Let me preface this with the fact that I dont speak japanese and I have also spent about 50 hours reading through these and other forums, so I am trying not to repeat old questions but looking for some current info. I am visiting tokyo with my wife in 3 weeks and CANNOT WAIT to get there and try many different foods. But we want to get the most from our trip and Tokyo seems like 10 cities in one. Your help is SO much appreciated:
What is the nicest way to say hello when you walk into a restaurant?
Can you order omakase at any restaurant (lets say yakitori, tempura, etc) if you want to leave it in the expert hands of the chef? How would you say this in the nicest way?
Can you order nigiri only omakase and how? how would you say omakase, but no fugu or something like that if you didnt want something in particular?
Does anyone recommend some great yakitori that specializes in horumon, similar to ones that I think bourdain and zimmern have been to?
What is your favorite sushi experience that is around the $250 or less per person in tokyo?
If we show up to Tsukiji around 730AM, will all the fish still be in the market to walk around and look at? Are there places inside to sample little things that you recommend? We will try to go to one of the famous sushi places just outside.
Our plan is to do the more expensive meals for lunch (Beige, Robuchon, Ryugin, Sawada, etc) and then go to more casual yakitori, tempura, etc places for dinner. Does this sound like a good plan to save some $ on the fancy meals and also keep evenings more flexible? Knowing this info, this also segways into the final important question:
We are having a really hard time deciding between the park hotel near ginza and shiodome or the hyatt regency west of shinjuku station. I have started mapping out places we are interested in eating, and it appears that a lot of the nicer places (particularly sushi, french, and kaiseki) that we are interested in are near Ginza. But a lot of people seem to say to stay near shinjuku. I think whats important to us is being close to a lot of energy, and cool little places to grab an espresso and pastry in the morning, and have drinks and yakitori, ramen, tempura, etc at little places in the evening. For lunch we can travel wherever. I dont think we will be traveling outside of tokyo because we only have a week and there seems to be so much to see and eat! Our budget for hotel is up to $300 per night and I guess I shouldnt be surprised that in tokyo you dont get much for that much money. If we were able to get a larger nice room would be awesome, but I guess location is priority. I have read there is yakitori alley near ginza and also "piss alley" near shinjuku, which both sound similar. so any ideas or experiences on what you guys prefer? Is shidone too far from ginza to walk at night? is west shinjuku too far to walk to the heart of everything also? Which area do you think will be better for our experience for the week and are there any hotels in our budget that you love?