"I have travelled in Japan with Mika Takaki on 3 separate trips and each experience yielded some of the very best food experiences i have ever had. Japan offers cuisine so unique and wonderful to anyone who is a fan of extraordinary food, incredible seasonal cooking and simplicity as well as the most delicate, intricate and amazing flavors you can find anywhere in the world. I feel extremely lucky to have Mika at my side in Japan as these culinary experiences are relatively inaccessable to the average visitor with no japanese language skills and without a strong knowledge of the layout of Tokyo and Kyoto. Just getting around these incredible cities is a challenge that can be overwhelming. Left to my own devices, had i even known of some of these restaurants, which is unlikely, there is a high probability i never would have been able to locate them, or might have ended up at the wrong restaurant a block away or right next door.
Mika is an individual who will follow her craving for certain foods tenaciously, which i admire. The results so exceeded my expectations of amazing food experiences that i was complately convinced i was the luckiest (food obsessed) traveller in the country!
She has a very developed sense of taste and deep knowledge of her home country's cuisine which constantly inspires her to keep on top of new places and relentlessly revisit old favorites. Her repertoire of fabulous places to visit seems as inexhaustable as the the streets are numerous in Tokyo and every single restaurant, large or small, long established or as simple as moving cart late at night selling the best...whatever you feel like at midnight...was an amazing experience.
Not only the food dazzles in Japan, on many occassions the places we went to dine were some of the most stunningly beautiful settings or buildings i could imagine. It is incredible how the aesthetics of some of these jewels enhance the experience, not only of the food but of Japan as a whole. The amazing memories i have of small hidden gardens, simple shrines and incredible architecture were more often in some the lovely restaurants we visited than anywhere else. it is an integral part of my experience of Japan, i think, for me it is the largest part. And for this and many reasons i am so lucky to have Mika, not only as a food guide but she shows me so many things each time i visit. Whether i am looking at temples or art, streets that sell amazing cooking supplies, food halls or collecting the ceramics i love so much. She unlocks it all. To travel there without her, for me, would have been to miss some of the most amazing experiences i have ever had."