One of my favorite dishes while in Japan was tonkotsu ramen. “Tonkotsu” means “pork bones” in Japanese. The dish is aptly named, because the broth is made by boiling pork bones for almost an entire day. When Koen decided to make the dish, it took an entire weekend to prepare!
When I found out our friend Rafaël had an exhibition in Rotterdam at Het Nieuwe Instituut, Koen and I planned a trip to see Chris and Hannah so we could all go together. Definitely worth visiting if you’re planning a trip to Rotterdam in the next months – we had so much fun!
Ever since we’ve been back from Japan, we can’t help but crave the Japanese kitchen. One night we had friends over for soba dipping noodles and tempura veggies and started discussing the best Japanese restaurants in Antwerp. When Izumi came up, there was disbelief that we hadn’t been there already. So we set a date!
Sipping sencha at the Park Hyatt in The Peak Lounge
One big recommendation from friends of ours was a visit to the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku for breakfast or tea. The restaurants are located high up and offer a beautiful view of Tokyo. We were too late for breakfast, so we enjoyed tea and a sweet chestnut cake in The Peak Lounge, which features a skylit bamboo garden as its centerpiece.
For our second to last day, Koen and I explored Odaiba, an artificial island in southern Tokyo. We had beautiful weather and enjoyed walking along the water. Turns out there was a dance competition while we were there, so we bought some street food and watched the show!
Harajuku is a neighborhood of the Shibuya ward, so of course we wanted to explore more of Shibuya. Shibuya is most famous for the busy intersection at the Shibuya Station – the Shibuya Scramble. All of the lights at the crossing turn red and green at the same time. I think in most top 10 lists for Tokyo you’ll find the Shibuya Crossing. You can also spot it in a lot of TV shows or films that feature Tokyo. Like in Girls (40 second mark):
Daily morning coffee in Harajuku at The Roastery by Nozy Coffee
We were in Japan for 3 weeks, the first week in Tokyo, a week of travel, then the last week again in Tokyo. The first week we stayed in east Tokyo in the neighborhood of Ginza, so we wanted to have a different experience for our last week – Harajuku in west Tokyo!
Visiting the Ghibli Museum was one of our tops things we wanted to do while in Tokyo! We didn’t realize how difficult it is to secure tickets (you should purchase them many months ahead of time and you can’t buy them on site). Luckily, after some online searching, we were able to secure two tickets – even though we paid 5x the normal price. But worth it!
Ueno is a neighborhood in northern Tokyo, part of the Taito Ward, and home to many of Tokyo’s museums. Compared to other neighborhoods, Ueno is part of the Shitamachi, or literally the “low city”, a working class area. Koen and I really enjoyed coming to Ueno one evening to walk around and have a drink and sample Japanese bar food.