Japan 2016

Tokyo

Goddamn Japan is Awesome.
First stop when we arrived in Tokyo was Midori Sushi in Mark City Shibuya.
There’s always a line so you know it’s going to be good.

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Assorted sushi ¥1600

A little MOS Burger never goes astray. But really you can’t go wrong with any burger chain in Japan.

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MOS cheeseburger and vegetable burger

Tempura for two in some random place in some random train station.
Still fucking amazing!

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We planned to go to Rainbow Pancake in Harajuku but their line is always long AF, we did line up for about 10 minutes but then I was like
 giphy
so we bailed around the corner to another pancake spot without a line.
These pancakes were pretty good but I’m not quite sure about the axe-wielding child stuck on top.

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There’s a bunch of crepe places in Harajuku and they’re all pretty similar by my estimates.

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The cheese and bacon burger from Golden Brown in Shibuya was super clean, the restaurant has an old-school American diner vibe.

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The worst day of the trip was when I arrived at Ace coffee shop on our last day in Tokyo and realised they’d closed for the day. So devo. I drowned my sorrows in this bowl of ramen with black garlic oil around the corner.

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It wouldn’t be a visit to Japan without eating some suspect KitKat flavours.
This purple sweet potato was actually really good.

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I got deep into the katsu sando scene on this visit. It really is a thing of beauty.
A deep fried pork cutlet covered in tonkatsu sauce sandwiched in white bread with the crusts cut off.

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You can get high-end ones from the food level under every department store, or pick them up from any convenience store.
Lemon ice tea and a katsu sando was my go-to bullet train meal.

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Hokkaido

Soup curry was another thing that I really got into on this trip.
It’s a Hokkaido specialty and is a watery version of normal Japanese curry. Perfect when it’s snowing outside like it was on our visit.

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Suage +, a cool joint in Susukino serves it with cheese rice.
The meat and vegetables were incredible quality and you can select the level of heat you want.

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Afterwards we made a stop for pancakes at White Cosy in Sapporo station because why wouldn’t we?

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Yotsuba butter and maple pancakes ¥880

We took a day trip out to Otaru to check out the canal. It was absolutely freezing so we didn’t hang around too long.

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We did however stop into Yabuhan Soba for some… soba.

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I went for the cold soba with dipping sauce and a side of tempura.

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Cold soba with assorted tempura ¥1500

They have two different types of soba, one that’s made from locally grown buckwheat and another that’s made with a mix of local and imported flour. The local soba is slightly more expensive but like most things in life when you’re given the choice you gotta go with that 100% pure shit, you feel me?

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We also got the hot soba with vegetable tempura. Their ceramic and lacquerware game was on point too.

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Hot soba with vegetable tempura ¥1350

Train snacks on the way back to Sapporo.

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While in Sapporo we went to check out the penguin walk at Asahiyama Zoo. They walk the penguins from one end of the zoo to the other, apparently because they were getting overweight.

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Just before the walk we grabbed some baked potatoes and butter.

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And some more Hokkaido soft serve.

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Kyoto

When in Kyoto you must hire a bike to cruise around the streets.
We took a bike ride from our hostel near Kyoto station up to the Heian Shrine and stopped off at Kyoto Modern Terrace for this matcha and fruit parfait.

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On the way back we stopped into the Yasaka Shrine and snacked on these toffee strawberries

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We might have gone back for more.

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These little barbecued mochi balls covered in powdered soybean are a reason to visit Kyoto on their own. I wrote about them last trip but had to include them again. They’re from a little street stall on the main road in Gion. Photos are strictly prohibited and the woman who runs the stall is no joke. If she even sees you pull out a camera you’re fucked. She’s basically the soup nazi. We took ours around the corner to get this sneaky pic. We literally planned all of our nights in Kyoto to include a visit.

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An early morning trip to Hiroshima meant more train snacks.
I had to try this convenience store fruit and cream sandwich and it was actually dope.

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And I continued to feed my katsu sando and lemon tea addiction.

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Aaand… also can’t go past the original KitKat.

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Before we went to Hiroshima city we took a ferry to Miyajima Island for the deer.

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Within minutes JT had somehow managed to form a small gang and then proceeded to roam the island with her crew.

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Meanwhile I tried these limited citrus KitKats, not great FYI.

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At Hiroshima station we stopped into Mister Donut (we ate a lot of Mister Donut) for a bowl of their chicken noodles that are surprisingly good, and a crème brûlée donut and maple log.

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The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, which includes the A-bomb dome and museum was unsurprisingly fucking intense, and pretty horrific, but important to see I think.

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On the way back to Kyoto we were on the lookout for Hiroshima style okonomiyaki which is full of yakisoba and the ingredients are layered rather than mixed together. There were a few places in the station that made it but only one with a huge line. We probably waited an hour but it was worth it.

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Back in Kyoto and we spotted this tofu soft serve, it was a little too icy for my liking but tasted good.

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Before leaving Kyoto you gotta stop by this tiny little udon joint on the second level of the train station. It’s standing room only and probably fits about 10 people at a time. The udon here is super cheap and legit. Perfect for when you’re trying to make an early train.

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Mister Donut

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I’m not gonna lie, I ate a lot of donuts this trip and most of them were from Mister Donut.

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Sometimes in the store, sometimes on the train, sometimes out of a bin. Ok maybe not out of a bin but if faced with the opportunity I can’t promise I wouldn’t.

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The best was probably this crème brûlée bad boy. It was literally crème brûlée in donut form. A crispy top that shattered when you bit into it and an incredible custard filling.

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Half chocolate coated french cruller full of cream.

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During our trip they had a special on, so most donuts were ¥100 which is just over $1.
A dollar!
Donut Time and their $35 donuts can fuck right off.

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Most of the donuts were familiar but this one was cut in half, toasted, and half covered in chocolate, and I ain’t mad about that at all.

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The pon de ring has a mochi like consistency that I had never seen before.

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The English translation on the Mister Donut website is the perfect description of this chocolate donut. ‘Crunchy mouthfeel and
was sprinkled with coconut gentle sweetness’.

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And do yourself a favour and get the chicken noodles. They taste like alphabet chicken noodle soup from the early 90’s.

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