Asakusa Kamiya Bar 浅草神谷バー

Kamiya Bar in Asakusa, opened in 1880, is one of Tokyo’s classic bars. Known for its signature cocktail, Denki Bran, made from brandy, gin, wine, curacao, and herbs. At 270 JPY per drink, it’s cheaper than coffee. Bottles of pre-mixed Denki Bran are popular omiyage (local gifts) that tourists can bring back home to share with their friends, is sold at a retail window on street.

The bar menu includes classic Japanese small plates like pickles, sashimi, and grilled skewers. In the winter months kaki furai, deep-fried oysters, is popular. Nikomi, offal simmered in Shinshu miso, is a signature dish and a classic shitamachi dish. Shitamachi refers to older parts of Tokyo.

The clientele is made up of a mix of locals and tourists. The second and third floors are restaurants, but it is the first floor bar where you want to go.

I wouldn’t make a special trip across town, but Asakusa is a popular area for the historic temple, Sensoji. It is also walking distance to Kappabashi, a must-visit spot for kitchenware, tableware, and to see plastic food samples. If you find yourself in the area and need a break, stop by for a Denki Bran and a few bites.

Kamiya Bar 神谷バー

Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-1-1 台東区浅草1-1-1

http://www.kamiya-bar.com/

  • Kamiya Bar usually closes on Tuesday, but also on other days of the week, so do check the calendar on the bar’s website.

 

 

Yoshoku – Yoshikami in Asakusa

Beef Stew at Yoshikami

Yoshikami in Asakusa is famous for its beef stew. Tender beef in a demi-glace sauce. Other popular dishes include the omuraisu (omelet enveloping ketchup flavored rice) and croquettes. The feel of the restaurant is like a diner from the 50s in the USA. Be sure to get a seat at the counter where you can watch the food being cooked in the open kitchen.

Yoshikami is a short walk from the temple Sensoji.

Yoshikami ヨシカミ

Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-41-4 台東区浅草1-41-4

03-3841-1802

http://www.yoshikami.co.jp (in Japanese)

Tokiwadou Okoshi 浅草の常磐堂

Tokiwadou Okoshi 浅草の常磐堂

Tokiwadou Okoshi 浅草の常磐堂

Tokiwadou Okoshi 浅草の常磐堂

Tokiwadou Okoshi 浅草の常磐堂

Tokiwadou Okoshi 浅草の常磐堂

Tokiwadou Okoshi 浅草の常磐堂

Tokiwadou Okoshi 常磐堂

Kaminari Okoshi Kaminarimon Honten

Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-3-2 台東区浅草1-3-2

Phone: 03-3841-5656

www.tokiwado.com (Japanese)

This shop to the left of the main gate is a popular destination for visitors. Okoshi are the popular food gift that Asakusa is famous for. These colorful, pastel-colored, puffed rice crackers include flavors like peanuts, almond, nori, mattcha, brown sugar, and black bean cocoa. Tokwadou’s lineup includes a variety of crackers, sweets, and a unique collection of karintou crackers include flavors like Satsumaimo (sweet potato), wasabi, ninjin (carrots), tamanegi (onions), and pirikara gobo (spicy burdock root). There is a small production kitchen behind glass where you can watch the okoshi making process.

Izumiya in Asakusa 浅草の和泉屋

Izumiya in Asakusa 浅草の和泉屋

Izumiya in Asakusa 浅草の和泉屋

Izumiya in Asakusa 浅草の和泉屋

Izumiya in Asakusa 浅草の和泉屋

Izumiya in Asakusa 浅草の和泉屋

Izumiya in Asakusa 浅草の和泉屋

Izumiya in Asakusa 浅草の和泉屋

Izumiya in Asakusa 浅草の和泉屋

Izumiya 和泉屋

Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-1-4 台東区浅草1-1-4

Phone: 03-3841-5501

10:30 – 19:30 (closed Thursdays)

www.asakusa.gr.jp/nakama/izumiya/ (Japanese)

This quaint sembei shop presents the rice crackers in glass jars with tin lids. A wide variety of flavors include both sweet and savory like shiso, zarame (rock sugar), and a very spicy dried red pepper covered ookara. The very delicate and thin usuyaki, nori wrapped, and an unusual type, an extra hard genkotsu. There is also a shop in the Nakamise Dori, but this selection is much bigger.

