Visiting Japan
  • Tsukiji Fish Market
    This fish market, recognized by film lovers in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, is a sensory and culinary adventure. The famed 81-year-old market is the largest wholesale fish market in the world and represents the best of Japanese dedication to production. Here, multigenerational families sell steaming yakitori skewers, noodle dishes, tamagoyaki (rectangular omelets), and, of course, sushi. Massive, freshly caught tuna is meticulously sliced, then topped with ginger and wasabi. Melded knives and handcrafted tableware decorate wooden tables.
    People line small alleyways (yokochos) in hopes of pulling up a chair at one of the many tiny restaurants serving fresh catches of the day. Try the fatty tuna roll at Okame (4-8-7 Tsukiji, Chuo 104-0045) or, if you have patience, the always-crowded Sushi Dai (Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1). Here, patrons delight in omakase that highlights the best of Tsujuki’s fresh bounty of the day. (5 Chome-2-1)
    There are few dining experiences as intimate, memorable, and true to traditional Japanese technique with a Western touch than Shirosaka. Located on a quaint street in Akasaka, this nine-seat restaurant is marked by a stone path that leads to a dramatic floor-to-ceiling window. Inside the restaurant, chef Hideki li and his team prepare charcoal-grilled dishes and fresh sushi for their tasting menu. The signature dish, served in a handcrafted wooden box adorned with maple leaves, contains a spherical rice cracker. Inside, a beautiful quail egg, dashi jelly, sea urchin, and herring eggs complete the surprise. Underneath the egg sits fresh tuna, micro-greens, and scallions. The texture and taste of the dish is an explosion for the palate, almost as rushing as the Tokyo streets. 6-3-9 Akasaka, Minato-ku

    Adrenaline-Filled Nights

    Robot Restaurant
    The first rule of Robot Restaurant is to leave reason outside the door. This neon-color spot in Shinjuku is all about the fantastical and strange. Stairways clad with tiger-illustrated and liburan ke jepang musim dingin jeweled walls lead to the dinner show. Often confused yet amused patrons experience 8-foot robotic figures in battle, jeweled majorettes, and live music performances featuring Broadway hits. 1-7-1 Kabukicho

    Nonbei Yokocho
    While “Drunkard Alley” may not be the most appealing name, this dimly lit street, just minutes away from the populous Shibuya crossing, is a must visit. The lantern-lined alleyway filled with tiny restaurants and izakaya (Japanese gastropubs) is a glimpse into prewar Tokyo. It is also an oddly calm space in the midst of the neon-color lights and buzzing of cars and image pedestrians right outside of it. 1-25-10 Shibuya, Tokyo

    For a taste of reggae and nightlife in Tokyo, head to Garam in Shinjuku. Bullhorns, rum, and rhythm are central to the bar, a testament to Tokyo’s deep love of and intrigue with Jamaica. Bartenders wear belts donning the country’s flag. Dancehall beats keep people on the dance floor until 6:00 a.m. There are also live performances by famous DJs, hip-hop artists, and reggae performers. 1 Chome-16-6 Kabukicho

    No late night in Tokyo is complete without a visit to Lawson. The convenience store, easily spotted by its blue and white awning, can be found all over the country.

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