From Osaka, to Yokkaichi to Toyko where is the best food and what are my top picks?
Anyone in the mood for the best sushi on earth or some stingray fin?
Is this your first trip to Japan like me? Do you have questions? Are you leaving tomorrow and forgot to look anything up?
Japan is known for its beautiful architecture, hardworking individuals, traditional art, sushi, temples, crazy game shows, and of course FOOD. Japan has hundreds of islands and one of the world’s lowest crime rates. Traveling to Japan is amazing and definitely an experience – especially is you're not only being a tourist. I never thought I would ever end up in Japan, but you never know what's going to happen tomorrow ! Traveling around Japan was amazing, and here is a short overview. I learned a lot in Japan, but first and foremost I will talk about the food.
I am not the most adventurous eater ever, but when it comes to traveling I try to be as much as I can. I will try just about any type of food when I am in a new place (except raw chicken). I knew Japan was going to be a real hard place for me because I never eat Asian food and have never ate and Japanese food in my life – not because I hate all of it, I was just never exposed to it and never had the desire to look for it. Japan came through when it came to food though. I was very surprised how good it was and how it had a wide variety of options. It isn’t just noodles and sushi! There are thousands of things to try!
Some of my top pics of foods in Japan are as follows
* Rated according to my taste
1) THE SUSHI
We all know Japan is known for their amazing sushi don’t we? They have a variety of types of food available around the island. When I left for Japan I thought they would only offer Japanese food and rarely speak English. This is mostly true, but you can always find something else – especially in Tokyo. I have always hated sushi. Can’t smell it, can’t be around it, and definitely cannot eat it…but Japan blew my mind and made me question everything I have ever believed about sushi.
The best place to get Sushi in Toyko is the Tsukiji Fish Market.
Not only is there sushi, but there is every type of food you can imagine. There are food carts, restaurants and people all around selling their food and having a great time!
The difference that I noticed between sushi in the US vs Japan is that Japan doesn’t put a bunch of extra nonsense on their sushi. They have rice and fish. That is it. No weird seaweed, sauces, spices, extra types of nonsense. It was basic - not trying to be something it wasn’t, not trying to show off… and that’s what I like. Way to go Japan. If you’re the best you are the best – trying to act fancy and adding unnecessary things to distract people and try to convince them will not make you any better. *10/10.
2) Stingray Fin
I had stingray fin at a small shop in Yokkaichi, Japan. This place was authentic and real. The stingray fins are dried and chewy. They have a fishy taste and are stringy like structure. I probably wouldn't have it again, but if you are in Japan try it once... you may love it! *3/10
2) Chicken skin, chicken heart, chicken liver
a) Skin: Asians do not waste any part of the chicken. I can’t say I noticed a huge difference in taste in the parts of the chicken, but the chicken skin was a little chewy and didn’t have much substance to it. We thought it was meat of the chicken when we ordered, so it looks similar to normal chicken, but it doesn't have much substance. Why do people eat it I don't know. What a delicacy I guess. *2/10
b) Heart: I tried the chicken heart in hopes to give myself a bigger heart. I hope it worked. It was small and had a harder shell than normal chicken breast. I would have it again to make my heart even bigger with every bite. *6/10
c) Liver: This was the best of the three. This is more common around the world. It was also very tough like the heart, but it had a more similar taste to chicken breast. If I wasn't told it was liver I would just think it was tough tasting chicken. *7.5/10
3) Green Tea Everything
I love green tea. I love the taste, the health benefits, the many ways it can be incorporated into so many different foods! Asia is huge on green tea and it can be found just about anywhere. Green tea can be found in the form of ice cream, boba, toast, yogurt, rice, bread, and more. I am definitely not complaining I have yet to find a type of green tea I do not like. Keep it coming Asia! *10/10!!
I met a guy in Japan who also didn’t speak Japanese in Japan, so I knew we were about to have the best food tour of our lives! No where had English menus, so we had to point at something and hope for the best wherever we went. Fortunately, he knew how to ask for this drink so I had high hopes for the night.
He got us umeshu. It is a vodka type drink that is mixed with plum juice. I had never even tasted a plum before, but I think we should bring it to the states. I would recommend *10/10.
After trying the umeshu we decided to go to the a place with the most people inside and try whatever they had.
Who likes fried food? Fried everything for the most part. Tempura is basically whatever you want fried. What we pointed to ended up being fried tomatoes, mushrooms, tofu and some sort of rice dish I will never find out what it was. Sorry. If you have a clue let me know. It was interesting because the food was cold, but the fried outside was hot. I know Americans are huge on fried stuff, but seemed like a thinner coating of fried food but tasted more dense than anything I've had before. *4/10.
This is a very traditional food in the city of Nagoya. Everyone I met raved about it, so I had to go try it. I went to a small shop by my hotel to try. When you go in everyone sits by themselves at a bar that wraps around the restaurant. You order (I pointed) and they bring your food pretty fast. Katsu is basically chicken (aka panko chicken) and rice and egg put together in a bowl. This tasted like something I would eat back home. There are many different options, spices and types of Katsu you can try. *10/10
Okonomiyaki is a famous food in Osaka, Japan. It typically is made up of meat, cheese, cabbage, squid, shrimp, sauces, and more depending on your preference. There are said to be over 2,500 Okonomiyaki restaurants in Osaka, so you can't miss it. They bring out the dish on a platter and you can cook it on a grill in front of you. It is an experience as well as a meal. *6/10
Also might I add no forks were offered so I got very good at chopsticks throughout the trip. Ask me to use them next time we go out. I’ve never had one lesson.
Want to hear more?
This is just a small taste of what is coming.
Japan isn’t just all about food.
Japan is a whole lot bigger than that.
What is it like working there?
Is there a big language barrier?
What is the best way to get around?
What are the most things to do?
Whats the craziest thing that I did there?
What's a story I should tell?
What are some traditions ?
Where was my favorite place?