but we particularly recommend the Kogashi Miso Ramen for that smoky goodness.

Address: 604-8121, 452 Jyumonji-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto


English Menu: there is really no menu only one dish served bear nabe in a hot pot.
Reservation: Ask your hotel concierge or a Japanese friend to make a reservation for you if you don’t speak Japanese.

Hours: 12h00 – 21h30 /Closed Mondays/
Address: Kyoto-shi, Kamigyo-ku, Goryomae Karasuma-dori, Nishi-iru, Uchikamae-cho 430 (京都市上京区御霊前通鳥丸西入内構町430)
T. 075-441-0610


I always find Chinese as a good alternative and the Chinese foods in Japan are often delicious.

Other Areas Ideas: http://www.discovershikoku.com/about

2017 KYOTO Magazine NOVEMBER

Magical Moments @ Kyoto

Temple Sorenji Temple & Ogurayama Tenpodai: the temple is not open to public but with a donation you can see it – request in advance, and Nakagawa Kitayama Trees are tremendous with a stop in Ogurayama to see the red maple leaf.