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Fermentation Tourism Nippon
Fermentation is a process that is almost indispensable to Japanese food. Sake, miso, soy sauce and natto cannot exist without fermentation. But there are also many other fermentation techniques and practices from around the country that are little known outside their native regions. This exhibition at the d47 Museum attempts to features the various local fermented specialties in a group show. Curated by fermentation experts, the local food found at the exhibition are also available for sale. The adjacent restaurant, on the other hand, will also serve fermented food and sake.
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Guide to climbing Mt Fuji
July doesn’t only mark the beginning of summer, it’s also the kick-off season for adventurous hikers who plan to conquer Mt Fuji (3,776m), the iconic peak that have to symbolise Tokyo and Japan as a whole. This active stratovolcano is also the highest mountain in Japan. Climbing season lasts roughly three months until early September; any attempt out of this period is prohibited. Before taking on the challenge, there is quite a lot to prepare – so let’s get right to it.
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Where to stay in Tokyo
Grand Hyatt Tokyo
Though it shares a celebrity buzz with its sister hotel the Park Hyatt, the effortlessly sleek Grand is pleasingly low-key. Its location in the upmarket Roppongi Hills complex might not suit those who like their Tokyo served straight up, but by the same token it provides a restful retreat. And having high-end shops and restaurants, a 53-floor panorama and world-class art on your doorstep can be considered quite an amenity. As is the Nagomi spa (though there’s a charge for guests) which, in addition to the usual list of artful treatments, has a lap pool, steam and sauna and a luminous white jacuzzi. Though not flashy, the guest rooms are extremely comfortable and well thought out, with dimmable lights, Bose stereos and free high-speed internet, and a tub you could park your car in. A 10th anniversary renovation has added Oxford chairs, original washi paper artwork and Bluetooth connectivity to the amenities.
Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
Focusing not just on Tokyo, but on the historic Nihonbashi area in which it sits, the Mandarin is the antidote to that feeling that luxury hotels are the same the world over. Many of the materials are sourced from local artisans. The lobby and rooms all hint at traditional Japanese motifs, from the torii shrine gates and washi paper lanterns to the woven fabrics that hang in place of paintings. The view from the rooms trumps most of its top-end rivals, with a mosaic of lights from the business district in the foreground, and Mt Fuji straight ahead.
Hot new openings
Tim Ho Wan Shinjuku Southern Terrace
Open May 25, 2019 Hong Kong’s popular dim sum restaurant Tim Ho Wan, also known as the ‘world’s cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant’, opens its second Japan outpost on Shinjuku’s Southern Terrace. Established by Mak Kwai, dim sum chef at the Michelin three-star Cantonese Restaurant Lung King Heen (inside the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong), and chef Leung Fai Keung, they focus on providing the most authentic dim sum flavours at reasonable prices in a casual ambience. You can even drop by with a large group of friends as private dining rooms are available for booking.
Shiseido Jiyugaoka Parlour
Open May 18, 2019 Jiyugaoka welcomes a new outpost of Shiseido Parlour, the pioneer of Japanese-style yoshoku or ‘Western’ cuisine founded back in 1902. Savour picture-perfect omu-rice, meat croquettes and hamburg steaks as well as the store's Jiyugaoka branch-limited sweets. Order the Crème Chocolat (¥594), a dessert served in a glass filled with fluffy chocolate mousse and caramel sauce, topped with heavenly cream in the shape of a blooming flower. You can also look forward to matcha, hojicha and other seasonal variations of this dessert.
Neo Kissa King
Ginza, famous for its many long-established kissaten cafés welcomes a new coffee shop which hopes to attract its guests with a modern take on the usual kissaten-style coffee and dishes. Created by master chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants to those of street food shops, diners can experience Japan’s original coffee shop culture in a modern ambience while sampling curry, sandwiches and napolitan pasta with a modern twist.
Kabukicho-based host club 'Smappa! Hans Axel Von Fersen', where ladies pay for the company of stylish male hosts has opened it's very own sushi restaurant. Called 'Hey Rasshai', the eatery's chef is none other than the club's most popular host named Shun. He decided to give his career a change by training his skills at a long-established sushi restaurant in Tokyo's Shitamachi area in order to serve Tokyo's traditional Edomae-style sushi (from ¥300). Since the new-fledged sushi chef is also continuing his career as a host, there are no set opening hours. Please refer to the official Twitter page for more information.
Sushi Shin by Miyakawa
Sushi Shin is the Tokyo outpost of master chef Masaaki Miyakawa's Sapporo-based restaurant Sushi Miyakawa, whose exquisite menu was awarded three Michelin stars. Diners at this new sushi spot can look forward to an omakase selection of finest seafood including slices of sea bream served with wasabi and salt, and other seasonal offerings such as aromatic uni (sea urchin) wrapped with nori (seaweed). The interior design of the restaurant resembles Japanese filigree craftsmanship complete with wooden lattice work by famous craftsman Nobuo Tanihata, as well as a counter table made from 350-year-old Japanese cypress. To sample Miyakawa’s specialties, make sure to reserve in advance.
Japanese Sake Bar Fujiya
Sample more than 50 different types of nihonshu at this new sake bar located in Shibuya. Surprisingly, the sake here isn't served in your typical sake cups, but you'll be sipping your preferred drink from wine glasses instead. On offer are sake brews from all 47 prefectures of Japan along with nibbles like tempura skewers (from ¥250), asparagus and oyster ahijo, and oil sardines.