Before we left on our honeymoon, we had been watching the PBS series “The Mind of a Chef” on Netflix. The first season follows Chef David Chang around different locations but really focuses on Japan and Japanese cuisine. In one of the episodes Chef Chang and New York food critic, Peter Meehan, eat ramen at a restaurant in the Tokyo train station and they said it is the best ramen they’ve ever eaten. The restaurant is called Rokurinsha and located in an area of the Tokyo station underground mall called Ramen Street.
Ramen Street has 8 ramen shops in one strip of the mall. We actually ate at two of the restaurants while we were in Tokyo, but we didn’t realize that this was the spot on the show. Diem will write about our Ramen Street experience on her blog (post to come).
I decided that I couldn’t be that close to trying Rokurinsha and end up not eating there. We had one more day on our JR pass so I suggested we use it to make a day trip back to Tokyo to eat there. Diem was game and we took the 7 AM train from Osaka and got to Tokyo around 10:15 AM. The restaurant actually is open for breakfast but closes at 10 AM and doesn’t re-open for lunch until 11 AM so we waited in line about 30 minutes. We were 4th in line, but by the time the restaurant opened at 11 AM, the line wrapped around the corner so it was a good thing we got there early. I ordered the large portion of the special and Diem ordered the regular with a side of extra bamboo shoots. The broth was amazing, the noodles, while not my favorite, were still really good. I was completely satisfied with the meal aside from the incredibly loud slurping, which I’ll vent about in a future post.
We had to find something else to do with our Tokyo visit other than eat Ramen. We decided to do the Mt. Takao hike that we didn’t get to do while we stayed in Tokyo. Mt. Takao is about 60-75 minutes and about 50 km outside of Tokyo and it is famous for its beautiful scenery, cherry blossoms, and crowds of people when the weather is nice. There are six different nature hikes up the mountain and you can even take a chair lift up about half way up the mountain. It was a cloudy day so we didn’t think that we would have that great of a view at the top but we still went up. We took the number 1 trail which is the most famous and most crowded. The trail was pretty steep especially at the beginning. It was supposed to take 90 minutes but again, we crushed it in 60. There are a number of cool statues, monuments, a temple, and even a monkey park along the way up the trail. We were pleasantly surprised that when we got to the top, we had a pretty good view of Mt. Fuji. As you can see below, Mt. Fuji still had some snow on its peak and even though there were some clouds and haze, it was still a nice view. We caught the train home and went to bed.
Tokyo is an amazing city. It is no wonder that it was ranked the most livable city in the world. One could easily spend a lifetime exploring the different nooks, crannies, festivals, restaurants, etc. While I really enjoyed it, there is definitely more to Japan than Tokyo. I would advise anyone visiting Japan for the first time to spend at least a good week in Tokyo but to make sure you get outside of the city as well.
See the full gallery of our Tokyo adventures here: Tokyo, Japan