Experience, Gourmet, Lifestyle,

Join the “World Cards” game and find your new favorite shop!

World Cards

In my last article, I introduced the “Minato Ward Embassy Roundabout Stamp Rally” which is being held as part of the event “Minato Ward World Festival 2018” in Tokyo. Today, I would like to talk about another event that you can join during the time period until March 25: the “Minato City Shopping Street World Card Rally”.

“Minato Ward Shopping Street World Card Rally” is a game. You have to collect “World Cards” which you get when shopping or eating at shops listed in the “passport” that I introduced in my last article (or just look at the official HP). When you collect 5 cards, you can participate in the lottery on March 25 at the “World Carnival”. But in my opinion, what makes this event so fun is the fact that you get the chance to visit shops and restaurants you have never been before. It’s a great opportunity to discover shops loved by the locals that won’t appear in guidebooks for tourists!

Authentic Italian and exquisite gelato

The first shop my friends and I chose was the Italian restaurant “Bar del Sole” in Akasaka-Mitsuke. It’s a small restaurant attached to a hotel with a surprising variety of lunch services.

Bar del Sole

Bar del Sole

At lunch, male customers get a free drink on Mondays while everyone gets all-you-can-eat Italian gelato on rainy days. Two of the three lunch pasta were seafood, one was meat based. But you can also choose a combination of a meat dish and a pasta dish of your choice. The portions were just right and the pasta tasted fantastic. However, the biggest surprise was the gelato. The gelato at Bar del Sole is the best gelato I’ve had in a long time!! In addition to Japanese flavors such as “yuzu” (a Japanese citrus fruit) and “Kinako black honey”, they had “Italian” options, such as chocolate and pistachio. If there is another chance of an all-you-can-eat gelato at “Bar del Sole”, I’ll definitely be there!!

We got our first world cards!

We got our first world cards (China)

Have you ever been in a “junkissa” – a classic café?

For coffee, we visited the café “Café la Mille” on the first floor of an old building in front of JR Shimbashi station. There are several stores of “Café la Mille” all over Tokyo, but if you visit, the Shimbashi store in the city of office workers is best!

Shinbashi

In the heart of Shinbashi (or Shimbashi) – behind us: the big building with “Café la Mille”

“Café la Mille” is a type of café which could be explained like this: a café that Japanese people 50 years ago in the Showa area would imagine as “European-style”. These cafés are called “junkissa” (pure café) in Japanese. Usually, they come with a dark wooden interior and some Art Deco style decor.

Cafe la Mille

The waiter is serving Irish coffee – still “burning” hot

They have many types of coffee – even Irish coffee, which is rather rare in Japan. The coffee comes in retro high-quality porcelain. Aristocratic vibes! Also, the cake is great, which is always a big plus!

(By the way, the world cards we got were “Eritrea”.)

Cafe la mille

Quality coffee and a variety of cakes in a calm atmosphere

Seppuku sweets!

There is a small Japanese confectionary shop named “Shinshodoh” 10 minutes on foot from JR Shimbashi station. The shop here is famous for its “seppuku monaka” (= harakiri monaka) sweets. Why are these sweets called “harakiri” sweets? Take a look here, and you will find the answer!

Shinshodoh

We took a photo with Mr. Watanabe, a very humorous guy. If you ever go to see him, please tell him that you saw him on a Visit Minato City blog post!

Dinner at a historic eel restaurant

For dinner, we chose the eel restaurant “Torikadoya” located in the immediate vicinity of “Shinshodoh”. It’s, a high-class “una-ju” restaurant. “una-ju” is a popular eel meal with baked eel fillets on rice that are glazed with a sweetened soy-based sauce. We also had “oyako-ju” (the “chicken equivalent of ‘una-ju‘).

eel unagi

Baked eel!

Depending on the country, eel cuisine comes in different styles. (In my home country Germany, we eat eel soup.) Anyways, when you come to Japan, you should definitely try Japanese “una-ju“. The tender, slightly sweet eel and rice are in perfect harmony and taste delicious!

Una-ju

Una-ju comes in a square container

For those who don’t get excited about fish, chicken “oyako-ju” is the answer. This restaurant was originally specializing in chicken dishes, so chicken dishes here are as good as the delicious eel ones! ^ ^

Torikadoya

Photo in front of “Torikadoya” with the owner

How did you like the shops (OK, there were all restaurants and cafes)? I discovered a lot of restaurants which became new favorites and that I’ll definitely visit again. How about you? Why don’t you step outside tourist guidebooks paths and find a local “favorite”?


Store information:

World Festival Official HP (Japanese):
http://www.world-festival.jp/card-rally/index.html

Bar del Sole – Akasaka
http://www.delsole.st/store/akasaka/index.html
APA Villa Hotel Akasaka-Mitsuke 1F, 3-19-10 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Café la Mille – Shinbashi
http://www.cafe-la-mille.com
2-16-1 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Shinshodoh – Shinbashi
http://www.shinshodoh.co.jp
4-27-2 Shinbashi Minato-ku, Tokyo

Torikadoya – Shinbashi
https://www.city.minato.tokyo.jp/gomigenryou/tabekiri/0035torikadoya.html
Shinbashi Suzuki Building 1F, 4-27-9 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

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I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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