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Saturday, February 06, 2010


Kaiseki course, Kyoto

Konnichi wa!

By the time you read this, I will probably have already boarded my early morning flight to Japan. Oh yes, the lure of a cut-price budget airline flight was too good to resist!

Over the course of three weeks, we'll be eating our way around Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo and Takayama with a brief side-trip to Seoul, just because we can!

Watching television in my capsule in Osaka

Worried about how you'll spend your lunchtimes without Grab Your Fork updates? Never fear - new posts will still be published. As if by magic!

So keep the comments coming - I'll be online in Japan. You know I will.

You can whet your appetite by checking out previous posts and photos from my Japan trips in 2004 and 2007.

And if you have any recommendations or must-do's you think we must investigate in Sapporo, Tokyo or Osaka, then leave them in a comment below, preferably with some location directions :)

As for me, I have some eating to do...

> Read the next Japan 2010 post
31 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/06/2010 04:04:00 am


  • At 2/06/2010 5:11 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Oh Helen, have an AMAZING time and I can't wait (honestly so excited) for future Japan posts!

    I fell in love with Japanese food (and mostly the convenience store foods and desserts and snacks and heaven :P) when I visited my brother there a few years back...

    Please have a Mont Blanc somewhere for me!

  • At 2/06/2010 6:59 am, Blogger Rambling Tart said…

    So happy you get to have this adventure!!! Look forward to hearing about your jaunts and experiences. :-)

  • At 2/06/2010 7:07 am, Blogger foodwink said…

    Itadakimasu Helen! Have a wonderful time in Japan, and I look forward to hearing about your food adventures.

    As for suggestions (you must have known this), perhaps Sakai's restaurant in Shibuya. Or Izuei Honten, the 270-year old unagi restaurant in Ueno?

  • At 2/06/2010 7:26 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Have fun Helen! I'm looking forward to hearing all about it!

  • At 2/06/2010 7:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Have a great trip Helen!

  • At 2/06/2010 8:18 am, Anonymous yewenyi said…

    I think that they should put capsules on aeroplanes!

  • At 2/06/2010 8:40 am, Anonymous grace said…

    haha hooray for spontaneous holidays

  • At 2/06/2010 8:51 am, Anonymous Yas (aboutthefood said…

    Wow, have fun! Can't wait to see pictures of delicious food.

  • At 2/06/2010 8:53 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Hooray for affordable flights, the strong Aussie dollar and the lure of food and culture =) Have an absolutely excellent time!

  • At 2/06/2010 10:18 am, Blogger missklicious said…

    I'm so jealous.

    Have a fantastic time, and really looking forward to the Japan posts to come!

  • At 2/06/2010 11:02 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    have an awesome trip dude! im gonna miss youuuuu

  • At 2/06/2010 11:14 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    I am so jealous. I haven't even been to Japan once yet!

    Have a fantastic time eating and swanning around Japan and South Korea!

  • At 2/06/2010 12:49 pm, Blogger Sydney Shop Girl said…

    Have a fantastic trip, Helen. Cannot wait for the pics and food. I have been dying to go to Japan myself for ages. I will live vicariously through your blog.

  • At 2/06/2010 2:34 pm, Blogger fluffy said…

    Hello, I've been a silent reader here for ages. Now that you're looking for food recommendations in Japan, I couldn't help but to brace myself to finally leave a comment here! I am living in Japan and here are some of my favourite eateries (most were recommended by my local Japanese friends). Nothing fancy like Michelin starred restaurants, but locals love them!

    Osaka (all of these can be found in Nanba/Shinsaibashi area):
    - 風月 (Fugetsu) for okonomiyaki, yakisoba - http://www.ideaosaka.co.jp/
    - だるま (Daruma) for kushikatsu/deep fried goodies on skewers - http://www.kushikatu-daruma.com/
    - 神蔵 (Kamukura) for yuuummy ramen - http://www.kamukura.co.jp/ (They have a branch in Shibuya too)
    - BABBI for the gelato - http://www.babbi.jp/shop/index.html(They have branches everywhere but there is one in Daimaru Shinsaibashi)
    - Anyway, you can eat in the most random places and still get awesome food in Osaka. Don't forget the takoyaki!

