We are now safely back from Japan, an epic return journey involving 18 hours on two separate planes, a hotel at Heathrow, and a short train journey back, including going in a wonderful little Pod transport from the hotel yesterday morning.
This is the future people, the pod seats four, and runs on a little track that looks a bit like a mini roller coaster. It looks like the sort of thing that you would find in a Star Trek movie and was a fun end to the trip.
I have so many things that I want to share with you, and it was difficult to know where to start but I thought that I would begin with the food. There was so much wonderful food available and it really made the holiday.
We were doing lots of sight seeing, so time was limited, and if there is one thing that Japan excels in, it is very good quality fast food. We tend to think of the USA as the home of fast food but Japan wins, as the choice, quality and cost was amazing. Especially for Ellen, as she has quite serious wheat intolerance, so it was lovely to go everywhere, and have lots of choice in what she could eat, rather than the usual limited options.
The choice of food from the convenience stores was what amazed us the most. Jake had said they were good, and that he bought most of his meals there but we didn’t realise the range, and the beautiful fresh options that you can get every day.
Much of it is very healthy as well, with lots of salads. There were also so many delicious varieties of drinks on offer. Our favourite were the rice balls, ‘onigiri’, which come in so many different varieties, with or without seaweed wrapping.
The train station also had amazing food outlets everywhere, with the most beautiful bento boxes, one of which I had for tea one day.
This delicious selection of salmon, rice, chicken and veg cost the princely sum of £6.60, which is amazing when you consider that it was bought at Tokyo central train station. Far better than the usual sandwich or salad meal deals we have in the UK.
There were some very unusual offerings as well. There were lots of food stalls selling delights such as kits to make your own versions of snack food out of what appeared to be jelly, many different varieties of favoured hard boiled eggs, and flavoured beans,
I was delighted to see that you could could get filled, deep fried Hello Kitty at one of the many food stalls in Ueno Park. It was incredible to watch them pour batter into the moulds and produce these tiny little fried cakes.
We weren’t brave enough to try the various squid options, although ‘Almond Little Fish’ and dried squid on a stick of varying varieties were plentiful.
As we were there during blossom time there were many blossom, or ‘sakura’ flavoured options, such as this ice cream, so we had sakura chai, sakura sweets and sakura moochi, a type of sweet rice bun.
The Japanese clearly love sweet foods, I have never seen so many stalls selling versions of biscuits, cakes and chocolate in so many varieties. These macarons were so cute, especially the ones with eyes!
We ate at restaurants most days as well, some were more like fast food chains, such as the ‘beef bowl’ restaurants. These had a wonderful selection of not only bowls of beef, chicken, with rice or noodles, but also sides.
My lunch one day was this delicious miso soup and salad combo. The prices here range from £2 to £4 a dish and it is all freshly prepared and served within minutes.
Our favourite restaurant, which we visited twice, was one called, ‘Sushi Ro’. You order from a tablet at your table, and the food is delivered by a little conveyer belt which runs alongside.
Absolutely delicious fresh plates of sushi and sides and a meal for three of us was about £24 with drinks and desserts.
I was so impressed with the value, I was expecting Tokyo to be an expensive place to stay in but it was brilliant and very budget friendly. You could feed yourself very well eating out for under £10 a day here which would be challenging in other major cities like New York or London.
As well as generally being a great country for lots of different diets, the specific gluten free options Ellen found meant that she could have ramen. Helpfully they had a little pot with hair bands so you could avoid getting your hair in your bowl!
She also found a gluten free pancake place, that serve the traditional very fluffy pancakes, which looked incredible.
We also ate at some food courts, where the options were helpfully displayed in plastic versions, so that you could see what they looked like.
Even the food at Disneyland was varied and well priced. I will post separately about our trips there but have to commend them for their creativity with the Mickey’s hand shaped bao bun chicken sandwich and the Mickey’s head shaped boiled egg. We are still not quite sure how they did that!
I am flying back to Spain tomorrow so will be able to post again soon about more of the things that we saw. It still doesn’t seem real that after all these years we got there and it was particularly special to spend so much time with Jake and see all the things that he has told us about over the last few years.
I hope you have been having a good time, and having a good Easter break if you celebrate. We have missed that this year, but have had so much lovely stuff to eat that we haven’t missed the chocolate!
Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.