Category Archives: food

Japan: Kaiseki

Hidden away next to Kyoto’s river and bamboo forests in Arashiyama is a small restaurant Shoraian, serving traditional tofu multi-course Japanese meals (kaiseki).

While most kaiseki meals tend to be rather expensive ($100~300/person), Shoraian’s lunches are reasonably priced at $33~50/person (  I picked the most expensive meal option Shofu ($50/person) to try as many dishes as possible.

Japan: Omurice


When I was in high school I watched “Lunch Queen”, a Japanese drama about a lady extremely obsessed with lunches, especially the Japanese omelette rice called omurice.  Since then, I have been obsessed with finding the best omurice, and to see what’s the big deal.  So finally when I visited Kyoto in 2015, I visited Kichi Kichi.

Japan: Fushimi Inari Shrine


inari (4 of 20)My favorite place in Kyoto is the Fushimi Inari Shrine — the most popular shrine dedicated to Inari (Shinto god of rice).  Stone fox status can be found everywhere as they are Inari’s messengers.

inari (7 of 20)

But what stands out the most are the thousands of orange/black torii gates.  These gates are funded by donations from individuals and companies.  The donations starts around $3,000 for a small sized gate and increases to over $8,000 for a large gate.  For what they had to pay, it is quite surprising visitors don’t have to pay a single yen to enter!  🙂inari (10 of 20)

Japan: Yoroniku

One of the most amazing meal I had in Japan was with our Tokyo experts Peter and Diana at Yoroniku, a yakinuku restaurant (grilled meats).  Wow!  I can confidently say that meal has surpassed everything I’ve ever experienced…and mind you, not the individual meats (which were very high grade), but the entire meal.  It has been meticulously orchestrated to absolute harmony.  The progression of boldly flavored meats with the carefully balanced lighter sides leaves you feeling just full while still refreshed…not something I’d expect from a meaty meal.

Japan: Izakaya

izakaya (14 of 14)

Continuing our journey through Japan, Kenta’s dad generously treated us to one of his favorite meals at a local Izakaya.  Izakaya literally translates to “i” (to stay) and “sakaya” (sake shop), which is a place to grab a light meal and drinks.  Here are some of the highlights:

izakaya (13 of 14) izakaya (12 of 14)

Motsunabe (もつ鍋) – Intestine pot made from beef and pork tripe or other offal.   It’s actually quite a warm and homey taste,  and great with beer during the winter times 🙂