    - 一欄 (Ichiran) IMHO the best tonkotsu ramen originally from Fukuoka, they have branches everywhere in Tokyo - http://www.ichiran.co.jp/pc/hp/tenpo/tenpo1.html
    - Pierre Herme, Laduree, and Sadaharu Aoki for macarons.
    - 梅が丘寿司の美登利 (Midori zushi) for really good sushi that's really popular amongst the locals. Mind you there is always a long line, day and night. I usually go to the store in Shibuya Mark City next to Shibuya station - http://www.sushinomidori.co.jp/

    - 花畑牧場 (Hanabatake bokujo) - MUST go there for the vanilla ice cream topped with their famous hot caramel sauce to die for, famous for the caramel that the whole Japan is crazy about -  http://www.hanabatakebokujo.com/index.php
    - ROYCE for the melt in the mouth nama chocolate. If you've heard of Melty Kiss chocolates, this is the original version, sold in the major airports too - http://www.e-royce.com/
    - Sapporo shio ramen from anywhere!

    Woops sorry it's getting longer than I expected, since there are way too many good food in Japan to be listed. Lastly you should try going to the izakaya over here.

    Most importantly, around this time of the year, if you go to most department stores (Daimaru/Isetan/Takashiyama/etc etc etc), they are having HUGE chocolate fairs, normally on the top floor. Just keep an eye on the posters with lots of Valentine's chocolates in those depato. You can get FREE samples of heaps of high quality chocolates from over 100 stalls in each place.

    Sorry it's pretty long and you might have been to most of them. Have fun!

  • At 2/06/2010 3:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Lucky you! I love Japan (not to mention Japanese food) and look forward to your posts on your adventures there.

  • At 2/06/2010 4:16 pm, Anonymous he needs food said…

    I still can't get my head around those capsules. I'm getting claustrophobic just looking at your pic!
    Have a fab time, eat well and play safe. Look forward to your posts!

  • At 2/06/2010 7:19 pm, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    Hve a safe trip Helen! Soo jealous of all the food you'll be consuming. See you soon :)

  • At 2/07/2010 12:00 am, Anonymous Andrew said…

    Looking forward to many updates.

    No doubt your blog posts will arrive before you've even written them, given the hyperfast internet in Japan.

    Its definitely a place that doesn't disappoint.

  • At 2/07/2010 1:21 pm, Anonymous Jacq said…

    Have a great time in Japan! Can't wait to see photos of all the food you've been devouring!

  • At 2/07/2010 2:19 pm, Anonymous Jess said…

    in sapporo...make sure you try jingiskan (or genghiskan as its sometimes known)...beatiful lamb barbecue.

    check out susukino for great nightlife.

  • At 2/07/2010 2:21 pm, Anonymous Jess said…

    oh and make sure to buy Shiroi Koibito (very hard to find outside hokkaido). and also buy rokketei sweets. they're hokkaido specialties

    Check out Otaru if you've got a day to spare...great day trip.

  • At 2/07/2010 8:14 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    Have a great trip Helen. I look forward to hearing about the food!

  • At 2/07/2010 9:38 pm, Blogger Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said…

    Have lots of fun Helen! And you know who to email if you need to book somewhere in Japanese :)

  • At 2/07/2010 10:12 pm, Anonymous kay said…

    helen!! wow wow!! i wanna go there.. can u take me and mr ed next time?? hehe :)

  • At 2/08/2010 1:09 am, Anonymous kingofjamos said…

    wow your in tokyo!!
    you should definately try The White Fox in Oji
    its run by the wonderfully talented Trevor Blythe an english chef with his japanese wife Hiromi
    his place is a foodies treasure and must be visited at all costs
    good luck Helen

  • At 2/08/2010 4:10 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Bon Voyage! I am looking forward to your trip in Japan!

  • At 2/08/2010 9:40 am, Anonymous Kate said…

    For the best Gyoza in Tokyo, go to 'Harajuku Gyoza Lou' at 6-2-4 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku 150-0001. Seriously good gyoza, beer and cucumber with miso dressing.

    I was also very fond of 'Ozwara Tempura'in the Gion district of Kyoto.

    Have fun in Japan- I am so jealous!

  • At 2/08/2010 9:49 am, Blogger Y said…

    Have a wonderful trip Helen! :)

  • At 2/08/2010 10:06 am, Blogger Apple said…

    I am so jealous! Japan! How wonderful it would be to visit such a country!

