Bento box – Shinkansen (Tokyo and Kyoto stations)

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In case you are planning to travel around Japan using the Shinkansen (the awesome bullet trains) you can bring your meal to have on the train while enjoying the view, especially if the trip is going to take a few hours. And an excellent option for such purpose will be the traditional bento boxes!

We took the Shinkansen twice, first time going from Tokyo to Kyoto and then from Kyoto to Tokyo. This trip takes around 3 hours each way and the trains are well equipped with tables (aeroplane style) so you can have your meal there.

Both Tokyo and Kyoto stations had a great number of stores selling bento boxes, all varying between A$8 and A$18 (U$ 7 to 15). There are plenty of options (including vegetarian and kids-friendly meals), and they are served at room temperature, very convenient as you don’t need to worry about storing them in any special way until it’s time to eat. As our trips were both at lunchtime, we didn’t think twice and grabbed them to have on the train! 🚅

Tokyo station – Tokyo Bento

At Tokyo station, we bought our lunch at Tokyo Bento. The food was very good, tasty, well-sized portions, and lukewarm.

Tokyo Bento store
Tokyo Bento store

Our choices there were:

  • Hubby: On the left: rice, omelette, pork. On the right: beef kebab with rice.
  • Mine: Rice, pork dumplings, Japanese omelette, narutomaki, beef, and sorted pickles.
On the left: rice, omelette, pork. On the right: beef kebab with rice.
On the left: rice, omelette, pork. On the right: beef kebab with rice.
Rice, pork dumplings, Japanese omelette, narutomaki, beef, and sorted pickles.
Rice, pork dumplings, Japanese omelette, narutomaki, beef, and sorted pickles.

Kyoto Station

Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten to take a photo from the store we bought our lunches, and I don’t even remember its name. :/
Sorry, my fault! Anyways, it a very big one selling souvenirs too (in case it helps). There we got:

  • Hubby: Rice, crumbled pork cutlet, and ginger.
  • Mine: Rice with veggies and beef stew. Plus chicken (in pieces and like a meatball), Japanese omelette, rice dessert, and pickles.
Rice, crumbled pork cutlet, and ginger.
Rice, crumbled pork cutlet, and ginger.
Rice with veggies and beed stew. Plus chicken (in pieces and like a meatball), Japanese omelette, rice dessert, and pickles.
Rice with veggies and beef stew. Plus chicken (in pieces and like a meatball), Japanese omelette, rice dessert, and pickles.

So, in summary, if you’re going to use the Shinkansen to travel between cities while visiting Japan, don’t think twice, grab a few bento boxes to have on the go and enjoy the local food like a boss. 👑

Travel itinerary | 6 days in Tokyo – Japan

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My itinerary for 6 days in Tokyo.
My itinerary for 6 days in Tokyo.

In August I had the opportunity to go to Asia for the first time in my life and visit a place that I always dreamt about: Japan 🇯🇵.

If you follow my blog you already saw I’ve been posting about my food experience there, so now it’s time for an overview of my 6 days in this amazing city. Get here my Google maps with some of the places I visited there in this itinerary of 6 days in Tokyo.

This post will be huge, but I hope also very helpful for those planning a future trip to Japan. Shall we start? 🙂

Day 1: Taito and Akihabara

Tokyo Skytree
I suggest you to go there early in the morning; lines are huge all day long. In case you want to save some money, keep reading to find a better place to have an amazing view of the city of Tokyo and the best part: totally free!

Tokyo Skytree
Tokyo Skytree

Sensoji Temple
Including Asakusa Shrine

Sensoji Temple
Sensoji Temple

Nakamise Street
Small shops full of Japanese goodies and souvenirs.

Nakamise Street
Nakamise Street

Akihabara
If you like video games, anime, and mangas this is the place to be. Take half day (or more in case you have time) and explore the area and all its shops. Video games fans must visit a place called Super Potato store, there are so many old games, your inner teenager will go crazy!

Akihabara
Akihabara
Akihabara - Super Potato
Akihabara – Super Potato

Where to eat

Tsurujiro Okonomiyaki
Around the Sensoji Temple, you will find many restaurants with a vast variety of Japanese cuisine to pick from. This day we decided to have a traditional Japanese Okonomiyaki (savoury pancake, not gluten free), prepared by myself using the restaurant grill and the ingredients provided.

