As in any great city you travel to, the food is an essential part of the experience. In Japan the food experience doesn’t just happen at restaurants. Skilled artisans with generations of experience own small shops and may specialize in only one ingredient that is part of the whole dining experience. These shops specialize in everything from delicate hand-roasted rice crackers, to pickles, to the essential building block of sushi, seaweed.
There’s no better way to get the inside scoop on native cuisine then by talking to the local experts. In Tokyo, you can experience the world’s most expansive fish market, Tsukiji. Central wholesale markets, established by local governments under the Wholesale Market Law, sell fresh foods indispensable to daily life such as fish, vegetables, fruit, meat and flowers. The production of perishables is greatly affected by natural conditions such as the weather, so the price is subject to greater fluctuation than other goods. So the wholesale market, standing between producers and consumers, promotes the smooth distribution of perishables.
At Tsukiji you can get a guided tour that includes a close-up look at an astounding view of the ocean’s bounty. Some of which you can enjoy for breakfast, and it will completely change your idea of how fresh sushi can be. The neighborhood that surrounds the market is where many chefs buy there produce, kitchen gadgets, and pottery. This is where your guide will review the elements that make Japanese cuisine unique, from the bonito flakes essential to an authentic dashi broth to tangy fermented plums to mint-like shiso leaves.
After a day filled with exploring all those delicious temptations, you will be hungry. Enjoy a dining experience at a casual izakaya (pub) dinner. This is Japan’s answer to small plates. Along with these palate teasers you can enjoy lots of sake and beer.
Like any capital, Tokyo boasts an array of superb restaurants serving cuisines of the world. Try Michelin-rated French, or even authentic Italian. Visiting these establishments at lunchtime can be a cost-effective way to experience many of Japan’s finest tables.
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