This post will be about my first trip to Mitsuwa Marketplace in New Jersey because... why not? I went in April with my girlfriend and a few friends and it was GREAT. We left around 11:00am from Port Authority Bus Station. The fare was $4.00 and the ride took about 25-30 minutes. After arriving, we ate lunch in their food court. They have some pretty delicious ramen. Steph is a big fan of the Spicy Miso Ramen at Santouka. I had some onigiri balls at Omusubi Gonbei.
We went to Mars New York to look at Japanese toys and merchandise. There were some pretty cool Godzilla action figures. They also have a ton of Gundam figurines that you can build yourself. They sell tea cup sets, posters, anime clothes and sweaters, hair clips, and other random Japanese things. I was so excited to see those tiny Dragon Ball Z figurines. GOKU, MY HERO. After a while, for some reason, we walked to the nearby Target, which is really convenient because you can buy a lot of things in bulk here. Prices are much cheaper than they would be in New York, so you can load up on snacks and stuff.
After Target, we went to the Japanese bookstore to browse books, anime, DVD's, and music (almost everything is in Japanese). Next, we went back into Mitsuwa to get some groceries. The supermarket is similar to pretty much all the other Asian supermarkets. They sell a lot of Japanese ingredients, foods, and drinks.
AWESOMENESS ALERT: The supermarket sells Green Tea Kit Kats and Matcha Nestle Crunch. They have a huge Japanese beer, sake, and wine collection. They sell Hitachino and other glorious Japanese beers. They also sell Yamazaki Japanese whiskey. I was really tempted to get one. I ended up getting a sake called Hananomai "Katana" Junmai Ginjo because I like my sake dry and I wanted to try out my new sake set. They sell bathroom supplies, kitchen equipment, Japanese shampoo, and Japanese skin care products.
After paying, we got some taiyaki, cream-yaki, and matcha ice cream. So delicious. Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped cake with red bean filling inside. Cream-yaki is essentially the same thing but it's cream instead of red bean paste. My cream-yaki had a cat and mouse design on it but I really wanted the one with a monkey on it. I also got a waffle bowl from matcha LOVE. The waffle bowl came with vanilla, matcha, and black sesame soft serve ice cream. Matcha is the best!. I could smash my face into a bucket of matcha ice cream.
CRUCIAL ADVICE: Make sure you plan ahead and know when you want to be picked up by the bus to go back to New York City. In the afternoon, the bus doesn't come very often so if you don't plan correctly, you might be stuck in Mitsuwa for an extra hour and a half... like me. On the bright side, there's a golf range and a Target nearby. There are also plenty of geese in the surrounding area if you want to goose watch. And if you've never goose watched before, it's ridiculously exhilarating (not really).
Here's a list of the stores and restaurants available at Mitsuwa:
1. Books Mitsuwa: This place has a ton of Japanese books, comics, and movies. Don't expect to see too many things in English.
2. Utsuwa no Yakata: Cool little ceramics store! I think it's a good place to get gifts for your friends and family.
3. Mars New York: This place is like a Japanese general store. They sell a lot of Japanese merchandise including, toys, clothes, and bags.
4. Santouka: DELICIOUS RAMEN. The bowls aren't too large so don't be afraid to get two... or fifteen. Shio ramen seems to be quite popular here, as well as the Spicy Miso ramen.
5. Omusubi Gonbei: They have a ton of different types of onigiri rice balls. They're essentially just fish or meat covered in nori (seaweed) and white rice formed into triangles or ovals. I got the "Bomb" (yes, it was the bomb) and the spicy tuna onigiri. Fairly cheap at $2-4 per onigiri.
6. Hamada-ya: Typical asian bakery with fresh pastries and breads.
7. Wateishoku Kaneda: They sell tons of ramen, soup, soup, udon, and soba.
8. Daikichi Sushi: Sushi section I wish I knew about sooner because I was craving raw fish. Huge selection of sushi, sashimi, chirashi bowls, etc.
9. Sanuki Sando Udon: They sell Sanuki udon, a type of udon distinguished by its square shape and flat edges.
10. Tokyo Hanten: Same owner as Santouka, they sell a lot of traditional Japanese dishes.
11. Katsuhana: They sell yum fried pork cutlet, made with homemade panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
12. matcha LOVE: Green tea and matcha products. They also have soft serve ice cream in black sesame, matcha, and vanilla flavors. You can get a waffle bowl with all three flavors for about $5.