AD – Flights for this trip were sponsored by Finnair.
It was a whirlwind trip to Tokyo to promote the Japanese launch of The Little Swedish Kitchen cookbook, TV show and The Little Paris Kitchen DVD. I also had a speedy 36 hours in Yamanashi to film a NHK TV special. There wasn’t much time to explore but I did try to make the most of it and squeeze as much eating and little shopping too.
Well fed and rested I arrived in Tokyo after a 9 hour flight from Helsinki with my favourite Tokyo bound airline, Finnair. They fly the quickest and most fuel efficient route to Japan from Helsinki. It only took 9 hours on the most modern long haul carrier on the market, the A320.
Highly recommend having ramen for breakfast. This ramen place is in the basement of Tokyo station. I was lucky when I arrived that there was only a couple of people queuing (when I left the queue went around the restaurant). Choosing what to order from the machine is easy (cash only) just press the morning ramen button (I picked a small size which was more than sufficient). They specialise in Tsukemen style ramen which means you dip your noodles into the ramen (rather than the noodles sitting in the ramen broth). The noodles were bouncy and had that fabulous chewy texture. I dipped them in the ramen and quickly slurped them up (still need to work on my slurping technique). The ramen is a thick pork based stock, savoury and rich in flavour, hard not to lick the bowl.
This place is pretty unassuming from the outside (like quite a lot of places in Japan), family run with the grandma serving hot tea and master tempura behind the counter frying off expertly crispy morsels of deliciousness. Order the set menu rather than the bowl with tempura on top (tempura is soggy this style). Prawns, squid, aubergines, carrots and other vegetables were served freshly fried with a side of crunchy pickles. A small bowl of piping hot miso soup with baby clams and a bowl of rice with a sort of scallop roe and vegetable fritter finished off the savoury of the meal. Yuzu ice cream punctuated the meal with a fresh full stop.
Daiwa Sushi is right next to the new fish market which could also make a good setting for new Bladerunner movie when the sun goes down. Popular with locals aswell as tourists the counter style sushi setting is quick and efficient, serving the freshest catch of the day.
I discovered Kakimori on my trip last year and immediately fell in love with this shop. Filled to the brim with beautiful stationery, pens and other paraphelia . You can also make your own notepad or album selecting everything from the paper for the book, binding, cover and fastening. The day I visited I was lucky that they had a washi paper class and got to make my own washi paper with a washi master. To become a washi master you have to study for 15 years.
This shop is filled quite literally with the ceiling with handcrafted homeware mainly from Japan. As an homewarephile it was quite impossible to leave the shop empty handed. I can’t wait to use some of my beautiful finds in some photoshoots. Be warned often they only have one or two of each item as they are made by artisans.
A big thank you to Finnair for making this trip possible. They fly to Japan from:
- London, between 5 to 7 times a day
- Edinburgh, 5 times a week
- and Manchester, twice a day
with excellent connections via Helsinki to Japan, to any of these cities: Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo (Narita and Haneda, Haneda starting in March 2020). In the summer season they also to Fukuoka and in the winter season to Sapporo.
More information on Finnair’s website.