Kibundo Souhonten in Asakusa 浅草の紀文堂総本店

Kibundo Souhonten in Asakusa

Kibundo Souhonten in Asakusa

Kibundo Souhonten 紀文堂総本店

Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-2-2 台東区浅草1-2-2

Phone: 03-3841-4401

9:00 – 20:30, closed Wednesday

no website

This popular shop is on the main street just to the right of the Kaminarimon has a collection of kawara sembei (crispy, tile-shaped sweet crackers), uzura kasutera (small bite-size castella cakes), ningyoyaki, and a mix of crackers called okonomiyose.

Umezono in Asakusa 浅草の梅園

Umezono

Umezono

Umezono's Signature Awa Zenzai

Umezono's Signature Awa Zenzai

Umezono in Asakusa

Umezono in Asakusa

Umezono 梅園

Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-31-12 台東区浅草1-31-12

Phone: 03-3841-7580

10:00 – 20:00, closed Wednesdays and 2nd Tuesday

www.asakusa-umezono.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Just off of the Nakamise Dori the corner shop is easy to recognize from the red paper umbrella and benches in front of the shop. Umezono in Asakusa, opened in 1854, has a strong following for anmitsu, oshiruko, soup-like sweets including azuki an paste, fruits, kanten and mochi dango. Their signature dish, awa zenzai, one of the most popular Asakusa sweets, warms up the body on cold days. The awa (a small grain) is cooked slowly steamed until tender and presented in a lacquer bowl with some sweet azuki paste. The menu has a full selection of traditional sweets to enjoy inside the café and several of their popular sweets are packaged to go like dorayaki, anmitsu, and mitsumame.

Iriyama Sembei in Asakusa 浅草の入山煎餅

Iriyama Sembei in Asakusa

Iriyama Sembei in Asakusa

Iriyama Sembei in Asakusa

Iriyama Sembei in Asakusa

Iriyama Sembei in Asakusa

Iriyama Sembei in Asakusa

Iriyama Sembei 入山煎餅

Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-13-4 台東区浅草1-13-4

Phone: 03-3844-1376

10:00 – 18:00, closed Thursdays

www.prpub.jp/senbei/asakusa/iriyama.htm (Japanese)

Popular round sembei are toasted until a golden caramel color and then dipped into a soy sauce. Only one style is made, shoyu (soy sauce). Uruchimai (rice) cakes are dried for 3 days and then grilled for five minutes. Each day they grill 4,000, winter takes longer to grill. Often the men are in white t-shirts and thin, white cotton pants. “Yakitate” osembei have just been toasted and are hot and the best way to try them. Iriya have been toasting rice crackers since 1914.

Magurobito Kaitenzushi in Asakusa 浅草のまぐろ人

Magurobito

Magurobito

**** Note, this shop has closed.

 

Magurobito まぐろ人

Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-5-9 台東区浅草1-5-9

Phone: 03-3844-8736

Monday – Friday (11:00 – 15:00, 17:00 – 22:00)

Saturday (11:00 – 22:00)

Sunday and holidays (11:00 – 21:00)

www.magurobito.com/ (Japanese)

Magurobito is kaitenzushi (revolving sushi) with a good value and a selection of seasonal fresh fish. It is very popular so there is often a line, but it tends to move quickly. This is a chain so you may see shops around the city. Of the many kaitenzushi, this chain is one of the better ones. It is also very popular for its bang for buck. There is a second shop in the area but it is tachigui (stand and eat) and only accommodates a handful of customers.

Mugitoro in Asakusa 浅草のむぎとろ

Mugitoro in Asakusa

Mugitoro in Asakusa

Mugitoro in Asakusa

Mugitoro in Asakusa

Mugitoro うぎとろ

Taito-ku, Kaminarimon 2-2-4 台東区雷門2-2-4

phone 03-3842-1066

11:00 – 21:00, no holidays

www.mugitoro.co.jp (Japanese)

Mugitoro is next to the Komagatado temple. The entrance to the 6-story modern building has red paper umbrellas and benches. As there is usually a line to get in, this is a welcome site. Mugitoro’s signature dish is rice cooked with barley (mugi) and topped with grated yamaimo potato. When the potato is grated it creates a thick, creamy, slippery slurry, in Japanese called tororo. Hence, the name of the restaurant is Mugitoro. The meals here are based around this dish, served with a variety of small plates. In front of the shop is a menu board with photos of popular dishes.

There is a small gift shop in the front of the shop. Mugitoro has created a line of rice crackers based on sticky rice, but combined with the tororo. The sandaime cracker, also called nuremochi, is a rice cracker soaked in soy sauce, not crispy like most, but chewy and moist. The signature cracker, Satochan, is a crispy cracker topped with black sesame seeds. If you like sweets, the tororinto, is surrounded with artisanal brown sugar from Amami Oshima in Okinawa.

