"oh moe ee day yo ko cho"
Omoideyokochou is one of my favorite places in Tokyo even if I don't actually go as often as I wish too.
It's this very small road just outside Shinjuku station, the busiest train station in the world. Surrounded by department stores, sky scrapers, electronic stores etc, Omoideyokochou really doesn't fit. And in fact if you blink you'd miss it. It's on the west side of the station right next to a large Sakuraya electronic store and across from the Odakyu Halc department store.
It's this very small, very crowded thin little street. Probably not even 150 feet long and yet there are 42 little tiny restaurants long its sides.
The majority of the stores are just a bar with stools and maybe a couple of tables squeezed in the back. The majority of them seem to serve Kushiyaki, stuff on skewers cooked over an open flame. Some of you might have had Yakitori which is just one kind of Kushiyaki: specifically chicken on a skewer, but, there are literally hundreds of kinds of Kushiyaki.
Kushi which means skewer is probably one of the easiest kanji to remember. It looks like this exactly like what it means.
Omoideyokochou basically means "Memory Lane" and this place certainly feels like a spot out of the past. Sitting at a seat here you feel like you are participating in an old tradition that people have been enjoying since times long past.
We sat down at one place and pigged out. Common items are chicken, beef, fish, chicken meatballs called tsukune, stuffed peppers, various veggies like mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes, onions.
I was never a big eggplant fan until I came to Japan. Japanese eggplants called "nasu" are much smaller than American eggplants and the Japanese use them in all kinds of dishes. They are delicious!!! In fact I love them so much that when I go out with friends if they see an eggplant dish on the menu they just order it since they know if they don't I will.
This particular place also has a selection of non kushiyaki items. Things like Jaganiku (potatoes and meat), kimchi (or kimchee) which is a Korean pickled stuff, usually white cabbage. Various broiled fish and a few salads.
Also the thing to drink is beer. I'm not a big beer person but there's something about drinking beer here like everybody else that makes you feel like you are participating in part of a long tradition. Everybody is having a good time time and striking up conversations. The guy next to me was practicing his English on me and teaching me really rude Japanese. Such a deal! 😃
Some of these restaurants even have an room upstairs. I've sat up there once but I don't recommend it if there is a bar downstairs. It's just not as interesting.
The next street over right next to the train tracks is called Yakitori Doori (Yakitori street) and also has many restaurants. They also have a very old feeling to them but they are all indoors with seating. Not bars like this street. Still that's also a cool place to check out and I've been over there a few times to pig out in a more general izakaya like place.
If you come to Japan you will most likely visit Shinjuku. When you do be sure to check this place out. Even if you don't have time to eat just remember on your way back to the station that it's right next door so take 5 minutes, walk over there and check it out. It's only really open at night so from sometime after 5pm till about 11pm. You will be glad you did! 👍