Capture Tokyo: Ginza Six

Ginza Six, Ginza

Last weekend I recently had a chance to visit the new department store that opened up in Ginza this past April, Ginza Six.The popular new complex features high-end brands (both international domestics) along with restaurants on the 6th and 13th floor, with a traditional Japanese Noh theatre on the bottom floor.

I went on Saturday and I was surprised at how packed it was! There were security guards stationed to usher people into the building, and there were even long lines of people waiting to use the escalators. I wasn’t able to do much shopping, but I was able to see a small but beautiful Japanese bonsai exhibit on the top floor stationed in Tsutaya. For those of you who are new to Japan, Tsutaya is a popular dvd/cd/book chain store. There were around 7-10 bonsai plants of various sizes and different varieties in the exhibit. I believe the more expensive and larger trees had a price range of 10,000 USD and up. I’m not sure how long the exhibit will be running, but I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are ever in the area!

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Taste Tokyo: Uogashi Meicha

Uogashi Meicha, Ginza

For all you tea lovers out there, I’d like to introduce you to a cute little tea shop featured on NHK in Ginza, Uogashi Meicha. While the cafe specializes in Japanese green teas, they also hold small tea ceremony workshops once a month. The cafe is split into 3 levels. The first level is the tea shop, which features a variety of high quality teas. The second is a tea cafe for the shop’s patrons, while the top floor is where the workshops are held. We were lucky enough to visit the day the cafe was putting on a free workshop for its visitors.

The workshop had a unique concept. We were free to brew and mix the matcha or a special type of Japanese green tea ourselves, and instead of drinking what I brewed, I was to give my tea to the person who came before me to drink (whether that be a stranger or an acquaintance). They would then drink my tea accompanied with adorable little tea chocolates given by the cafe, while I waited for the person behind me to brew my tea. It wasn’t a strict traditional ceremony, but more of an informal gathering, so luckily we weren’t required to follow all the intricate mannerisms and customs of the Japanese tea ceremony. It was a nice opportunity to experience matcha mixing and tasting. It’s also perfect for those traveling alone too, because it allows you to interact with different people you would otherwise never meet!

After the workshop, we were invited to the second floor cafe to relax and taste more of the teas they had to offer. I think they must’ve served us at least 4 cups of tea (2 cold and 2 hot) along with Azuki bean Yokan (a traditional Japanese jelly dessert)! I was all tea-ed out by the end! Despite the slight overdoes on caffeine, it was overall a very lovely experience. The last time I had been to a Japanese tea ceremony was in high school, and it was a very traditional one, so this was a nice casual way to appreciate Japanese tea again. Plus, the whole experience was free (although we did end up buying a bag of tea on the way out)!

Taste Tokyo: Raw Snow Crab & A5 Beef

 

Rangetsu, Ginza

It’s always nice to treat yourself! Tonight we went to my favorite Ginza restaurant, Rangetsu, famous for their premium A5 Japanese beef. The beef is so tender that it really does just melt in your mouth as soon as it touches your tongue! The sauce they use for the sukiyaki is also delicious. It’s like a sweet soy sauce mixed with sweetened Japanese cooking rice wine that really brings out the flavor of the meat and veggies. I know I’ve already posted about this restaurant before (so you can read more about it here ♥︎Taste Tokyo: Rangetsu♥︎), but I just wanted to note that they also had a special Snow Crab Sashimi dish tonight. I personally prefer to eat my crab cooked and with butter, but this was the first time I’ve seen raw crab on the menu!

Taste Tokyo: Ginza Shabutsu

Ginzatsu Shabushabu Course, Ginza

You can never have enough meat! Aside from Rangetsu, the high-end sukiyaki restaurant I wrote about earlier, my second favorite Ginza restaurant would have to be The Ginza Shabutsu, known for their shabushabu or hotpot dishes. We normally order the Ginzatsu Shabushabu Course, which is about 5,000 yen per person (plus we don’t need to tip in Japan so it’s quite a good deal for the amount of food you get)! The course includes top grade A5 kuroge wagyu beef, Japanese pork loin, an assortment of vegetables, noodles, and dessert. The restaurant also offers all you can eat courses for about 6,000 yen (although they don’t include the kuroge wagyu beef)!

Taste Tokyo: Rangetsu

 

imageWagyu Beef at Rangetsu, Ginza

One of my best Tokyo secrets is the Ginza lunches. While most high-end restaurants in Ginza can cost up to hundreds of dollars per person for dinner, these restaurants give crazy discounts on their menus during the day. My dad loves high quality meat, so we often visit Ginza to get our fill of A5 wagyu. Rangestu, one of our favorite restaurants, is famous for their sukiyaki dinner. It’s quite pricey ranging about 15,000~20,000 yen per person for dinner, but I can honestly say it’s worth the price! The beef is seasoned perfectly and simply melts in your mouth. The waitresses also dress in traditional Kimonos and cook your food at your table creating quite a lovely experience. During lunch, the restaurant sports a more casual feel and the lunch sets (pictured above) go for around 1,500~2,000yen. Despite the drop in price, I can assure you the beef is just as delicious!

Capture Tokyo: Ginza

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Sunday Afternoon in Ginza

Another lazy afternoon in Ginza. Sometimes it’s nice to skip the train and just walk around the area for the day. The government closes the streets every Sunday so pedestrians are free to leisurely stroll about. I end up going to Ginza quite often especially when my parents are in town. The walk is about 20-minutes from my apartment, so it’s not too bad and by taxi it’s even shorter. Ginza is generally more of an upscale shopping area geared towards older women, affluent elderly business men and tourists, so it’s not really one of the places my friends like to hang out or go drinking at. I might’ve dragged them occasionally though, since there’s this delicious Chinese restaurant I love there! Anyway, I’ve found plenty of delicious restaurants in the area so I’ll probably post about them later on♥︎