Yukie Shaw shiseido parlour

Tokyo Travel Tips from Yukie, Blogger of Tokyo Mode Addict

Conversations with Locals

You would know Yukie Shaw from her UNIQLO/Rosebullet-esque getups and her blog Tokyo Mode AddictThis Singaporean-Japanese blogger has her roots in Japan and is a regular in Tokyo. Yukie talks about navigating the busy city, Tokyo’s best dry ramen, and a traditional teahouse you just can’t miss. 

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Photo: Tokyo Mode Addict

What should travellers know about Tokyo before heading there?

Rely on google maps with your life when in Tokyo! The city’s train map is as crazy as the people are. It really is best to have mobile internet when commuting in Tokyo.

What do you feel defines Japanese cuisine?

I would describe Japanese cuisine as homely. Considering that I was raised by a Japanese mother, I know that sounds like I am tooting my own horn. But the people there are gentle with their flavours. And no matter where you eat, you can feel a sense of pride on a plate.

What is the one local dish you feel travellers can’t leave Tokyo without trying? 

Abura Soba! Hands down. It is basically a dry version of ramen, and better!

What about your favourite restaurants?

Omotesando is the best area to find Tokyo-style café food with its Japanese-Western menus. I really miss sitting in a pretty cafe and having things like negitoro-don or a loco moco with friends over lunch on a weekend. Some of my favourites are Bills, BOWLS Café and Madosh! Café

What is a typical Japanese breakfast for you? 

Grilled salmon, soup and white Japanese rice! And it doesn’t get any better.

Name one Japanese dining etiquette most travellers miss

Do not leave your chopsticks poked in to your rice! It resembles as joss sticks in Japan, even for a short while. If you need to put your chopsticks down, place them back on the rests or on top of your bowl.

Name one best kept secret of Tokyo

There is a quiet and quaint breakfast/tea house in the middle of Nakameguro, called Yakumo Saryo. By reservation only. 

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Yakumo Saryo. Photo: Tokyo Mode Addict

Name your favourite local labels  

I do love young, modish brands like MURUA and The Dayz Tokyo.

Name some tourist traps travellers should avoid in Tokyo

Convenient stores. Try not to let them take all your money. 

What’s your favourite day trip to take from the city? 

I went on a drive to Lake Kawaguchi once with fellow blogger Andrea Chong, two hours away from the city. It was breathtaking!

Describe the perfect way to explore Tokyo

For me, it depends which season of visit. Japan’s obvious secrets glisten with her seasons. My favourite time in Tokyo is Christmas. Some of my must-dos are shopping around Ginza or Shibuya, going to restaurant that serves fresh winter produce, and taking a long night walk at illumination spots in Tokyo. 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN TOKYO


Aruba Soba
Where: 3-10-20 Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo Prefecture
For: Dry soba noodles 

Yakumo Saryo
Where: 3-4-7 Yakumo, Meguro 152-0023, Tokyo Prefecture
For: Breakfast

Bills
Where: 4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
For: Fluffy pancakes

BOWLS Café
Where: 2-5-16 Shinjuku, Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture
For: Donburis

Madosh! Café
Where: 5-28-7 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
For: Avocado dishes
 

WHERE TO GO IN TOKYO


MURUA
Where: TOKYO Solamachi, 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045 Japan
For: Shopping

 

The Dayz Tokyo
Where: 〒150-0042 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Udagawachō, 16−16
For: Shopping

 

Omotesando
Where: Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
For: Tokyo-style cafés

8 Foodtastic Things to do in Central Japan

Japan

I believe I’m not just speaking for myself when I say I absolutely love Japanese food! Central Japan has one of the most well-preserved Japanese culture in the entire country. Soup is slow cooked on charcoal fire, menus are handwritten, and food is served on plates that look like they are a hundred years old.

If you’re heading to Central Japan, here’s a list to make sure you don’t miss out on any awesome food!

1. Taste the real wasabi at a wasabi farm

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Nagano is one of the few places that can cultivate wasabi. Wasabi cultivation is a highly complex matter. Most places don’t even serve the real wasabi due to the high price of such a rare plant. If you want to have a taste of the real thing, head to a wasabi farm.

Daio Wasabi Farm in Matsumoto accepts visitors. This might sound a little gimmicky but they sell all kinds of wasabi food such as wasabi ice cream and wasabi croquette.

2. Splurge on a kaiseki meal

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Well, this can be said for anywhere else in Japan. Kaiseki is the Japanese idea of fine dining. It usually takes an hour to enjoy the full course meal. Menus are entirely up to the chef’s discretion and are seasonal. Part of the joy of having a kaiseki meal is feasting your eyes on the delicate food arrangements. If you are into food photography, you’ll be snapping away like mad! Kaiseki meals can be enjoyed at ryokans or specialised restaurants.

3. Have sashimi for breakfast

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I know, this sounds a tad adventurous for the tamed stomach. I can’t say I wasn’t surprised to see sashimi served for breakfast while I was on a trip there. The Japanese sure love their raw food any time of the day.

4. Indulge in Hida beef

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If you are a wagyu beef connoisseur, you would have heard of Hida beef. If you haven’t, doesn’t matter, I’ll fill you in on the juicy details. There are many grades when it comes to Japanese beef. I won’t bore you with the technical details. This prized beef basically needs to meet grade A or B to be certified as Hida beef. If you are a meat lover and you are in the Gifu Prefecture, you have to try this! I won’t say it comes cheap, but hey, we live to eat right?

5. Snack on street food at a festival

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The people in Central Japan loves their local festivals. One of the things you can’t miss in a festival is the local street food. These finger food are so amazing, you will end up going for seconds. Skewers, also known as kushiyaki, are often sold. You can even have a taste of Hida beef on these skewers!

6. Try hoba miso

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No, this is not like the miso soup you have been drinking. Hoba miso is a speciality of Takayama, and I hardly see this anywhere else in Japan. It tastes a little sweeter than regular miso, and is often roasted on a leaf with other ingredients such as vegetables or mushrooms.

7. Eat anything red bean

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The Japanese loves red bean. There are many variations of this dessert, and can be served with green tea, rice cakes or even ice cream. This delicate dessert can be found almost anywhere in Central Japan. You are bound to find it in one of the traditional wooden shops that are everywhere!

8. Enjoy handmade soba

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Handmade soba might seem like nothing special in Japan, but Nagano is home to Shinshū soba. This unique soba contains two parts wheat and 8 parts buckwheat. The proportion of ingredients gives the soba a nice texture and makes it healthy too!