Japan Experts Help Please

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Jud Reis
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Japan Experts Help Please

#1 Post by Jud Reis » July 1st, 2019, 6:02 pm

I know there are a ton of threads already on Japan trips, but I am hoping to get some customized advice. Have been to Japan many times in business, but going to be taking my adult daughter in mid November for a solid week of vacation for her first time in the country and my first time really vacationing there. She is more of a fine dining, outdoors kind of person than temple tours and museums.

We will be starting and ending in Tokyo, and my first thought would be to spend some time in Kyoto, but have also had a lovely time in Nikko in the autumn. I think it is too early to ski, but perhaps heading south to Okinawa for a few days on the beach? Any suggestions on where to go, where to stay and where to eat from the experienced Japan hands would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#2 Post by Randy Bowman » July 1st, 2019, 8:31 pm

Good luck Jud. I haven't been to Japan in 57 years. While I have a large number of customers from Japan, I only have one friend/customer who visits Japan every summer and he won't be in for cigars until Friday or Saturday AND he doesn't drink wine and isn't on the board. He just got back from Japan last week and showed me pictures of the food he was enjoying in Tokyo, Kyoto and a couple hidden spots for locals. If he comes in soon I'll try to dig info or have him join to help you out.
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#3 Post by PCLIN » July 2nd, 2019, 4:24 am

Fine dining and outdoor, I would highly recommend Hokkaido. I have some of the best meals there.

I just come back from a trip to Okinawa recently, certainly not in the same category as Hokkaido food wise.
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#4 Post by brigcampbell » July 3rd, 2019, 12:27 pm

Jud Reis wrote:
July 1st, 2019, 6:02 pm
She is more of a fine dining, outdoors kind of person than temple tours and museums.

Well, we walked all over Kamakura - probably 10 miles and it was quite fun. The place is loaded with temples but you can just walk on by as you get your exercise.

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2166.html

I had friends that took the bullet train to Mt. Fuji and hiked it...

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#5 Post by Danius Barzdukas » July 3rd, 2019, 8:03 pm

brigcampbell wrote:
July 3rd, 2019, 12:27 pm
Jud Reis wrote:
July 1st, 2019, 6:02 pm
She is more of a fine dining, outdoors kind of person than temple tours and museums.

Well, we walked all over Kamakura - probably 10 miles and it was quite fun. The place is loaded with temples but you can just walk on by as you get your exercise.

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2166.html

I had friends that took the bullet train to Mt. Fuji and hiked it...
I am not sure if you are referring specifically to the hiking trails around Kamakura, but I took one of them, the Ten-en trail out beyond Kenchoji, and it was a good way to do something a bit different for a day and you got some nice views. This link has some other suggestions for hikes around Tokyo, although I can't comment on the other ones.

https://livejapan.com/en/article-a0001737/

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#6 Post by brigcampbell » July 3rd, 2019, 8:24 pm

Danius Barzdukas wrote:
July 3rd, 2019, 8:03 pm
brigcampbell wrote:
July 3rd, 2019, 12:27 pm
Jud Reis wrote:
July 1st, 2019, 6:02 pm
She is more of a fine dining, outdoors kind of person than temple tours and museums.

Well, we walked all over Kamakura - probably 10 miles and it was quite fun. The place is loaded with temples but you can just walk on by as you get your exercise.

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2166.html

I had friends that took the bullet train to Mt. Fuji and hiked it...
I am not sure if you are referring specifically to the hiking trails around Kamakura, but I took one of them, the Ten-en trail out beyond Kenchoji, and it was a good way to do something a bit different for a day and you got some nice views. This link has some other suggestions for hikes around Tokyo, although I can't comment on the other ones.

https://livejapan.com/en/article-a0001737/
Yes, Danius.

I was referring to hiking around kamakura. It's not life changing but a beautiful way to spend the day walking.

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#7 Post by Otto Forsberg » July 4th, 2019, 1:34 am

+1 to hiking around Kamakura. Beautiful sceneries.

It's also worthwhile to visit the Yamanashi wine region. There's basically one reasonable hotel there (Budo-no-Oka) to my knowledge, otherwise it's just vineyards and countryside. The train from Tokyo to Yamanashi takes something like 2 hours and the hotel is 15 minutes walk away from the train station (well, basically a single platform on a hill). The sceneries in Yamanashi are spectacular and the whole valley is riddled with wineries. The only buggerance there is that people really don't speak anything but Japanese (in the hotel the receptionist didn't understand even words like "yes" or "no"). It's best to stay couple of days there: one day to visit a handful of wineries and another day to stay at the hotel: there's an underground vault full of local wines you can taste for an entry fee of approximately $15. You can stay there for hours on end, really.

