This month we welcome our resident social media maven (and Pinterest expert) Louise-san, who just got back from her very first trip through Japan! Louise, take it from here:
On our first trip to Japan, my boyfriend and I decided to design our trip around food – not a bad way to plan when traveling around this beautiful and unbelievably tasty country.
Sushi was our first order of business upon landing in Tokyo. Our home base in Tokyo was Naka-Meguro, an adorable neighborhood near the craziness of Shibuya, and we easily found a good lunch spot near the eki (train station).
Even though I’m used to pretty high-quality sushi (I’m from California), I was still taken aback by the absence of American-style rolls, and wowed by the beautiful nigiri and sashimi at every sushi-ya we visited.
Here was our very first sushi at 魚いち, prepared by a friendly chef who had worked for several years in Los Angeles restaurants (we would find that this was a trend among the sushi chefs that spoke great English).
We took the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto, and our first stop was the colorful Nishiki Market. This is a great place to try everything from the local miso to tsukemono (local-style pickles), and here I also had my first taste of takoyaki.
Nearby Osaka is famous as the “spiritual home” of takoyaki, but it can be found in many cities around the country. There are bits of octopus (tako) hidden inside, and the doughy balls (often a bit mushy on the inside) are covered in a tasty mayo-teriyaki sauce mix. Let it cool down before taking too big of a bite – it’s served really hot!
Next we ventured further west to Hiroshima, and found ourselves at a local okonomiyaki joint run by Fernando Lopez, a Guatemalan chef who moved to Japan and married his Japanese love after meeting her in Hawaii 20 years prior. The portions were generous and we adored our time chatting with him about his experience living in Japan while eating this noodly pancake straight off the griddle.
These were just some of our most memorable gastronomic experiences. Overall we were surprised by the diversity of dishes and how the culinary scene changed from region to region. We barely scratched the surface though, and can’t wait until our next trip when we can explore the flavors of the northern half of the country!
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Until Next Time!
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Founder, Boutique Japan
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“I only have positive things to say about my experience with Boutique Japan Travel. They were everything a first time traveler to Japan would want.” – Harvey and Jan, Philadelphia
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