Japan

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Tokyo is one of my favorite cities in the world – it’s super clean, the people are super nice, and they are among the most food obsessed cultures I have ever encountered.

For my friends who are travelling to Tokyo, Japan, here are a list of favorite places to visit:

1 Tsukiji Fish Market

If you’ve seen the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi, you know what the Tsukiji Fish Market is – the epicenter of the sushi universe. Visit it while you still can – the market is moving to a new area in the next few years leaving the status of the original location in the air. Check out the cool stalls inside the market, but I don’t know if it is worth it waiting 6 hours for a seat at one of the sushi shops inside. There are plenty of great sushi shops and other market shops just north of the main market that has just as fresh sushi and ingredients. Get there early though as tourists can make it quite the burdensome trek.

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2 Shinjuku

This is one of Tokyo’s most bustling district with lots of shopping and food. Walk on the northeast and northwest sides. On the north east is the district known as Kabukicho – Tokyo’s very own red light district full of bars and other disreputable joints, including the infamous Robot restaurant dinner theatre made famous by Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown episode in Tokyo.

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3 Shibuya

Check out one of the world’s busiest walking intersections (made famous in the film Lost in Translation with Bill Murray) Shibuya 109 and 109 Men’s for youth fashion, Tokyu Hands for cool crafts, Hachiko the dog statue

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4 Tokyo’s Food Basements

All the Department Stores have them – the basement floor is like a supermarket on steroids. You can literally find almost every type of food here. My eyes glaze over. Each major rail station has them. Takashimaya, Mitsukoshi, Keio, Isetan are all just a few of the many. If you are looking for great restaurants, check the top floors as well – not your typical American mall food for sure. Even under the subway stations there are underground ramen dining areas.

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5 Asakusa – Sensoji Temple

I love the little streets that lead up to the temple full of snacks and cool gifts. There’s even a little cake shop that the royal princess of Japan is known to frequent. Get your fortune read at the temple.

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6 Harajuku / Omotesando / Yoyogi Park

Takeshita Dori is the street that Harajuku district is on – lots of stores for young girls and crepe shops, but I was not really interested in this area. The main road is Omotesando, covered in beautiful trees – go over to Kiddy Land – a 5 story toy store with a whole area for Studio Ghibli toys and more, and Oriental Bazaar for all your Japanese souvenir needs. If you have time, check out Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine – always interesting folks hanging out there on the weekends.

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For all food lovers visiting Tokyo, I highly recommend Yukari Sakamoto’s Food Sake Tokyo book, it is a great in depth read all about Tokyo’s food scene.

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Here are things you must eat while in Tokyo (more to come later):

  • Sushi – duh you’re in the epicenter of sushi.
  • Korean barbecue with Japanese Wagyu beef – Trust me your life will change.
  • Strawberry Mochi in Ginza if it’s in season
  • Izakaya – get the chicken skin teriyaki
  • Ramen – there’s a whole ramen street inside the main Tokyo Station – go grab some.
  • Gyudon – Beef Rice Bowls – pick one of the many options. You can’t go wrong, it’s so cheap.
  • Tempura, udon, curry katsu, katsu sandwiches, just eat everything.

I’m sure I missed something – what would you add to the list??

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This is a working post….what did we miss? comment below!

MAP of Hong Kong, Taipei, Osaka, Tokyo Eats and Sights

Hong Kong

Places to Eat
– Tsui Wah restaurant (theyre everywhere) – get the French Toast!!!
– Bee Chiang Hang – Beef jerky street food – also everywhere
– Dim Sum – Sam Hui Yaat or Maxim Palace Central or Tim Ho Wan
– Dessert shops – get the mango fruit snow tea or sago mango dessert
– Yat Lok – Roast Goose
– Mak’s Noodle Shops
– Kau Kee for Brisket

More great choices:
http://www.chowzter.com/fast-feasts/asia-pacific/Hong%20Kong
http://danielfooddiary.com/2014/07/25/hongkongfood/
http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2013/jan/21/top-10-hong-kong-speciality-restaurants
http://www.ladyironchef.com/tag/best-hong-kong-food/

Places to See
– Victoria’s Peak – top of HK
– Big Buddha at Lantau Island
– Temple Street Night Market
– Pacific Place mall
– Lan Kwai Fong – night time bohemian district

————————–
Taipei, Taiwan

Places to Eat
Din Tai Fung – Soup Dumplings
Yong Kang – Shaved Ice
Shin Yeh – Taiwanese
Beef Brisket noodles

Night Markets
Raohe Street Night Markets
Shihlin Night Market
Tonghua Night Market
Shida Night Market

Places to See
– Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
– Lungshan Temple
– Taipei 101
– Shi-Men Ting Youth shopping area
– Jiufen Old Street
– XiMending at Night
– ATT4Fun

——————-

Osaka, Japan

Things to Eat
– Okonomiyaki
– Takoyaki
– Kutsu karaage

Places to See
– Osaka Castle
– Dotonbori street food
– Osaka Aquarium
– Universal Studios Osaka
– Spa World
– Umeda Joypolis Sega

43 Things to do in Osaka

Kyoto
– Bike around town
– Kinkakuji Temple
– Fushimi Inari Tasha
– Gion geisha district
– Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

99 Things to do in Kyoto

Nara
– Nara Deer Park


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Tokyo, Japan

Places to Eat
– Tsukiji Fish Market
– Tokyo Station Ramen Street

Places to See
– Asakusa Temple
– Harajuku
– Ometesando
– Yoyogi Park
– Daikanyama, Shibuya, Nakameguro ebisu

101 Things to do in Tokyo

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