Kyoto is my favorite city to visit just for walking around. You can simply stroll around the city aimlessly and just wonder the beauty of it all. It's also easy to visit the Yamazaki distillery and the wonderful city of Nara from Kyoto as well.

Hiroshima was a wonderful place to visit too. The city itself is wonderful, there are lots of great wine shops, tons of okonomiyaki joints selling that ridiculously delicious stuff and beautiful islands to visit nearby. I also loved the more laid-back feeling the city had compared to Tokyo and Osaka.

However, I must warn you that a week is really a mere blink of an eye when visiting Japan. We stayed for three weeks, one of which in Tokyo alone, and still we had to drop lots of stuff from our bucket list and eventually it felt like we ran out of time all too soon. One can spend a month in Tokyo (well, the greater Tokyo region) alone and not worry about running out of things to do. Since it takes half a day to reach Kyoto from Tokyo, a week is going to get pretty short is planning on visiting more than just one city.

I myself am planning on returning to Japan in the future. Visiting both Hokkaido and Okinawa are very high on my list of places to visit.

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#8 Post by Jud Reis » July 4th, 2019, 8:39 am

Thanks for all the thoughts so far, please keep them coming. Otto - I remember the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto being a little over 2 hours?

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#9 Post by Danius Barzdukas » July 4th, 2019, 8:57 am

Jud Reis wrote:
July 4th, 2019, 8:39 am
Thanks for all the thoughts so far, please keep them coming. Otto - I remember the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto being a little over 2 hours?
Jud,
It depends which train you take. Here is a page with the timetables.

https://global.jr-central.co.jp/en/info ... index.html

You want to take the Nozomi (the one in yellow). It will get you from Tokyo to Kyoto in about 2 hours, 20 minutes.

I agree with Otto that a week is short. You may want to consider combining a hike with a visit to an onsen (hot spring) and even a stay at a minshuku or ryokan. If you do a search with "Kyoto" "hiking" and "hot spring" you will come up with some suggestions.
Last edited by Danius Barzdukas on July 4th, 2019, 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#10 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » July 4th, 2019, 10:01 am

Jud, reach out to Denny. He has been several times in the past few years. He and Sheri go for like 10 days at a time and spare no expense.
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#11 Post by Yao C » July 4th, 2019, 11:48 am

I'm hardly an expert but I've been to Japan a bunch, including twice last year :)

I think you should avoid Okinawa; it doesn't feel much like Japan to me. Given that she likes food and the outdoors I would second (third?) the Kyoto suggestion. Alternatively, if you're feeling adventurous Shikoku is an amazing, off the beaten path sort of place to visit with great outdoor scenery. Caveats: you'll have to rent a car and it will be a trifle chilly. But I do enjoy driving in Japan and the hot springs are excellent. In case you're interested here is the Shikoku leg of my itinerary from last December:

Day 1: Osaka/Takamatsu
  • Car rental
  • Uzu no Michi
  • Bizan Ropeway (眉山ロープウェイ)
  • JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu
  • Dinner at Ikkaku (一鶴 高松店)
Day 2: Takamatsu
  • High-speed ferry from Takamatsu to Naoshima (Miyanoura)
  • Chichu Art Museum
  • Chichu Garden
  • Lee Ufan Museum
  • Benesse House Museum
  • Ando Museum
  • Dinner at UOGAZHI 7070
Day 3: Takamatsu/Kotohira
  • Check-out JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu
  • 小歩危峡(こぼけきょう) + Ooboke Gorge (大歩危峡 / おおぼけきょう)
  • Lunch at Senkichi (仙吉; 323-3 Nishiiyayamamura Oinouchi, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima-ken 778-0101; 〒778-0101 徳島県三好市西祖谷山村尾井ノ内323−3; VRP4+V9 Miyoshi; +81 883-87-2733)
  • Kazurabashi of Iya (祖谷のかずら橋; 162-2 Nishiiyayamamura Zentoku, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima-ken 778-0102; 〒778-0102 徳島県三好市西祖谷山村善徳162−2; VRGP+35 Miyoshi)
  • Check-in Kotohira Kadan (1241-5 Kotohira-cho, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa Pref., 766-0001; +81-877-75-3232)
Day 4: Kotohira/Miyoshi
  • Check-out
  • Sake tasting at Kinryo Tadotsu Brewery (1880 Kazuhara, Tadotsu-chō, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa-ken 764-0028; +81-877-33-4133)
  • Mount Tsurugi Chair Lift (剣山 見ノ越第1駐車場; Higashiiyasugeoi, Miyoshi, Tokushima Prefecture 778-0201; 〒778-0201 徳島県三好市東祖谷菅生; V38Q+WW)
  • Okuiya Niju Kazura Bashi Double vine bridge (奥祖谷(おくいや)二重かずら橋; 〒778-0201 Tokushima Prefecture, Miyoshi, Higashiiyasugeoi 620; 〒778-0201 徳島県三好市東祖谷菅生620; V23W+96 Miyoshi)
  • Check-in Hotel Iyaonsen (367-28 Matsuo Matumoto, Ikeda-cho, Miyoshi-shii, Tokushima Pref., +81 883-75-2311)
Day 5: Miyoshi/Ehime
  • Check-out
  • Dōgo Onsen Honkan (道後温泉本館; 5-6 Yunomachi, Dōgo; +81 089-943-8342)
  • Lunch at Nikitatsuan (にきたつ庵; 3-18 Dogokitamachi Matsuyama Ehime; 愛媛県 松山市 道後喜多町 3-18; 1100-2130)
  • Matsuyama Castle (松山城)
  • Check-in Setouchi Aonagi (794-1 Yanaidani-cho, Matsuyama, Ehime, 799-2641, +81-89-977-9500, yoyaku@setouchi-aonagi.jp)
Day 6: Ehime/Hiroshima
  • Check-out
  • Car ferry to Hiroshima
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#12 Post by Jay Miller » July 5th, 2019, 7:04 am

