Toriyasu, Toranomon, Tokyo, Japan

After a couple of beers at the Toranomon branch of the Craft Beer Market I went looking for dinner.

About a block away was Toriyasu, a yakitori restaurant.

Walking in at around 6pm there were already a number of businessmen drinking and smoking while snacking away.

Minimal English here, just like Terako Machi in Nagano but that is what makes travelling fun!

With a webpage I’d found via Google showing the English and Japanese translations for various types of yakitori and the staff knowing a few words of English I was able to order several dishes of yakitori and a beer.

More delectable meat on a stick was ordered and then I spied what I thought were Sake bottles, but the one I picked was actually Awamori. A Shochu like drink.

The staff were great and we tried to converse, what I did manage to find out was that this restaurant has been running for 49 years, and the recipe for the yakitori sauce was originally made by the current owners father when the restaurant opened.

For an authentic meal this is great restaurant.

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Craft Beer Market, Toramonom, Tokyo, Japan

During my previous stays at the Tokyo InterContinental I’d not explored the Toramonom area, but tonight that would change.

I made the small walk to Toramonom in about 15 minutes and headed to the narrow streets to the south of the main road, Sotobori Dori. There were heaps of small eating establishments, but as it was still just before 5pm nothing was open yet. So I just kept exploring.

Just after 5pm I wandered back to the Toramonom branch of the Craft Beer Market. Even being the first in the door I was told that I could only stay until around 6:30 as the place was fully booked. I pulled up a seat at the bar and began to make the most of my limited time.

Much like the Kanda branch there was an extensive beer list.

My choice for this evening were 2 Japanese brewed IPAs.

The first was an Aooni IPA (blue demon, or ogre, of India) – a very nice drop.

My second beer was Preston British IPA – another decent drop of beer after a long day out walking around Tokyo.

In all, I hadn’t had a bad craft beer during my trip.

In the end I only stayed for 2 pints and headed out the door after 45 minutes to find some food.


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France-Tei, Aqua City Odaiba, Tokyo, Japan

After a quick ride on the Yurikamome, formally the Tokyo Waterfront New Transit Waterfront Line, from Shimbashi to the island of Odaiba via the Rainbow Bridge I arrived at what I can only describe as a a mixture of a mega shopping centre and a themepark.

I had a quick walk around and was mostly underwhelmed so I decided I’d grab a bite to eat before heading back to Shimbashi.

There were many, probably hundreds of restaurants, to chose from. As I was walking around Aqua City Odaiba I found a small restaurant by the name of France-Tei. Turns out they are a chain of 25 restaurants around Japan.

Walking into the restaurant just after midday it was doing a decent trade consisting of local workers, Japanese families and a handful of tourists. Seats were available so I was shown to a double table and English menus obtained.

You can find the menu for this particular outlet here.

For my meal I ordered the garlic sizzling chicken which was freshly cooked and was served in about 10 minutes. Size was decent and the taste was great. Certainly a good meal.

For a drink I ordered a Sapporo Yebisu which was a middle of the road lager.

I’d eat at this chain again, just not in Odaiba.

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Echigoya, Omoide Yokocho, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

You might have heard of Omoide Yokocho by another name – Piss Alley – charming hey!

Piss Alley is a small area adjacent to Shinjuku Station in Tokyo with about 70 small eating establishments crammed into a space not much larger than a soccer pitch.

I arrived just before 5pm so the area was still quiet and probably only a third of the restaurants were open. Those that were open were doing a roaring trade with a number having people standing around waiting for a seat.

When I say small, I mean small, think a room only slightly larger than the size of your bathroom with a kitchen area, a counter and around 10 or so seats.

I chose Echigoya as there were about half a dozen people already dining and there were a couple of spare seats. And it was damn hot and I needed a beer quick!

Yakitori was my fare of choice and I chose a variety of chicken and pork skewers along with a long neck.

I sat in front of the charcoal grill as my skewers were cooked. As they were handed over the counter I eagerly devoured the tasty dishes.

The meat dishes and beer were very reasonably priced, I guess that’s what happens when you are fighting 70 other restaurants for customers.

This is an area to invest more time in exploring which I will on my next trip to Tokyo.

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Yona Yona Beer Garden, Ark Hills, Tokyo, Japan

For the second year running I was in Tokyo in late August, and the Yona Yona popup beer garden was again in action in the Ark Hills shopping centre next to the InterContinental Tokyo ANA.

The pub opens up for a couple of hours at lunch, and then for the evening starting at around 5pm.

On one side of the bar there are half a dozen beers on tap, and a pint costs a reasonable ¥800.

On the other side of the bar you can purchase snacks that are enough for a meal. I had a rather decent chicken salad for lunch one afternoon, and the chicken was freshly cooked.

My choice of beer during my couple of days in Tokyo was a fairly decent porter called the Tokyo Black. I also had the namesake Yona Yona Ale (a pale ale) which was sometimes on special for ¥500.

In the evening the bar can be quite popular, but you should be able to get a seat as there are a decent number of tables and seats.

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