The idea of this came up back in May when I was discussing my ‘ten shrines of Tokyo‘ bicycle tour with Asif but it took until October 19th for it to finally take off as we could never find a date when we were both free. Having done 85km only a week before I wasn’t exactly in a rush to do another one but with Asif departing Japan at the end of the month it was the only time possible. Having rained pretty much non-stop in the 48 hour build-up we weren’t even sure this one would take place but thankfully it was fine and quite a pleasant sunny day in the end.
This was not an original themed tour as it was basically copied from this fine site. The idea was to cycle around Tokyo on a mission different to the regular ‘find-it-snap-it-move-on’ type trip I usually undertake. Japan is famed for its great food and this journey took in a handful of its most traditional gourmet food shops.
1) Monaka ice-cream (¥250) @ Mitsubachi, 3-38-10 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku – It’s not everyday that one has ice-cream for breakfast but we were basically waiting for this establishment to open! Can’t say it was worth it though for this flavour was not of my liking but I managed to get through my half of it before passing the rest on to Asif.
2) Katsu-sando (¥650) @ Mansei, 2-21 Kanda Sudacho, Chiyoda-ku – This box of six small sandwiches was also a shared effort in order to save on costs and appetite. Unfortunate that, as this was absolutely lovely and I could easily have had the whole lot on my own.
3) Soba (¥600) @ Matsuya, 1-13 Kanda Sudacho, Chiyoda-ku – This is certainly not the famous Japanese donburi restaurant chain (there is actually one across the road though!) but a place which actually survived WWII and serves soba. It was very nice inside but for me I’m afraid to say that it didn’t taste too different to any other soba. After a misdirection or two on leaving this place Asif had a a bit of an accident with the back of a car at a busy junction which damaged his bicycle a little and also left quite a big cut on the inside of his right thigh but naturally he carried on!
4) Liver katsu (¥140) @ Hisagoya Abe, 3-1-12 Tsukuda, Chuo-ku – The address given in the aforementioned website which inspired this trip was found to be empty and we were actually on our way to the next location when Asif suggested we could get liver katsu at a place we passed. They didn’t have any but pointed us in the direction of across the road where we bought a couple of delicious liver katsu’s which surprised me as I thought this would be the least appetising of the treats. In looking for the address of this ‘new’ place for this site I took a business card and was most surprised to discover that this was the place we originally wanted but it had moved!
5) Monja-yaki (¥1500) @ Monkichi 3-8-10 Tsukishima, Chuo-ku – The place of our intended visit was closed down but just a stone’s throw from there was Monkichi which was a busy place where pictures of Japanese celebrities don the walls giving recognition of their visit. Monja-yaki is basically a pan-fried batter with various finely chopped ingredients mixed into it which is then eaten with a tiny spatula. The Tsukishima area is where the dish is said to have originated. Usually we’d have eaten another one or two of these dishes but as we had a few more gourmet snack stops to go we had to move on.
6) Taiyaki (¥140) @ Wakaba Taiyaki, 1-10 Wakaba, Shinjuku-ku – Whilst I went through a short phase of buying these fish-shaped sweets a few years ago I soon stopped. This traditional shop near Yotsuya Station is supposedly one of the best three taiyaki shops in Tokyo. Its basically a waffle sandwich baked crisp and full of Anko (sweet beans) which is often used in traditional Japanese sweets.
7) Nikuman (¥360) @ Gojuuban, 3-2 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku – The final stop on our gourmet tour of Tokyo was this place which had a wide range of these steamed buns. We went for the large sized original nikuman which was filled with hot and juicy meat.
We washed down the nikuman with a couple of beers from the nearby ‘7-Eleven’ convenience store. Rather than go for the cheap ones we thought we should keep in with the theme of the day and get a Grand Kirin in a fancy bottle and then consumed it all within the luxury confines of a backstreet! It was a bit disappointing that our intended sushi place in Ginza had closed down but we still visited seven food places. It was great fun for me to do such a ride with a good friend whilst doing far more at each place than just taking a photo.
Distance: 53.26 km Time: 8.29 hrs Calories Burned: 2884