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Tokyo: Food Central of the World

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When traveling to Japan, there is one thing that you know for sure will be in your plans: FOOD, and lots of it. Japan is home to a wide range of delicacies including seafood, rice dishes, and teriyaki style plates,to name a few. Not only is the Japanese diet known for being delicious, it is one of the most healthy diets in the world making Japanese people the third longest living people by country. Here in Hawaii, we have a great selection of Japanese food to wet our appetite, but nothing quite compares to getting it right from the source.

Tokyo, Japan’s capital city which boasts the largest population for an urban center in the world, is home to the world’s best restaurants. During my last trip to Japan earlier this month, I spent four of my ten days in this amazing, food-filled metropolis. Needless to say, I indulged myself with various yakitori sticks in Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho, every type of seafood at Tsukiji Fish Market, and literally anything else in Tokyo’s massive train stations and department stores.

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Shinjuku prefecture is Tokyo’s most bustling business district, where about 3.4 million people travel through each day. With this massive influx of businessmen, Shinjuku is bound to have countless places to feed them. The most unique dining area I experienced came in the form of Shinjuku’s OmoideYokocho. Here, more than 80 restaurants are packed into a space equivalent of a city block. Each restaurant specializes in a different type of cuisine and is so small that they fit 5-10 people on each floor of a one or two story building. Yes, this means that some places may only seat 5 or 6 people at a time! Part of the experience is moving from place to place throughout the night between cramped walkways to have kebabs, then sushi, and then ramen all a couple steps away.

Similar to the packed, crowded style of Omoide Yokocho, the Tsukiji Fish Market offers a food experience you can’t find in many other places. As the world’s largest wholesale fish and seafood market, it offers unbelievable choices to eat on the spot or save for later. Again, each vendor is restricted to very little space which leaves customers walking through tight pathways shoulder to shoulder while looking at what each has to offer. Once you see something appetizing, it’ll only cost you a couple bucks for something to snack on as you continue to walk around. I enjoyed everything from scallops fresh of the grill to deep fried whale crisps. Continuously diving into little shops and picking at different small dishes led to a meal in itself!

As Tokyo locals thrive off their expansive train and subway systems, eateries around every corner are essential to these complexes. In addition, many of the major stations also include department stores that have as many as ten floors with an entire floor dedicated to eateries.. Here, every type of food is fair game. Bakeries, conveyor belt sushi, chinese restaurants, ramen stands, pasta places, american fast food, even specialty stores that only sell eel dishes. You name it and it’s available to you!Convenience stores like 7/11 and Lawson’s are most popular because they offer more musubi (rice ball) and bento (box lunch) options than you’ve ever seen in one place. My family and I lived off these stores for breakfast as it was so easy to pick up a few things to eat on the train ride over to our adventures for the day.

The next time you are in Japan, I highly recommend that you check out Shinjuku’s most well-known dining area, eat fresh seafood from Tsukiji Fish Market, and make use of the diverse train station food options!

Thanks for reading and be sure to check-in later this week for more from me! :) 

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