Salmon Takikomigohan and Ikura

Salmon cooked with rice and topped with ikura. A mother and child dish, oyakodon. Most people will think of a chicken and egg dish. This is the same, just a seafood version. Grilled salmon (we use salted salmon filets) is added to the rice before it is cooked. Do not put in raw salmon as…

Niigata Echigo Yuzawa

Just one hour from Tokyo on the shinkansen, Echigo Yuzawa is a fun get-away to a snowy paradise. There are mountains for skiing, and even play areas for kids to sled. Even ski gear and snow boots can be rented, so no need to go up with heavy bags. We left sunny Tokyo and after…

Niigata – Sake Tasting at Echigo Yuzawa Station

Echigo Yuzawa is a short shinkansen ride from Tokyo station, just over an hour. We left Tokyo on a sunny morning and when the train shoots out of the the Niigata mountain side of the tunnel, we were in a snowstorm. It was like a dream come true. Echigo Yuzawa station has a special sake…

Celebrating with Sparkling Sake

Small occasion to celebrate this evening. Not worthy of champagne, but deserving of more than a can of craft beer and calling for something with bubbles. Mio is a sweet sparkler from Takara Shuzo. It’s low in alcohol, only 5%, like a beer, and sweet so a nice aperitif to dinner. It paired perfectly with chunky…

Nunohan Ryokan – Suwa, Nagano

When deciding where to stay while traveling in Japan there are many considerations for type of stay. When we can, we try to stay at local ryokan inns with onsen hot springs. Nunohan was put on my radar by a friend who lives in Suwa, Nagano. We loved it. The ryokan is kid-friendly, had lovely cuisine,…

Kinukatsugi Satoimo – Boiled Taro Root

Kinukatsugi are small taro root. All of these fit in my hands. I had been served this in the past and wanted to try them at home. There is a lot of dirt on the skin, so they need to be washed and scrubbed thoroughly. Then a slice is made on the top 1/5 to…

Nagano Masumi Brewery

We love Nagano. It’s just north of Tokyo, easy to access by train, and here you’ll find delicious food and great sake. Suwa is a city that is accessible from Tokyo by train, about two hours from Tokyo on the express train, Azusa. Not the shinkansen, but it passes many stations along the way. Here…

Talking About Drinking on Television

Today Japan welcomed a new sumo champion, Goeido. It’s most interesting as in this tournament had he not done well he was going to be demoted. Well, he rose to the challenge and went 15 days undefeated. Bravo! The television cameras were on Goeido just before the awards ceremony and the announcers filled in with…

Japan’s Most Challenging Food

Chinmi. I am not a fan, not one bit. But my husband, Shinji, loves having some type of chinmi in the fridge at all times. Usually we have one or two types, but we recently traveled and Shinji picked up some along the way. Chinmi is fermented seafood, often including the guts or other parts of seafood…

Steak and Saké – Sakura Masamune

Working for two years at Nihonbashi Takashimaya’s depachika was an education. I was in the saké department. In Japanese saké refers not only to nihonshu, but to all alcoholic beverages. While I was hired as a sommelier and my chief responsibility was wine, I also had to be able to sell saké, shōchū, beer, and spirits. I learned…

Ogikubo Takahashi Soba 高はし

Takahashi is a about a ten-minute walk from Ogikubo station on the Chuo line, but worth the journey through the residential area west of Tokyo. I was meeting a girlfriend for lunch on a Tuesday. For whatever reason, many soba shops are closed on Tuesdays. But my friend had been to Takahashi before and we…

Park Hyatt Tokyo Kozue’s Tohoku Heroes

Kozue at the Park Hyatt Tokyo is a lovely spot for Japanese cuisine. At lunch if the skies are clear you have a gorgeous view of Mount Fuji. At night the city twinkles below you. Two years ago Kozue did a special Tohoku menu to show their support for three prefectures that were hit hard…

Soba at Honmura An

My first introduction to Honmura An was in New York City back about 15 years ago. A friend who loved soba wanted to share with me his favorite soba shop in the city. I was mesmerized with the stone grinder for crushing the dried buckwheat and impressed that the noodles were being made fresh daily….

Wadakura at the Palace Hotel Tokyo 和田倉

Seasonal Sashimi of Sea Bream, Medium Fatty Tuna, and Squid Kaiseki restaurant Wadakura in the Palace Hotel Tokyo is a quiet oasis overlooking the moat of the Imperial Palace. Seasonal dishes are brought out in small portions and presented on beautiful dishes. There are many good reasons for having kaiseki for lunch. First and foremost,…

Hirezake – Japan’s Weirdest Hot Saké Drink?

There is still a chill in the wind and one of the fun hot drinks to warm up with is hirezake. The fin of the fugu (blowfish or puffer fish) is grilled over a flame until charred and then put into a cup of hot saké to steep. More for fun than for flavor, but a nice…

Tokyo Food Guide

photo by Olen Peterson We can demystify Tsukiji Market, the world’s largest seafood market, and introduce you to a new sushi neta, like kinmedai (splendid alfonsino) that is pink, slightly sweet, and is succulent. Introduce you to a wide variety of Japanese pickles. Lead you to a special bar where cocktails are made with seasonal fruit and…

The Artistry of Den 傳 2

Asamayama Natsu-Jun, or summer Junmaishu, was rich enough to stand up the fish course. Katsuo-zuké, skipjack tuna marinated in soy sauce, is a dish we eat at home, but this was so much more upscale. The katsuo was marinated for a much shorter time than we do at home. Also, I loved the egg yolk that…

Sanukiya – Kaiseki Udonya and Saké

Tokyo is filled with a wide variety of izakaya, places with food and saké. Recently I got together with friends, two editors from a popular food magazine, DANCYU, and a famous saké and shōchū authority for a night out. I was told that we were going to Sanukiya in Kōenji. Sanuki is a region in Japan famous for…

Hanami 101

Each spring cherry trees around Tokyo blossom while friends, families, and co-workers gather under the blossoms to enjoy the ritual of hanami. If you are lucky to be in Tokyo this week, it is the quintessential Japanese experience. A few tips on how to best enjoy hanami. Most essential is to pick up a bentō. The best place…

Food Sake Tokyo Tours

Food Sake Tokyo conducts private guided field trips to Tokyo’s popular food destinations that is led by food professionals. Yukari Sakamoto is a chef, sommelier, shōchū advisor, and author of Food Sake Tokyo. Shinji Sakamoto is a fishmonger and former buyer at Tsukiji Market. Popular topics include market visits, saké or shōchū tastings, or shopping at local supermarkets. The customized tours are…