2020 NO.28

Tokyo: The Ultimate Gourmet Experience


Savoring Tokyo in a Day

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What do you want to eat in Tokyo? The capital of Japan is famous as a gourmet city that continues to evolve while offering a multilayered integration of Japan’s unique food culture. Though hardly possible to sample all aspects of this culture in a single day, we still think you can enjoy the main “flavors of Tokyo” together with the atmosphere of the capital’s vibrant districts and restaurants in that short a time. Check out this proposal for savoring Tokyo like the locals do, from dawn till midnight.

Photography: Osaka Satoshi Photos: PIXTA

Left: Morning. Start the day at a classic coffee shop and enjoy the ubiquitous good-value breakfast set menu that includes coffee, toast, egg, and salad.
Right: Despite the fast spread of chain restaurants, there are still many privately-run coffee shops. (Soleil)

Left: Family restaurants and traditional teishokuya diners offer the classic Japanese breakfast course that consists of steamed rice, main and side dishes, and miso soup.
Right: Onigiri—a kind of Japanese fast food that is eaten without cutlery—are rice balls made by gently squeezing steamed rice together with pickled vegetables or other ingredients. Convenience stores offer a diverse lineup of onigiri, but specialized shops use carefully selected rice and ingredients to make their onigiri special.

Left: Stand-up soba noodle stands, which are a common sight at street corners and stations, are also perfect for breakfast. It takes less than five minutes to slurp down a bowl of freshly-prepared soba noodles. Tempura soba, which is served with a topping of shrimp tempura, is quick, filling and nutritious.
Right: Most convenience stores are equipped with fully automated drip machines that brew delicious coffee using beans that are freshly grinded only after the customer places their order, making it possible to enjoy real quality coffee at a very reasonable price.

Left: For lunch, try some yoshoku (Western-style food arranged to match the Japanese palate). Omu-raisu—an omelet made with ketchup-flavored fried rice wrapped in a layer of thinly-fried scrambled eggs—is a favorite dish for Japanese people of all ages.
Right: A sute-ki-don—a bowl of rice topped with a steak of beef fillet sautéed in soy sauce flavored gravy—is the perfect lunch for ease of eating and volume. (KUROFUNE-TEI)

Conveyor belt sushi restaurants are constantly evolving. In some stores, model shinkansen bullet trains deliver the orders to the customer’s seat. (KAPPA SUSHI)

Left: At 3 p.m., relax with a delectable snack of Japanese sweets and green tea. After feasting your eyes on a piece of namagashi—freshly prepared and aesthetically-pleasing sweets made of natural ingredients—reflecting the shapes and colors of blossoming cherry trees on a spring mountain, enjoy the delicate taste, which perfectly matches the bittersweet flavor of the green tea. (Toraya Akasaka Store)
Right: Made from rolled-out non-glutinous rice brushed with soy sauce and grilled, senbei are a filling snack beloved by ordinary people. Many specialized senbei stores still remain in Tokyo’s old downtown area and shopping districts around the city. (Daikokuya)

Taiyaki—waffle-like cakes that imitate the shape of the tai (Japanese red seabream)—are eaten straight off the grill while still hot. The cakes are filled with sweet red bean paste. (Nezu-no Taiyaki)

Matcha-flavored chocolate treats are a very popular souvenir. (Nestle KitKat Mini in a flavor called “otona-no-amasa, matcha” which means “sweetness for adults, green tea taste”)