Chinese restaurant Kogetsu, run by Kazuo Yamanaka, stands quietly at Ikenohata near Ueno Park, its structure witness to the transformation of the capital from Edo to Tokyo.
The wooden building, dating to the early Showa Era (1926-1989), used to be an inn opened by Yamanaka's grandfather late in his life. The combination of a vintage building in the old district and authentic Chinese cuisine may give people pause for thought, but it was born out of the chef's strong wish to turn what he loved into a vocation.
South Korean popular culture has long been a draw for young people, not just at home but right across Asia.
And thousands of visitors to a special event in Tokyo this week got to enjoy a taste of Seoul, in the Japanese capital.
Dozens of businesses and organizations took part in the first-ever privately staged event of its kind to be held in Japan. They came together to offer a range of Korean music, food and cosmetics currently popular with women in Japan.
Once upon a time, the most popular type of miso in Tokyo was something called "Edo sweet miso."
With a proud history dating back to the Edo period, Edo sweet miso is an essential component of Edo-style dishes such as Yanagawa nabe, a hot pot dish made with pond loach. Even now, it is cherished by miso afficionados such as professional chefs, despite the dominant presence of miso from the Shinshu region in today's market.
Takashi Tsumagari not only runs Cake House Tsumagari in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, but also acts as an "ingredient hunter" for his confectionery, seeking the finest ingredients.
The 67-year-old pastry chef uses milk from free-range cows kept in a coastal area of the Tohoku region, spring water from Mie Prefecture and almonds from Sicily.
Kuruminoki, a cafe-cum-grocery store, can be found next to the Japan Railways track in a residential area of Nara dotted with little old temples. It is easy to spot, as people line up to secure one of the 80 lunch servings offered each day.
A native of Takamatsu, Yukiko Ishimura, who opened the store 33 years ago, was living at that time in Nara's suburbs after getting married.
Nutritionist Susumu Matsumaru was a bit disappointed with the answers he received to his question posed to elementary school pupils in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward.
"You all know that there are great places and delicious dishes around Japan," he told the children. "What do you like about Tokyo, your hometown?"
Once a picky eater, nutritionist Susumu Matsumaru racks his brains to make lunches that children will love at an elementary school in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward.
As a child, Matsumaru, now 34, was encouraged by a nutritionist at his elementary school to "try at least a bite" of meals he was reluctant to eat. Young Matsumaru would take small bites.
Cherry tomatoes and powdered cheese in miso soup may take some by surprise, and all the more so if the process begins by cooking "shimeji" mushrooms in water instead of making soup stock with dried kelp.
"These ingredients happen to release the umami (savory) elements," says Sally Hiramatsu, the 28-year-old "science-based cooking expert," who has a talent for conveying the mechanisms of how tastiness comes about through cooking from a scientific perspective.
The Yomiuri ShimbunNARA — The 69th Annual Exhibition of Shoso-in Treasures gives visitors the opportunity to admire many artifacts from the vast collection of the repository in Nara. The collection was begun more than 1,000 years ago, and all the treasures have been preserved in remarkably good condition. Many pieces were made by highly skilled craftspeople and feature details that originated in regions along the Silk Road.
The exhibition will be held at the Nara National Museum from Oct. 28 to Nov. 13. Fifty-eight works, including 10 items to be on show at the annual event for the first time, will be on display.
"Ryukyu," the leaf stalk of "hasuimo" (colocasia gigantea), is a summer vegetable of Kochi Prefecture. Considering that the Ryukyu Islands are a southern chain that includes Okinawa, one might ask, "Why is ryukyu in Kochi?"
According to legend, it was introduced from Okinawa, and the name took root in Kochi.
Tomi Matsuba has been advocating a "lifestyle with roots" from Iwami Ginzan, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Oda, Shimane Prefecture.
The 67-year-old designer of the clothing brand Gungendo also renovates traditional-style old houses and writes books emphasizing the wisdom of time-honored ways of life.