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Feasting My Way Through Japan


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In December, I spent 3 glorious weeks eating my way through Japan; Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Sapporo, Hakodate and back to Tokyo. It was my 11th (!) trip to Japan but my mother had never been, so I thought I'd take the old girl over for a good time. We did not kill each other, surprisingly.


I'll come back and caption these a little more informatively over coming weeks, but as you can see, we ate rather a lot. 


Midori Sushi, Mark City, Shibuya (always my first stop when I arrive in Tokyo, as my preferred hotel is directly above it)



Toro tuna belly,  Midori Sushi, Mark City, Shibuya



Squid gristle for snack time (as you do)



Uni tempura, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku



Uni tempura, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku



Eel, fish and scallop tempura, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku



Clam meat, chopped, stuffed back in clam shell and tempura'd, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku



Crab leg tempura, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku



Maitake mushroom (a cluster of them) tempura, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku



Squid, prawn which had been alive right up until this point, lotus root tempura, dipping sauce, radish and green tea salt, 

Tsunahachi, Shinjuku



Prawn head tempura, 

Tsunahachi, Shinjuku



Evening hotel room snack - an AUD$15 tray of uni from Isetan depachika (food basement), Shinjku



Amaebi (sweet raw prawn) gunkan sushi from Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya



Engawa (flounder fin), lightly grilled, 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya



Otoro, chutoro and akami tuna, 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya



Marinated raw baby squid sushi, 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya



Otoro fatty tuna belly and minced daikon (takuan), 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya



Fried oysters, 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya



Negitoro - fatty minced tuna belly and green onion,

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya



Salmon, flounder fin and tuna belly aburi (lightly grilled), 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya

Edited by Smithy
Adjusted title, which originally indicated a single trip (log)
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Isomarusuisan, Shibuya - a grill your own seafood place. You get a portable grill and a pair of tongs and have at it. They even have a 'catch your own squid' pool in the middle of the restaurant.



Grilled tuna collar, 

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya



Bukkake (ahem) sushi, with uni, whitebait, tuna belly and salmon roe, 

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya



Grilling our own sazae (turban shell) and scallops,

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya



Grilling kani miso (crab tomalley served in its shell) and clams, 

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya



Happy peoples, 

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya



And more 

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya



The all-important business of choosing our ekiben (filled lunchboxes to eat on the train) for our trip to Kanazawa



Kanazawa sashimi don, with minced tuna belly, salmon roe, chopped cucumber and sesame seeds on sushi rice,
Omicho Market, Kanazawa



Snack for me; eating a raw sweet spot prawn with its roe, 

Omicho Market, Kanazawa



Snack for me: uni,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa




Omicho Market, Kanazawa




Omicho Market, Kanazawa



Oysters, uni and scallops,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa



Squid, crab, chunks of fish, 

Omicho Market, Kanazawa



Clams and whelks,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa



Shirako (cod sperm sacs),

Omicho Market, Kanazawa



Fresh wasabi root, 

Omicho Market, Kanazawa



Crabs and uni,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa



Raw spot prawns with roe,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa



Omicho Market, Kanazawa


Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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Grilled fish stall,
Omicho Market, Kanazawa


Unagi grilled eel stall,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa



More crabs

Omicho Market, Kanazawa




The hotel in Kanazawa had a sashimi buffet for breakfast, as well as a Western bacon and eggs style spread. So the only thing for it as far as I was concerned was a make-your-own sashimi kaisendon (seafood bowl) bacon abomination.

Sashimi breakfast buffet, ANA Kanazawa Hotel


Matcha and red bean sweets, Higashichaya teahouse, Kanazawa

Tonkotsu Ramen and gyoza, A1 Ramen, Kanazawa



Grilled salmon
Michita Izakaya, Kanazawa



Sashimi omakase,

Michita Izakaya, Kanazawa




Gold leaf soft serve, Kanazawa



Onto Kyoto. Baby octopus stuffed with a hard-boiled quails' egg (of course)
Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Cold icy cucumbers on sticks, very good

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Wasabi roots, 

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Pickles of various sorts - some in sake lees, some in fermenting miso

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Grilled things, mostly unagi (eel)

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Baby octopus, braised in sweet sauce, stuffed with a quails' egg

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Fugu (pufferfish) shop

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Rice cracker-maker

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Shops various

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Chestnut shop, freshly roasting

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Dried fish/bonito shop

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Dried fish shop,

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Pickles and things

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Eggs of all sorts (such beautiful, yellow-yolked eggs too, Japanese eggs taste amazing)

Nishiki Market, Kyoto






Fresh warm tamagoyaki (sweet/salty omelette) on a stick

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Sake shop (I bought quite a bit to drink in the bath in the house we rented)

Nishiki Market, Kyoto







Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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Tamagoyaki (omelette) maker
Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Cucumbers pickling in sake lees

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Unagi (eel) stall

Nishiki Market, Kyoto


Grilled fish - that says kamasu, which Google tells me is whiting
Nishiki Market, Kyoto


Obligatory photo of the plastic food key rings

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Grilled things

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Wagyu/kobe beef of various grades, to be grilled on the spot

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Kameboko/fish cake stand

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



More fish cakes

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Roasting sweet potatoes

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Oysters, turban shells/sazae

