I had the amazing good fortune of being able to live in Japan during summers during college and for close to two years after graduating. Really just a profound experience and one of the things I loved the most during my stay - third of course to best friends and second to my girlfriend/now wife - was Japanese comfort food. Kaiseki is nice, but for my money I will always take a good bowl of ramen, donburi, udon, soba, curry katsu and a couple of skewers of yakitori and a cold beer.
I'm returning back to Japan for three weeks this summer on an annual roadtrip with friends and my wife to see the parts of Japan we never got to as broke students. We're traveling to:
2) Kamikochi Valley
I take a lot of DSLR, iphone, X100S food photography photos so I'm looking forward to capturing a lot of notes and images from the trip. But I'm really hunting down right now the best - don't miss them if you can - comfort food spots that people dream about after. I don't want to visit fancy spots - really the "locals only" hangouts that excel at just a few dishes.
Help and suggestions would be deeply appreciated! I'll be blogging about the trip on tumblr.