Mid November is a great time to visit as the autumn leaves will be peaking in most places other than the north. Of course this means that some of the best places to see them will be packed so book early.

When we did the Romantic Train ride in Arashiyama, Kyoto (https://www.sagano-kanko.co.jp/en/) and the boat ride back up the last week of October we kept wishing we were there 2 weeks later as there were only a few trees tipped with color. It could be a great way to see the foliage and then get a bite to eat, browse the shops and walk the bamboo grove.
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#13 Post by Otto Forsberg » July 6th, 2019, 2:14 am

Jud Reis wrote:
July 4th, 2019, 8:39 am
Thanks for all the thoughts so far, please keep them coming. Otto - I remember the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto being a little over 2 hours?
Of course it depends. We had a JR pass for two weeks allowing for free travel with all JR train lines using Shinkansen (the high-velocity train) and it took us something like 3 hours station to station, not including moving to and from the station at both ends.

Of course you can take a Nozomi train, which takes less than two hours from Tokyo to Kyoto, but a one-way ticket is something like $150 per person on that line.

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#14 Post by Gray G » July 6th, 2019, 10:22 am

Otto Forsberg wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 2:14 am
Jud Reis wrote:
July 4th, 2019, 8:39 am
Thanks for all the thoughts so far, please keep them coming. Otto - I remember the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto being a little over 2 hours?
Of course it depends. We had a JR pass for two weeks allowing for free travel with all JR train lines using Shinkansen (the high-velocity train) and it took us something like 3 hours station to station, not including moving to and from the station at both ends.

Of course you can take a Nozomi train, which takes less than two hours from Tokyo to Kyoto, but a one-way ticket is something like $150 per person on that line.
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#15 Post by PCLIN » July 27th, 2019, 4:20 am

Yao C wrote:
July 4th, 2019, 11:48 am
I'm hardly an expert but I've been to Japan a bunch, including twice last year :)

I think you should avoid Okinawa; it doesn't feel much like Japan to me. Given that she likes food and the outdoors I would second (third?) the Kyoto suggestion. Alternatively, if you're feeling adventurous Shikoku is an amazing, off the beaten path sort of place to visit with great outdoor scenery. Caveats: you'll have to rent a car and it will be a trifle chilly. But I do enjoy driving in Japan and the hot springs are excellent. In case you're interested here is the Shikoku leg of my itinerary from last December:


Thanks for sharing, I will use your itinerary as a main reference for our upcoming trip to Shikoku. We are likely to spend two nights each at Takamatsu, Iya Valley, and Matsuyama.

Anything else would you recommend for the trip?
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#16 Post by Yao C » July 27th, 2019, 1:52 pm

PCLIN wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 4:20 am
Thanks for sharing, I will use your itinerary as a main reference for our upcoming trip to Shikoku. We are likely to spend two nights each at Takamatsu, Iya Valley, and Matsuyama.

