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Kyoto, Osaka, Kanazawa, Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Matsumoto preview - LONG


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Kyoto, Osaka, Kanazawa, Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Matsumoto preview - LONG

snaporaz | | Mar 5, 2010 11:29 AM

The GF and I are off to Japan next month, and I thought I would share some the places I'm hoping to get to on this trip. I have many more that are potentially interesting (googlemap: but this is the shortlist. Would love to hear comments and further suggestions.
Many thanks to Silverjay, Robb S and other Japan board CHers as well as to Harris Salat of, Paul at and Peko at for endless amounts of information that has been invaluable in planning the trip.

* Kyoto (in no particular order):

- Ramen Karako
Looks like the way to go here is to have their signature yellow ramen. Apparently the fried chicken is excellent too, and they have banchan-style free appetizers.

- Okariba
This wild game izakaya has been amply reviewed... basashi, bee larvae, bear... I'm there.

- Sojiki Nakahigashi
Not sure how to describe this... a high end kappo place featuring foraged wild vegetables? Anyway, it took the very kind folks from whom we're renting our apartment in Kyoto a family effort (husband, wife and mother-in-law all on their phones at 8:30 AM when the restaurant officially opened up their April calendar) to bag us a reservation. While they were at it, they thought they should try it too for their anniversary, so it wasn't all bad. Anyway, I've really been looking forward to eating here. We'll be going for lunch to keep it reasonable.
Here's where I first read about it:

- Yorozuya - negi udon
I'm not a huge udon fan, but this looks like a uniquely Kyoto experience.

- Izuju - sabazushi
Famous for its sabazushi, another well-travelled spot.

- Katsukura
For my tonkatsu fix. I tried Yamanaka last time I was in Kyoto and did not love it. The Maisen neat Omotesando on the other hand was amazing - anything like that in Kyoto?

- Waraji-tei - obanzai
Went here last time I was in Kyoto and had a fun meal and a crazy adventure involving befriending a Japanese actor who had worked with Kurosawa (FWIW Shimizu Koji), him taking me and the GF to the home / temple of his childhood friend the buddhist priest / sculptor / carpenter and his wife, and having matcha in their modern tree-house tea-room while discussing life and art through an electronic translator... and I'm leaving out half of it. So in honor of one of my favorite japanese evenings of all time we'll be heading back here.

- Shigetsu - shojin ryori or Hirokawa - anago
We'll be in Arashiyama for lunch one day, so it's either one of these two places. Unless people have better suggestions.

Shigetsu -
Hirokawa (4.11 on tabelog) -

* Osaka:

One lunch in Osaka as we're going to the aquarium and the museum. I asked about this recently and it seems like the best bet is to go to the Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho.
Might have to stop by Yoshino Sushi for some take-home oshi-zushi... though I must say it seems pretty expensive to me.

- Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho -

* Kanazawa:

Just one lunch and one dinner and breakfast the following day here so if it all works out it'll be...

- Komatsu yasuke - sushi - for lunch
4.45 on tabelog!

- Housyou zushi - for dinner - many thanks to Silverjay for recommending this one.

I know it's a lot of sushi for one day but how often am I in Kanazawa?

* Shirakawa-go:

Decided not to stay the night in a gassho-zukuri - I know that's a huge part of the draw but there are other determining factors that go beyond the scope of this discussion - so only lunch here.
Anyone have a suggestion aside from Shiraogi?
Review is half-way down the page:

* Takayama:

- eating dinner one night at the ryokan where we're staying - really looking forward to this.
Ryori ryokan Hanaoka

- also curious about Sakana

* Okuhida Onsen:

- another ryokan dinner, this time at Yarimikan. We'll be here for the springs but the food should be pretty great too.

* Matsumoto:

- seems like basashi is the thing here - Mikawaya

* Tokyo:

We have one late dinner in Ueno before heading onwards to Bali the next morning... I'm tempted to just hit the local Toriyoshi branch but I'd be interested to see if anyone has any suggestions in that area.

I'll be reporting back after we return! Thanks again for any insight.

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