Asakusa – Bengara

You can’t walk around Japan without seeing the beautiful noren hanging in the doorways of shops and restaurants, but what if you wanted a unique one to take home as a souvenir? The ability to custom order a noren combined with a friendly owner who can communicate fairly well in English makes Bengara the place…

Asakusa – Matcha Azuki Kakigori

Although you can technically get this traditional summer dessert all over Japan, it seems fitting to eat it in Asakusa, a neighborhood of Tokyo steeped in tradition. A mountain of razor thin sliced ice drizzled with milk and covered with matcha (green tea) powder, finally topped with a scoop of sweet azuki red beans. On…

Asakusa – Getaya

Though the business card says “Since 1912”, talk to the owner and he says Getaya has been in the business of traditional Japanese footwear for 116 years. If you want high quality, Japanese-handcrafted geta (wooden shoes) or zori (vinyl and more formal), Getaya has a huge selection. You can even choose the wooden base you…

Tawaramachi – Iriya Plus Cafe

While Starbucks shops can be found all over Tokyo these days, when you need something a little more quiet and out of the way, slip away to Iriya Plus Cafe in a sleepy neighborhood west of Asakusa station. Iriya serves an excellent cup of Sumatra and its lunch specials include a healthy panini sandwich. While…