The foods we ate during our trip to Japan were, hands down, the best part of our trip. The food culture in Japan is amazing and the quality is beyond anything we are used to here in the States.

I’m going to cover most our meals, I’ll try not to be boring ?. Also, beer was pretty standard with all our meals, even some breakfasts! It was also the main source of carbs and we certainly earned them in the miles we walked each day!

Street Sign for "Alcoholiday"

Drinking is part of their food culture, So, we declared it an “Alcoholiday” LOL

On most of the menus beer was just labeled as “Beer” for the English translations. I assume most of it was either Kirin or Asahi since the places that did have it translated usually had Asahi, with only a few exceptions.

Also most places we ended up at had an English menu of some sort, even if only roughly translated.

Starting in Tokyo, on arrival day, we were starving and a bit overwhelmed by the number of places to choose from and we were in search of a heafty meal. The place we found around the corner from our Airbnb was a small spot with limited seating and when there are no seats, people line up outside. (true for most places because of limited indoor seats). We were so tired and travel weary we didn’t even get pictures of the food but I did get a shot from the outside. I only remember I had some sort of stir fry type dish. Lol

On our first morning, a Sunday, the neighborhood was very quiet. We found this great café, which turned out to be a large chain, Café Velocé, I really loved their peanut butter sandwich ?. Greg had a breakfast sandwich.

On our way to Sumida Park we stopped for a carb snack at Asahi Brewery on their lovely patio. ..they also had a street stand set-up selling special cups of their Sakura brew, that you could decorate with the special Sakura stamps! So we got one to go. Haha

For a late lunch/early dinner on the first day we ended up at the VenusFort Shopping Mall food court in the Odaiba neighborhood (before we went to the teamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum). This meal wasn’t my favorite meal, it was pretty pricy meal for a mall food court but mine was also basically a steak. I had a hamburger steak and WAGYU beef medallions with rice and a few veggies. Greg had Chicken karaage with egg and a side salad and miso.

This food court also had one central drink service staff that handled your drink orders separately and you could order beer. None of the food vendors sold drinks. That was different… 🙂

Day two in Tokyo started with a Monday morning coffee and donuts at another chain, Mister Donut, on our way to the Imperial Palace. Our seats gave us a second story view over the neighborhood Monday morning traffic.

With our lunch on day two brought the holy grail of lunches for the budget-wise sushi lover… conveyor belt sushi at Genki Sushi in Shibuya. We were like kids in a sushi candy store. You can select English on the menu screen and order up to 3 plates at a time, order drinks and desserts the same way. Fabulous! I think we hit 18 plates plus 2 beers each and our total was about 30$ (no tipping!).

Dinner on day two, was a Monday night and the plan was to cruise Omoide street in Shinjuku for an izakya. We hit the alleyways and found one of the tiny izakaya serving yakatori. The menus were all a bit interesting with choices like horse and womb. We went for more standard choices like chicken and pork ribs ? They also charged a $3 table charge and served a little appetizer dish for the charge, which was basically peanuts in a sweet soy on rice. Also, Greg’s drink was a highball with fresh squeezed orange juice he squeezed in the juicer right at the table. :). We then went to Deathmatch in Hell, a heavy metal bar run by a local. It’s basically a closet that seats about 15 people you can barely move around. No food here but we basically crawled home around 3 am or so when they closed and kicked us all out. It was so much fun to meet people from all over. We paid for it on day 3. Lol

Day 3 was a rest and recovery day for us. Partly from the first days of travel, partly from hangover ?. We found a quiet little spot in Shinjuku, on a street a bit away from the touristy areas and it was bringing in local business men on lunch. We both had the pork ramen and it was so tasty and also exactly what we needed to nurse our hangovers. Lol

Since day four (a Wednesday) was a travel day for us. We had breakfast at Burdigala Express in Tokyo Station. Delicious and so fresh and the mango juice was also delish. I wish I had a picture of the cafe itself. It was very crowded though.

Lunch on day four was Duck soba at Tagoto, in the Kyoto Train Station food mall!! This was so quacking yummy, words cannot describe how savory this soba was. Look at those giant scallions too!

Our first dinner in Hirakata was so yummilicous. The spot was recommended by our Airbnb host. 炭火焼鳥八金亭 船橋店 is the name of the place and this place was just bomb! The name translates to English as “Charcoal-grilled chicken Hachigane Funabashi”

The young man running the place is trying to learn English and during the evening he would randomly make conversation with us in order to practice his English. Also, our AirBnb host actually helped him create a handwritten roughly translated menu. It was a wonderful experience, and one of our favorite places. We also ate here again on our last night in this adorable little town.

Yakatori was the only course. We had a selection of chicken and pork and Greg also had the pig nose ? haha

Day five started with a Breakfast that was like most mornings here in Hirakata, consisting of items from the 7-11 around the corner. My selection was generally a banana and a juice box, plus a blueberry or peach yogurt drink. Then when we got to the train station I would also hit the juice bar for another large fresh mango juice that was only 200yen! ($2 us).

Greg was also loving the grape juice that had chunks of real grape in them! Those could be purchased from vending machines everywhere also!

Lunch on day five was another round of conveyor belt sushi, this time at another spot recommended by our Airbnb host and it was exceptional. Sushiro was the spot. This one had an assortment you could grab from the conveyor and you could also order from the menu tablet. They also had little hamburger nigiri and corn/mayo rolls, which we passed on. lol Note the little packets of wasabi and the ‘instructional’ dos and don’ts of conveyor belt sushi dinning.

Dinner was in Osaka on a Saturday night and wasn’t so much a meal but some here and some there… starting with some WAGYU beef on the hotpot grill which was devine then some grilled crab legs from the famous street vendor Kani Doraku. Greg also finally got his first serving of Takoyaki  (fried octopus hushpuppies basically)

Day six was a day in Kyoto. Tons of walking and not enough food. Lol. We got an early morning snack from a street stand on our walk up to the temples. …Checing with Greg for pics (;

Dinner in Kyoto was a traditional service 6 course sushi meal at Yuugetsu. We sat on the floor, next to the balcony overlooking the river. This was a very unique experience and it was so beautiful by the river.

We got back into Hirikata at a weird time, we had a big meal in Kyoto, but it was also a long day with not much else to eat so we stopped at Hachigane Funabashi for one more Yakatori snack and Greg talked heavy metal with the young guy running the joint. 🙂

This covers the first six days, I continue in a “Week 2” blog entry…..