Just a 5-minute walk from Hardy Barracks, Kourakuen is a very popular Chinese restaurant among the local salarymen. Although you may not be able to read the name in kanji, many people can recognize the chain-restaurant by its red-brick ball logo.
Summer in Japan gets scorching and steamy. Mid-summer Temperatures often reach 95 F or higher depending on the region. Along with beer, watermelon and soomen (cold udon noodle), kakigoori (shaved ice) is a popular cold food that cools us down during summer.
Even in Japan, Chinese food is a popular choice for eating out. And for those stationed at Camp Zama, Shinryu Hanten, a 10-minute drive away, has been satisfying those Chinese food cravings for 22 years.
Look down the main alleyways of most major Japanese towns and you will probably find one or two small shops with red lanterns, or “akachochin,” at their entrances. The scene is likely to be accompanied by the aroma of skewered “yakitori” chicken over hot coals and the sounds of merrymaking.
If you are new to Japan, you might not be aware that culinary wonderlands are spread under the majestic façades of department stores.
Simply go to the entrance of most any local department store and take the escalator or elevator down to discover an incredible foodie heaven.
With strict rules about etiquette, specialized lingo that puts Starbucks to shame, and an ordering system that sounds like a magic spell, Ramen Jiro is the only bowl of ramen you’ll ever have to study for.
Everything about Ramen Jiro is aggressive. Thick-as-udon, tough-as-nails noodles. Pungent mounds of raw chopped garlic. Globs of pork back fat swimming in a soy-sauce based broth. That rich unctuousness that coats your mouth and threatens to bust your gut.
Crowds of pink-haired locals shopping for the latest fashions, costumed tourists navigating Tokyo traffic on go-karts and YouTubers pulling dumb pranks in the streets are all par for the course in Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya district.