B Kyu Gourmet – Cheap Eats in Tokyo B級グルメ

Ramen

Here are some of my favorite restaurants that won’t break the bank. This article first appeared in Metropolis on November 5, 2009.

http://metropolis.co.jp/dining/local-flavors/the-b-list/

The most sought-after tables in recession-hit Tokyo can be found at so-called B-kyu gurume restaurants. These eateries typically specialize in a single cuisine—soba or tonkatsu, for example—served in simple settings without the lacquerware or heavy linens found at more upscale establishments. While B-kyu gurumerestaurants have always been around, the economic downturn has sparked a new interest in them, as reflected in the flurry of books, magazines and TV programs documenting the best finds throughout the city. Here are some of our favorites.

Nihonbashi Sapporoya

For an exceptionable bowl of ramen, try the hiyashi chukka goma dare (¥1,000) at Sapporoya in Nihonbashi. This basement restaurant, with only a few communal tables and chairs, serves up a large bowl of chilled noodles with tomatoes, cucumbers, ham, bamboo shoots, egg and more, topped with a creamy, nutty sesame-soy broth. The hot bowls of noodles are also excellent, notably the miso butter corn ramen. B1, 3-3-5 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-3275-0024. Open Mon-Fri 11am-9:30pm, Sat 11am-4pm, closed Sun. Nearest stn: Nihonbashi or Tokyo (Yaesu exit).

Kanda Matsuya

Kanda Matsuya (pictured) has been serving up rustic, handmade soba noodles for three generations. While connoisseurs would advise simplicity with the mori sobaserved on a bamboo tray with a dipping sauce (¥600), we can not resist the ten-nanban, a hot bowl of soba noodles topped with shrimp tempura (¥950).
1-3 Kanda-Sudacho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03-3251-1556. Open Mon-Fri
11am-8pm, Sat & hols 11am-7pm, closed Sun. Nearest stn: Ogawamachi or
Kanda. www.kanda-matsuya.jp

Tsukiji Market’s Nakaya Donburi

Tsukiji Market is filled with B-kyu gurume restaurants. While throngs of visitors are queued up at Daiwa Sushi and Sushi Dai, we prefer Nakaya Donburi, located just up the street. Nakaya specializes in rice bowls topped with seafood—make sure to ask about seasonal (shun) items that are only available a few weeks of each year, or check the handwritten menu outside the front door. Popular donburitoppings include creamy uni, vermillion-colored ikura, and fatty tuna, or you can combine all three for just ¥1,700—a steal. 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku. Tel: 03-3541-0211. Open daily 6:30am-1:30pm (closed Tsukiji hols). Nearest stn: Tsukiji.

Santa Tonkatsu in Shinjuku

The tonkatsu at Santa in Shinjuku is unique—the panko (bread crumbs) are julienned instead of finely minced. Ask to be seated on the lower floor at the counter to watch the chefs frying the pork cutlets and thinly slicing the cabbage. The premium rosu katsu teishoku is just ¥1,680. 3-33-10 Shinjuku. Tel: 03-3351-5861. Open Tue-Fri 11:30am-2pm and 5-9:30pm, Sat-Sun & hols 11:30am-9:30pm, closed Mon. Nearest stn: Shinjuku or Shinjuku Sanchome.www.shinjuku.or.jp/kirin/washoku/santa

Asakusa Yoshikami

Located near the historic Asakusa temple district, Yoshikami feels like a retro diner, with round stools lined up at a counter overlooking the open kitchen. These are the best seats in the house for a view of the toqued chefs creating the restaurant’s popular omu-raisu (¥1,250), the classic yoshoku dish of ketchup-flavored rice enveloped in a soft omelet. The tender pieces of beef in a rich demi-glace sauce will have you dreaming about Yoshikami’s stew long afterwards (¥2,350). 1-41-4 Asakusa, Taito-ku. Tel: 03-3841-1802. Open daily 11:45am-10:30pm. Nearest station: Asakusawww.yoshikami.co.jp

Shibuya Tokyu Food Show’s Uoriki Sushi Counter

For fresh sushi at bargain-basement prices, head to Uoriki in the Tokyu Food Show depachika, inside Shibuya station. Don’t let the age of the chefs behind the counter fool you—these elderly gents are adept at molding the rice and slicing the seafood. We love the maguro zukushi with three parts of tuna—akamichutoroand ootoro—for just ¥1,190. B1 Tokyu Department Store, 2-24-1 Shibuya. Tel: 03-5428-3813. Open daily 10am-9pm. Nearest stn: Shibuyawww.uoriki.co.jp