I recently went to Japan for work and had a chance to have some nice meals in Tokyo and Kyoto. It was my first trip to Japan. I found the people incredibly nice and down to earth and I could appreciate the sometimes unusual Japanese art aesthetic. I was very impressed with the food.
For the work part of the trip I stayed in Inuyama which is kind of in the middle of nowhere. The hotel I stayed at in Inuyama, the Meitetsu Inuyama had a great hot springs bath and terrific Japanese buffet style breakfast. The food at the Inuyama convention center was mediocre but for dinner we were taken out for Japanese bar food which was quite good.
Here is where I ate in Tokyo:
Miyako Zushi in Asakusa for dinner: Overall a very good assortment and fresh and tasty sushi. The people there were very nice. A bit on the expensive side.
Maisen for lunch: They specialize in pork cutlets. A friend who lived in Tokyo highly recommended them. I thought the pork cutlet was good but not amazing. I did not see what all the fuss was about. The pork was served with a delicious miso soup with clams. It may have been the best miso soup I have ever had and I enjoyed the soup more than the pork cutlet.
Azumaya for dinner: They specialize in eel. It was an amazing meal. The hosts who have owned this place for over 40 years, were incredibly welcoming and warm. Started with delicious eel liver soup seasoned with Sancho and had eel over rice as the main course. The eel was incredibly tender and satisfying. (あずまや 2-3-13 Amanuma Suginami-ku 杉並区天沼 2-３-13, 03-3392-5232)
Here is where I ate in Kyoto where I was with a friend of mine who lives and works nearby:
Henko for lunch: WOW! I never new soba noodles could be this good. We ate a bowl of incredibly delicious cold soba noodles served with a fish broth, soy sauce, daikon radish, nori, mucilaginous native mushrooms and other things. I was completely blown away. You can get good sushi in the US, but you definitely can’t get noodles this good. (http://www.gion-henko.com/)
Torihatsu Kamogawa for dinner: a Noryo Yuka place. Specializes in Kyoto cuisine and during the summer you can sit outdoors by the river. It was a wonderful experience. The setting outdoors along the river is very relaxing. The food was totally unique and unlike any other Japanese food I have ever had. The meal centered around a hot pot with a very flavorful chicken in broth. The dish was seasoned with Sancho, ginger and spicy red chili. This combination of seasoning was very unique and flavorful. A server served added vegetables and tofu to the broth. As the hotpot cooked the server would serve us the broth in a soup cup and served us the chicken and vegetables in a plate with soy sauce. The broth was incredibly thick and rich. One of the best chicken soups I have ever eaten. The chicken tasted like an older bird, possibly a rooster. The meat was very flavorful. As an appetizer the liver was served with a soysauce glaze. It was velvety and delicious. (http://r.tabelog.com/kyoto/A2602/A260...)