Kiraku Ramen Shop – Torisawa, Yamanashi-ken

Kiraku Ramen Shop - Torisawa, Yamanashi-ken
  There is a non-descript ramen shop about 75 meters from JR Torisawa Station called Kiraku that specializes in cha-shu pork.  The thick chunks are extremely tasty and amazingly tender.  The ramen and fried rice is competent but nothing special.  The cha-shu pork is special.  Japanese Gourmet Navi entry is here.  The google maps street ...

Barrels of Sake at Meiji-Jingu

Barrels of Sake at Meiji-Jingu
As the sign says, these barrels are offered once a year from the Meiji-Jingu Sake Brewers Association.  The presentation is impressive.

Ueno Shoryu Gyoza Restaurant

Ueno Shoryu Gyoza Restaurant
There is a wonderful gyoza restaurant buried inside of the Ameyoko marketplace in Ueno.  You might walk by it a hundred times and never notice it.  The queues can be quite long during meal times because seating is very limited but it is well worth the wait.   Google search references are here.   Google ...

Nokke-don in Aomori

Nokke-don in Aomori
I visited the Aomori Gyosai Center and enjoyed Nokke-don which is a process where you have a do-it-yourself bowl of rice topped with fish and seafood of your choosing. There are numerous blogs describing this. Do a search like this and you will see many entries. The google maps street view is here   Very heavy snow ...

Kigensai (National Foundation Day festival)

Kigensai (National Foundation Day festival)
  National Foundation Day at Meiji-Jingu from the Meiji-Jingu website: Kigensai is a ritual ceremony commemorating the foundation of Japan. It is said that Emperor Jinmu, the first Emperor of Japan, was enthroned at Kashihara-no-miya in Nara prefecture on this day more than 2600 years ago. During Kigensai, Shinto priests in festive attire offer food ...

Tokyo 2011 – Top Hotels

This is a third update from two years ago of the 2009 Tokyo hotel ratings in the Michelin Guide.   Notable changes are that there are no 5 red star hotels this year but I believe that is a typo in the book so I’ve listed them as 5 red-stars.   2009 is here and 2010 ...

2011 Japan Earthquake Video

I was in Japan on 3/11/2011 at the Tesudo Hatsubutsukan (Omiya Train Museum) during the Tohoku Earthquake.  I was able to shoot video footage about 1 minute AFTER the shaking started. I added this video to youtube if the above one is not working.  You can view it here.

Uncommon House in Central Tokyo

Uncommon House in Central Tokyo
20+ years ago when I worked for LSI (Logic) our Tokyo office was in the heart of central Tokyo in an area called Akasaka. It was and is a very high-end area catering to business and politics. We were in the west wing of the Kokusai Shin Akasaka Building which is right on top of ...

Tokyo 2010 – Top Hotels 1

This is an update to my post last year of the 2009 Tokyo hotel ratings in the Michelin Guide.  Notable changes are the Shangri-La displaced the Conrad for #5 in the top tier.  The Nikko moved up to four red (from four black). I’ll repeat the same pitch I gave last year.   If you are ...

Underground at Ueno-Hirokoji Station

Underground at Ueno-Hirokoji Station
People frequently ask me about navigating the trains and subways in Tokyo. It can be a daunting task. The important thing to do is to prepare properly. First, you should know the area you are interested in, you should know which train or subway lines are in the area and what the stations are called. ...