My second week in Tokyo started out with a fabulous trip to Kappabashi, the kitchen district, with my friend Genia. Now anyone who loves to cook as much as I do must be very careful when they pay a visit to Kappabashi. You can really go crazy which is exactly what I did. I had visited Kappabashi many times in the past but now that I have a food blog I think I paid a little more attention and I had a shopping list this time. The first treasure I was on the hunt for was the bean shaped Magewappa bento box. This type of wooden bento box runs about a hundred dollars and up and I found one in Kappabashi for about sixty dollars. I was beyond happy. Such a good price and perfect for my Bento cooking class! This is a must visit for anyone who loves kitchen gadgets.
I have never seen so many food cutters in my life! Every shape and size imaginable and look at these knives. I wanted to buy everything but kept telling myself that I can come back whenever I want. It was hard to control myself.
A shop that is everything coffee? Must bring my friend Myra from Seattle here next time. She would love it!
After Kappabashi we headed for Tokyo Midtown, my old neighborhood. We used to live right next door when it first opened and we’d walk our dog in the park every morning. We met so many nice dog people in the park. It felt good to be back.
Tokyo Midtown is filled with beautiful shops, restaurants and cafes. One of my favorite Wagashi (Japanese sweets) shops in Japan is Toraya and they have a branch in Tokyo Midtown. They make the most exquisite Japanese sweets and of course, since it was cherry blossom season, I had to get Sakura Mochi.
After walking around Tokyo Midtown we stopped for a tempura lunch at Yama no Ue Tempura restaurant. I love sitting at the counter, overlooking the park, and watching the Chef carefully make each beautiful piece of tempura right before my eyes. I ordered the Ten-don, or Tempura over rice. I always make sure to stop here for Tempura when I’m in Tokyo.
I was in Tokyo during the peak of Cherry Blossom season so I wanted to make sure I got to see as many of the pretty pink blossoms as possible. I took a long, leisurely walk around the beautiful Chidorigafuchi National Memorial Garden located on the North-Western section of the moat surrounding the Imperial Palace. This is one of the best spots for cherry blossom viewing. Simply stunning. I highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in Tokyo during Cherry Blossom season.
One of the highlights of my trip was meeting up with my friend Rie twice! First for cake and coffee and the second time we went to a new Okonomiyaki restaurant near our condo in Azabujuban. I met Rie on Twitter and we’ve become great friends. I love meeting up with her whenever I’m back in Tokyo.
I headed back to Ginza one last time for lunch before leaving Tokyo (it is my favorite place after all) to pay a visit to the Gucci Cafe. Not only it is a beautiful space to sit and relax after a busy day of shopping but the food is lovely as well. The Panna Cotta was not only delicious but a work of art.
I ended my fifteen day trip to Tokyo with two unforgettable meals. Ever since the Tokyo Michelin Guide was first published I’ve been eating my way through each issue and have been lucky enough to have visited most of the restaurants in the guide. There were two places that I was looking forward to visiting during this trip, Michelin three star Sukiyabashi Jiro and two star Kadowaki. I didn’t take any photos at Sukiyabashi Jiro, I didn’t even take my camera or iPhone to the restaurant. We were lucky to get in on such short notice thanks to a very good friend of mine. I wanted to savor every bite and enjoy the moment celebrating with my husband without taking any food photos. All I can say is if you have a chance to eat at Sukiyabashi Jiro please do. It is definitely the priciest sushi we have ever eaten but it is the best. We were served twenty pieces of sushi and my favorite was the Kuruma-ebi, or giant tiger prawn. It was an unforgettable meal and we are already planning to go back next month.
At Kadowaki, famous for their Truffle Rice, I did take a couple of photos with my iPhone. I wanted to be respectful and asked Chef Kadowaki for permission first. He is famous for turning down the Michelin listing in the first Tokyo Michelin Guide in 2008 so I was a little intimidated by him. I’ve read where others have said he does not allow photos but I was relieved when he started talking to us and didn’t mind photos at all. Maybe because I speak Japanese I’m not sure but he loved talking about his favorite American television shows (CSI) and was very interested in visiting Seattle one day. Such a nice man and each dish he served us was truly a work of art. He designed every piece of pottery that the food was served on and his attention to detail was unbelievable. The Crab Chawanmushi with Squid Ink Ice on top was perfection.
I hope to show you a little bit more of Japan with every trip I make back home. I am already planning another short trip at the end of June so stay tuned! I have so much more to share with all of you.