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Santa Maria delle Grazie is the location of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. That's reason enough to go, but the church itself is very pretty.
Banffshire Club is the fine dining restaurant at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The ambiance is very traditional, sort of men's club feel with plush carpet and padded leather chairs. Service is excellent. The menu features game as well the other meats and vegetarian options prepared with French cuisine techniques. The wine list is award winning.
This is a very good little sushi bar in the Banff Springs Hotel. There's also a small Japanese restaurant that features hot pots. The Banff Springs hosts a lot of guests from Japan so the restaurant has to be good. It isn't exactly like Japan but a good North American style sushi bar.
This is a great looking pub or more like a gastropub. The PUB stands for public urban bar. The place is named after George Stephen, Baron Mount Stephen and is located in a former bank building that at various times has housed other restaurants. This time the interior includes a balcony so more can fit into the high ceiling space. A large bar features on the main floor. The menu has a lot of variety with both small and large plates of what look like creative dishes such as tuna tartare, spicy chicken quinoa salad and short rib grilled cheese sandwiches. These were all very tasty. The drinks menu is also wide ranging with a lot more than beer including a cocktail list. Specials on drinks feature on a rotating basis which is in keeping with the pub atmosphere as are the many tv screens playing sports. This place just opened in January. Hope it keeps up it's promising beginning.
Narita airport is big and busy but well laid out. Check the airport maps if you're looking for a specific place. Signage is good and available in English. There are many shops and places to eat including some very good sushi. The only downside is how far the airport is from central Tokyo.
If you travel within Japan, the shinkansen or bullet train is the way to go. You don't even need to book ahead. The trains have cars of unreserved seating or if it's really crowded, you can stand. The train gets you from centre to centre instead of some location on the edge of a city. Bathrooms are up to the usual Japanese standards of cleanliness. So much more convenient than airplanes.
The main street in Ginza is another architectural showpiece street. There is of course restaurants and shopping but just viewing the buildings makes this area worthy of a visit. You can see Mikimoto 2 Building by Toyo Ito, Maison Hermes by Renzo Piano, Shiseido Ginza by Ricardo Bofill, Nicholas G Hayak Center by Shigeru Ban, and Louis Vuitton by Jun Aoki.
Depending on where you are staying, the airport limousine bus can be far more convenient than taking the Narita Express train into Tokyo where you might need to transfer onto the metro subway in order to get to your destination. The bus has luggage space, something that is limited on the metro cars. But don't be late. The bus keeps on schedule, just like the trains. And for about $30 it is often cheaper than other transportation into the city.
On paper, Tokyo station looks scary. It is a major hub for public transportation both across country travel and local lines. And the numbers of shops and restaurants are like a city unto themselves. But it is all well laid out with signs in Japanese and English. Once you realize you can make your way around, the station can be a lot of fun.
This is one of three Suji Dining Rokkaku restaurants. We went to the one in Midtown Mall in Roppongi. The menu is traditional with lots of small offerings that are not tempura or sushi. The restaurant is spacious with areas emphasizing the sake bar, others the view of the garden space. Ordering each item allows you to try a little or a lot.
The bar on the 40th floor exudes all the luxury of the hotel: leather seats, marble floors, attentive service and an extensive bar list along with a wide ranging food menu. The best part is the views of Shinjuku, Roppongi and the Tokyo Tower. Sitting back enjoying the view makes the food and drink taste better. But be aware, there is a table charge.
When Naomichi Yasuda ran his New York restaurant, Sushi Yasuda, he was regarded as the god of sushi in New York. But as he will tell you if you visit his 8 seat sushi bar in Tokyo, he didn’t have the control he wanted. New York health authorities kept telling him to do what he did not consider to be the best way to prepare sushi. So after 17 years, he returned to Japan, although Sushi Yasuda still continues in New York. Now just he prepares the sushi and his wife does everything else. The menu is simple, only sushi. You choose how many pieces. Yasuda-san will prepare and serve some of the best sushi ever. Although in Tokyo, his restaurant doesn’t often rank as a top sushi place, but then, he also doesn’t charge the three figure prices per piece as do some of the top places.
This gourmet supermarket in Midtown Mall has a dazzling display of food and drink, some amazingly expensive, like $12 for 11 strawberries. But the prepared foods, which are elaborately packaged, are very reasonably priced. Even if you don’t want to buy food or drink, just looking at all the unusual items makes this a worthwhile visit.
Warayaki-ya is an izakaya restaurant in Akasuka. An izakaya specializes in small plates of food and lots of choice of alcohol. These restaurants are casual and reasonably priced. This one’s specialty is that the meats are cooked over burning straw instead of charcoal. There’s a wide variety of meats including unusual items like whale and horse meat.
This shrine, a top a hill in central Tokyo, sits between Akasaka and the Nagatacho district, where the government buildings locate. There's even an escalator to get up to the top of the hill. But don't use it. Instead, ascend to the shrine by the tori gates. A vending machine with drinks awaits you at the top if your efforts cause a thirst.
This luxury traditional ryokan pampers from the moment you check in. The separate onsen for men and women offer both an indoor and outdoor hot spring. The meals are amazing. Sleeping on futons are surprisingly comfortable. Getting up and down off the floor--not so much.