Today is officially the first day of Spring, and that means just one thing: cherry blossom season is just around the corner. Hanami, as it’s called in Japan, is one of the most popular national pastimes. And one of the most important aspects of hanami – second only to location – is food. For those too lazy to cook (like us), we present you with a few seasonal takeout bento options you can pick up in Tokyo that will certainly impress your friends!
Sushi Aoki in ginza offers several takeout options that start at 3000 yen. But if you’re going to, you might as well go all out with their Temarizushi: ball-shaped sushi that are delicious and easy to eat. The selection depends upon the time of year (they don’t offer these in the summer) so you know you’ll be getting something seasonally appropriate. At 15,000 yen it’s a little pricey but definitely worth it. If you’re feeling extravagant, compliment I with the ebi-chirashi (20,000 yen). The brightly colored bed of shrimp will go perfectly with those pink petals.
At the Japanese restaurant Fuka, located within the Conrad Hotel, each year they offer special hanami-viewing-takeout-bentos whose colors and flavors are carefully orchestrated to match the hues of a warm spring day. Owner and head chef Katsuhiro Tamura adoringly named this double-decker bento Harubiyori, which loosely translates as “spring day.” And it’s priced at 5000 yen. The catch is that they only make 10 a day and they have a strict 1-per-person policy. You’ll need to call at least 5 days in advance to reserve yours.
Ginza sushi restaurant Asami also offers their take on the seasonal take-out bento. Pictured on their website are reasonably priced 2500 yen and 3000 yen options but they also offer 5250 yen and 8400 yen options that you’ll need to call and inquire about. Crammed inside are over 20 different dishes and they rotate their menu depending on the season, which means you can utilize them all year around.
Inari Kazuya was the best-kept-secret among lovers of inari-zushi, the deep-fried tofu pockets stuffed with rice. That is until it was featured on the popular TV show Matsuko no Shiranai Sekai. The shop is rather unique in that there’s no website and no sign outside (but all the information you need is on Tabelog). In fact, the entire operation is run out of an nondescript apartment. You need to call and make reservations. Then, show up at the indicated time and place and a women will hand you the most delicious inari-zushi you’ve ever had. They come in 2 flavors and the home-made pickled ginger compliments the dish perfectly.