Anything else would you recommend for the trip?
I’m a big fan of the food. They raise olive wagyu there, which can be spectacularly good, and I liked the rice enough to bring several pounds home with me. Have a good trip :)
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#17 Post by PCLIN » July 27th, 2019, 9:03 pm

Yao C wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 1:52 pm
PCLIN wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 4:20 am
Thanks for sharing, I will use your itinerary as a main reference for our upcoming trip to Shikoku. We are likely to spend two nights each at Takamatsu, Iya Valley, and Matsuyama.

Anything else would you recommend for the trip?
I’m a big fan of the food. They raise olive wagyu there, which can be spectacularly good, and I liked the rice enough to bring several pounds home with me. Have a good trip :)
I noticed you only spent on night in Matsuyama, was that sufficient?
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#18 Post by Yao C » July 27th, 2019, 9:11 pm

It really wasn’t; we should have done at least 2, but we were rushing to get to Hiroshima
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#19 Post by Jud Reis » August 12th, 2019, 1:03 pm

One last favor - any recommendations on hotels in Kyoto - does not have to be super fancy, but would like convenient location to tourist areas, public transport. Thanks!

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#20 Post by Craig G » August 12th, 2019, 1:18 pm

We stayed at the Royal Park Hotel. It’s in a pretty good location for walking and train.
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#21 Post by PCLIN » September 28th, 2019, 9:07 pm

Yao C wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 1:52 pm
PCLIN wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 4:20 am
Thanks for sharing, I will use your itinerary as a main reference for our upcoming trip to Shikoku. We are likely to spend two nights each at Takamatsu, Iya Valley, and Matsuyama.

Anything else would you recommend for the trip?
I’m a big fan of the food. They raise olive wagyu there, which can be spectacularly good, and I liked the rice enough to bring several pounds home with me. Have a good trip :)

Just returned from the trip. Beef served at Wanoyado Hotel Iyaonsen was very very good. Loved Takamatsu-Shi and JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu. On the way back, stopped over in Osaka for a couple of nights, Takamura Wine and Coffee was pretty fun place to hangout, they served really good wines by the glass, Mouton Rothschild, Montille Malconsorts, and some old vintage RSV.
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#22 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » September 29th, 2019, 8:08 pm

Jud Reis wrote:
August 12th, 2019, 1:03 pm
One last favor - any recommendations on hotels in Kyoto - does not have to be super fancy, but would like convenient location to tourist areas, public transport. Thanks!
Okura

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#23 Post by Yao C » September 29th, 2019, 8:38 pm

PCLIN wrote:
September 28th, 2019, 9:07 pm
Just returned from the trip. Beef served at Wanoyado Hotel Iyaonsen was very very good. Loved Takamatsu-Shi and JR Hotel Clement Takamatsu. On the way back, stopped over in Osaka for a couple of nights, Takamura Wine and Coffee was pretty fun place to hangout, they served really good wines by the glass, Mouton Rothschild, Montille Malconsorts, and some old vintage RSV.
Glad you had fun! Will have to check out Takamura next time I'm in Osaka
Jud Reis wrote:
August 12th, 2019, 1:03 pm
One last favor - any recommendations on hotels in Kyoto - does not have to be super fancy, but would like convenient location to tourist areas, public transport. Thanks!
Airbnb is flourishing in Japan, and can be a good bit cheaper than regular hotels. They tend to be run quite professionally as well. The last time I was in Kyoto I stayed in one just off Higashioji Dori, blocks away from the Yasaka shrine; it was super convenient and ran me ~$120 per night
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#24 Post by dcornutt » October 2nd, 2019, 1:12 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
September 29th, 2019, 8:08 pm
Jud Reis wrote:
August 12th, 2019, 1:03 pm
One last favor - any recommendations on hotels in Kyoto - does not have to be super fancy, but would like convenient location to tourist areas, public transport. Thanks!
Okura
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#25 Post by A Rubin Stein » October 2nd, 2019, 1:44 pm

Jud Reis wrote:
August 12th, 2019, 1:03 pm
One last favor - any recommendations on hotels in Kyoto - does not have to be super fancy, but would like convenient location to tourist areas, public transport. Thanks!
We stayed at The Thousand in Kyoto, steps from the main train station, and we liked it a lot.
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#26 Post by Jud Reis » October 2nd, 2019, 5:24 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions!

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#27 Post by Jud Reis » November 16th, 2019, 11:10 pm

Want to thank everyone for their suggestions - ended up staying in Kyoto at the Solaria Nishietsu - very nice little hotel in great location by the river. Had two tremendous dinners, omakase at Kappo Sakamoto and tempura at Tenyou. Had not been in Kyoto in over a decade and fell in love all over again. What a wonderful city to wander in.

Probably one of the greatest meals of my life back in Tokyo at Sushi Ryusuke in Ginza. 7 seats, chef Ruyuske is a master.

