Travel Series: Tokyo, Japan, Yurakucho Bunka Yokocho

Touhoku Mutsumi
東北 むつ味:+81-3-3597-7881

Our flight arrived in Narita at around 9:30pm on a Sunday night so I knew we would have a hard time finding a place to eat. Tokyo may be known as the city that never sleeps but many restaurants are owned independently and they prefer to close on Sundays. We were saying in Shiodome, close to Shinbashi, a bustling business district, so it was dead on a Sunday night. After we checked into the hotel it was already close to 11pm. We walked around the Shinbashi station with no luck (we walked into an okonomiyaki shop but they said their last order was already over), so we took a cab to Yurakucho Bunka Yokocho (aka “guard rail” yokocho because it’s under the railway tracks). We really didn’t have to take a cab but my Google maps was acting weird, saying that it would be a 20 minute walk.

Yurakucho  Yokocho20140601_235111

I had done my research and Yurakucho Bunka Yokocho was my backup plan because they are open 24 hours. It’s actually a cool spot- a group of izakayas that represent the different regions of Japan. We ended up in Touhoku (Northeast) Mutsumi, but there was also Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shizuoka. We were tempted to go into the one bite gyoza shop but they only had ramen, fried rice and gyoza.

Touhoku Mutsumi had a pretty extensive menu for both food and beverages. We ordered hoppy (low alcohol beer typically served with shochu) and a fresh tomato shochu cocktail (known as chu-hai, abbreviated for “shochu high ball”). There was one person working in the kitchen and one in front of the house. There were only two other tables occupied so service was super fast. We ordered cabbage with shio konbu (salted kelp), cucumber with salt and sesame oil, grilled hata hata (whole fish), braised miso motsu (pork intestine), grilled ichiya boshi ika (squid dried for one night) and rei-men (cold potato starch noodles, Korean style). While looking through the menu I noticed that they actually deliver the one bite gyoza for you. You prepay and they go next door to order it and then they bring it over. Super primitive but super clever! So we ordered the one bite gyoza, which were good. Considering this place is open 24 hours, everything was very good! Nothing outstanding, and I’m sure the ingredients were not the freshest, especially on a Sunday night, but I would highly recommend this place for a late night snack/meal.

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