Any recommendations for Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka? Looking for interesting music and art venues/events. Modular, experimental, ambient, whatever. And of course, food!
Check out E-Earphone, a massive headphone store in Akihabara! It’s occupies an entire floor of a building. A little tricky to find, but it’s pretty amazing.
Would edit this to Check out all the things in Akihabara. There’s parts of it that I’m not a fan of, but overall - it was me and the kid’s favorite area of Tokyo. We both enjoy sensory overload though, so ymmv. Tokyo crowds followed by Kyoto relative calm was a good combo.
There is TFOM next week!
And KFOM a few days later
In general (haven’t been in a couple years so I don’t know specific places) I recommend:
- Ramen - duh
- Kushiage / kushikatsu (skewers) and izakaya/bar food in general
- Tempura - the good stuff is sublime
- Wagyu - beef is just way tastier
- Karaage - many of the the small shops have amazing chicken
- Soba kaiseki - the meditative dining experience was pretty unique for me
- Hotel room service - put on your pyjamas, stuff yourself in with a four-course meal, then roll over and doze off
- Natto - on the other end of the hotel dining experience, mostly a breakfast thing, maybe an acquired taste
- Bread - the baked goods are pretty special
- Ekiben - not always great, but it’s more fun to eat bento on a train
- Konbini snacks - not really something to seek out, but even 7-11 has better food (sandwiches and stuff like karaage)
you forgot Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki and my personal favourite; CURRY (coco curry house chain restaurant)
Just soak it all up if it’s your first time, try as many little food places as you can. It’s a trip. I lived in Japan for 12 years and half my family is Japanese, so still visit quite often.
Yeah, food. One thing we realized quickly is that if there’s a line out the door, it’s worth getting in the line. UNLESS the line is 70% or more teenagers, because there’s a thing where teens tend to all want to go to one particular new place. The new place might not be good. FYI. You’ll also see “security guards” directing traffic, which are thinly disguised hype-makers for new food places.
Just got back from 3 weeks in Japan. It’s the fucking best! Everything is the best.
I don’t like to tell to many people about this to try and keep it safe, buuuuut this community seems like it would be appreciative and respectful of the space and intention.
In the “love hotel” district of Shibuya is a very old 2-story cafe with a gigantic Hi-Fi system. They only play records of classical music, and you are not allowed to talk. All the furniture is creaky old hardwood. The coffee and tea are pleasantly mediocre and it’s an incredible sanctuary. It was built before there were many classical orchestras in Japan, so it seems like it’s trying to keep the bravado and air of a classical concert-going experience. I’m hesitant to print the name here for the Google oracle to bring into the algorithm, but I think most tourists would be really bored and a few other people have already blogged about it. So I’ll just say it’s called Cafe Lion and it’s near a bunch of the amazing record stores in the neighborhood. Totally love it. Also it’s been a couple years so I hope it’s still there!
can confirm that Lion is still around, spent a lovely morning there over the summer
Oh yes, by no means comprehensive. I’m not the biggest okonomiyaki or takoyaki fan but Japanese curry is the food of the gods.
http://ochiaisoup.com/ in tokyo for experimental music stuffs
http://cafelasiesta.com/ in kyoto for drinks/games/chiptune stuffs
I played at both in 2015 and had an amazing time hanging out with the local artists and just taking it all in. Highly recommended!
One day in Tokyo. A lunch place, a rooftop, a bar:
– Harajuku: Ishiran Ramen. A wooden place. You’ll see the queue. Experience the solo box ramen.
– Harajuku: the shiny Tokyu Plaza Omotesando has a rooftop with a beautiful wooden garden terrace and a unique view on the area.
– Shibuya: Bridge bar. Great sound system and a unique view on the Shibuya crossing.
It’s a few years ago now but the last time I was in Kyoto I visited an izikaya specializing in leek dishes. Not the cheapest place as I remember it but the food was amazing. I had some sort of slow roasted onion completely black on the outside and on the inside not like anything I’ve ever eaten.
Also for Kyoto, I would highly recommend biking.
And staying in not too-high end ryokans. (But most likely you’ve booked your accomodation already, and – it’s not what you asked, sorry. Very high end ryokans are probably also amazing, I’ve just never stayed in one.)
But in general I can only second @kburwash’ sentiment that everything is just the best.
Edit: looks like the leek izikaya is called Negiya Heikichi Pontocho.
i’m a simpleton with a sweet tooth so i really enjoyed the ice cream vending machines. mmm!
Noted, going to be there next month! thanks for the tip.
here are some things:
there is a really great bar in shibuya called JBS, the bartender basically sells beer and other drinks out of a cooler and plays his extremely expansive jazz, blues, and soul vinyl collection. i heard some really great music when i visited!
also! not in the center of shibuya but in the shibuya city limits there is commune press, a great gallery/zine publishing store front! they have all sorts of fun art objects.
waltz is a dream, my friend and i probably spent over an hour and a half there. sweet folks, great selection of tapes and records both used and new, lots of really cool books too! plus, nakameguro is a beeautiful part of the city! it is totally worth spending a full day there! we grabbed some pasteries at this little spot called gentille that day too!
like others have said – take it all in!!
Lodging recs, circa my last visit in 2017:
Osaka - Kanetoya Inn
Kyoto - Kinoe Ryokan
Tokyo - B:CONTE Asakusa
Since I left a small okonomiyaki hole in the wall in the Shin-Osaka train station I’ve been waiting to go back. Nothing since has even compared.
I’m glad there’s someone else on the planet who experienced this. When I say it to people they look at me like I’m an addict or something.