Thanks again.

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#28 Post by LMD Ermitaño » December 9th, 2019, 5:28 pm

Tokyo:

Izakaya Vin (Shibuya) for a casual evening’s meal. Simple; but good enough French dishes with a very wide, interesting array of wine.

For good sushi while shopping in Ginza, I can recommend Tsukiji Suzutomi.

For very good, low-key kaiseki (BYOB friendly), Kien in Asakasa (1* Michelin as of last year).

If you happen to visit the Mt. Fuji environs, don’t miss having a kaiseki dinner at Oshino Yashima (4667 Ochino, Oshiro-mura, Minamitsuru-gun 401-0512, Yamanashi Prefecture). Also very BYOB friendly. When making your reservation, mention to chef-owner, Hiro-san, that I (Noel, from Manila, Philippines) recommended his place to you - aside from being a fine chef, he’s a good friend/fellow who likes wine and is also crazy about single malt whiskies.
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#29 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 10th, 2019, 9:54 am

LMD Ermitaño wrote:
December 9th, 2019, 5:28 pm
Tokyo:

Izakaya Vin (Shibuya) for a casual evening’s meal. Simple; but good enough French dishes with a very wide, interesting array of wine.

For good sushi while shopping in Ginza, I can recommend Tsukiji Suzutomi.

For very good, low-key kaiseki (BYOB friendly), Kien in Asakasa (1* Michelin as of last year).

If you happen to visit the Mt. Fuji environs, don’t miss having a kaiseki dinner at Oshino Yashima (4667 Ochino, Oshiro-mura, Minamitsuru-gun 401-0512, Yamanashi Prefecture). Also very BYOB friendly. When making your reservation, mention to chef-owner, Hiro-san, that I (Noel, from Manila, Philippines) recommended his place to you - aside from being a fine chef, he’s a good friend/fellow who likes wine and is also crazy about single malt whiskies.
Kien is gem, and lunch there is a great value. It is also steps away from an excellent Jura wine bar called Gout de Jaune, and right across the street from the ANA Intercontinental Hotel, where we often stay. It's not a very top tier hotel, but is quite nice and convenient for many reasons, including the Limousine Bus that goes non-stop between the hotel and both Haneda and Narita.

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#30 Post by LMD Ermitaño » December 10th, 2019, 8:36 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 10th, 2019, 9:54 am
LMD Ermitaño wrote:
December 9th, 2019, 5:28 pm
Tokyo:

Izakaya Vin (Shibuya) for a casual evening’s meal. Simple; but good enough French dishes with a very wide, interesting array of wine.

For good sushi while shopping in Ginza, I can recommend Tsukiji Suzutomi.

For very good, low-key kaiseki (BYOB friendly), Kien in Asakasa (1* Michelin as of last year).

If you happen to visit the Mt. Fuji environs, don’t miss having a kaiseki dinner at Oshino Yashima (4667 Ochino, Oshiro-mura, Minamitsuru-gun 401-0512, Yamanashi Prefecture). Also very BYOB friendly. When making your reservation, mention to chef-owner, Hiro-san, that I (Noel, from Manila, Philippines) recommended his place to you - aside from being a fine chef, he’s a good friend/fellow who likes wine and is also crazy about single malt whiskies.
Kien is gem, and lunch there is a great value. It is also steps away from an excellent Jura wine bar called Gout de Jaune, and right across the street from the ANA Intercontinental Hotel, where we often stay. It's not a very top tier hotel, but is quite nice and convenient for many reasons, including the Limousine Bus that goes non-stop between the hotel and both Haneda and Narita.
Yes, the ANA Intercontinental we walk to for whisky & cigars after dinner at Kien. Nice bar. I prefer it to that of the Prince Park Tower.
Luis Manuel Debuque Monreal Ermitaño

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#31 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 11th, 2019, 6:04 am

LMD Ermitaño wrote:
December 10th, 2019, 8:36 pm
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 10th, 2019, 9:54 am
LMD Ermitaño wrote:
December 9th, 2019, 5:28 pm
Tokyo:

Izakaya Vin (Shibuya) for a casual evening’s meal. Simple; but good enough French dishes with a very wide, interesting array of wine.

For good sushi while shopping in Ginza, I can recommend Tsukiji Suzutomi.

For very good, low-key kaiseki (BYOB friendly), Kien in Asakasa (1* Michelin as of last year).

