Bar De Nikkō & Omurice
The walk back to the train station takes you down a street lined with establishments designed to attract the attention of tourists, such as souvenir shops and restaurants. I googled some of the restaurants as I passed them and looked up reviews.
I had been using Yelp and google to ascertain potential restaurant quality.. And of course instinct, looking at the menu if it's posted, trying to peek inside, etc. The thing is that Yelp and google aren't actually the best way to do this in Japan.. There is an app that is more popular for restaurant reviews - Tabelog
. I should have been using it, but for various reasons opted not to. The main reason really is that Tokyo is just so packed with restaurants, even Yelp and google have a lot of good information.. in a language and format I'm already familiar with. I found great restaurants right away in Tokyo, it was pretty easy. I did try Tabelog a bit later, but it just didn't stick.
For smaller towns like Nikkō that app would have probably come in handy. I did end up finding a good place to eat, but I remember it being a small hassle. A lot of restaurants just don't have many reviews at all. It's not reliable information. With only 8 reviews, you have no idea if those are friends of the business owners or not.. Since most Japanese people use Tabelog for this purpose, I should have been doing the same thing, but I do trust my culinary instincts.. and I do not mind to be thrown into a direction that isn't what everybody else is doing from time to time either
In this case I ended up finding Bar De Nikkō. And I didn't have a ton of time, but I did have enough time for a local brew.
For the first part of the meal I got some pork
For the main course I ordered this restaurant's take on omurice. Omurice is fried rice wrapped in an egg omlette. It's a fusion dish that combines Asian and western ingredients and originated in the early 1900s.
This all looks really fancy, but it wasn't really a splurge. I remember it costing as much as an average meal in a restaurant in Canada, including appetizer and drink. It was also delicious.
On my walk back to the train station I also walked into a sake store and picked up a souvenir to take back home. Nothing fancy there either, just a bottle of something recommended by the owner that was reasonably priced. For some reason I don't have a picture of it, but it might come up later