restaurants

Drinkers’ paradise found at Tokyo restaurant-100 types of sake, all-you-can-drink, no time limit

A lot of bars and restaurants in Japan offer special deals where you can drink as much as you like for a certain amount of time, usually about two hours. The downside is these packages often don’t give you access to the full beverage menu. While beer and basic cocktails are generally included, if you’re in the mood for sake, you’re generally restricted to whatever the house brand is.

So we were excited when we heard about a new watering hole opening up in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighborhood that lets you pick from 100 different types of sake for its all-you-can-drink plan, and even better, there’s no time limit.

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Abashiri: Home of Japan’s Prison Museum, Prison Cafeteria, and Prison Beer

Hokkaido, Japan’s rural, northernmost island, has a wealth of tourist attractions. But while most travelers spend their time enjoying the natural beauty of the region’s mountains, forests, and oceans, visitors to the city of Abashiri often spend their time in a very different way.

That’s because in contrast to the sense of freedom Hokkaido’s wide-open vistas are so evocative of, Abashiri is home to the Abashiri Prison Museum. Aside from exhibits on the history of incarceration, the museum also has a cafeteria, where diners can eat a recreation of modern Japanese prison food, and even knock back a bottle of Abashiri Prison Stout beer.

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Sanrio character My Melody’s new cafe may be Tokyo’s cutest (and pinkest) yet

Although Hello Kitty is its most recognizable icon, she’s not the only star in the Sanrio lineup of cute mascot characters. Pink-hooded rabbit My Melody also has a loyal fanbase since her debut in 1975, and starting this month, she’ll be getting her own cafe in Tokyo, complete with palate-pleasing pink parfaits, curry, and special My Melody merchandise you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

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Staggering servings of salmon roe are waiting for you at these four Tokyo restaurants

There are a couple of distinct price tiers to seafood in Japan. Squid and octopus tend to be very budget-friendly, with a step up in price for sashimi-grade tuna and salmon. Among the most premium offerings of all is where you’ll find salmon roe, or ikura as it’s known in Japanese.

Due to its high cost, ikura is usually served in modest quantities, sometimes seeming more like a garnish than a legitimate component of the meal. However, that’s not the case at these four Tokyo restaurants, which dish up such generous portions that their ikura literally overflows the bowl.

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Dutch restaurant’s odd ramen with soybeans has one ingredient we didn’t expect, lacks one we did

As the cuisine of one country becomes popular inn others, sometimes it picks up new ingredients and variations of part of its journey around the globe. For example, spaghetti bolognese is incredibly popular in Japan, but so is pasta with mentaiko (spicy cod roe).

The fact that the latter isn’t something you’d ever find in an authentic Italian restaurant doesn’t make it any less delicious. So when our Japanese-language reporter Yuichiro spotted a restaurant in the Netherlands advertising ramen with one very unusual ingredient, he decided to give it a shot. Little did he know, though, that the surprises were just beginning.

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Our Japanese staff members pick the top places in Japan they’d like to visit again someday

Figuring out where to go during your stay in Japan can seem like an insurmountable task. For first-time visitors to the country, there are so many famous places to visit that the task of deciding becomes overwhelming. On the other hand, if you’ve been living in Japan for a while, you’re probably tired of all the crowded, touristy places and would like to go somewhere off-the-beaten path.

To help out our readers who are struggling with this internal dilemma, we’ve asked three reporters from our Japanese-language RocketNews24 team to share with us the top three places in Japan they’d definitely like to visit again someday. These three have had ample opportunities to travel to various places around the country and experience the local scenes in the name of eclectic journalism, so you can think of them as seasoned experts on the matter. Let’s see what little-known travel recommendations they have waiting for us!

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Awesome Akihabara restaurant sandwiched by busy train lines offers more thrills than a maid cafe

For a time, shopping for electronics was just about the only thing to do in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood. In recent years though, the area has gone through a renaissance, and it’s now packed with restaurants and cafes, too.

