• What to Know About Japanese Nightlife

    Japan has a thriving nightlife scene that locals and foreign visitors alike enjoy exploring. Often, going out in Japan involves eating delicious Japanese food and drinks as you visit multiple small restaurants and bars.

    Watch this video to see what a typical night out looks like in Japan. Remember to bring cash, as most bars do not accept credit cards. Tipping is not usually expected, but most places have a seating charge added to your bill that functions like a tip.

    Get a taste of Japanese nightlife for yourself at House of Genji. Our Japanese restaurant and cocktail lounge in San Jose is perfect for date night, happy hour, and family dinners. Learn more by calling us at (408) 453-8120.

  • Celebrating Spring with Bunkyo Tsutsuji Matsuri

    Japan is home to many springtime festivals, and Bunkyo Tsutsuji Matsuri, or the Bunkyo Azalea Festival, is one that attracts people from all over the world. This festival is one of five flower festivals held in the residential Bunkyo ward in Tokyo, and it is packed with a variety of attractions, from Japanese food stalls to an antique fair. Here is what you need to know.

    Nezu Shrine’s Azalea Gardens

    The Bunkyo Azalea Festival takes place at the Nezu Shrine in Bunkyo. The shrine was built over 1,900 years ago by Yamato Takeru-no Mikoto, and the azalea garden was established about 300 years ago. There 100 different species of azalea plants in the garden, which consists of approximately 3,000 plants in total. Among the azaleas are some very rare varieties of the plants, Karafune, which has black flowers, Hanaguruma, which has flowers that look like pinwheels, and Fuji-tsutsuji, which has flowers that are about the size of a bean. There are also seven different structures to explore on the site, which are all designated Important Cultural Properties of Japan.

    Festival Attendance

    Although the specific dates of the festival change annually, it is always held between April and early May, when the flowers are in peak bloom. In addition to exploring the grounds, there are plenty of festival stalls on site with different wares, including Japanese food such as manju dumplings. Amazake and green tea are also typically available. There is an antique fair on site and viewings Sanjuroku kasen-e paintings twice per day. The festival is open from 9 AM to 5:30 PM daily, and there is a small admission fee to walk through the garden.

    At House of Genji, we give you the chance to experience Japanese traditions a little closer to home at our Japanese restaurant in San Jose. We offer teppanyaki dining at lunch and dinner, plus a variety of other Japanese entrees. You can learn more about our menu by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • What Is Breakfast Like in Japan?

    When most people think of Japanese food, they picture things like teppanyaki, ramen, and sushi, but they seldom think of breakfast foods. What exactly is breakfast like in Japan? As it turns out, the answer varies greatly, depending on location and preference. Here is what you need to know.

    Japanese Hotel Breakfast

    Most hotels in Japan offer what they refer to as a traditional breakfast. When staying in a hotel, you will likely be offered grilled fish, rice, nori, onsen tamago, and a selection of Japanese pickles. This breakfast is increasingly less common outside of hotel settings however, particularly because of the amount of time it takes to prepare. Some hotels are also starting to move away from this traditional breakfast towards more modern offerings.

    Breakfast at Home

    At home, breakfast in Japan looks very different. Most people eat thick slices of toast with butter instead of rice, especially young people. They accompany it with ham and eggs, and often, a green salad is part of the meal. Salads are a very common part of breakfast in Japan. When a salad is not served, another vegetable is usually served instead. People who do have rice for breakfast at home still usually accompany it with a salad, eggs, and ham. Other breakfast meats, including sausage and bacon, are also sometimes enjoyed instead of ham. In some parts of the country, natto, or fermented soy beans, are eaten with rice instead of eggs, ham, and vegetables.

    Breakfast at Coffee Shops

    Going to a coffee shop for breakfast is very popular in Japan. The meals served in the coffee shops depend on the region, but they often include udon, buttered toast, toast with azuki paste, mochi, and various tempuras. Some places also serve salads and even hot dogs, and of course, coffee is an important part of the meal.

    At House of Genji, we have your Japanese lunch and dinner covered, with our full menu of Japanese food favorites, from teriyaki to teppanyaki. Whether you need a business launch with your co-workers or a fun night out with friends, you’ll love the menu of classic dishes at our Japanese restaurant in San Jose. Call us at (408) 453-8120 with your questions about our menu and more.

  • Exploring the Hirosaki Castle Yuki-Doro Festival

    When most people are thinking of visiting the Hirosaki Castle, they think of cherry blossoms and springtime. However, while the cherry blossoms are certainly a major attraction, the castle is also home to the Yuki-Doro Festival that attracts visitors during the winter. Yuki-Doro Festival translates to Snow Lantern Festival, and it features lanterns built from snow by locals, as well as Japanese food vendors and snow-covered pines.

    The Yuki-Doro Festival at Hirosaki Castle takes place across five days each February and is one of the five major snow festivals in the northern Tohoku region. This part of Japan experiences harsh winters and heavy snow, and people travel from across the country to take in the winter scenery. The festival is free to attend and is easy to access from the JR Hirosaki Station.

    House of Genji might not be able to offer snow, but we do offer tasty Japanese food and fun Teppanyaki dining in San Jose for your entire family to enjoy. You can learn more about our menu and cocktail lounge by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • Sake Breweries You Can Tour in Japan

    For many people who visit Japan, drinking sake is an important part of experiencing the culture. Not only can you enjoy sake alongside Japanese food in most restaurants, but you can also get a behind-the-scenes look at how sake is made by visiting various breweries across the country for tours. Not all sake breweries allow visitors, but many welcome guests for tours and tastings. Note that most sake brewing happens during winter, because breweries rely on the cold weather to maintain the cold temperatures needed for the fermentation process. Here are some of the breweries you can tour in Japan to see how sake is made.

    Suehiro Sake Brewery

    The Suehiro Sake Brewery is located in Fukushima Prefecture, and it is one of the most popular sake breweries in the country. Suehiro sake has received many awards in Japan and overseas, which is why it is such a popular destination. They offer a tour of the brewery that shows how they use the Yamahai method to create their sake, though be advised that the tour is only offered in Japanese. If you don’t want to do the tour, you can still visit the brewery to see their museum, enjoy their tasting bar, and purchase sake from their gift shop.

    Sawanotsuru Sake Museum

    Located in Kobe in the Hyogo Prefecture, the Sawanotsuru Sake Museum offers both a historical look at the history of the beverage and a tour of the in-house Sawanotsuru brewery. The tours are free, but if you are coming with a large group, make a reservation to avoid missing out on a tour.

    Ishikawa Brewery

    The Ishikawa Brewery offers something for everyone, since they brew both sake and beer. On tours of the brewery in Tokyo, you will get to sample a variety of their products and purchase the ones you like. You will need to reserve a spot on the tour at least one day in advance.

    Sake is the perfect accompaniment to a variety of Japanese foods, and at House of Genji, you’ll find sake on our menu alongside beers and creative cocktails crafted in our cocktail lounge. Contact our Japanese restaurant in San Jose for more information at (408) 453-8120.