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Sashimi on sticks

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Nikuman (beef bun), snack for me

Nishiki Market, Kyoto




Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Grilled and simmered fish stall

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Warabi - mochi/pounded sticky rice sweets, usually rolled in roasted soybean or green tea powder

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Grilled buri (yellowtail) and baby squid

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



More pickles

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Chief Pickle Inspector

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Lemon tuna sashimi, snack for me 

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Now we're onto to Sapporo, the snowy capital of Hokkaido. We arrived and immediately realised that we're pathetic Australians who are shithouse at dealing with snow, so we stood outside for approximately 30 seconds of the whole trip. This is at a kaisendon (seafood rice bowl) place in Nijo Fish Market, Sapporo


SO GOOD. This had salmon roe, uni, sweet amaebi prawn, salmon belly, scallops, squid, tuna, ark shell clam and a raw crab leg (not shown, I ate it before remembering to take a photo)

Nishiki Market, Kyoto



Akami (lean) tuna
Nemuro Hanamaru Kaiten Sushi, Sapporo



Engawa (flounder fin)

Nemuro Hanamaru Kaiten Sushi, Sapporo



Aburi (grilled) salmon

Nemuro Hanamaru Kaiten Sushi, Sapporo



Scallop grilled in its shell and eaten standing in a gutter on our second trip to Nijo Market, Sapporo



Flower crab,

Nijo Market, Sapporo



Snow crab,

Nijo Market, Sapporo



Hairy crab

Nijo Market, Sapporo



Giant octopus leg

Nijo Market, Sapporo



Crab tank

Nijo Market, Sapporo



Spiny crab

Nijo Market, Sapporo






Nijo Market, Sapporo




This was then in Hakodate, a town south of Sapporo. At an uni-specialist restaurant. Uni gratin - uni, in uni custard, grilled in its shell. After.

Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market




Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market


Uni and shiso leaf tempura.

Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market


More uni and shiso tempura (I ordered a second serving!)
Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market



My mother's uni tempura rice bowl.

Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market




Raw uni don 

Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market

Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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That is beautiful. I love all the pictures even though (or because) I can only identify, at best, half of what I am looking at. Thank you for posting this. 

Edited by ElainaA (log)

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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I know, I'm sorry I haven't captioned them..the enormity of the task is tiring just to think about. I'll get around to it. But if there's any picture in particular that intrigues, let me know in the meantime.


I also have approximately a billion pictures of the inside of the local supermarket next to the restored machiya house we rented in Kyoto I could post if anyone's interested - I love to cook, and so does Mum, so I wanted at least one of our stops to be somewhere we'd have a kitchen and could shop and cook together. That was a highlight.

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Wow! Beautiful photography.

I'm impressed with the many ways uni is served. Do post some supermarket photos as one of the things I do on trips is check out local markets and supermarkets (and inevitably buy more than I can possibly use or take home).





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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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Wonderful series of photos. I'm looking forward to the captions! In the meantime I'm curious about the white protein? a couple photos above the knives. It is next to some salmon roe and some fatty fish. Is it milt perhaps?

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Just now, catdaddy said:

Wonderful series of photos. I'm looking forward to the captions! In the meantime I'm curious about the white protein? a couple photos above the knives. It is next to some salmon roe and some fatty fish. Is it milt perhaps?


Yes, it's shirako; cod milt/sperm. One of my favourite things. I hardly know anyone who likes it; everyone's all, "Ewww, sperm.." But me? I looooove it. 



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I feel as boggled by the abundant unfamiliarity as if I'd landed in those markets myself!  Thanks for posting these.


What was the combination of baby octopus and quail egg like?  Did they play off each other well?   


I wondered about the gold leaf on the soft-serve ice cream cone and, until your caption, thought it was some new drip-saving method.  Does the leaf add a flavor, or is it more about the texture and color (and luxury)?

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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7 minutes ago, Smithy said:

I feel as boggled by the abundant unfamiliarity as if I'd landed in those markets myself!  Thanks for posting these.


What was the combination of baby octopus and quail egg like?  Did they play off each other well?   


I wondered about the gold leaf on the soft-serve ice cream cone and, until your caption, thought it was some new drip-saving method.  Does the leaf add a flavor, or is it more about the texture and color (and luxury)?


I personally loved the octopus. I tend not to like eggs very much in general, and I wished it was soft boiled, but apart from that it was delicious..sweet soy mirin glaze.

The gold leaf is ONLY for luxury/novelty; that part of Kanazawa is very famous for its gold leaf production. Added absolutely no flavour, and melted to nothing in the mouth, so no texture either..though the by-products later that night were rather, uh, sparkly..so that was fun.

Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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Thanks for posting the photos. The wasabi in the fifth photo would have found its way home with me.

Beautiful seafood. Impressed by the variety available, especially the abalone.





I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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Japan is amazing for a foodie. I miss it sometimes.


I'm in the love shirako camp, too - I like the hot stone bowl / rice / shirako treatment. "Very good for your husband" I got told by one of our regular haunts :D 

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Oh, how these photos make me long to go back! I believe my favorite place in all of Tokyo is the Tsukiji fish market. 


Thank you for posting these. I could almost taste many of these delicacies. 

Don't ask. Eat it.


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What a series of deliciousness. I am in major seafood craving mode now. Were it not Fathers Day in the US tomorrow I would be down at the better fish market going nuts

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