Of course, just because your feet are tired and your throat is parched doesn’t mean you’re ready for the excitement to stop. So if you’d like to mix some thrills in with your cafe time, how about stopping in for a drink or snack at a restaurant that’s sandwiched between the tracks of one of the busiest train lines in Japan?

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Have the “best coffee in Paris” in Tokyo! We visit new Coutume shop in Futakotamagawa

Paris is certainly a city with no shortage of cafes, and when the coffee you’re serving is good enough to be highly praised by discerning Parisians, you’re bound to get noticed — even half way around the world in Tokyo! That’s exactly what’s happened with the cafe Coutume, which opened its third location in Japan earlier this month. The new shop, located in Tokyo’s Futakotamagawa neighborhood, provides a slightly different service style from the first two branches in Japan that opened last year in Aoyama (also in Tokyo) and Osaka.

And of course, we were more than eager to go and check the new shop out on opening day to taste what some people are saying is Paris’ best coffee!

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El Bulli-trained Japanese chef serves edible origami at gastro cafe Celaravird 【Pics & Video】

Molecular gastronomy, the science-based art of cooking, has brought us some mind-blowing edible concoctions over recent years. Rose water balloons, vinegar gels and fruit caviar are some of the dishes pioneered by leaders of the movement, including Ferran Adrià, chef of the famed El Bulli Restaurant, and René Redzepi from Noma, whose restaurants have been named best in the world.

Koichi Hashimoto has worked with both these chefs and is now bringing what he’s learnt from the greats to a 16-seater dining room near Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. His nine-course dinner menu, priced at 6,800 yen, is an absolute bargain in the molecular meal world, and reflects his aim to bring creative gastronomy to casual dining. Come with us as we take you through the menu at Celaravird, with all the delicious photos from our recent visit.

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Set your alarm! Limited time maid breakfast cafe coming to Tokyo’s Akihabara

For most of their patrons, a visit to one of Japan’s maid cafes comes after a tough day at the office, or maybe as a special reward at the end of a busy week. But if enjoying the cafes’ light fare and frilly costumes can come as a pick-me-up after some hard work, can’t it also provide the energy boost to kick-start your workday?

That’s the theory behind a new, limited-time maid cafe that’s opening up in Tokyo, where customers can bolster their spirits with a maid-made breakfast before heading out to tackle the day’s challenges.

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Continuing our tour of the best sushi in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market with Mr. Sato! (Part 2)

After the first part of our Mr. Sato-lead tour of Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, we’re sure a lot of our readers are excited to see what else our resident gourmand had for us. And now the wait is over! Here are the last four sushi establishments as visited by Mr. Sato and his daring accomplice in raw fish consumption Nakano.

Whether you’re preparing for your first trip to Tokyo or just looking for some great places you might have missed, this is one article you’ll definitely want to read!

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Friends too busy to go to the Pokémon Cafe? No problem! Pikachu himself will sit with you

If you’re a Pokémon fan who’s feeling blue over missing your chance to eat at the limited-time restaurants based on the series that previously appeared in Yokohama and Tokyo’s Roppongi neighborhood, cheer up. Until the end of February, the Pokémon Cafe is back again, this time in the trendy part of Tokyo called Shibuya, and looks to be cuter than ever.

Unfortunately, when you combine food and cuteness in one of the busiest cities on earth, you also get long lines. Helping to make the wait worth it, though, is the possibility of having a meal while sharing your table with a very special dining companion, Pikachu.

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Tokyo University campus has its own sushi restaurant where great dining meets higher education

No matter how scholastically talented you are, it’s hard to concentrate on an empty stomach. Even the bright minds at Tokyo University, Japan’s most prestigious institute of higher learning, need to take a break from studying and grab some chow now and again.

Of course, it’s hard to give yourself a mental recharge eating bland cafeteria food. Thankfully, that’s not a concern for the students of Tokyo University’s Kashiwa Campus, who’re lucky enough to have an amazing sushi restaurant right on the school grounds.

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Eat for free at this restaurant in China…but only if you’re beautiful enough!

It is common for such establishments as restaurants and movie theatres to offer student discounts, senior discounts, and the like to its patrons, and one Tokyo bar even offers balding gentlemen money off their booze. But one restaurant in China has decided to offer a free meal only to those deemed beautiful enough.

