• The Legend of Tokyo’s Ramen Culture

    Ramen is a favorite food export from Japan, and in Tokyo, going to a ramen café is a regular occurrence. One of the most famed ramen spots in Japan is Taishoken, which was one of the first to exist and is still one of the most popular.

    Watch this video to learn more about Taishoken and the history of ramen culture. The chef of Taishoken is considered to be the inventor of ramen restaurants and spent his days in his restaurant until he passed away in his 70s.

    At House of Genji, we give you access to another part of Japanese food culture: teppanyaki. You can find out more about Japanese dining in San Jose by calling us at (408) 453-8120.

  • Japanese Cocktails to Mix Up Your Next Night Out

    Japan has a robust drinking culture, and many social occasions revolve around alcohol. In fact, it has only recently become socially acceptable to refuse alcohol in favor of soda or water at social events such as company year-end parties and springtime picnic. Although Japan does have a beer and wine scene, cocktails are also very popular. Some cocktails are familiar around the world, while others make use of uniquely Japanese ingredients. In Japan, these cocktails are served everywhere from small bars to upscale Japanese restaurants.

    Umetini

    This cocktail will appeal to gin fans. It contains three parts gin to seven parts umeshu, which is a Japanese form of plum wine. It is a strong cocktail, because it doesn’t include any kind of mixer, but it is also flavorful and somewhat sweet, thanks to the plum wine. Umeshu is the base for a large number of cocktails in Japan and is often enjoyed simply with tonic water. The umetini is typically served in a martini glass.

    Matcha Hai

    If you’re looking for something with a little less of a kick, consider a matcha hai. Matcha hais are 50% club soda. The rest consists of lemon juice, gum syrup, matcha powder, and whiskey. Matcha powder is widely available in just about every bar in this Japan, so while it may be a specialty ingredient in other countries, you can generally order a matcha hai in any bar or restaurant in Japan.

    Lemon Sour

    Lemon sours are one of the most popular cocktails in Japan. It is a bright and tart drink that consists of three ingredients in equal measures: lemon juice, club soda, and shochu, which is hard liquor that is made from distilled grains or sweet potatoes. The lemon juice is sometimes substituted with juice from other citrus fruits, including grapefruit, lime, and yuzu.

    At House of Genji, you will find a variety of cocktails on our menu that make perfect accompaniments to our Japanese food in San Jose. Contact us today to learn more about our teppanyaki meals and the rest of our menu by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • Japanese Good Luck Charms: Maneki Neko

    Maneki Neko—sometimes called Fortune Cat—is a staple in many Japanese restaurants and stores. Maneki Neko is supposed to bring good luck to its owners, which is the reason for its popularity. The waving cat is often found by cash registers in order to attract fortune.

    Maneki Neko literally means beckoning cat in Japanese. In English, in addition to Fortune Cat, it is sometimes called Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, and Money Cat. If the cat’s left paw is raised, Maneki Neko is said to attract customers. If the right paw is raised, it is said to attract money. Sometimes, both paws are raised, which is said to attract money and customers and to offer protection. The colors on the Maneki Neko also have special meanings. For example, red is for success in love and green is for good health.

    If you love Japanese culture, why not enjoy some Japanese food at House of Genji? We offer teppanyaki, hibachi, and much more at our Japanese restaurant in San Jose. For more information, call us at (408) 453-8120.

  • A Look at Craft Whiskey Culture in Japan

    When most people think of craft whiskey, they think of Scotland, but Japan has a thriving scene of whiskey distilleries. In fact, a Japanese brand of scotch has recently been named the best in the world, beating out Scottish single malts for the first time.

    Watch this video to learn more about craft whiskey culture in Japan. Although they are tight-lipped about their secrets, they credit the clean water of Japan as one of their secret ingredients.

    Indulge in more Japanese specialties with a meal at House of Genji. Our Japanese restaurant serves up teppanyaki fare and a variety of other Japanese foods, with something for every palate. Learn more about Japanese dining in San Jose by calling (408) 453-8120.

     

  • How It’s Made: Miso Soup

    Miso soup is a staple on the menu of nearly every Japanese restaurant. The simple soup packs a lot of flavor and plenty of health benefits. The original version of miso soup was traditionally eaten with rice, but today, when you order it in a Japanese restaurant, you usually just get the broth with pieces of tofu and seaweed in it. What is exactly is miso soup, and how is it made? Here is what you need to know.

    Miso Soup Ingredients

    Although other ingredients are sometimes added, miso soup at its core contains only two ingredients: dashi and miso paste. Dashi is a Japanese soup broth that is made from anchovy, kelo, and bonito flakes. Dashi is used frequently in Japanese dishes, and if you’ve eaten at Japanese restaurants, there is a good chance that you’ve smelled its distinctive aroma in the air. Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans, and frequently, salt. The miso paste doesn’t dissolve in the broth completely, and it gives miso soup its recognizable cloudy appearance. In addition to these ingredients, there are many different twists on miso soup recipes. Families tend to have their own preferences that include everything from adding radishes to adding potatoes to the mix.

    Making Miso Soup

    For a simple miso soup, the dashi and miso paste are heated together gently until it is time to serve. It’s important for the soup to never boil, which will cause the flavor of the miso to break down. After the two are combined, salt may be added. At this point, the addition of other ingredients, like tofu and seaweed, can occur. Miso paste comes in a variety of colors, and the darker the color, the stronger the flavor. This is an important consideration when preparing the soup.

    Let House of Genji do the work for you, and stop by our restaurant for a steaming cup of miso soup plus a delicious teppanyaki meal. Contact us today to find out more about our menu of Japanese food in San Jose by dialing (408) 453-8120.

  • 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.