If you are looking for something out of the ordinary when it comes to restaurants in central Tokyo, I can wholeheartedly recommend 246COMMON in Omotesando, very close to Omotesando subway station. According to their website, it is a collective of cafes, restaurants, designers and makers who have gotten together in an unusual mix of entrepreneurs, chain stores and big corporations to create a rather wild open air food court in the middle of the most fashionable place on Earth. I have been in this spot hundreds of times as it has put to various uses over the years, the land itself probably the victim of the burst property bubble in the early nineties, I have seen it used as everything from a gallery spot to a car park to a farmers market. You might remember the post I did on the Hakushu Whiskey the other day, that cafe is at the far end of this spot. It gets buys later at night but it is by no means really discovered yet, so if you are in the area for lunch, dinner or drinks this summer, I really recommend heading over to try it out, There’s also a few stores selling handicrafts, and who wouldn’t want to buy handmade shoes while eating a vegetable burger and sipping champagne? I wish more of the urban blight areas in our cities could be put to instant creative use in this manner!
One of the main reason I love driving around the country side in Japan are the roadside farmer’s markets literally everywhere around the countryside. From the smallest (cardboard boxes of vegetables and a tin can to put your money in) to rural coops with staff and great stuff like local wine, honey, sake, tofu or fruits. Traveling around Shizuoka’s Izu peninsula last week I stopped at this one to buy a few kilos of cheap fruits, one of my purchases being the huge tangerine/orange hybrid called dekopon. Yeah, I hadn’t heard of it before either. It tastes like orange but sweeter and peels like a tangerine. In Tokyo they sometimes sell for as much as 800 yen per fruit but in the countryside you can usually buy at the orchards (like I did) for 800 yen per bag. Excellent stuff! Next time you go on a Japanese road-trip, don’t forget to stop and sample the local produce!