Each person has their own tastes and preferences of what they find attractive, so if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, how does the restaurant go about judging who gets their dinner gratis?

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A visit to Sushi Dai, Japan’s best sushi restaurant according to world travelers

A portion of Tokyo’s world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market is expected to move to the Toyosu neighborhood in 2016. While part of the retail market and many restaurants will be sticking around, the upcoming relocation of the wholesale operations makes 2015 the last full year to enjoy Tsukiji as the absolute center of the sushi world.

In other words, if you’re looking to make a trip to the area to see it at its peak, now’s the time. And while there’s always something to be said for discovering a largely unknown restaurant with delicious food, on our Japanese-language correspondent Nakano’s visit to Tsukiji, he decided to dine at what travelers have voted the best sushi restaurant in Japan, Sushi Dai.

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A little sweet with your spicy? Tokyo restaurant serves curry with strawberries and ice cream

One of the great things about curry is how versatile it is. The standard way to eat the spicy dish in Japan is with carrots, potatoes, onions, and pork, but you can also toss in chicken, shrimp, beef, or tuna. Things are wide open when it comes to vegetables, too, with some people opting for eggplant, spinach, or tomatoes.

But why limit yourself to just meats and veggies? One curry restaurant in Tokyo feels its menu should be inclusive of the entire food pyramid, and will fix you a plate of curry rice that represents the fruit and dairy groups in the forms of curry with strawberries and even ice cream.

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Want more fish in your sushi roll? Japanese restaurant will give you a Whole Sardine Roll

Even if you don’t speak Japanese, if you’re a sushi lover, you’ve probably heard some of the language’s fish-based vocabulary. Maguro is pretty readily understood as “tuna” among foodies with a palate for Japanese cuisine, and many people who can’t put together a complete sentence in Japanese still know that uni is sea urchin, for example.

Not as many non-Japanese speaking diners are as familiar with the word iwashi, or sardine, though. Although sardine sushi isn’t unheard of, it definitely trails in popularity behind less fishy-tasting fare, and its relatively low price and humble image mean it doesn’t have the same level of pizazz as a seaweed-wrapped pile of ikura (salmon roe) or a glistening cut of otoro (extra fatty tuna belly).

Visual impact isn’t a problem, though, for one Japanese restaurant chain’s latest creation: the Whole Sardine Sushi Roll.

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Attention coffee lovers: The RocketNews24 Ultimate Café Fukuburuko Ranking 2015 is here!

It seems like we’ve been spending every spare moment we have snatching up fukubukuro, the lucky bag bundles that shoppers in Japan buy at New Year’s without knowing what’s inside. As a matter of fact, by the time we stopped and took count, we’d grabbed eight different fukubukuro from cafés near our office.

As a result, we’re pretty much stocked up on coffee for the next couple of weeks. Honestly, we’ve got so much we’d be happy to pour you a cup, if only the RocketNews24 offices had a visitors’ lounge. But since it doesn’t, instead, we’re going to give you the information you need to pick the best café lucky bag for yourself, as we present the RocketNews24 Ultimate Café Fukubukuro Ranking 2015.

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All-you-can-eat cake is all you need to convince us to eat at this Tokyo café

Sometimes, less is more. For example, earlier this year we heard the happy news that Denny’s in Japan was offering all-you-can-eat pancakes. But as enticing as that deal was, there’s an easy way to improve on an unlimited supply of pancakes, and that’s by losing that “pan” restrictor.

So when we heard a popular Japanese bakery has an all-you-can-eat cake deal, we were ecstatic, and then we were out the door to try it for ourselves.

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Latest evolution of Pokémon cafe to open in Shibuya this January

To celebrate the release of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, “THE GUEST cafe & diner,” a restaurant inside the Shibuya Parco building, will mega-evolve into a Pokémon-themed cafe for a limited time starting this January. They will offer a wide variety of meals, desserts, and drinks to fully restore the HP of all Pokémon trainers and their loyal Pokémon friends.

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