Oct 11, 2015

Japan Travelogue: Transiting between Shinjuku & Tsukiji (31 Oct 2014)

After two nights in Hotel Empire in Shinjuku, it was time to move on to Tsukiji. Our itinerary of the day was less packed than usual, hence we departed from Shin-Okubo Station to Shinjuku Station around 11am.

Despite the enormity of Shinjuku Station, we had no luck in finding a vacant big coin locker in Shinjuku Station. We ended up venturing to Isetan Shinjuku and found a big coin locker to deposit our luggages.

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Locating Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋@ Shinjuku
Quietly tucked in the basement floor of one of the city's nondescript buildings, Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋, the 1-star Michelin restaurant specialising in Iwashi (i.e. sardines), was quite a tough find. If you have a pair of keen eyes, you would be able to spot Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋's white signboard near the parked bicycle on the left.

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The Lunch Queue @ Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋
There was a flight of stairs leading downwards to the establishment next to the parked bicycle on the left. By the time we found the stairs, it was already swarmed with a queue of eager lunch crowd.

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Interior @ Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋
The entrance to Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋 was nothing fancy but inside the establishment, it boasted both classy counter top dining and exclusive private room dining.

There were find 4 different Iwashi set lunches in the menu at a bargain price 800yen, each comes with miso soup, rice and tsukemono (pickled vegetables) and green tea. As Iwashi sashimi was rather experimental to us, we ordered Nizakana and Yanagawa Nabe lunch sets.

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Yanagawabe Nabe Lunch Set @ Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋 (900yen)
Yanagawabe Nabe was a variation of panko Iwashi, i.e. Japanese style breadcrumbs coated sardines deep fried in similar manner as Tonkatsu, except that it was further prepped in an eggy casserole. When it was served, the partially soaked panko Iwashi was a contrasting delight. Imagine it was both crispy and soggy, tender and juicy... Oh, and that runny egg caserole!

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Nizakana @ Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋 (800yen)
Nizakana, on the other hand, was more subtly prepared. Simmered in dashi with soy sauce, Nizakana was very flavourful on its own, and went along well with rice and tsukemono. Its flesh was so tender that it changed my perception towards sardines altogether. Yes, it was as good as any expensive fish you could get!

Needless to say, tanner half and I were utterly satisfied with our detour from the usual suspects.

Total damage for 2 pax = 1,700yen

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Aromax Coffee from the Dispenser Machines (100yen)
After fuelling ourselves, we spent most of our time wandering in malls and be astonished by the price tags. Of all the places, BICQLO was where we enjoyed hanging out most. As the name suggested, it is a flagship collaboration store of BIC Camera and Uniqlo. So the ladies get to fill their fashion needs, the gents get to fill their gadget itch.

Another thing I loved most in Japan is vending machines. You could see them literally anywhere on the street. You bet I peeked at every one of them. I usually went for 100yen drinks, like this Aromax coffee, which was okay for the price.

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Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい @ Tsukiji
Time flied and before long, it was time to get on a train to Tsukiji Station and head to Tsukiji Business Ban Hotel. For dinner, we found ourselves a humble fare in Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい, few shops away from our hotel.

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Ramen for Me @ Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい
I did not exactly recall what was this ramen of mine called. Its broth was thicker and murkier, which was likely made of pork broth infused with vegetables, hence a sweeter note. Heavily loaded with shredded cabbage, mushrooms and bean sprouts, it shared similar taste to Chinese ramen, which I personally enjoyed. Let's say it was a welcome deviation from the usual Japanese ramen.

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Ramen for Tanner Half @ Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい
This bowl of ramen for my tanner half was the typical Japanese ramen you could expect. While it might not be as famed as the other ramen shop, it was good and cheap.

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Gyoza @ Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい
We also ordered a plate of gyozas to share. Compared to Harajuku Gyozaro 原宿餃子樓, it was few levels short. Though with its oilier outlook and chilies condiments, it was more like Chinese style gyoza. Besides the thicker gyoza skin, I had no complains.

Total damage for 2 pax = (Oops I think I missed this!)

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Night Exploration @ Ginza
Little did we know that Ginza is located right opposite Tsukiji. You bet we spent hours walking around this happening city with neon lights and colourful billboards of luxury brands one after another.

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BIC Camera @ Ginza
To our delight, we found BIC Camera in Ginza and went in without hesitation. It was always an enjoyable experience to window shop in BIC Camera. In fact, this was where we bought our G-Shock watches at great discounts too!

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Seiko Tower Building - The Symbol of Ginza
Hours after Ginza hopping, we brought our tired feet back to Tsukiji Business Ban Hotel and had an early rest, as for few hours later, we would be heading to Tsukiji Fish Market!

IN SUMMARY,

My personal dining ranking (5 being the full score) based on following criteria are:
  • Ambiance
    • Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋 - 5/5 (it is to be expected from fine dining restaurant)
    • Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい - 4/5 (quiet and homely)
  • Price
    • Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋 - 5/5 (cheaper than 1,000yen ramen!)
    • Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい - 5/5 
  • Food
    • Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋 - 5/5 
    • Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい - 4/5
  • Verdict
    • Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋 - If you have not tried sardines in Japan, here is my personal recommendation
    • Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい - A random find which serves decent food

My personal attractions verdicts for:
  • Malls around Shinjuku Station - Definitely not for the faint hearted like myself
  • BICQLO - I totally loved the collaboration store - so convenient for shoppers!
  • Ginza - Heaven for high end shoppers. 


DINING INFO:

Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋
3-32-5, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
Operation Hours: 11.30am - 2pm, 5.30pm - 10pm (all days except Sundays)
Tel: +81 3-3356-7962
Credit Cards: Cash

Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい
Tsukiji 4-7-5 (Tsukiji KY Building 1F), Chuo , Tōkyō , 104-0045 , Japan
Operation Hours: 11am - 9pm (all days except Sundays and public holidays)
Tel: +81 3-5148-5414
Credit Cards: Cash (if I remember correctly)

2 comments:

  1. i wanna go to japan too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then grab your cheap tickets from AirAsia and go!

      Delete

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