If you happen to visit the Mt. Fuji environs, don’t miss having a kaiseki dinner at Oshino Yashima (4667 Ochino, Oshiro-mura, Minamitsuru-gun 401-0512, Yamanashi Prefecture). Also very BYOB friendly. When making your reservation, mention to chef-owner, Hiro-san, that I (Noel, from Manila, Philippines) recommended his place to you - aside from being a fine chef, he’s a good friend/fellow who likes wine and is also crazy about single malt whiskies.
Kien is gem, and lunch there is a great value. It is also steps away from an excellent Jura wine bar called Gout de Jaune, and right across the street from the ANA Intercontinental Hotel, where we often stay. It's not a very top tier hotel, but is quite nice and convenient for many reasons, including the Limousine Bus that goes non-stop between the hotel and both Haneda and Narita.
Yes, the ANA Intercontinental we walk to for whisky & cigars after dinner at Kien. Nice bar. I prefer it to that of the Prince Park Tower.
Agreed - I have spent many (too many?) an enjoyable late night in the whisky bar there. It's quite special when they have a good piano player playing quietly. The whisky selection is solid, if not exactly inspired.

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#32 Post by Doug Lee » December 26th, 2019, 2:15 pm

We recently returned from an 8 day trip to Tokyo/Kyoto, our first to Japan. Stayed at the Cross Hotel in Kyoto and had a great experience. The hotel opened 1-2 years ago in a converted bowling alley and has a terrific staff and location a block from the Pontocho neighborhood. Breakfast array is amazing and has sterling Western and Japanese choices. Wandered around Pontocho and had a very nice dinner at Kyoshikian, pairing the tuna entree with an entry level Hamelin 2014 Chablis which was nonetheless the priciest wine on the list. Chef was so astounded that we took the plunge on the Chablis that he accompanied us to the door in the midst of cooking to say goodbye. Little things like that peppered our trip and I cannot wait to go back.

The star of the show in Japan could be many things but turns out to be the people, with the food a close second.

Cheers,
Doug

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#33 Post by eddy c » January 14th, 2020, 6:43 pm

Heading to Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka in the spring, all the suggestions will be helpful. thanks
eddy chang

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#34 Post by davidkong » February 12th, 2020, 10:03 am

The Tokyo natural wine scene is spectacular, if you want to try that:
Ahiru Store
Bricca
Auxs Ami Tokyo
Sansa Beer
La Pioche
Margo
Le Cabaret
Le Verre Vole à Tokyo
Winestand Waltz
Maison Cinquante Cinq
Organ
Gout de Jaune
Winestand Bouteille
Aux Amis des Vins
Enoteca Mille
Bunon
Guerrero
Shonzui
Akaiheya
Shimokita Komorebi
Bar à Vin Parc
https://glas.vin/
Owner
Somm.ai
Owner

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MaiMadigan
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#35 Post by MaiMadigan » February 13th, 2020, 7:58 pm

True words!

Couple of bolded comments....
davidkong wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 10:03 am
The Tokyo natural wine scene is spectacular, if you want to try that:
Ahiru Store
Bricca
Auxs Ami Tokyo
Sansa Beer
La Pioche
Margo (prices are high but cool little space near my station :) )
Le Cabaret
Le Verre Vole à Tokyo (name changed to Un Jour last year due to conflict with Paris original. Still same deal though)
Winestand Waltz
Maison Cinquante Cinq
Organ
Gout de Jaune
Winestand Bouteille
Aux Amis des Vins
Enoteca Mille
Bunon (Nishi-azabu lost Elevage but kept this. Great spot!)
Guerrero
Shonzui
Akaiheya (dear friends and possibly my favorite spot in Tokyo)
Shimokita Komorebi
Bar à Vin Parc (Wonderful spot and great food menu too. Owner exudes passion)

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Dave McCloskey
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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#36 Post by Dave McCloskey » February 14th, 2020, 3:34 pm

MaiMadigan wrote:
February 13th, 2020, 7:58 pm
True words!

Couple of bolded comments....
davidkong wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 10:03 am
The Tokyo natural wine scene is spectacular, if you want to try that:
Ahiru Store
Bricca
Auxs Ami Tokyo
Sansa Beer
La Pioche
Margo (prices are high but cool little space near my station :) )
Le Cabaret
Le Verre Vole à Tokyo (name changed to Un Jour last year due to conflict with Paris original. Still same deal though)
Winestand Waltz
Maison Cinquante Cinq
Organ
Gout de Jaune
Winestand Bouteille
Aux Amis des Vins
Enoteca Mille
Bunon (Nishi-azabu lost Elevage but kept this. Great spot!)
Guerrero
Shonzui
Akaiheya (dear friends and possibly my favorite spot in Tokyo)
Shimokita Komorebi
Bar à Vin Parc (Wonderful spot and great food menu too. Owner exudes passion)
It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since I've been to Tokyo (seems like yesterday), but is there still some good Fusion restaurants? I remember going to an incredible fusion restaurant owned by an American chef in the Champs-Élysées section of Tokyo. He did a hybrid of Japanese, Mexican and Vietnamese. Super creative, for example I had a Japanese Tostado. It blew my mind.

