Experiential travelers look for the most authentic ventures, free of projected and kitschy presentations of culture. The literally underground Aoyama Shokudo restaurant, in Tokyo's Omotesando district, is that experience.
I learned that the cornerstone of Japanese gastronomy is the daikon radish. When fresh, the digestive enzyme amylase in this root vegetable aids in digestion better than a bottle of Tums. Regardless of what and how much you eat, you'll feel amazing.
Our table was crowded with assorted painted ceramic bowls. They offered classics of miso soup and tempura, but the highlights were the many vegetables. After pickling, ginger, sesame, rock salt, and lemon I began wondering why I don't eat cabbage everyday.
To compliment, we enjoyed hot buckwheat sochu, - a distilled liquor stronger and less sweet than sake- with a pickled plum on the bottom.
To continue the merriment take the elevator up. Get cozy under heat lamps with your own wool blanket - with a sochu as a cocktail this round- at Casita on the 3rd floor. For one last nightcap and sweet nibs, enjoy the view with sweets at 246 St bar on the 6th Floor.