Eastern Scene by Emily Harman


As I write this, I sit on a Japanese high speed train known as Shinkansen or Bullet Train. I have spent a week eating and drinking around Tokyo and several days in Kyoto. Today I leave Kyoto to go north to Nagano to the mountains to take a few restorative days in the snow and quiet and hopefully I will catch a glimpse of a snow monkey or two, before returning back to Tokyo for another week. This trip is my second to Japan and is far from being my last.

Being a closed country for so many years means that Japan has kept hold of it’s unique identity and shows little influence of other places. Tokyo is a city with so much to give that it guarantees that you will never be bored and you will 99% of the time, eat incredibly well and often at surprisingly reasonable prices.

This years trip was organised around an incredibly special restaurant reservation. I had managed to attain a seat at one of the most elusive pop ups of recent years, Noma at the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo. This meant I would get to eat the food of one of my favourite restaurants, in the worlds most exciting city – to say I was exciting, was an understatement.

With the help of several foodies, sommeliers and wine writers – I have been lucky enough to acquire an eating and drinking list that could keep any serious foodie occupied for months. I have been eating bowls of Ramen and handmade cold Soba noodles for under a tenner for lunch and making my way around as much wine, martinis and sake as I can in the evenings.

I really want to use this trip to explore the wine scene here. I have learnt through my travels that everything in this marvellous country is well thought out to an incredibly high standard. Food, drink and the way in which these are served to you are considered and worked at to the point of perfection. Wine and the experiences with it seem to be no exception.

Stay tuned for more on wine in Japan….