Chef Narisawa’s Kitchen Car – One of Japan

Starting January 7 and running through March 8 adjacent to the Diner’s Club Ice Rink in Roppongi, chef Yoshihiro Narisawa is serving cuisine from his first Kitchen Car. I much prefer the name the Japanese have given to food trucks, kitchen cars. If you are at all familiar with chef Narisawa’s gorgeous and spacious kitchen at his restaurant, you can understand the big change it is for him.

One of Japan

One of Japan

The menu at last night’s press event included grilled Hiroshima oysters, soups, and sandwiches. The soups are classic regional styles from the north to the south.

– Hokkaido’s Ishikari Nabe is made with salmon, vegetables, and miso – a staple for Hokkaido winters.

– Kyoto’s Shiro Miso Ozoni combines grilled rice cakes with a sweet, white miso.

– Hakata Motsu Nikomi is wagyu offal simmered in a spicy miso soup.

The sandwiches are made with an 18-grain flour and are filled with pork, chicken, or vegetables.

The menu will be changing throughout the 61 days of the event, encouraging diners to come back.

One of Japan

One of Japan

Most impressive was the list of farmers and producers who are collaborating with Chef Narisawa for this event including some of my favorites like Okui kombu from Fukui, Hida Gyu from Gifu, and Sanshu Mikawa mirin from Aichi. It’s a long list and there is a map in front of the kitchen car highlighting where the different ingredients are procured from.

One of Japan

One of Japan

There was sake as well last night, including Fukushima’s Daishichi Kimoto, a nice partner to the motsu nabe.

Even if you are not an ice skater, a visit to Roppongi Midtown is a great excuse to check out the great food shops on the first floor. Narisawa’s Kitchen Car is just across the street from the food court.

Narisawa Kitchen Car – One of Japan

Minato-ku, Akasaka 9-7-1, Tokyo Midtown, Diner’s Club Ice Rink (across the street from the Ritz-Carlton

Now through March 8th. Hours are 11 a.m. to about 9 p.m.

Nihonbashi Tour on November 1st


Can you tell the difference between the nori on the left and the right?


Two types of dashi, both using katsuobushi.

What better time to learn about washoku? It seems that UNESCO will recognize the unique cuisine of Japan as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in December.

If you are curious or passionate about Japanese cuisine and would like to know more about it, there will be a 90-minute walking tour of some of the historic shops in Nihonbashi. Learn more about umami, some ingredients from the Japanese pantry, and Japanese cuisine.

The tours are at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. on Friday, November 1st. The tours are in English.

For more details, please contact me directly. Our e-mail is on our “Yukari and Shinji Sakamoto” page.

Hanamaru Market Food Fair at Shinjuku Odakyu

Hanamaru Market is a morning television variety program. While it is not a food program, it introduces the favorite food of each day’s guest. I have found this program a great way to be introduced to products I would not necessarily come across. Food items include regional items from guests’ hometowns to some local favorites in Tokyo.

The Omeza Fair at Shinjuku Odakyu is a food fair that introduces some of these popular foods. Some of my favorites include Azabu Juban’s osembei shop, Mamegen’s shio okaki. These deep-fried rice crackers are simply seasoned with salt. These are addictive so watch out.  From Kyoto, Gion Kinana’s kinako ice cream, an ice cream flavored with toasted soybean powder, and Izumiya chirimenjako, small sardines and sansho peppers, perfect for topping over a bowl of rice. As well as pickles, mentaiko, umeboshi, gyoza, shumai, pork buns from Nagasaki, and much, much more.

If you are in Shinjuku stop by as it is near the station. The event runs from today until Tuesday, October 4th. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., on the last day the event closes at 5 p.m.

Shinjuku Odakyu 11th floor.

Tohoku Food Festival at Takashimaya Nihonbashi


Awabi Ikura Mekabu

Awabi Ikura Mekabu

This weekend through Monday the 12th, stop by Takashimaya Nihonbashi’s 8th floor (large event space) for a special food festival featuring the food of the Tohoku region. My mother is from Yamagata so Tohoku holds a very special place in my heart. Shinji also works with many fishermen from Aomori to Iwate and Miyagi so many of the seafood producers from this region are treasured. Tohoku needs your support now more than ever.

Highlights include the awabi, ikura, and mekabu (in photo above) from Iwate, konnyaku balls from Yamagata, kamaboko from Miyagi, and much, much more.

Note that these events usually close early on the final day (Monday the 12th), most likely closing at 5 p.m. But call ahead to confirm.

Nihonbashi Takashimaya

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi 2-4-1

Hokkaido Food Festival at Odakyu in Shinjuku

Hokkaido Chirashi Eat-In

Hokkaido Chirashi Eat-In

Hokkaido Chirashi Take-Away

Hokkaido Chirashi Take-Away

Starting today through Tuesday, September 13th, Odakyu at Shinjuku station (nishi guchi or west exit) will host a food festival highlighting the food of Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido. As a two-week event, vendors will change on the second week starting on Wednesday, September 7th, giving customers a chance to come back next week for new stuff.

