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How to explore Japanese food?


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How to explore Japanese food?

misard | May 12, 2014 10:30 AM

My wife and I are spending 12 days in Japan later this month: 4 full days each in Tokyo and Kyoto, and a side trip to Takayama and Kanazawa. I have been briefly to Tokyo once, and my wife has never been to Japan.

We are hoping to eat excellent sushi, beef and ramen, but it is clear from reading message boards that there is much more we should be looking for in order to have an adventurous and delicious sampling of local food. We have booked a few meals in advance, but are happy mostly to make last-minute decisions based on what we are in the mood for (and thus perhaps concentrate on 'very good' rather than 'the best' based on what we can get in to). We are willing to pay a fair amount, but don't require a meal to be expensive in order to enjoy it :) My question is: what are the styles of cuisine and dining experience that you would recommend we seek out, beyond the Western favorites I mention above?

So far we have booked Sushi Sawada for lunch; we are staying (and eating) at Wanosato Ryokan in Takayama one night; and we have booked Hana Kitcho in Kyoto. I have had Wagyu at John Howie in Bellevue and found it too much concentrated fat for my taste in steak form; from reading it seems that we might prefer shabu style if we are going to seek out a meal of Wagyu, but we have not yet booked any.

Thanks for any advice! We leave on May 19th and I will post a report when we get back!

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