Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan, and is the 2nd tallest structure in the world (as of Jan 11, 2015)!
Not only is the architecture impressive - it's a fun place to go since there are so many shops & restaurants.
Don't go to the dining area on the 6th and 7th floor though - due to the fact that the price range is rather low (~2,000yen for lunch) it's very crowded and when I went, every single restaurant had a 30+ minute wait.
Instead, I highly recommend you to go to the 30th and 31st floor! The price point is slightly higher (maybe, 1000yen more), but no lines, good food and a better view!
I visited an Italian restaurant called Brasserie Aux Amis on the 30th floor. An amazing lunch course (w/ all you can eat fresh bread) for just 2800yen!
We also did not visit the observation deck (2000yen) since we thought that the view from the 30th floor was free & wonderful. :)
Every New Year, most Japanese families start their first meal with "Osechi". Boxes of goodness filled with traditional Japanese dishes! These are traditionally made at home, however, now many families (especially those living in the city) pre-order and purchases these boxes from department stores and pick it up on the 31st.
The history of Osechi: Osechi boxes are originally for women to rest during the first 3 days of new years. People believed that a calm kitchen during the new years showed appreciation to the gods. The foods packed in these boxes are usually dried, simmered, grilled and are tasted with soy sauce and sugar so that it can be kept well during the 3 days. The food is packed in a fine box to wish for a great year. Some ingredients and dishes included in the boxes wish for a good year too - for example, the dish which includes fish eggs wish for good fertility within the family.
Now, Osechi comes in all shapes and sizes. The one my family purchased from "Sogo", a department store included Japanese traditional dishes as well as Chinese ones for fun :)
Happy New Year!
As I mentioned on my instagram (@jpinsider), I wanted to thank you all for your support in 2014!!
In 2015, I plan to revamp jpinsider.com in order to continue to deliver updated, fun information to you :)
Before celebrating New Years Eve tonight, we visited the game center in Yokohama.
Game centers are a place to go to play UFO games, driving games, all sorts of games + photo booths. We also call them "Ge-sen", short for "Ge-mu Cen-tah".
Many teens, young professionals and even people older than that enjoy these places. It's a fun, casual place to go to when you're on a date, or with a friend.
Fun attractions for those tourists out there visiting Japan: The SUPER-power users of games such as Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, Pop'n Music....It's amazing. I recommend you to take a peek!
Also note: If you are trying to get an item from the UFO catcher, ask one of the employees for hints & advice! He/she will help you get the item you want. I got my snack after 3 tries thanks to the employee! (See my proud photo below :) )
Click "Read More" to see more photos...:)
A beautiful walk and a gorgeous Zen garden inside of a Zen Buddhist temple established in the 1200s. An interesting waterway built by bricks as well. Highly recommend!
Fee: $4 to get into the Zen temple to view the Zen garden
Click "Read More" to see more photos :)
We spent 1 night in a ryokan (旅館) in Kyoto. A wonderful experience. Felt very nostalgic for me since my father took the whole family to various ryokans growing up.
A ryokan, is a Traditional Japanese style inn. Rooms with tatami mats (shown above), a public hot spring for guests to enjoy (usually natural springs), Japanese style dishes served for all meals and amazing guest services.
Our ryokan was located in Kyoto city, in the middle of a residential area. It was a wonderful retreat :) and we found a very good deal for it. 12,000yen (approx. US$110) a night each with dinner & breakfast!
Dinner was served in private rooms. Also, keep in mind that you can head to dinner with the inn provided yukatas in most cases!
Dinner was a Kyoto cuisine also called "Kaiseki ryori".
Kaiseki ryori focuses on the visual beauty of the dishes, taste, the season and of course the ingredients.
These dishes not only look beautiful but also take the elements of the current season to enjoy. For example, we enjoyed this meal in the winter so we saw many root vegetables such as "gobo". There is a focus on "dashi" since it is Japanese style as well. Given that we are in Kyoto, there were lots of tofu served too. Yes, Kyoto is known for their tofu! Not just the regular tofu we see in American supermarkets, but different kinds such as "yuba"; tofu skin.
