At the same time, there are more vegetarian options in Japan than ever before. I have been trying to be a vegetarian (sometimes I lapse) so my Japanese friends found vegetarian restaurants for us, which may not be completely representative of Japanese food but certainly were different from American vegetarian restaurants.
Our first Japanese restaurant meal in Tokyo was dinner at a Shabu Shabu restaurant on the 38th floor of the Yebisu Garden Tower near our hotel. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of the food there, focussing more on the fantastic views of Tokyo. Here is a photo that looked much like what we ate. So much for no meat!
|Shabu Shabu © 2009 Bermi Ferrer Creative Commons license|
The next day, after our trip to Meiji Shrine, we had lunch at the vegetarian restaurant Hanada Rosso (see also here). I had a delicious vegetarian burger in tomato sauce with side dishes. The chef, Minako Hanada, is reportedly a celebrity chef in Japan.
|Lunch at Hanado Rosso in Harajuku|
My husband is not terribly fond of vegetarian food but he loves tofu. The very first thing we did after arriving in Kyoto at about 2:30 pm on Monday, December 6, was to head out to find a particular tofu restaurant recommended by his friend from Kyoto and by one of our guidebooks. Okutan is across from Nanzen-ji and must get enough tourists to prompt the sign saying "We only have Tofu course". We did not care and were thrilled with the different ways they served tofu.
|Okutan menu in english|
|Sesame Tofu, Yam soup, sake, tofu pot|
|Baked Tofu with Miso glaze|
|Okutan (Kyoto) interior|
|Chicken and egg bowl, oyakadon, which is the speciality of the restaurant "Hisago" ©Reiko Yabu 2010|
|Sushi and tempura in Kyoto train station|
|Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima- Seafood special|
Then there were the cakes-- probably my real downfall in terms of causes of weight gain--although the portions were not large like they are in the US. First, we discovered a Christmas roll cake at Starbucks that was a small green tea cake with jelly and whipped cream topping. Why doesn't Starbucks here have something so delicious?! The picture makes it look large but it was fairly small. We ate that a lot- splitting it with a cuppa in the evening. Then we also tried the famous Kyoto roll and some other Kyoto cake in the train station with Kyoto siphon coffee (a great place to eat). On the Philosopher's Path in Kyoto we shared lovely pieces of homemade apple and blueberry cake ("my wife make them") in a restaurant called Pomme.
|Christmas cake at Starbucks. YUM!|
|Kyoto Roll at Kyoto station|
|Homemade cakes at Pomme on Philosophers Path in Kyoto|
|Pomme in Kyoto|
|Another Kyoto cake at the train station|
|Kyoto siphon coffee in train station|