Our Honeymoon: Tokyo
We started off our honeymoon/first-anniversary celebration trip in Tokyo, where we spent the first four and a half days exploring both the hustle and bustle, as well as the quieter neighborhoods of the city. Our Airbnb was located in Shibuya, one of the busiest districts of Tokyo - although it was incredibly convenient to travel to other parts of the city from Shibuya, we both agreed we would want to stay in a quieter neighborhood the next time we visit.
A little bit about me: I learned Japanese in middle school, and actually majored in Japanese Language & Literature in college (fun fact!). This, of course, was not my first time in Japan, but it was so much fun watching my husband experience everything as a first-timer! I'll be doing one post for each city we visited in Japan: Tokyo, Kanazawa, and Kyoto, and then a few posts with tips for those of you interested in traveling to Japan for the first time. Stay tuned!
Our visit to Tokyo was focused on food & shopping, and I've listed a few of my favorites down below! At the bottom, you can find the link to a Google Map I've put together with pin-dropped locations of all of my favorite places, which is a much fuller list including sight-seeing and shopping recommendations. Comment below if you have any questions!
What to get: yuzu tsukemen or yuzu shoyu ramen
They're known for adding yuzu (a lemon-like citrus, but sweeter) into their ramen, which is the perfect addition for cutting the heavy fattiness of ramen. To "order" at this restaurant, you purchase tickets from a vending machine, which you then exchange at the bar for your bowl of ramen! I've tried their tsukemen, shio, and shoyu ramen - and all 3 are sooo good. If you're looking to really taste that yuzu flavor, go for the tsukemen or shoyu. The shio is their most popular item, but I find that the yuzu flavor is more subtle because of the heavy saltiness of the shio. (pic)
Standing Sushi (Uogashi Nihon-ichi)
What to get: seasonal specials
Standing Sushi is exactly what it sounds like: a restaurant with a standing sushi bar, and no seats! Stand at the counter and tell the chef directly what you would like to order, or alternatively, just point at the fish in the display in front of you. They also have their seasonal specials posted on the wall, which is like a small tasting menu of the season's best offerings. They also have an English menu, so this is a great option for travelers looking for a quick bite! (pic)
What to get: yakitori (everything is good!)
Torikizoku is a chain restaurant known for their cheap but good yakitori. Each order comes with 2 skewers, which is perfect for sharing! Not only is their chicken good, their beef skewers are amazing as well. Order a variety so you can try a little bit of everything! (pic)
What to get: cheese-filled hamburg steak with demi-glace sauce
Japanese hamburg steaks are completely different from hamburgers - they're thick, juicy patties that melt in your mouth. Hamburg Will's demi-glace sauce sets them apart from other restaurants in the area, as well as the onsen egg (half-boiled egg) that comes with it. This was one of my husband's favorite meal our whole trip! (pic)
A Happy Pancake
What to get: The Happy Pancake (basically the regular option)
These are no ordinary pancakes: they're the marriage of a souffle and a pancake, and that marriage is a happy one. They're closer to fluffy pillows of deliciousness than pancakes, really. A Happy Pancake offers a variety of pancakes, but I loved their regular option, which was topped with Manuka honey butter and maple syrup. (pic)
What to get: Gyokuro ice cream
You may have heard of the world's most intense matcha ice cream from the internet: this is the place! Besides offering 7 different intensity levels of matcha ice cream (with level 1 being standard green tea ice cream), they also offer other flavors such as milk, houji-cha (roasted green tea), and gyokuro (refined green tea). The gyokuro was my favorite: well balanced and deep in flavor, without being overly bitter. My husband also tried level 3, which he really liked! They also sell boxes of matcha chocolates in 7 different intensity levels, which we bought and loved. (pic)