Many small dishes are served. During our dinner, we counted 17!
Let us share with you some dishes....
After dinner, if you go back to your rooms, you'll be pleasantly surprised to see that your beds are made :)
So then, off to the hot spring and time to rest :)
I'm in the Shinkansen heading towards Kyoto!
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Day 2 in Japan!
Off to Roppongi to renew my US visa - on Christmas Eve.
Christmas in Tokyo (both Even and the day of) is a celebratory day for lovers. You see couples everywhere you go. I mean every-where. Since I am here with my boyfriend this year, I got to take advantage of this event :)
In order to celebrate Christmas Eve, we spent lunch at Shiodome city in a restaurant called "Seiyuzan" and had Korean BBQ a.k.a. "Yakiniku" (which literally means to cook meat).
$40/each for a full course Korean BBQ. It included:
I'm back in Japan as of yesterday!
Since my little sister had missed lunch, I made her this pasta dish.
This pasta dish took 10 minutes to make.
All it takes is pasta, garlic, olive oil and optionally, truffle oil. The appetizing smell fills up the room.
Ingredients: (for two)
- Olive oil (1 tbsp)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 200g pasta
- Optionally truffle oil (1 tbsp)
1. Boil the pasta according to the steps on the pasta package.
2. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and toss in the garlic. Do not overheat the garlic. Add some of the water that the pasta is cooking. Let it simmer.
Once the pasta is done, toss into the pan with the garlic and oil. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper if necessary.
How about this one?
A healthy mushroom dish! Not just a regular pack of mushrooms though - these are Eringi mushrooms. Buttery, soft and a good hint of saltiness. Keeps your fork going!
What you need:
Simply stir fry them in a pan!
Long time no see!
Holiday season is here.
My boyfriend and I have been to multiple potlucks this month....So, introducing the Holiday Potluck series! I will share with you what I have been making this busy season. Of course, all of these recipes are EASY, FAST and HEALTHY.
The first recipe I'm sharing: Super soft mochi-like potato pancakes on turkey bacon.
The potatoes are cooked in butter and have a little bit of mozzarella cheese in them. Sweet but salty, perfect as an appetizer!
Things you need:
- 1 medium sized potato
- 4 slices of turkey bacon, cut into bit sized pieces
- 1/2 - 1 tbsp of unsalted butter
- As much cheese as you want (I used shredded mozzarella)
- Potato starch (3-4 tbsp), or until the potato paste becomes dough-like.
- (Optional) Sprinkles of basil for decoration
I'll start throwing in some of the basic + necessary ingredients you'll need to cook amazing Japanese dishes here!
Here in San Francisco, I'm lucky enough to have a Japanese market. Every 29th of this month, thin sliced meat is 20 percent off. We buy 5 to 7 packs of meat and freeze them all. What to do with thin sliced beef? Sukiyaki style stew!
For those of you who don't know, sukiyaki is a savory, sweet meat dish. It is usually cooked with a bunch of vegetables, but since I was lazy tonight, I only used meat.
Every Japanese house hold has their own taste of Sukiyaki. Some like it with a very strong salty taste, some like it weaker. People in Kansai like it bold where as Kanto like it more bland. I love it the Kansai style, so keep that in mind!
All you need is:
Belos is my Lekue Steamer. Scroll to read more!
I also experimented with a Lekue (Steamer) to make a similar dish with udon! Even more simple. Simply throw in all these ingredients and put it in the microwave!
All you need for this Lekue Steamer Recipe is:
Something interesting I found on the web this morning.
Girls in Japan are no longer using the peace sign when posing for photos. Now, it's the "Cavity Pose"!
What do you think?
As always, the most popular recipe on this blog! I served it to my guests the other night and everyone loved it.
Click here for the recipe!
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