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From Sushi to Sake: A Tokyo Travelogue

After a recent trip to Tokyo, Damien Joubert-Winn of Delaire Graff Estate shares some of his most memorable experiences in and around the capital city of Japan

By Leigh Herringer

Sushi: Matsunozushi

Finger sushi at Matsunozushi

What started as a street stall in 1910, Matsunozushi is the perfect place to introduce diners to the rich history and culture of Edo-style sushi within a traditional Japanese restaurant setting. I tasted toro (bluefin tuna) like I’ve never experienced before. Owner Yoshinori Tezuka, aka Yoshi, is a fourth-generation chef. matsunozushi.com

Shopping: Ginza Six and Hashichō Home Store in Ginza Natsuno

Tokyo’s famous shopping district is home to Ginza Six – 14 floors of luxury stores, restaurants, galleries, and a rooftop garden. ginza6.tokyo

Visit the Hashichō home store in Ginza Natsuno to buy your own chopsticks – I was amazed by the selection and wasn’t sure if the chopsticks were to choose me or I was to choose the chopsticks. The surrounding mall has an array of shops set amongst the Ritz Carlton. hashicho.com 

Spa: HAAB Dream Beauty Clinic 

I had an experimental HAAB exosome and stem-cell treatment with a massage and it was beyond incredible. It felt like I’d been renewed both inside and out, and I still felt the difference two days after the treatment. The massage was one of the best I’ve ever had. haab.clinic

Ramen: Ramenya Lida-Shōten, Yugawara

 

Owner Lida produces every element of the bowl, sourcing only the best ingredients and using his own ramen recipe. The restaurant is unpretentious, and Lida’s ramen tastes like it’s been nurtured from the closest of family members. It took me back to my grandmother’s dining table when she would cook and serve love in a bowl. Order the shoyu ramen. About 90 minutes from Tokyo to Yugawara station on the TR Tokaido Line Rapid, but it’s worth the trip. r.iidashouten.com  

Stay: 1-Chome

I recommend staying around the Imperial Palace in the 1-Chome district as you can walk, jog, or just take in the garden surroundings. Aman Tokyo is an incredible hotel; however, the ANA InterContinental is perfect for business trips. aman.com, anaintercontinental-tokyo.jp

Robatayaki: Roppongi Inakaya

On my first evening in Tokyo, I had dinner at one of the top robatayaki restaurants in Japan, which has hosted US presidents, film stars and music legends. At an open-style bar counter, we were presented with the freshest produce to choose from, such as lobster claw, crab, Kinki fish, and seasonal vegetables. It’s a sensory overload and an abundance of choice as chefs skilfully prepare and serve your chosen dish on long wooden paddles. roppongiinakaya.jp 

Caviar-making: Hal Caviar

Exquisite dishes at Restaurant Caviar Haruno

I was invited by Hal Caviar in Hanuro to mix my own caviar. After sampling salts from all over the world, I chose one to enhance the caviar to my preferred palate. My unique recipe was served exclusively to me at lunch. In a dinner setting, this caviar is also served at Restaurant CAVIAR Haruno. It’s also one of the few restaurants where you’re able to enjoy sturgeon and a full portfolio of Delaire Graff Estate wines including the Laurence Graff Reserve. halpremium.com 

Sake: Roppongi Inakaya

I’ve always liked Sake, but after this trip, I’m bonded to it and the people I drank it with. Unfortunately, what import markets are exposed to is a fraction of the rabbit well, and it is wonderfully deep. The Sake at Roppongi Inakaya was served in a masu generously overspilling into a saucer. Sake Bar O is a private members’ bar and is a secret Tokyo gem. roppongiinakaya.jp; @sakebaro 

Sights: Sensoji Temple

Visit the Sensoji Temple – the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo built in the year 628. It is surrounded by shops and stalls where you can grab a snack or souvenir while you soak up the atmosphere of old Tokyo’s Asakusa district. Japan’s famous cherry blossoms, known as Sakura, are best to see in late March or early April. 

Sunset: Glamday Resort

Sitting in a private open-air hot spring with views across the Pacific Ocean and Hatsushima. At the Glamday resort in Atami Shizuoka, you can rent a villa in a coastline forest with four bedrooms, its own hot spring, a spacious living area and a private chef. glamdayvilla.jp

Damien is the head of marketing and PR at Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch. He is also a specialist in fine wine and luxury brands and has worked all over the world.

 

 

 

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