Saturday, 2 July 2016

The Japanese Food Adventure Chapter 2 - Day 19. Yokohama Treehouse Cafe

We woke up at Hostel Zen and headed to reception where breakfast was being served from the counter. The chap serving us breakfast was taking everything very seriously though, I went to help myself but he pointed abruptly to some seats and implied he would prepare our breakfast. He issued us with toast, half a banana, a boiled egg and a paper cup. We were then allowed to spread our toast with butter, jam and peanut butter and also pour a hot drink of our choice. We headed out onto the roof terrace with our breakfasts in hand on our disney themed trays, we were both feeling the effects of the alcohol last night!

What initially seemed like a slightly random breakfast selection turned out to be the best breakfast we ate in Japan on this trip, this combination was spot on! The banana cut into slices over the peanut butter on toast was a real hangover killer and the egg dipped in salt really hit the spot, a top breakfast for sure.

We decided that no trip to Japan would be complete without seeing Mt Fuji so we jumped onto a Shinkansen and made our way towards Hakone. For the train journey we bought some chocolate mushroom biscuits, these ones had been double dipped in chocolate though and were individulally wrapped.

I remember sweet cigarretes when I was a Kid, they were banned many years ago in England but you could still buy them in Japan. These ones I bought from the shop in the Ramen Museum.

My wife made herself a nice bracelet on the journey to Hakone!

We caught the Shinkansen as far as Odawara and then changed trains. It was at Odawara station though were we realised that Mt Fuji was currently surrounded by cloud. We decided to abandon our Mt Fuji mission opting instead to return to Yokohama. There was something there we'd been meaning to visit and now was our chance.

We'd heard about a treehouse cafe in Yokohama so we decided to go searching for it. The nearest station was Mitsuzawa Shimocho on the blue subway line. With no internet access all we had was a screenshot of another bloggers very vague description of how to find it. We spent about an hour and a half looking for it and were close to giving up the search.

Sheer determination to find it payed off though and as we walked along a narrow path we suddenly spotted these steps leading up into a tree.

Nanja Monja Cafe is built up in a tree and was designed by Ozeki-San. It can seat up to 8 people inside and is open Monday to Saturday from 12pm till 5.30pm.

We had to wait until there was a free table before we were invited up into the treehouse. There's a small counter where you place your order when you arrive, you can choose from coffee, tea, beer, filled bagels and scones.

The treehouse is decorated with many unusual objects that hang from the ceiling and sit on top of the branches. The time you spend waiting for the drinks to arrive is spent studying every nook and cranny of this incredible place.

These chaps were inside the bubble shaped windows beside our table. The use of recycled objects only added to the kooky kitsch feel so synonymous with Japan.

Mismatched seating, corrugated iron wall panels and branches for support made this one of the most unique cafes I can remember having the pleasure of visiting!

My wife ordered a cup of tea and I tried a bottle of Kirin Heartland, a great beer costing ¥700 (about £3)

The homemade chocolate scones were really good, they were served hot and contained big chunks of melted chocolate inside.

Outside there's a small balcony area with seating for about 5 people. We were seen gazing out there when some customers had left and were offered to swap seats, we accepted the offer.

It's well worth searching for Nanja Monja Cafe, it's certainly a unique experince! The only area we didn't get to see was the tiny attic section, as we left some customers in the attic waved and posed for a photo.

Our time in Yokohama had come to an end so we decided to return to Tokyo. Feeling slightly peckish we picked up some rice snacks for the journey. I chose a rice sandwich with a noodle and pork cutlet filling, my wife chose a ketchup filled rice circle with sweetcorn. 

This lemon and calpis with honey drink was really nice, a bit like Lemsip but much sweeter and very refreshing.

Our first port of call in Tokyo was Nippori, my wife wanted to stock up on fabric. Some of the shops were just closing when we arrived but she still managed to walk away from here with a good supply.

Next we headed to Tokyo Dome so I could ride the Thunder Dolphin rollercoaster, unfortunately it was closed for maintinence work. I'd been on it twice before on our last trip, I was a bit gutted to say the least.

On our journey back to Koenji I had an excellent view of the Chuo Line from the rear of the train, I was mesmerised for a good half an hour in this spot.

I'd found it again, the ice cream drink I'd spotted in Yokohama was also in a vending machine on Nakano station. I can best describe it as melted ice cream served chilled in a can, really really nice!!

Back in Koenji we stopped at Bali Tora under the station for some Yakitori. The usual cabbage and dip arrived first with some beer.

We'd ordered a few things which are brought to the table as soon as they're ready. The first to arrive was tomatoes topped with melted cheese. Although advertised as veggie friendly these came wrapped in bacon. This kind of thing happened a lot so I got a lot of extra bacon on my plate! Not so good for the vegetarians though!

I chose some pork and vegetable dumplings, not bad at all and only ¥120 (about 88p)

Next to arrive was a chicken meat skewer and a big cluster of tiny mushrooms. The mushrooms were spectacular and made up for the somewhat slapdash service here!

After this we waited for far too long for the other things we'd ordered, the food was great here but the chap wasn't writing our orders down so kept forgetting things. We asked for the bill when this chicken and leek yakatori arrived at the table, it was time to move on to somewhere else.

With the bill arrived the final item, some tofu. When ordering this my wife wasn't expecting the tofu to arrive covered in fish flakes, luckily they could be brushed off quite easily!

Just below our hotel was an Okinawan bar, it looked nice enough so we went inside for a drink. The staff and other customers seemed amused by our arrival which was a tad off putting!

With the drinks came bowl of shellfish and a menu. We suddenly realised we were in a restaurant not a bar, it seemed rude not to order something now the drinks had arrived!

We were quite full up still so my wife ordered a plate of vegetables in a slightly spicy sauce. 

I ordered the house speciality, an Okinawan pancake. The ingredients consisted of eggs, flour, salt, black pepper and green onions, once mixed together everything was fried with a little oil in a pan. It's similar to a very simple type of okonomiyaki and was topped with some seaweed and pickled ginger, delicious!

Back at the guesthouse I enjoyed this bottle of Kitachino Nest beer. It was a really refreshing beer with subtle hints of nutmeg, orange and corriander.

Click here for Day 20
Stunning architecture, Nakano and back to Hanbey


  1. 19 days away, the question has to be asked - are you missing a proper English fry up yet?

    1. I don't think I did miss a Full English whilst I was away really. I had a few set breakfasts with sausage, bacon, eggs and toast which were really nice.