Pork and Spring Onions Okonomiyaki
Pork and Spring Onions Okonomiyaki

Continue reading “Travel itinerary | 6 days in Tokyo – Japan”

100% Chocolate Cafe | Ginza – Tokyo

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100% Chocolate Cafe entrance
100% Chocolate Cafe entrance

100% Chocolate Cafe is a store owned by Meiji, a traditional Japanese chocolate brand. There you will find desserts, chocolate drinks, and an incredible variety of 56 chocolate flavours! That’s right, I have the proof on the image below. 😛

Chocolate options
Chocolate options

There is a huge range of different flavours, grouped by: cacao beans (1-22), different sweeteners (23-26), different types of milk (27-33), Japanese flavours (34-40), European taste (41-50) and Cacao history (51-56). I don’t know how to read Japanese, but I believe each tablet has 14 grams of chocolate.

My order

It was extremely hard to choose. I simply love chocolate and unusual flavours, so the combination of both was a tremendous challenge for me. In the end here’s what I got:

  • Wasabon (26) – a type of Japanese sweetener.
  • Maccha (34) – a Japanese herb.
  • Yomogi (37) – another Japanese herb.
  • Cinnamon (52).
  • Cacao 95% (54).
My pretty bag. :D
My pretty bag. 😀
My choices were Wasabon, Maccha, Yomogi, Cinnamon, and Cacao 95%
My choices were Wasabon, Maccha, Yomogi, Cinnamon, and Cacao 95%

About the chocolate itself, I’m quite happy with my choices; chocolate pieces of good quality, not fatty and you could hear the chocolate snap when biting it. The flavours are mild as well, so if you are afraid of trying something you think you may not like, no need for that as the cocoa flavour is more prominent on it than the added element.

OK, except for the cinnamon one… I could swear it had some sugar crystals in it, so I’m not sure whether this is a Japanese thing or simply that the chocolate did not survive perfectly the trip back – yes, I ate them back here in Australia – it wasn’t expired, though.

The verdict

In case your are a chocolate lover like I’m, it is definitely a place to go. You can have a dessert, drink something, or just buy some of these chocolates as a little souvenir from Japan 🇯🇵.

About the English: There is an English menu and staff can communicate just a little in English.

Total bill: Unfortunately I don’t remember how much it was, but I do remember they had special prices depending on the quantity you buy.

Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/7fWXvKgbVrw

More information: www.meiji.co.jp/sweets/choco-cafe/

Kosamu | Shinjuku – Tokyo

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Kosamu is a Korean restaurant that was really close to the place we stayed in Tokyo (Shin-Okubo area).
I might say this was very convenient for those long, exhaustive summer days walking around the city. Plus, it wasn’t packed (around 7pm), so no waiting lines at all!

We decided to have dinner there not only to have a ramen break, but also because we LOVE ❤️ bibimbap! This Korean dish is delicious, really nutritious, gluten free and packed with flavour.

Bibimbap means “mixed rice” – thanks Wikipedia. Basically you have a base of white rice, topped with a selection of veggies, minced beef and a raw egg, all served in a hot stone pot. Then, you mix everything together and it’s done!

In case you are not super comfortable with the idea of having raw eggs, while mixing things in the hot pot, the egg will cook a bit. So don’t worry about too much about it. 🙂

My order

I might say that particular evening I was tempted to order more and more things.
They had so many good (and eye-catching) options in their menu, but we decided to go with:

  • Appetizers: Radish Kimchi and Myeolchi Bokkeum (fried anchovies). They are complimentary and served right after you place your order.
  • Main: Hot Pot Bibimbap topped with bean sprouts, cooked spinach, mushrooms, sesame seeds, minced beef and a raw egg.
Kosamu appetizers: Daikon (winter radish) Kimchi and Myeolchi Bokkeum (fried anchovies)
Kosamu appetizers: Radish Kimchi and Myeolchi Bokkeum (fried anchovies)
Kosamu main: Hot Pot Bibimbap
Kosamu Bibimbap

It was my first time trying Radish Kimchi and I really enjoyed it. I always had the cabbage one, but this version got me impressed.

About the Bibimbap, that portion was huge! I’m glad I gave up ordering other things.
The flavour was very nice as well, quite authentic in my opinion. At least for someone that hasn’t been to Korea yet. 🙂

In general, I really liked the well-cooked veggies combined with the crunchiness of the sesame seeds.

The verdict

It is a good restaurant, especially considering the portion sizes and price. Also, what I like about this dish is the variety of veggies in it. It was hard to find good salad options in Japan, so having some veggies was something very positive for me.

