Why I Keep Going Back To Tokyo

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Tokyo is another city I love going back to. My family and I try to visit at least once a year. And since I am looking forward to going back there again, I checked my photos and saw that I haven’t written about the last time I was there in 2013!

(If you want to go back and read about my 2012 Tokyo trip, here are the links : Best of Tokyo Part 1 and Part 2. )

Here are my favorite things to do, see and eat in Tokyo and why I just keep coming back for more.

The gorgeous scenery and clean surroundings

Tokyo during the day
Tokyo during the day
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Tokyo at night

Without a doubt, Tokyo is one of the cleanest and greenest cities I’ve ever been to. The city has wide open parks and lush greenery, well-manicured lawns in and around their busiest streets and beautiful, clean surroundings practically in every corner. It is simply impossible not to have a nice photo here!

The most efficient and reliable train stations

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Fast and efficient trains

Japanese are known to be very time efficient. It follows that their train system was made with this culture in mind. Since almost everyone in Tokyo takes the subway, you are guaranteed that this is the most reliable and trusted form of public transportation. Their trains are modern, fast and clean.

Home of some of the world’s best chefs and top-rated restaurants

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The elegant table setting at Le Chateau de Joel Robuchon

It a known fact that Tokyo has more Michelin star restaurants than any other city in the world — even beating Paris, the world’s capital for fine dining. This goes to show that the restaurant scene here is taken very seriously.

And one very good example is Joel Robuchon, the multi awarded, celebrated French chef who has 7 Michelin stars across 3 of his restaurants. He holds the distinction of having the most number of stars in Tokyo. And to be able to do that in a land of top-rated, highly competitive restaurants is surely no mean feat.

I was fortunate to have experienced dining at his Le Chateau de Joel Robuchon, his 3-Michelin starred restaurant.

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Le Chateau de Joel Robuchon : big, bold and beautiful
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The amazing dinner experience starts the moment you set foot inside the chateau

The mere fact that this restaurant is situated inside a beautifully-decorated chateau, already speaks volumes about the wonderful experience awaiting its diners.

Since the menu we chose was quite long, I just picked a few of my favorite dishes here :

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Deep Fried Egg served with Caviar and Ceam with Smoked Salmon
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Roasted Lobster with fresh Morels and Asparagus
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The Cheese Board : Cheese from all over the world
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Coffee and Mascarpone Mousse served with a Bitter Chocolate Ice Cream
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Post Dessert : Petit Fours – choose as many as you want!
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If only I could try them all (or at least bring some of them home!)

 The biggest and sweetest fresh Strawberries

Japanese Strawberries are the most delicious strawberries I’ve ever tasted. The only catch? They are the most expensive too.

Japanese Strawberries cost around 4,200 yen or 1,800++ pesos per pack!
Japanese Strawberries cost around 4,200 yen or 1,800++ pesos per pack!
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White Strawberries are sweeter and cost double! About 7,500 yen or 3,200++ pesos per pack!

Best Dessert Places

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Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki
My favorite Strawberry Shortcake at Cafe Yoku Moku
Cafe Yoku Moku

Since I love desserts, Tokyo has become my haven for sweet things. In every corner, there seems to be a dessert place, a pastry shop, a confectionery and a chocolaterie. Their choices run wide from local sweets shops to French-Japanese patisseries like Sadaharu Aoki and Yoku Moku to Belgian Chocolateries like Del Rey and Pierre Marcolini. Yes, the Japanese do take their desserts seriously which explains that I may have been a Japanese in my past life. 🙂

Pierre Marcolini
Pierre Marcolini
Del Rey
Del Rey

The freshest Sushi and their Sushi Masters

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Sushi Masters in Sushi Nakamura

Of course, Sushi is one of the most popular Japanese dishes of all time. Sushi is well-loved by both the Japanese and the foreigners alike. And surely, nothing beats having Sushi right where it originated and eating it at its freshest state, sliced and served by no less than their revered Sushi Master Chefs.

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The freshest Uni (Sea Urchin) I’ve ever tasted
Maguro or Blue fin tuna belly
Fat is good when it comes to Sushi : Maguro (Blue Fin Tuna Belly)

The Original Tonkatsu 

My favorite Tonkatsu place in Tokyo : Maisen
My favorite Tonkatsu place in Tokyo : Maisen
Kurobota Pork Tonkatsu
The best type of pork : Kurobota Pork

If you are living in Manila, Tonkatsu is a popular Japanese dish you must be seeing a lot of right now. Nowadays, I noticed that there are several Tonkatsu franchises from Japan setting up shops here. But when in Tokyo, one must go and look for the original one, Maisen (they have a couple of branches) and order their prized Kurobota Pork.

Hello Kitty 

Hello Kitty is everywhere
Hello Kitty is everywhere

The Japanese love all things cute, which explains why the Japanese company, Sanrio invented Hello Kitty in 1974. Since then, this beloved Kitty has become part of Japanese pop culture. It is so popular worldwide, that Japan has even named Hello Kitty their Ambassador of Tourism! 🙂 And as I say, you know you’re in Japan when you see Hello Kitty from the moment you step foot in the airport to almost everywhere you look around you. And because I have a little girl, you can just imagine how Tokyo has become her own piece of wonderland too!

Kobe Beef

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Only Tajima-gyu cows having a BMS (Beef Marbling Score) of No.6 or higher and fine meat texture and that have passed weight limitation & other strict criteria can be officially certified “Kobe Beef”.
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Kobe Beef in Kawamura restaurant

What can be more special than eating Kobe Beef right where it started? Every trip to Tokyo deserves at least one meal with Kobe Beef. Although there are a lot of restaurants claiming to have it in their menu, one sure way of finding out if it is real Kobe Beef  (versus the secondary “Kobe-style Beef”) is when the restaurant is able to show you the “papers” of the cattle and explain where the beef came from. This special kind of beef, which has become a prized delicacy worldwide, is supported by documents and certificates. Believe it or not, the cattle must pass certain strict standard tests like marbling, fat, texture and weight, among many other criteria before it can be classified as Kobe.

Now after seeing all these photos again and revisiting my favorite things in Tokyo, I can’t wait to go back and discover more reasons why I love this city…

Till then!

10 comments

  1. I like this post!! Very informative. I’ll be in Japan late March as a side trip to my vacation in the Philippines next month. Thank you so much for the restaurant details because I am looking for a good Kobe beef steakhouse around Ginza and also a tonkatsu place. While our itinerary is already quite busy, I sure don’t want to miss trying the Kobe beef. Thanks again TSM!

    1. Hi Toni,
      A good Japanese steak ranges from 50usd up while Kobe or any other special Japanese beef ranges from 100usd up.

    1. Hi Reicelle, do you mean where you can buy Wagyu or Kobe beef from Tokyo to bring home to Manila? I’m not sure where…perhaps you can ask your hotel concierge for their recommendations or ask Tokyo restaurants or supermarkets if you can buy from them and if they can pack it well for you that’s good enough for transporting / shipping.

      Hope this bit of info helps!

  2. HI, saw your posts. Out of curiosity, are you taking your small children to all these restaurants / eateries? If not, how are you arranging child care? We are traveling with a 15-month toddler and would like to try some of the restaurants, but not sure what to do about our little guy. Will they accept toddlers into the restaurants, including Michelin? Thank you.

    1. Hi Edward, most restaurants in Tokyo accept small children. But I always advise friends that it is still better to call these restaurants first (or ask your hotel to call them) in advance. It would also be good for you to know if they offer a different set of menu for children (and if your children will like them or not). Good luck and enjoy Tokyo! 🙂

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