BEFORE READ – information related to the dining venue below includes serving of whale meat. Reader’s discretion is advised.
As Japanese food becomes popular around the globe, more and more tourists come to Japan simply for fulfilling the craving for local delicacies. Long queue of tourists at sushi restaurants in Tsukiji and at ramen franchises in town is very common than ever. The long wait does not seem to be a concern to them at all.
Why some locals have not been to those restaurants or do not even think of visiting? It is self-explanatory that there are simply plenty of choices available. Why deal with the hunger and trap in the queue just for the sake of eating? Don’t be mistaken that these places are not worth patronizing. Let’s put it this way, if you were in the same shoes by comparing to those popular eateries in your town, probably many locals have not been there too.
What we would like to present here is a venue which many have not thought about visiting, including the locals, but somehow it is closely connected to our daily life – staff cafeteria of the government offices.
Among the government departments, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is one which focuses on forestry, fisheries, agriculture, livestock, food safety and food supply stability. Its headquarters at Kasumigaseki, Tokyo has two cafeterias open to the public during lunch hours (Mondays to Fridays). You can rest assured of the food safety since this is their area of expertise – the food safety of the country is in their hand.
A variety of set menus and sides are available. The popular choices include the whale curry set (イワシ鯨竜田カレー / Iwashi Kujira Tatsuta Curry) and the whale steak set (イワシ鯨ステーキ膳 / Iwashi Kujira Steak).
List of set menus:
Set menu is to be ordered at the counter (menu in Japanese only). For the sides, it is self-served and payable at the cashier, convenient to foreign tourists who do not know Japanese.
Vegetarian curry set (include salad and Indian chai):
A combination of sides:
The purpose of opening its headquarters’ cafeterias to the public is to raise awareness on food supply self-sufficiency rate and promote the choice of seasonal produces – on the menu, there is self-sufficiency rate on each dish (refer below, the self-sufficiency rate is at the low left corner of the price tag).
Nippoan serves noodles. It makes the very best effort to acquire soba and udon made from local ingredients and its noodles are value for money. The simplest menu, Morisoba (もりそば), costs as low as JPY230/set. The highly recommended Nishoku Soba Set (２食そばセット), costs JPY500/set.
Nishoku Soba Set:
You can also consider for other noodles such as Tanuki (soba/udon), Kitsune (soba/udon) or Tempura (soba/udon).
What is Tanuki and Kitsune? Some references are here to help you out >> Udon And Soba – 10 Varieties You Have to Try When You Visit Japan!
The headquarters of the Ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries is located beside Kasumigaseki station of Tokyo Metro. It is also the interchange of Hibiya Line, Marunouchi Line and Chiyoda Line – a very convenient location. The two aforementioned cafeterias are at the north annex of the ministry concerns and are accessible within two minutes walk from exits A5 or B3a of the station.
There is no registration to access to the north annex. Should you be enquired by the security, simply indicate your intention of visiting the cafeteria.
As the cafeteria is to meant to serve the government staff, visitors are advised to avoid the peak hour during noon.
What about before or after the meal? Would you consider for some exercises? Have a look at the recommendations below.