Ultimate Japan Food Guide - Fugu

Monday, July 11, 2016

When in Japan,  we had one of our most adventurous meals. Fugu! 
Fugu is also known has puffer fish or blowfish. It is so popular in Japan there an emoji for it 🐡
Yup! That's it! 🐡🐡🐡🐡🐡🐡🐡

Fugu is a Japanese delicacy. It has an inner sac that is so poisonous it can kill you. Every year there are reported cases of death caused by improperly prepared fugu. 
 Make sure you do your research before ingesting fugu! We visited Torafugutei in Shinjuku. It is a chain restaurants they have many other locations too. 

Japan requires special license for restaurants that serve fugu. Mainly the way the fish is prepared. We had fugu 5 ways. starting with fugu skin. 

Fugu sashimi

 Fried Fugu (Mr K's favorite)

Fugu hotpot was my favorite. It is seriously so cool! There is no heat, no fire, no pot even! The entire cooking process is done in a bamboo basket with the special waterproof paper and an induction plate. 

After you are done with the hotpot, the waitress will come and make you fugu porridge with the left over soup.

We finished with a little coffee ice cream sandwich

It was one of the most satisfying meals we had in Japan (after we woke up alive the next day).  It was a bit pricy, about $65 per person.  If you are in Japan you must try it! 

Japan Travel Guide :: Tokyo

Meiji Shrine (明治神宮)
Japan is filled with sacred Shinto shrines. Meiji Shrine 
in Tokyo was our first stop. 

We went in early morning and it was a nice long walk up to the Shrine. Wear comfortable shoes! 

Before entering the shrine you will see fountains at the entrance. This is the cleansing fountain and it is custom to wash your hands and rinse your mouth prior to entering the sacred grounds. 

I've been waiting to do this for so long! Once inside the shrine you can purchase "Ema", which are wooden plaques to write your wishes on and hang it on a wall amongst hundreds of others. You can also purchase special amulets, or "Omamori", to take home with you for friends and family. 

Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) 

We visited Japan during cherry blossom season. You have to do a little chasing the blossom if you want to see full bloom but one of the best places to go in Tokyo is the Shinjuku Gyoen. Its special because in the midst of traditional gardens, the park is surrounded by urban buildings.

The park itself is rather large and many people have picnics or "hanami" there during cherry blossom season. To me cherry blossoms don't have much of a scent, unlike bath and body works's lotions (haha). Still couldn't resist taking a this photo. 

Cupnoodle Museum 

I love ramen! I mean LOVE! We visited the Ramen Museum in Yokohama.  We took the JR Shieichitatetsu line and got off at Sakuragicho station. It is about a 15 walk to the museum. Get your phone ready for google map. 

I loved the walk from the JR station to the museum, it was beautiful. Caught some cherry blossoms along the way too. 

YES! Instant noodles!

What to do there? 
Visit the instant noodles history cube.  Do you see my favorite? Shin ramen...mmmm!
See how instant noodles evolved over time from all over the world. 

Mr K spent so much time taking this photo in Momofuku's noodle shed because it was super dark and he had to mess around with so many settings before getting it right. Welp, it took so long my smile looked plastic by the time he finally got it. This is a replica of the shed Momofuku first invented the world's first instant noodles! 

One of the main attraction there is make your own cup noodle at my Cupnoodle factory. Get in line and get some coins ready. You will be buying the cups through some vending machines. 
The friendly workers will whisk you away to a nearby table where you can unleash your drawing skills and decorate your noodle cups with markers.  Ours looks pretty embarrassing. Tip: color in the lighter color and then outline with black, not the other way around >.<

After doodling, you line up and crank your noodles into the cup. There is a little video to watch about why and how the noodles are placed in the cup. There is science to this method. I won't ruin it here, you will have to experience it yourself.

After your noodle is cranked into your cup, you get to choose a soup base and 3 toppings. Then, it is shrink wrapped and packaged. 

 Final step is to make a little air pillow to keep your freshly made noodles nice and safe for the train ride home. Mr K said its so everyone on the train knows you are a tourist and just went to the cupnoodle museum. LOL Regardless, it was really fun! You can even make your own fresh ramen there if you sign up in advance and pay 500 yen per adult. More information HERE.  It was Mr K's job to plan this part of our trip and he was so proud he made an appointment for us to make fresh ramen there, but as it turns out he made the appointment for the WRONG museum so we didn't get to do it there. #fail so make sure you make an appointment with the correct place! 

We finished by visiting the gift shop on first floor. There are so many novelty items there. I wanted to take everything home, but I limited myself. So we ended up getting a cupnoodle candle and a bath towel. 

Sankeien Garden (三溪園)

While in Yokohama, we visited the beautiful Sankeien Garden. This is one of those places you will probably get lost trying to find. We took the JR Negishi line, got off at Negishi station and walked about 30 min but you can definitely take a taxi from the station to the garden. 

most of the gardens in Japan have small entrance fee. This one is particular was 500 yen. It is really insignificant for tourist and we felt that it was well worth it. Note they close at 5pm so make sure you account for travel time. We got there are 4 (because we got lost), hence the photos are not as bright.

Mr K was getting pretty sick of taking photos of me. But oh well, it was out honeymoon and he really didn't have anyone else to take photos of. 

Something about cherry blossom petals falling. Such a magic feeling. 

Really ,no shame. Here are some more. 

Tsukiji Market (築地市場)

Yes, the famous Tsukiji Market. The original Chuo location actually closing and moving to a new location November 7 of 2016.

This is THE place to get sashimi and sushi. Come early at 5am to watch tuna auction. Of course we couldn't wake up that early and we didn't need to buy a whole tuna so we slept in until 9 and got there around 10 am. If you want to try some of the famous sushi places in the market you probably have to get there around 7-8am. There will be a long line already, guaranteed.

It takes a special bendable sword to cut these tuna. 

 Crazy big scallop

Fugu and other fish

Special crab that I have no idea what its called

It was pretty cold there so bring a jacket. Especially if you go in early morning 

The seafood stalls are super busy because some of them are cutting the fresh tuna they have just auctioned early in the morning. As you can imagine most of these stalls sell directly to top restaurants in Japan and buyers know the owners by name. I really wanted to try the Hokkaido uni and we ended up buying a box from a nice vendor. The stalls usually only wholesale and the last thing they expect is to sell to a tourist. They had no idea what we were trying to do and it took 10 minutes for them to figure out that we wanted to buy 1 box of uni. Super funny.