I miss Tokyo and look forward to returning one day.

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#37 Post by davidkong » February 16th, 2020, 8:01 am

Dave McCloskey wrote:
February 14th, 2020, 3:34 pm
MaiMadigan wrote:
February 13th, 2020, 7:58 pm
True words!

Couple of bolded comments....
davidkong wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 10:03 am
The Tokyo natural wine scene is spectacular, if you want to try that:
Ahiru Store
Bricca
Auxs Ami Tokyo
Sansa Beer
La Pioche
Margo (prices are high but cool little space near my station :) )
Le Cabaret
Le Verre Vole à Tokyo (name changed to Un Jour last year due to conflict with Paris original. Still same deal though)
Winestand Waltz
Maison Cinquante Cinq
Organ
Gout de Jaune
Winestand Bouteille
Aux Amis des Vins
Enoteca Mille
Bunon (Nishi-azabu lost Elevage but kept this. Great spot!)
Guerrero
Shonzui
Akaiheya (dear friends and possibly my favorite spot in Tokyo)
Shimokita Komorebi
Bar à Vin Parc (Wonderful spot and great food menu too. Owner exudes passion)
It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since I've been to Tokyo (seems like yesterday), but is there still some good Fusion restaurants? I remember going to an incredible fusion restaurant owned by an American chef in the Champs-Élysées section of Tokyo. He did a hybrid of Japanese, Mexican and Vietnamese. Super creative, for example I had a Japanese Tostado. It blew my mind.

I miss Tokyo and look forward to returning one day.
There are a lot of French restaurants in Japan that use a lot of Asian ingredients - most people would call them French? But could be considered fusion. Narisawa is the golden standard of this.
https://glas.vin/
Owner
Somm.ai
Owner

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#38 Post by davidkong » February 16th, 2020, 8:04 am

MaiMadigan wrote:
February 13th, 2020, 7:58 pm
True words!

Couple of bolded comments....
davidkong wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 10:03 am
The Tokyo natural wine scene is spectacular, if you want to try that:
Ahiru Store
Bricca
Auxs Ami Tokyo
Sansa Beer
La Pioche
Margo (prices are high but cool little space near my station :) )
Le Cabaret
Le Verre Vole à Tokyo (name changed to Un Jour last year due to conflict with Paris original. Still same deal though)
Winestand Waltz
Maison Cinquante Cinq
Organ
Gout de Jaune
Winestand Bouteille
Aux Amis des Vins
Enoteca Mille
Bunon (Nishi-azabu lost Elevage but kept this. Great spot!)
Guerrero
Shonzui
Akaiheya (dear friends and possibly my favorite spot in Tokyo)
Shimokita Komorebi
Bar à Vin Parc (Wonderful spot and great food menu too. Owner exudes passion)

Wow, I wish I hit you up when I was there in December. Akaiheya for example wouldn’t sell me much because I was a first-timer. They did have a great BTG selection so I still recommend them.

I’m impressed you know Bar a Vin Parc because that one I didn’t read through any guides, someone at maison cinquante cinq told me about it. He actually sold me a bottle of murmures 🤗.
https://glas.vin/
Owner
Somm.ai
Owner

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#39 Post by davidkong » February 16th, 2020, 8:06 am

davidkong wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 8:01 am
Dave McCloskey wrote:
February 14th, 2020, 3:34 pm
MaiMadigan wrote:
February 13th, 2020, 7:58 pm
True words!

Couple of bolded comments....

It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since I've been to Tokyo (seems like yesterday), but is there still some good Fusion restaurants? I remember going to an incredible fusion restaurant owned by an American chef in the Champs-Élysées section of Tokyo. He did a hybrid of Japanese, Mexican and Vietnamese. Super creative, for example I had a Japanese Tostado. It blew my mind.

I miss Tokyo and look forward to returning one day.
There are a lot of French restaurants in Japan that use a lot of Asian ingredients - most people would call them French? But could be considered fusion. Narisawa is the golden standard of this.
Do you know why they changed it to Un Jour? Japanese people couldn’t pronounce verre vole? Verre vole is a great name no?
https://glas.vin/
Owner
Somm.ai
Owner

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MaiMadigan
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Location: Tokyo, Japan

Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#40 Post by MaiMadigan » February 29th, 2020, 7:35 pm

davidkong wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 8:04 am
MaiMadigan wrote:
February 13th, 2020, 7:58 pm
True words!

