Shinjuku Restaurant with Kids – Mimiu

Shinjuku Mimiu

Shinjuku Mimiu

Dining out with kids can be challenging in Tokyo. One tip is to look for restaurants that have koshitsu, private rooms. You can then close the doors and the kids can play in the private room without disturbing the other diners. Adults can enjoy some conversation without worrying about the kids. Koshitsu are also nice when getting together with family or friends and you’d like some privacy.

Mimiu near Shinjuku station has several private rooms exactly for this occasion. It is a popular restaurant with families, so best to book a private room in advance. Be sure to inquire about seating. Some koshitsu have tables and chairs while others are tatami mat rooms with low tables. Ideally there will be a hole under the table with a sunken floor, called horigotatsu. These can be surprisingly comfortable.

Some other tips when using a tatami room. You’ll be asked to take your shoes off. If you need to use the rest room while dining use the sandals that are set near the room. Most koshitsu will have a bell to ring when you need something.

Mimiu has a few set lunches to choose from, starting at about 2,200 JPY. Above is one of the lunch sets. The food was not spectacular, but was passable. I was surprised that they did not have options for the kids. The set menu was definitely too much food to order another lunch for the kids, so we shared.

This location is conveniently located a minute or two from Shinjuku station. Mimiu has a few other locations in the city. When we reserved the room we were told that there was a two-hour limit.

Mimiu 美々卯

Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-37-12, Shinjuku Nowa Bldg. 6F 新宿区新宿3-37-12新宿Nowaビル6F

http://www.mimiu.co.jp/

Omiyage – Kamakura Hato Sable

Hato1

Kamakura Hato Sable

Omiyage (oh-me-yah-gay) are gifts that are given to friends, family, and work colleagues. Omiyage are often associated with a region or a particular ingredient. The whole culture of omiyage is complicated. It is often expected that whenever you take a trip that you will return with omiyage. As an office worker, by going on vacation or on a business trip you are inconveniencing your colleagues as they cover for your absence. A small gift from your travels is a nice way to thank them for their efforts.

But, the obligation of having to bring back omiyage can be frustrating. Decisions not only on what to buy, but for who to buy for, and more importantly, how much money to spend on all of this. It can take some of the fun away from your holidays. There are rules that help define all of this, for example, not spending too much.

Bringing back omiyage can also be loads of fun. Coming across something unique that you know a dear friend will appreciate. Or you try something new that is so delicious that you just have to share it.

Hato packaging

Hato Sable Packaging

Kamakura is a lovely beachside town south of Tokyo. One of its popular omiyage is the Hato Sable. Sablé are buttery sugar cookies, here in the shape of a pigeon (hato). Japanese love presentation and here is the packaging for five cookies, a simple paper box with handles. It is 540 JPY for a package of five, or about $5 USD. Larger quantities are sold in tin boxes.

The Hato Sable originated in the Meiji period, in 1894. At the time some of the key ingredients for sablé were very expensive and not found in most homes, making these a treat as a gift. The company, Toshimaya, is now a fourth generation shop and you’ll find these in many department stores throughout the country.

Many depachika sell popular omiyage from around the country. So even if you have returned from your trip and you realize you have forgotten someone, you might be able to pick up a gift from your local department store.

www.hato.co.jp/hato/index.html