Cafe Restaurant Gusto

Gusto (full name Cafe Restaurant Gusto) is one of the largest nationwide family restaurant chains in Japan and is part of the Skylark Group. They're dotted all over Tokyo and other major city centres but are also found roadside on the outskirts of many towns, usually with parking available. Just look out for the red circle logo which says “café” in English followed by: ガスト which means “Gusto” in katakana. The restaurant is a great choice for patrons of all ages and offers a variety of Japanese takes on western dishes including hambagu, pasta, chicken and much more at low prices.

Restaurant review: Jonathan's

Jonathan's Restaurant (a member of the Skylark group) is a Japanese family restuarant chain with the tag line 'coffee and restaurant'. Their website states that they serve 'dishes using distinctively premium ingredients especially for our female customers' and that the restaurants are found mainly around the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Hotel Review: Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu

Established in 1887, Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu is actually Matsumoto's oldest hotel and we stayed there hotel for one night as part of a road trip around central/northern Honshu. The hotel was easy to locate and is very close to Matsumoto Castle and within walking distance of Matsumoto Station as well as a plethora of shops, bars and restaurants.

A visit to the Pompompurin Cafe

Cute Cube Harajuku opened in 2014 and is a whole world of cuteness. It's a 3 storey complex housing shops and cafes for the kawaii obsessed and one of it's star attractions is the Pom Pom Purin Cafe on the third floor.

For those of you not already acquainted Pom Pom Purin is a beret wearing Golden Retriever character created by Sanrio with a following in Asia, not quite on the scale of Hello Kitty yet but he is very popular. I think he is certainly one of the cutest characters and was desperate to visit the cafe for my birthday.

Kura Sushi: Tablet ordering, fun, cheap, un-conventional sushi!

Kura Sushi is a restaurant I’d read about extensively online before visiting and the menu looked so intriguing that it just had to be done! It’s a conveyer belt sushi restaurant with several locations and the venue we chose to visit is approximately a 10 minute walk from the East side of Shinagawa Station. It's not very easy to spot from street level so I strongly suggest looking at Google Street View before going there.

Gyudon (beef bowls) and where to eat them

Gyudon (牛丼) is a popular Japanese dish that literally translates as beef bowl. Gyuu is the prefix for anything to do with cows i.e. beef, and don is short for donburi, which is the Japanese word for "bowl". The dish consists of rice topped with thinly sliced beef and onions that have been cooked in a sweet sauce.

There are three large fast food gyudon chains across Japan and we’ve sampled them all. Here we review them in the order that we tried them!

Hotel Review - Citadines Karasuma-Gojo Kyoto

We booked to stay at this apartment hotel in Kyoto for 3 nights during our first trip to Japan together and we really loved it. In fact, this was our first experience of a serviced apartment and we haven’t looked back. Having a kitchenette, dining table and separate living space are now almost travel must-haves and it’s all down to this fantastic property.

Get your greed on for a set price – All-you-can-eat restaurants in Japan

Tabehodai – is the Japanese word which basically translates into ‘all you can eat’ and is a good one to learn. It is often accompanied by Nomihodai – ‘all you can drink’, which is an essential word to learn if you ask me!

All you can eat in Japan is in a completely different league to that found in the west. Whilst you can find the enormous buffets offering a variety of cuisines there are also specialty restaurants ranging from all you can eat natto to cookies and ice cream and, my personal favourites, those where you collect your food from a buffet and cook it at your table.