I have checked into my favorite hotel, the Daiichi Hotel Annex, in Tokyo. The Daiichi Hotel Annex is an inexpensive creation of the more ornate main hotel, the Daiichi Hotel, which stands next to this building. The merit is that for a low price – about $200 per night, you can take advantage of all of the facilites of a four star hotel costing $400+ per night. The average double occupancy room at this hotel is 250 square foot; very clean, neat and modern. The best thing about this hotel is the location. It is a three minutes walk from Shinbashi Station on JR Line (getting on Shinkansen high speed trains is piece of cake), subway Ginza Line (Ginza is a hub station for other subway lines) and 10 minutes walk to Ginza district where there are thousands of bars, restaurants and shops. My first meal (dinner) was at Hinai-Ya in the Ginza district. Hinai-Ya is a high quality yakitori (chicken pieces and/or vegetables on skewers grilled over Japanese bincho-tan charcoal) restaurant where they specialized free-range Hinai chicken from Akita Prefecture. This is said to be one of the best tasting chickens in Japan. According to the restaurant the chicken is raised on a clover covered pasteur from 30 days of their birth and is kept for 160 to 170 days until slaughter. The meat of this chicken is slightly firmer than chicken in the US and is very flavorful. The signatured yakitori at Hinai-ya is tsukune (ground chicken on a skewer), was one of the most delicious items and comes with several external flavorings. We ordered the one basted with juicy, sweet and tangy rich tare sauce served along with onsen tamago (egg is cooked at a particular temperature so that the yolk is firm and the white is loose tender; rather like a three minute soft boiled egg) and one topped with ume shiso (salt pickled plum paste and finely julienned shiso). Other excellent items were chicken wings, called tebasaki, another favorite for everyone who loves yakitori. There is not much meat on the bones but the caramelized, golden color skin is firm, meaty, jucy and again very flavorful. No chicken other than Hinai chicekn can produces this wonderful taste. This is a must check-it-out place when you come to Tokyo. There are two shops in Ginza, one in the “Ginza Corridor”, a four block long street composed of all restaurants and the main shop in Ginza 8-chome.
I’ll post some pictures of our meal at Hinai-ya tomorrow.