Good Eats, Sweet Treats

Assistant Editor Skye Mayring blogs about the tasty treats she encounters in Japan's Kanto region.

One of my favorite aspects of traveling to far-away places is the opportunity to broaden my palate a bit, trying something that I could probably never replicate in my own kitchen. It's those singular culinary experiences that had me steadily swooning in Japan. Here's a mere taste of my adventures in good eats...

Japan treats 1 // (c) Skye Mayring 2009


After touring Yokohama's Kotokuin Temple and Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, a lunch of Buddhist cuisine or shojin ryori seemed most appropriate. I'm not sure if the custom has anything to do with Buddhist belief but, as an aperitif, we were served a small serving of plum wine in a ceramic cup. The arrangements of seasonal veggies and soy protein appeared modest, but packed a myriad of flavors in almost every bite.

Japan treats 2 // (c) Skye Mayring 2009


If you love sushi, Tokyo will smile upon you. I snapped this photo of my "dessert" course at the ninja-themed, contemporary restaurant, Ninja. Not only did I have sushi for dessert, that morning I also had it for breakfast at the Tsukiji Fish Market.

Japan treats 3 // (c) Skye Mayring 2009


Prior to having matcha or green tea during a Japanese tea ceremony, it is common to receive a plate of sugary sweets to offset the bitterness of the tea. These adorable cubes tasted pretty much like pure sugar, but with a red bean filling. Look closely and you can make out an intricate design of the three-story pagoda in Sankeien Park. 

Japan treats 4 // (c) Skye Mayring 2009


Tempura is another staple for the first-time visitor to Japan. It comes in most bento lunches, and some restaurants, such as Sansada in Asakusa, serve nothing but tempura entrees.

Japan treats 5 // (c) Skye Mayring 2009


Soft serve ice cream of all flavors, such as green tea, plum blossom and vanilla are found in most high-traffic tourist destinations in the Kanto region. Depending on the prefecture’s most popular agricultural crop, you could be walking around with a cone of wasabi-, sweet potato- or soy sauce-flavored ice cream while admiring the sites.

Japan treats 6 // (c) Skye Mayring 2009


I was really taken a back with the general presentation of food in Japan. Here, we unwrapped our three-level Kabuki bento box at Chiyofuku restaurant in the nostalgic and rather lovely city of Sawara.