Japan: A Guide For The Eclectic Foodies, and Cultural Boss Babes
So before I get into WHERE you should go in Japan, let’s get the vitalities out of the way: Japan is the greatest country of all time … to visit. Emphasis on visit, because I have no intention to actually live there (I love you, but I cant understand you).
But, I can confidently say, anything falling within the realm of my 10-12 day soliloquy of rest and relaxation definitely has opened my mind to more permanent cross-continent relocations. So, Japan, I salute you; when it comes to cultural immersion, DROP DEAD shopping (emphasis on necessary), and, a little substance/reason to back all of the money you’ve spent up to this point, Tokyo might be the one city that makes your depleted bank account feel worth it.
IS this an excuse to talk about my trip? Yes, kind of. But that’s what a good vacation will do to you — make you want to discuss. So, here I am telling you how to spend a week in Tokyo, you’re welcome.
Nishiki Fish Market
If your alarm isn’t set for 6:00 a.m., it isn’t worth it. Seriously. The best part about this place is the fact that the food you’re eating was swimming through the Pacific about two hours before. TAKE NOTE however, this stop is not for the faint of heart/it’s reserved for the seasoned sushi eater who dreams only of sashimi. Nishiki provides its lucky taste testers with the ability to taste sliced eel, salmon, yellow-fish, AND many more. Nishiki is the perfect stop for the adventurous traveler whose sole purpose is to constantly remind her instagram followers that she is, in fact, more culturally adventurous & fun than you.
So, let me be frank in stating that I won’t eat Italian food because #carbs aren’t cute; Afuri Ramen tho… worth it. The fact that Afuri has perfected a tasteful, sensually surprising phenom that costs >$9 is honestly, the kind of thing we look for when jet-setting. Culturally appropriate & owned (check); Tasty AS HELL (check); and, worth writing about? Solidified. Yes, soba is great, we support culinary diversity; but, if you come to Tokyo and haven’t tried Afuri, we’re going to have an issue.
Located on the top floor of the Ritz-Carlton, Hinokizaka Sushi might actually be the first establishment of its kind that’s actually worth the money. Outside of the fact that you can see the entire prefecture of Tokyo, Hinokizaka provides its customers with unforgettable, hand-crafted expertise, and design that will never compare to any sushi eatery within the U.S. With chefs whose goal is to expand and embrace the ethos of omakase and Japanese cuisine, Hinokizaka provides its customers with an innovative, culinary learning experience by expanding their palates well beyond what they believed could be possible.
AN ABSOLUTE MUST. Located in the midst of the suburban streets of Tokyo, opposite a boxing studio that almost makes you feel bad about eating, sits the hidden culinary genius that is 81. Made famous by the fact that reservations must be acquired and confirmed months in advance, 81 provides its customers with an experience revolving solely around the seasons inspiring the cuisines being served. With the chef’s inspirations recited both in English & Japanese, 81 is the perfect mix between asian fusion & a daredevils version of modern fine dinging.
If you’re a posh bitch who doesn’t know how to let her hair down and have a good time, you should probably be on another site. But, if you’re a posh bitch who ~pretends~ to be low-key when she lets her hair down, but still needs her 5-star fix, Le14 is the restaurant stop for you. A perfect mix of boughetto (bougie+ghetto) each customer is greeted in a low-key mom & pop diner-styled eatery; with a bottle of red wine and a raw slab of Wagyu waiting for your instruction. With reservations needed at least two weeks in advance, Le14 is a no-frills restaurant that still provides its patrons with high-quality steak and incomparable sides along with it. Ideal customer? The babe who likes to act like she has ‘substance’ but can still ‘stay humble’ when she travels.
Things To Do
Sleeping on the floor, communal showers, food you can’t pronounce — and paying for all of it. If you haven’t done this… you haven’t haven’t really traveled to Japan. Ryokans are a definitive gauge of how much of a “True Babe” you’re trying to be. While bae and I got down with the dinner selections and could appreciate the authentic offerings of eats dating back to 1400… we recommend that you do your research on a Ryokan that’s as strict or liberal (in etiquette) as you require.
Bees Knees - Kyoto Bar
Picture this: You’re in the middle of Kyoto, and, you’re craving a little Biggy and Henny… insert Bees Knees. This hip-hop speakeasy located in the heart of Kyoto’s nightlife provides its customers with an air of cool and a vibe that has you feeling like your deep in the heart of Bed-Stuy.
Pass the Baton
FIRST THINGS FIRST, bring your passports upon arrival. To truly get a good deal on all things vintage, you need to show all store owners your native countries’ passport in order to receive a tax-free discount. And doesn’t that Gucci feel good with an extra 10% off? We thought so too.
With items ranging from vintage 1950’s Chanel to a slew of famed aught-styled Louis Vuitton luggage, makes any fashionista’s jaw drop in awe and anticipation. No, this gem isn’t cheap. But if you save up to at least 60% of of your next paycheck (lol), this luxury consignment haven is definitely worth it.
Cover image via Travel Wire Asia