Saturday, 9 May 2015

Japan Travels - Day 1, a Feast at the Izakaya

Hello All!

I'm lucky enough to be spending 9 glorious days in Japan this May, or as I like to think of it, the reason why June is diet month!
I've come here with my little sister and my mum, who is Japanese and as organised as me. She's so organised she's created two schedules for this trip, a to do list and an eating schedule. Yes I have a separate eating schedule and it is truly wonderful.

So I'll be blogging my 9 days in Japan which will be very photo heavy, you have been warned! There'll be tips and reviews of all the things I've done and eaten. Feel free to ask me any questions, but do remember I have the Japanese language skills of a five year old, so won't be able to answer everything.

On this long journey from London to Tokyo we had a short stopover in Frankfurt for a few hours.

We stopped over in Germany, which was fun.
As shown by the happiness on my sister's face.

 After the short transit we were back in the air on the way to Nippon!

That huddled over human is me, I'm not the best flyer (^.^")

We arrive around lunch in Japan, and I'm pretty starving as I have an aversion to plane food. Not sure if everyone else gets this but the smell makes me want to die inside. After a pretty long wait in immigration, I had gotten stuck in the middle of a Chinese tour group, I made it out to join the rest of the family in the arrival lounge.

After an extended exploration of Haneda airport's food offerings my mum finally decides on the restaurant, and I get this tuna rice bowl.
Doesn't look like much, but hunger is the best spice.

My sister gets this large offering of fried chicken and assorted dishes. 

All in all a pretty good start to the trip!

That night we are joined by my little cousin, who is also a half and very adorable, and later on by one of my Uncles (technically a second cousin, but we just call all older family members Aunt or Uncle, regardless of blood technicalities).

Our destination for that night was an izakaya close by to our hotel which is based in the neighborhood Ochanomizu.

For the uninitiated, an izakaya is similar to a British pub. They serve drinks and lots of small plates of Japanese food. Its a popular place to go after work, and you'll see lots of 'salary-men' and 'salary-women' drinking/eating there.It's a great place to go if you want to try lots of different Japanese food, kind of like a tapas place!

The izakaya we went to is called, Kin no Kura Jr, and is part of a chain. The great thing about this place is that it had these iPad menus, which had English as well as Japanese and pictures! You could order all the drinks and food through this. It was also detachable from it's stand, a fact I didn't figure out until well into the night......

I was put in charge of ordering, wise decision by family
My mum and little sister haven't been to Japan in 3 years, and I'm just greedy, so we ended up ordering a rather large 23 dishes!
Rather than go through all 23 I'm going to highlight my recommendations and favourites!

Kin No Kura Jr
Price: Drinks approx ¥270 (£1.50), Food ¥300-¥1000 (£1.60 - £5.40)
Location: Various
Website: Kin No Kura Jr (Japanese)
Tablet Menu

Top Clockwise: Edamame, Oolong tea, Tuna, Fried Chicken Skin, Fish, Age Tofu
Top Clockwise: Tuna Sushi, Twice, Yakitori, Tsukune (minced chicken)

Top Clockwise: Sweet Potato, Octopus Sashimi, More Yakitori, Takoyaki (octopus balls)
Top Clockwise: Fried Octopus, Potato Salad, Cream Puff Tower, Cream Puff Cross Section

 My Recommendations! 
Skewers! (we ordered 2 more sets of these later (*^^*) )
 Yakitori Mix - Tare and Shio

This is one of my all time favourite things to order at an izakaya, you get four skewers of various chicken dishes: Skin, Heart and 2 types of Meat. There are two variations to this, one with sauce (tare) and the other with salt (shio). Now I prefer the sauce version, but my mum likes salt so we got both. You can also order these separately, but it's nice to start with a variety and then decide your preference.

Age Tofu (Fried Tofu)

Nothing particularly special about this, I just love fried tofu and think it's something everyone should try! Even those who aren't fans of tofu. Its sweet and soft, and you can trick yourself into thinking it's healthy, though its fried and almost certainly is not.

Sweet Potato Fries

Now when these first came I was really surprised, I had been expecting something like the chips back home. But don't be deceived, these are delicious. It comes with a sweet sauce that you pour on top, then you spend the rest of the night munching on these crispy bits of heaven. 

Tower of Happiness
Cream Puff Tower

I always end my meals with a dessert, and when I saw the words 'cream puff' and 'tower' combined on the menu I knew this was something I needed to have. Fortunately my little cousin definitively agreed with me, and while the rest of the table's backs were turned we ordered this. 

This was a ongoing journey of surprises. First the cream puff balls were filled with ice cream. Then we discovered an ice cream scoop in the center. And finally that the ice cream scoop was resting on purin! (Purin is like a Japanese creme caramel, super popular here). Certainly one of my better life choices. It was so good I immediately texted a friend to let him know that my life was complete. 

Altogether we had ordered 24 dishes and 8 drinks, and the total came to approximately £90. Which is not bad! 


  1. omg i know im not suppose to comment cos its lame. but ceebs to go onto my phone and open whatsapp. I WANT TO GO TO JAPAN AND WHEN WILL YOU TAKE ME?! - love, Linh haahaha

  2. That's a lot of food in a day