  • At 2/10/2010 1:03 pm, Blogger Brian said…

    A few Tokyo tips. Enjoy!

    Kurobuta Tonkatsu - Maisen

    Ramen - Menya Kissou 1-11-3 Toyo, Koto-ku, Tokyo. Best ramen in tokyo on ramendb.supleks.jp. Always a line but well worth the wait. Arrive at 11am (they open at 11:30am) to be safe, closed sundays.

    Unagi - Izuei Honten 2-12-22 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo. 260 year old unagi specialist filled with Japanese oldies so you know it's good. Go there for lunch (cheaper) and get a set.

    Modern Izakaya - toki no ma 2-3-14 Ebisu Minami, Shibuya-ku 〒 150-0022 Tokyo 2F Conze Ebisu. Sleek, modern drinking establishment. Try the horse sashimi. Booking required.

    Cheap french - Red Pepper Shimizu Bldg 1F 3-5-25 Kita Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0061. Quaint little french restaurant Like you're back in Paris. Good if (god forbid) you need a break from Japanese food.

  • At 2/12/2010 3:22 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Hannah - Thanks so much. I agree that Japan is such a treasure trove of great eats. Haven't yet had a Mont Blanc but will definitely get one soon!

    Hi Rambling Tart - We are having a ball. Already taken a tonne of photos!

    Hi foodwink - Thanks for the recommendations. Have yet to hit Tokyo but will keep your suggestions in mind!

    Hi Peter - Thank you and ha, I'm not as well travelled as you but definitely enjoying it when I can!

    Hi Ellie - Thanks and hope you're keeping well :)

    Hi Yewenyi - Because one tin can isn't enough? lol.

    Hi Grace - Actually we booked our tickets mid-last year but yes, holidays are always fun!

    Hi Yas - Have already tweeted a few pics but yes, the food has been amazing so far. Everything is of such high quality!

    Hi mademoiselle delicieuse - The Aussie dollar has done pretty well against the yen all things considered. We are eating it up and having much fun!

    Hi missklicious - Thanks so much. Have taken a tonne of photos already!

    Hi chocolatesuze - Awww... don't worry, I am thinking of you every time I see donuts and bacon and cheese and... lol

    Hi Joey - Am sure you will get to Japan one day. It's a food mecca!

    Hi Sydney Shop Girl - Japan was always a dream destination too, and after 3 trips, I'd still happily return again. Hope you get to visit Japan sometime soon!

    Hi fluffy - Wow, thanks so much for your recommendations. Such a comprehensive list! Will try to get to some of them for sure!

    Hi Ten - Japan is an amazing place for food lovers. Have plenty of photos already - already worried about how I'm going to edit them all! lol

    Hi he needs food - I didn't find the capsules so bad at all. They were actually quite cosy :)

    Hi Karen - Thanks so much, and oh I can hardly believe how fast our trip is progressing!

    Hi Andrew - Ha, now that's wishful thinking. It's a shame there isn't much free wifi in Japan. I agree - Japan is always incredible.

    Hi Jacq - Thank you and oh, don't worry, the food consumption has been pretty much non-stop!

    Hi Jess - Thanks for the tip. We did have jingisukan as Sapporo, and the ice sculptures were awe-inspiring. We didn't get a chance to check out Otaru but thanks all your suggestions!

    Hi Arwen Thank you, and I hope to start posting as soon as I get back!

    Hi Yas - Thanks for the offer. We're doing most things on the hop and on the cheap but ah yes, I do wish I knew much more Japanese! We are missing out on so much, I'm sure!

    Hi Kay - You could always go to Japan on your honeymoon... lol

    Hi Kingofjames - Thanks for the tip. We'll have to keep it in mind. Having a blast so far - so much to eat and so little time to do it in!

    Hi Lannae - Thank you. We are having much fun. Looking forward to sharing all the photos soon!

    Hi Kate - Thanks for all your tips. I do love gyoza and we hope to do a day trip to Kyoto too.

    Hi Y - Thank you! We are have a blast so far!

    Hi Apple - Japan is great. It's such an assault on the senses and a pleasure for the stomach!

    Hi Brian - Thanks for your tips - some great suggestions. Will keep them in mind - if only I'd remembered to pack three extra stomachs! lol


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