1500yen Kuroge Wagyu (黑毛和牛) Lunch Set (sashimi, grilled & braised wagyu) on 14Apr2013

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kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) sashimi

was considering couple recommended yakiniku restaurants in Shinjuku like Kurumaya & Jojoen (which was also highly recommended by a good friend).

I found Jojoen (叙々苑) with little difficulty at 7F of a building just across the road from Shinjuku East Exit. 🙂 as was shown on the website, Jojoen had quite good 1700yen & 2700yen set lunches, both were Japanese beef (国产牛) but not kuroge. It had good lunch traffic and was clearly a popular restaurant. I had wanted to try out Kurumaya as it had a lunch kaiseki set which included beef for 5500yen so I continued on. however I was not able to locate Kurumaya w/o my map & GPS (as I did not subscribe to the unlimited roaming service on 14apr2013).

as I was walking up the streets to get back to the Jojeon locality I chanced upon this 1500yen kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) lunch set. I decided to give it a go and was happily very well rewarded for my adventurous spirit..haha. 🙂

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the set included 4 slices of kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) sashimi – I just love beef sashimi – and they were very sweet, tasty, not chewy & w/o residue. :-).

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1500yen kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) lunch set

there was also the grilled wagyu. of course I was not expecting some top grade kuroge & anyway it was really very nice & tasty even though it was not the highly marbled “pang” (fragrant) variety. 🙂

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kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) grilled

and I had always like braised beef, and the japanese way of braising beef & belly pork using mirin, sugar & soy sauce was a very nice recipe which I liked. 🙂

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kuroge wagyu (黑毛和牛) braised pot

The shop name was in hiragana or something so I tried but was unable to locate the shop on internet. anyway I was quite sure that I would have no difficulty to physically locate this place again.

yakiniku shop at Shinjuku kabukicho

yakiniku shop at Shinjuku kabukicho

I was very happy with the cheap& good lunch which included everything I wanted – sashimi, grilled steak & braised pot. I am sure to be back here again next time I visit Shinjuku. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Trip Planning – Flight, Hotel, Destinations, Transport

everyone will find their own best way to go about things, for me, it’s planning. 🙂

like when I cook a 8-course dinner for 10 friends, or a buffet for 23 friends, it’s all about planning – the dishes, marketing, preparation & timing to start each dish etc.

so same for me when it comes to trip planning, it will not work for me to mistake unpreparedness & lack of research & planning as spontaneity.

  1. the dates – for this what ended up as “missing sakura” Tokyo trip on 9-15apr2013, my plans were derailed (or became spontaneous to be the eternal optimist) as the weather changes brought the sakura flowering 2 weeks forward from the normal period, and Japan Guide’s Cherry Blossom Report 2013 was reporting full bloom in Tokyo on 25mar2013 instead of first week of april! but the point about planning is – once I know this, then I have to adjust the destination to places I can still find sakura (takaosan 高尾山) or where there are later flowering sakuras (eg shinjukugoen). 🙂
  2. flights – the advent of low cost carriers have really trigger mass travels. for 30 years I have been travelling exclusively SIA, but for the last 2 years, I have done quite a few trips to Shantou & HK on Jetstar. for this trip,  I was travelling alone and SIA cost like $1100 for lone traveller.  Scoot (a new LCC subsidiary of SIA) was offering around $500 economy return c/w closer to $700 by Jetstar, and since Scootbiz was just $150 more (& very much less if you were to include the 2 free meals + 20kg check-in luggage + free flight entertainment) & it was an outgoing night flight, I decided to take Scootbiz outbound & return by economy. The only downside is a stopover at Taipei! My $680 fare was in fact about same as what my daughter paid for China Eastern economy return (which stopped over at Shanghai!) I also researched on the seats! according to seatguru.com, Scoot has the largest seat width at 19″ to 20″ for economy and 22″ leather seats for Scootbiz for the 777-200 aircraft for this flight; that c/w JAL’s 17.3″ for economy and 18.5″ for business, Cathay Pacific’s 18″ for economy & 20″ for business & SIA’s own 17.5″ economy & 20″ business seats for the same aircraft & Jetstar’s 18″ for economy & 20″ for starclass for A330-200 aircraft.
  3. hotel – I looked at a few hotels including the Sakura chain which seems quite good & finally settled for Shinjuku Sunroute Plaza, which is just 3minutes walk from JR Shinjuku South Exit and 1 minute walk (right next door really!) from Shinjuku Teio line A1 exit. The cost for a 6 night stay was 63000yen all in including breakfast which was like <S$140/night. This was even cheaper than my recent stay at Hong Kong’s Kowloon Hotel, thanks to the lower yen forex rates. 🙂
  4. destination planning – this has got to do with what you want for the trip. for my case, it was (1)chasing sakura (2)some trekking (3) lots of food 🙂 thus I checked out the top hanami (花见which means sakura viewing) spots, and where to go for later flowering sakura like at Shinjukugoen & also at higher altitude like takaosan (600m); and of course I researched also the takaosan trails, and the Shinjuku restaurants!
  5. transport –  this is very key because of cost & time. In Japan it is very confusing as you have JR Pass, JR East Pass, JR Kanto Pass and all the places you want to go (like in my case Takaosan, Nikko & Kamakura, and Izu which I dropped) are served by private railways which you have to pay a hefty supplement. For example the All Nikko Pass works for Tobu Nikko Spacia trains which connect from Asakusa which means you have to plan to get from Shinjuku to Asakusa to connect. If you use the JR Passes, in order not to have to pay hefty supplements, you have to get to Tokyo Station and take the Tohoku Shinkansen line instead! See this important guide here!

and there is one more variable – the weather! you do NOT want to take a 3 hr journey to Nikko when it is raining or go to Hakone when it is downcast & you cannot see Mt Fuji! so your daily destination plan has to follow closely the weather reports which maybe wrong of course! as my good friend told me=that’s life!

anyway I was fortunate that during my 7 days in Tokyo I was blessed with glorious sunshine and pleasant weather(or perhaps it was I who blessed the Tokyo-ites haha..). 🙂 it was no compensation for missing the sakura full bloom though, but hey that’s life!

c.h.e.f andy