The downside about this place was that they did not have a smoke-free area.
This, unfortunately, seems to be relatively common in Japan, more noticeably in Korean places. Bummer. 🙁

About the English: There is an English menu and staff can communicate well in English.

Total bill (two people): $1,960 Yen (A$ 25) – dinner and no drinks.

Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/DPY792N5rA12 (This restaurant is on the ground floor. There is another Korean restaurant upstairs.)

More information: https://facebook.com/kossamjp

UOBEI Sushi | Shibuya – Tokyo

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UOBEI Sushi entrance
UOBEI Sushi entrance

UOBEI is a high-tech sushi restaurant in Shibuya with affordable sushis. Yep, a-f-f-o-r-d-a-b-l-e sushi.
Let’s say that at first I thought being in Japan I would automatically see cheap and great sushi everywhere, but that’s not exactly true, especially comparing with ramen (which is consistently cheap and great).

Some people say this is a place for tourists only and their sushi is not as good as a traditional sushi restaurant in Japan. However, I’ve been there twice and I can safely say I spotted many locals eating there as well.

I really liked there – both the food and the experience. Sushis were fresh, yummy and good sized.
If you like to eat well without spending a lot, don’t think twice. 🙂

UOBEI Sushi - tablet for ordering and the delivery.
UOBEI Sushi – tablet for ordering and the delivery tray.

So, why is it high-tech? Well, it is all about the experience!

UOBEI is not like a traditional sushi train restaurant, where the food keeps going round and round on a conveyor belt, until someone gets it. That’d be too boring, wouldn’t it?

Instead, you place your order using a touchscreen device placed in front of you. Then, a few seconds later, your order slides in in front of you on one of the tree “sushi lanes”. Yep, it comes straight to you! No human contact (order than the humans preparing your sushi, of course), no ordering mistakes. Your fresh and pretty sushi comes straight way to meet you!

My order

Before you scroll down let me say I’ve been there twice, both opportunities with my husband, so all the plates you’re about to see are not all mine. 😛
I’ve tried to take photos of all dishes we ordered there, but I forgot some of their names. #sorrytoohungry.

Traditional sushi

As you would expect, there are many options of traditional sushi available. You can find salmon, tuna, prawns (shrimp), squid, and also in raw or grilled versions.

Tuna sushi
Tuna sushi
Grilled salmon
Grilled salmon
Tuna uramaki
Tuna uramaki
I don't remember its name. :( But it is a fish based sushi.
I don’t remember its name. 🙁 But it is a fish-based sushi with teriyaki sauce.
I don't remember its name. :( But it is a fish based sushi.
Also don’t remember the name, but it was delicious. 🙂
Tuna and Albacore tuna
Tuna and albacore sushi
Seared Salmon with black pepper
Seared salmon with black pepper
Salmon with onion and mayo
Salmon with onion and mayo
I don't remember its name. :( But it is a fish based sushi.
Another one that I don’t remember the name.
Tuna salad
Tuna salad

Vegetarian sushi

In case you are vegetarian, don’t worry! There are plenty of options, here are some that I’ve tried.

Grilled corn
Grilled corn
Thick sliced omelette
Thick sliced omelette
Natto (fermented soy beans)
Natto (fermented soy beans)

Specials: meat sushi

Meat lover, but not really into fish? You are covered! There are pork and beef options available.

Pork slices with green onion
Pork slices with green onion
Roasted pork ribs
Roasted pork ribs

Deep fried options

Missing some oily stuff? You can try some of their deep fried dishes.

Inari (sweet rice)
Inari (sweet rice)
Deep fried roll with chicken
Deep fried roll with chicken

As you could see there are options for all palates. I haven’t tried, but there is also available udon soup and other noodle dishes.

The verdict

I loved it! I’m not a sushi fan, but I really enjoyed my experience there and of course, the food. Specially the yummy thick sliced omelette. I could totally have some of it now. 🙂

Ah! This place has the reputation of having huge waiting lines for lunch and dinner. So, be smart going there, avoid peak hours and you’re golden. Our both opportunities there we didn’t have to wait at all. It was around 11.50 am and 6 pm.

About the English: English menu available and staff can communicate well in English, but you will not need them. 🙂

Bill: Dishes start from $108 Yen ($1.40 AU) – there is free green tea available.

Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/BaNcPEGHcoo

I’ll leave you now with a view from the inside:

UOBEI Sushi - inside view.
UOBEI Sushi – inside view.