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Roppongi rhapsody

To end my day in Tokyo, I head to Gonpachi, in the heart of

Roppongi, otherwise known as the ‘Kill Bill Restaurant’ as it was

here Quentin Tarantino’s movie was filmed. It’s one of the great

movie destinations of Tokyo (another being the Karaoke-Kan in

Shibuya where the karaoke scenes in

Lost in Translation

were filmed).

The food is modern Izakaya (Japanese pub) geared towards a

Western palate. I’d recommend the set menu for 4500 yen (approx.

AUD$46) which includes 10 courses comprising an appetiser,

salmon carpaccio, fried shrimp balls, fish, chicken and wagyu beef,

plus dessert. After dinner it’s time to reflect with a nightcap from the

52nd floor of the Roppongi Hills building where the glass-walled

observatory offers superb views of the neon-lit city below. It remains

one of my treasured memories of Tokyo.

Goodnight Kitty

For a quirky place to stay in Tokyo, two new Hello Kitty-themed

rooms opened last November at the 4-star Keio Plaza Hotel in

Shinjuku, in honour of the Japanese obsession with the cartoon cat.

The rooms feature bright coloured walls and carpet covered in scenes

of Kitty and her friends, plus Kitty-themed skin care amenities, free

Hello Kitty water, stationery, wash bag and a Hello Kitty doll to

take home. Even the kettle features the famous feline. The rooms are

on the 22nd and 23rd floors with panoramic views of the Shinjuku

skyline. Room rates per night start from about $390.


Tsukumo Robot Kingdom, 4F, Tsukumo PC Store II, Akihabara;

Shinobiya, 7F EKIMISE, Yubinbango 111-0033, Asakusa.

Tokyo Skytree, 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo;

Gonpachi, 1F, 2F, 1-13-11, Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku;

Tsukiji Fish Market, 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku;

Sushi Dai, 2F Building 6, Tsukiji Market;

Tokyo Ramen Street, First Avenue Tokyo Station, B1F Yaesu South Exit; tokyoeki-1bangai.

Neko JaLaLa Cat Café, 1F, 3-5-5 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku;

Cat Café Kyariko Shinjuku, 1-16-2 Kabukichō, Shinjuku-ku;

Tokyo Robot Restaurant, B2F Shinjuku Robot Bldg, 1-7-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku;

Keio Plaza Hotel, 2-2-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku;

Narisawa, 2-6-15 Minami Ayoyma, Minato-ku;


| BNE July/August 2015


Tokyo has around 160,000 restaurants, more than any other

city in the world. Anywhere you go, you’ll be within a few

paces of a good, if not great, restaurant.

Ramen is one of Japan’s national foods. Some of the best

ramen restaurants can be found at Tokyo Ramen Street, in

the basement at Tokyo Station. The longest lines are always at

Rokurinsha where people are known to wait well over an hour

for a seat. A bowl of the delicious noodles costs around 1000

yen (AUD$10).

For an ‘only in Tokyo’ experience, try out one of the quirky

themed restaurants. From cat cafés, such as Cat Café Kyariko

in Shinjuku where you’ll be surrounded by playful kitties,

to a robot restaurant featuring mind-blowing light shows,

these whacky eateries offer an insight to what amuses the

Japanese. At a rabbit café, you’re likely to spot a Japanese

businessman in full suit and tie, snuggling up to a fluffy white

bunny. The food is standard but that’s not the attraction. You

need to let yourself be immersed in the quirkiness of the


At the other end of the scale, Narisawa consistently

appears on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Chef

Narisawa flawlessly creates each dish with imagination – and

a little drama, with dishes named ‘Life and Death’ and ‘Gifts

from Nature’. While it may not be cheap, the 10-course

tasting menu dinner will set you back around AUD$300,

the experience of enjoying a meal with the finest Japanese

ingredients, prepared by one of Japan’s top chefs, is priceless.

Life and Death

at Narisawa

Qantas begins four return direct flights a week

between Brisbane and Tokyo (Narita) on its A330

aircraft from 1 August. See