Japan in the year of our lord 2022/23 (planning help)

Gah, think I’ll try caveman. Sounds fun. Also crazy affordable? Seeing like 35 USD for the weekend lunch course. Sign me up. (Current plan is to spend the day in that general area and also make it to stand up bar Akira at a weird after lunch time? Maybe around 4?)

Now the question is should I go to that yakitori spot in Osaka. Sadly, only time that allows me to get back to Kyoto via train is a 4 pm seating…

1 Like

Re: stand up bar akira - their lunch hours end at 3pm, so you would probably need to queue up like 30-40 mins before then. I imagine there would also be significantly less demand at that point though.

They begin dinner service at 5:30pm so I imagine queueing up at 4:45 would be fine

Re: yakitori ichimatsu, I believe my dinner was 2 hours? Can’t remember top of mind

1 Like

Thank you thank you for that intel. Was about to wade through a lot of Google translate to figure that out!

Had a similar encounter with this noxious species at a bar. Couple of finance bros talking at the tops of their lungs, dropping f’bombs and bragging about their shitty half baked deals, could be heard half way across the room. Unfortunately I wasn’t at least half way across the room from them :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

This in a country where listening to your headphones too loud on the subway is frowned upon…

Wonder if your posting had anything to do with a flurry of cancellation notices at Hakoku mid week :face_with_monocle: :rofl:


Haha honestly even if not for the terrible other guests, the food at hakkoku while good definitely doesn’t have me excited to return anytime soon. Would much rather spend my money elsewhere and I’m sure it’s a common sentiment !

1 Like

That just saved me a trip there for my next Tokyo foray. This thread is gold.

1 Like

Sonoko Sakai is in Japan at the moment as well and posting some of her restaurant meals on Instagram fwiw

1 Like

So we will probably doing 2-3 week trip in April.

Will be returning to this thread for food recs, but I need a rec for a place to visit.

We are probably doing most of our time in osaka and kyoto with a couple of days at an onsen/ryokan. And maybe a couple in Tokyo since we have 1.5 year old which could be hard to get around in Tokyo with.

Looking for two recs right now

Good region/city on the main island for ryokan/onsen?
Where to see cherry blossoms mid April on the main island (I know that is slightly later in the year)?

If anyone has recs or experience let us know.

1 Like

Hakone is a good midpoint between Kyoto and Tokyo. We stayed at Gora Kadan - lovely and luxurious with mediocre food. It’s very convenient to the Open Air. Museum (a must-visit), but there are plenty other ryokan in Hakone to choose from.


There are entire websites devoted to the yearly timing of peak cherry blossom season. This is just one of the projections…


Thanks for the info graphic. Wanted to see if anyone and seen the blooms at any of the locations personally.

+1 to all of this. I highly recommend Hakone as the area is known for onsens. Never been to Gora Kadan but been to a few others. Of the ones I’ve been to, I recommend Hakone Ginyu the most, though you might be too late booking.

I also recommend at least two nights at any one location - it gives you a full day to relax, explore Hakone, and go back and enjoy the ryokan.

Also agree the in room kaiseki meals at the ryokans in Hakone were all mediocre and paled in comparison to my other meals in Tokyo / Kyoto. They were still a fun experience though so worth doing at least once.

1 Like

There have been a number of places recommended in this thread that fall into the, say, 400-600 USD range. For those of you who have been to said places, were they notably better than the plethora of options in the 200-300 range?

For a long while, I dismissed these baller places right away, but after further reflection, given that Japan doesn’t add on tip and tax, I realized that while these places are very very pricey, they aren’t that much different than the high-end US spots. In some cases, they are even cheaper.

Any thoughts? There is no world in which I could do more than one of these heavyweights, but one is certainly achievable.

1 Like

Whenever I get back to Japan I’m 100% booking this spot in Hakone. Is it a cocktail themed Ryokan or a Ryokan themed cocktail bar? :crazy_face:

1 Like

& don’t forget the nightly rates are inclusive of kaiseki dinnner (and breakfast if offered) for 2.

1 Like

The fact that you can’t exactly recall is in itself a good sign!

1 Like

How many days do people recommend in Osaka?

@jc_eats :cowboy_hat_face: :face_holding_back_tears: how is it out there? (Also lol what has the weather been like?)

To clarify this bc I realize i wrote a 3 paragraph post in which it is wildly unclear whether im talking about restaurants or not, I meant are the baller restaurants that much better than the decidedly baller but not crazy pricey ones?

All to say, should I pay 470 dollars to eat at Goryukubo instead of the 250 or so that I’m paying to go to Ichita?!

1 Like

Ishikawa is just as good and charge less. 48,400 JPY is around $370. We had tried both and like both.