Category Archives: FOOD

First look at Kengo Kuma design for first Starbucks Reserve Roastery branch in Japan

starbucks kengo kuma nakameguro tokyo reserve roastery

Starbucks is opening its first Starbucks Reserve Roastery branch in Japan in 2019 at a location in the trendy Tokyo district of Nakameguro. Designed by the architect Kengo Kuma, the branch will open on February 28th, 2019, overlooking the Meguro River. The food menu will be supervised by famed Italian baker Rocco Princi, an established partner with the coffee shop chain.

Starbucks has now released a publicity image giving a preview of how the debut Japanese Starbucks Reserve Roastery branch will look.

starbucks kengo kuma nakameguro tokyo reserve roastery

This is not the first Starbucks branch that Kengo Kuma has designed. He also created the stunning outlet in Dazaifu, Fukuoka, that employed some 2,000 pieces of wood batons. Moreover, he recently designed a striking Starbucks branch in Taiwan out of shipping containers.

Probably the most in-demand architect in Japan right now, Kengo Kuma’s current slate of projects includes the New National Stadium that will form the key venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, an additional station on the Yamanote Line, a luxury hotel in Ginza, a museum attached to Meiji Shrine, and a hotel in central Kyoto set to open in 2019.

Nakameguro is a popular area for eating out, with its riverside scenery offering picturesque settings for dining and drinking. It is also a well-known hub for the creative industries, resulting in a steady supply of hipsters. Not surprisingly, then, the district already has its fair share of stylish coffee shops and cafes, including a branch of Blue Bottle.

Starbucks previously opened a branch inspired by traditional Japanese crafts in the nearby neighborhood of Meguro on the ground floor of its corporate headquarters.

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Craft Beer Bars Japan - Hicra: Asakusabashi


This small neigbhorhood bar has a stylish, minimalist decor and specializes in craft beers and highball cocktails. The ten taps dispense beers from well-regarded breweries like Full Sail, Sierra Nevada, Outsider and Shiga Kogen, while the highball menu offers a good assortment of whiskies and your choice of five different soda-water mixers.

In spite of the small kitchen area, the food menu is quite a bit better than that of most bars, with appetizing snacks like garlic-fried shrimp and marinated swordfish, available in both full and half-size portions. Both beer and food prices are a bit higher than average, with medium-size beers going for Y900-1100. Currently it’s the only place serving craft beer in the immediate Asakasubashi area, and as such it could be a good stop on a bar-hopping tour of the neighborhood. …continue reading


Healthy Lunch Ideas For Each Day Of The Week

When I shared my last Savvy Tokyo article “Healthy Breakfast Ideas For Each Day of The Week” on my Facebook page, someone commented: “thankkkk you for this! now can you make one for me for lunch and dinner too???” Of course, I say, this is what I’m here for, so here it is — just for you my savvy ladies, a list of seven healthy lunch ideas for each day of the week. Each recipe is highly customizable and very easy to assemble. I hope that they please your bellies as much as they do mine.

Monday: Puffy Cakes with Toppings

Mondays are hard. Let’s start with something easy. Puffy cakes (rice, corn, quinoa, buckwheat, or combinations) are fuss-free and as versatile as a toast. I like mine with smashed avocado, smoked salmon, goat’s feta, cucumber slices and fresh basil. I also like basil pesto, mozzarella and fresh tomato. On Mondays when I don’t feel sweet enough I like two additional combinations: peanut butter, fresh berries and maple syrup or unsweetened yogurt, honey and pistachios.

Tuesday: Cold Soba Salad

In addition to being super delicious (my second favorite Japanese food after tofu) and hugely accessible in Japan, soba noodles offer a low-carb/calorie alternative to wheat pasta. Simply cook 8 ounces of soba as per packet instructions, rinse and let cool in a large bowl. Add in chopped favorite vegetables, herbs, nuts and/or seeds of choice (I used tomato, capsicum, cucumber, spring onion, cooked and shelled edamame beans, fresh basil, sesame seeds, and peanuts). For the dressing, combine 3 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, juice of half a lemon or a lime and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to a small jar and shake to combine. Add in the dressing and …continue reading


Super Cheap Tokyo Book Review

Super Cheap Tokyo Budget Travel Guide

Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities on the planet with its mix of the traditional, from historic temples and colourful shrines to the ultramodern, with neon-lit skyscrapers and pop culture. Tokyo has it all. With so much to see and do in Tokyo, it can be overwhelming trying to plan a travel itinerary without the right travel guide.

The Book’s Content

Super Cheap Tokyo is the ultimate budget travel guide to exploring Japan’s capital on a shoestring budget. The travel guide covers the greater Tokyo metropolis and the surrounding Kanto region on the cheap. Unlike other Tokyo guides, this book shows you exactly how, where and when you can save money.

The book covers a wide range of money saving tips such as how to grab a traditional Japanese meal for only $3, buy clothes in the fashion mecca, Harajuku for under $10, and how to spend next to nothing on a day’s hiking or relaxing in a Japanese garden.

Inside the book you will find:

Budget food – a comprehensive list of low-cost restaurants, take-outs and supermarkets.
Budget shopping – the best tax-free shopping, shopping hot-spots and 100-yen stores.
Highlights and itineraries – based on discount subway and train passes, so you can explore while keeping the costs down.
Tokyo’s hidden treasures – walking routes to all the hot spots and must see places to visit.
Cheap accommodation – the best and cheapest hostels, budget hotels, family-friendly hotels, internet cafes, overnight spas and more.

My View

Why I really like this book? It is compact and easy to use with all the information and tips at your fingertips. I like how the book provides a quick guide on how to use it and some useful information about Tokyo before moving into …continue reading