Couple of bolded comments....
davidkong wrote:
February 12th, 2020, 10:03 am
The Tokyo natural wine scene is spectacular, if you want to try that:
Ahiru Store
Bricca
Auxs Ami Tokyo
Sansa Beer
La Pioche
Margo (prices are high but cool little space near my station :) )
Le Cabaret
Le Verre Vole à Tokyo (name changed to Un Jour last year due to conflict with Paris original. Still same deal though)
Winestand Waltz
Maison Cinquante Cinq
Organ
Gout de Jaune
Winestand Bouteille
Aux Amis des Vins
Enoteca Mille
Bunon (Nishi-azabu lost Elevage but kept this. Great spot!)
Guerrero
Shonzui
Akaiheya (dear friends and possibly my favorite spot in Tokyo)
Shimokita Komorebi
Bar à Vin Parc (Wonderful spot and great food menu too. Owner exudes passion)

Wow, I wish I hit you up when I was there in December. Akaiheya for example wouldn’t sell me much because I was a first-timer. They did have a great BTG selection so I still recommend them.

I’m impressed you know Bar a Vin Parc because that one I didn’t read through any guides, someone at maison cinquante cinq told me about it. He actually sold me a bottle of murmures 🤗.
Was at Akaiheya last night and had a fun selection. Do go again if you can, it is so lovely there.

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MaiMadigan
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Location: Tokyo, Japan

Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#41 Post by MaiMadigan » February 29th, 2020, 7:37 pm

davidkong wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 8:06 am
davidkong wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 8:01 am
Dave McCloskey wrote:
February 14th, 2020, 3:34 pm


It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since I've been to Tokyo (seems like yesterday), but is there still some good Fusion restaurants? I remember going to an incredible fusion restaurant owned by an American chef in the Champs-Élysées section of Tokyo. He did a hybrid of Japanese, Mexican and Vietnamese. Super creative, for example I had a Japanese Tostado. It blew my mind.

I miss Tokyo and look forward to returning one day.
There are a lot of French restaurants in Japan that use a lot of Asian ingredients - most people would call them French? But could be considered fusion. Narisawa is the golden standard of this.
Do you know why they changed it to Un Jour? Japanese people couldn’t pronounce verre vole? Verre vole is a great name no?
No it was fine for pronunciation, but it was not fine with the Parisian owners of the original. They were here for a visit a few years ago and seemed like nice people at the dinner I attended. Subsequent to that there were discussions about copyright etc. and the owner decided to change it to this. It is also, when spelled differently, his daughter's name I believe.

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Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#42 Post by davidkong » March 10th, 2020, 10:20 pm

MaiMadigan wrote:
February 29th, 2020, 7:37 pm
davidkong wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 8:06 am
davidkong wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 8:01 am


There are a lot of French restaurants in Japan that use a lot of Asian ingredients - most people would call them French? But could be considered fusion. Narisawa is the golden standard of this.
Do you know why they changed it to Un Jour? Japanese people couldn’t pronounce verre vole? Verre vole is a great name no?
No it was fine for pronunciation, but it was not fine with the Parisian owners of the original. They were here for a visit a few years ago and seemed like nice people at the dinner I attended. Subsequent to that there were discussions about copyright etc. and the owner decided to change it to this. It is also, when spelled differently, his daughter's name I believe.
Oh really, I'm surprised they wouldn't have asked for permission prior to opening.
https://glas.vin/
Owner
Somm.ai
Owner

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MaiMadigan
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Joined: October 30th, 2009, 11:46 pm
Location: Tokyo, Japan

Re: Japan Experts Help Please

#43 Post by MaiMadigan » March 12th, 2020, 3:20 am

davidkong wrote:
March 10th, 2020, 10:20 pm
MaiMadigan wrote:
February 29th, 2020, 7:37 pm
davidkong wrote:
February 16th, 2020, 8:06 am

Do you know why they changed it to Un Jour? Japanese people couldn’t pronounce verre vole? Verre vole is a great name no?
No it was fine for pronunciation, but it was not fine with the Parisian owners of the original. They were here for a visit a few years ago and seemed like nice people at the dinner I attended. Subsequent to that there were discussions about copyright etc. and the owner decided to change it to this. It is also, when spelled differently, his daughter's name I believe.
Oh really, I'm surprised they wouldn't have asked for permission prior to opening.
They were quite buddy buddy for a while at the outset and I think it was just a gentleman's agreement that nobody suspected would go awry.

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