Dinner in Shinjuku
On our first visit to Tokyo a few years back, Mrs d2t decided she wanted to eat somewhere that looked Japanese. As we had only 4 nights in Japan in total, split between the beautiful Kyoto and the capital Tokyo, another requirement was that the restaurant was close to the Park Hyatt where we were staying. Having been shocked by the price of Shinkansen tickets, the last stipulation was that dinner should be a reasonable price.
Surprisingly, on our afternoon stroll around Shinjuku, we spotted the sliding wooden doors and red lantern denoting a restaurant (Yakichi) down a side road near Isetan (see the map to the right). As we perused the menu, trays of mouth-watering fresh fish were being delivered. We had to return, so after browsing the foodhall at Isetan, wandering the streets in the area, full of fashion-forward teenagers, we returned to the hotel and found the surprisingly affordable sample menu online. A quick conversation with concierge and a table was booked for that night - the last one available.
Shinjuku at night is a blast of colour, light and people. This is a lively part of town and offers fantastic people-watching opportunities. The walk from the Park Hyatt to the restaurant was a fascinating tour through both Shinjuku Central Park and the world's busiest railway station. Although we were tempted by the tiny restaurants in Omoide Yokocho (also known as Piss Alley) we were glad that we ventured as far as Yakichi, the restaurant we had found earlier.
On entry, it became clear that no-one spoke English, but it was easy enough to converse in international "sign language" and there was an English-language menu available! After removing our shoes, we were shown into a small dining room to one side with just two tables. Sitting low down in a semi-private dining room was just what we had been looking for. In addition to the great atmosphere, the food was delicious - particular highlights were the green tea and wasabi rice, the sashimi and the tempura vegetables. If you're looking for a tasty and affordable Japanese dinner in Tokyo, we definitely recommend Yakichi.
Wandering home through the streets we were overwhelmed by the vibrancy of this city. We stumbled upon one of the many Pachinko halls where the grey suited journeymen burn off their frustrations before heading home. The name supposedly comes from the sound the balls make. Let me tell you the only sound you hear on entering is a mind-deadening roar. I've stood next to the runway at LCY as planes took off and Pachinko is definitely louder.