Taiyaki Treats in Tokyo

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This was only my second visit to Tokyo.

Last time I was treating myself for my 40th birthday and hardly left the luxurious Park Hyatt Hotel – this time I was determined to get under the skin of this frenetic, fast-paced, futuristic city.

I’m not normally big on tours, but I do love food, so the “After 5” experience offered by Urban Adventures seemed like a good option.

The starting point for the tour is Yurakucho station and as I arrived I was met by Meg – our guide for the trip.

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First on the itinerary was yakitori, and we walked underneath the railway tracks to sample some of the restaurants offering these tasty grilled skewers of meat – the best were at Teppei restaurant.

The yakitori skewers go very well with beer – you can play it safe and opt for chicken or beef, but it’s worth challenging yourself with some more adventurous choices. Skewers of chicken tails? Why not!

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From the yakitori restaurants we walked to the main entrance of Yurakucho station to pick up some taiyaki from Chichai Taiyaki. These are small fish-shaped pastries that are traditionally filled with red bean paste. Red bean is good, but even better are the chocolate or caramel filled versions. Then I tried the custard version. Amazing. Custard filled anything is amazing.

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At Yurakucho we jumped on the subway station and headed to the Tsukishima area the home of Monja Street – a little street where there are about 70 restaurants, all serving the traditional local dish of monjayaki. You might be familiar with okonomiyaki which is a similar dish from Osaka – essentially a big savoury pancake that you cook on a hot plate at the table. Monjayaki is the Tokyo version and it has a different consistency but is equally delicious.

On Meg’s advice we ate at Monjamaguroya and the food was great. If you lived in Tokyo this this the kind of place you would go after work with a group of friends or colleagues. Apparently on pay day it’s tricky to get a table at any of the restaurants on this street as everyone is out enjoying themselves.

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We finished the tour by walking to the Sumida River to take in the spectacular views of Tokyo’s night-time skyline.

A great way to experience this fascinating and exciting city.

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