However, for all itís popularity Japanese food is still a bit of a mystery in the west. For sure everyone knows sushi but even this most well known of Japanese foods is somewhat misunderstood. For starters, an almost universal misconception is that sushi is raw fish. In actual fact the term sushi refers to the lightly vinegared rice upon which (amongst other things) raw fish is placed either on top of (nigiri zushi) or rolled inside of (maiki zushi). Slices of raw fish served on their own with soy sauce and wasabi (the spicy green mustard which catches so many people by surprise!) is known as sashimi.
Aside from sushi and sashimi though, Japanese cuisine offers all manner of delights from kaiseiki with its extremely refined dishes and immaculate presentation, to okonomiyaki, a kind of pancake where you just throw it all in and cook on a hot plate.
To help you get a little bit extra out of your adventures in the world of Japanese food, we have designed a number of food related experiences for you to enjoy. So whether you are looking to get hands on and try a spot of cooking yourself, or just want those eating out experiences you might otherwise miss, we are sure that one of our Japanese food experiences will be a fantastic addition to your trip.
Dine out at an izakaya, Japan's own unique take on pub dining. Japan has a huge number of restaurants. In Tokyo alone there are an estimated 200,000. These cover the full spectrum of styles of food and price - from tiny noodle shops under the railway tracks serving delicious ramen noodles in hot broth for 600 yen, to exclusive by invitation only eateries where a meal can cost as much as 100,000 yen per head.
However, perhaps one of the most enjoyable places to eat is an izakaya. These lively eateries are the preferred after work dinner spots for Japan's legions of salarymen. They are fun and lively and always offer a wide range of both Japanese and Asian-Western fusion dishes all at a very affordable price. However, they are not always easy to find, often being located several stories up and with no English signage.
Exclusive to InsideJapan Tours, on our izakaya experience will your English speaking guide will take you to one of their favourite izakaya. As well as translating the menu for you, they will be able to explain about all the dishes and also give you a few insights into this relatively unknown side of Japanese eating out. With all food and drinks included, this is a fantastic way to get to enjoy the mainstay of the Japanese eating-out experience.
Izakaya are open 365 days a year so our izakaya experience is also available on any day of your visit. However, do keep in mind that this may be harder to book in peak Japanese holiday seasons such as New Year, Golden Week (end of April / beginning of May) and Obon (middle of August)
Our izakaya experience is available in Tokyo and can be taken in any district of the city.
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