My favorite part of any Hokkaido food festival is the abundance of seafood, in particular, uni, ikura, and kani (crab). I always pick up a chirashizushi of the previous three seafood at these events. Hokkaido is also rich with dairy products so be sure to check out the sweets. Kombu is harvested in Hokkaido and usually there is a booth with top quality kombu for making dashi at home. If you are a ramen fan, be sure to come hungry and have a bowl of ramen here.

Odakyu Shinjuku 11th floor

10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

on the 6th and the 13th the event space closes at 5 p.m.

Click here for Odakyu’s promotional information for this event.

Gotta Go – The Sake Fair on June 15th in Ikebukuro

The Sake Fair

The Sake Fair

The do not miss event for any sake aficionado, The Sake Fair, will be held on June 15th in Ikebukuro. A rare opportunity to try up to 450 nihonshu (impossible, but nice to dream about) at one time. And all for the bargain price of 3,500 JPY (3,000 JPY if you purchase ahead of time). Best of all, representatives from the breweries are on hand to answer questions about their products.

The English link for the event follows:

Click to access 2011_fair_en.pdf

Yamagata Food Fair at Nihonbashi Takashimaya 第9回 やまがた展

Tama Konnyaku

Tama Konnyaku

Nihonbashi Takashimaya was my home for two years. I loved working in the depachika and one of my favorite part of the job was the special food fairs held on the 8th floor of the department store, not in the basement where we were most of the time. Starting this Wednesday through Monday, the 30th, the region that is being showcased is Yamagata. My mother is from here and a big part of our family still lives there. It is always a treat to go to Yamagata for the amazing food and sake.

Yamagata is known for having good rice and water, important for the excellent sake. There is usually a corner of jizake where you can try the sake before you purchase it. I am also addicted to these konnyaku balls in the photograph above.  A nice side dish for any meal or good as a snack with some sake. Look for Yonezawa wagyu, soba, pickles, and in particular any fruit or vegetables.

Nihonbashi Takashimaya

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi 2-4-1

The last day the event closes at 6 p.m. Takashimaya is a short walk from Tokyo station or connected to the Nihonbashi subway station.

Wagashi Fair at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi 第65回全国銘菓展

Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi will host its 65th festival of famous wagashi purveyors. This is one of my favorite events at Mitsukoshi as the variety and beauty of wagashi is so impressive. Best of all, artisans are handcrafting edible works of art at some of the stalls so it becomes an education on how delicate and intricate this artform is. The wagashi artisans come from all over Japan

Wednesday, March 18 – Monday, March 23

Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi 7th floor

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 1-4-1

Okinawa Food Fair at Keio Department Store in Shinjuku

Zuisen Awamori

Zuisen Awamori

Keio department store in Shinjuku will showcase the unique food of Okinawa at a food fair from Thursday, May 12th to Tuesday, May 17th. Do stop by if you are in Shinjuku. Highlights include an eat-in corner where you can order a bowl of the local noodles, soki soba. Other foods to try include rafute, pork simmered in a soy broth until tender, local vegetables like goya (bitter gourd) and tropical fruits such as passion fruit. But what is worth the trip is to pick up some bottles of awamori, the local distilled spirit made from Thai rice. At these food events it is common for representatives from the awamori distilleries to come and pour samples of their product so come and taste through a few to see what you like. Be sure to try some ku-su, aged awamori. Advertisements for the event say that there will be a five-year aged awamori. Keio is located near the Nishi guchi (west exit) of Shinjuku station. The event is on the 7th floor. (Japanese)

Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 1-1-4

Phone 03-3342-2111

The event closes at 5:00 p.m. on the final day, Tuesday, May 17th.

Hokkaido Food Fair at Keio in Shinjuku

Sapporo Catalana

Sapporo Catalana

An insider’s tip when visiting department stores is not to limit yourself to the basement’s depachika. Inquire at the concierge if there is a special food event on the event floor, usually the top floor. Today through April 12th at Keio in Shinjuku the food of Hokkaido is featured on the 7th floor. Hokkaido is known for its seafood, in particular the winter may be the best for crab, uni, ikura, and scallops. The green grass and open fields is home to cows, needed for milk for Hokkaido sweets. The photo above is a caramelized frozen custard from a shop called Sapporo Catalana. If you like ramen you’ll have the opportunity to eat local Hokkaido ramen at special eat-in counters. Most likely there will be local nihonshu – often with free tastings before you purchase. This is also a great opportunity to interact with the purveyors directly.

Do stop by if you are in Shinjuku. It is just outside of the Nishiguchi (West exit). The last day the event closes by 5 p.m. so don’t be late.

Keio Department Store

Shinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 1-1-4