While I often write about rather chi-chi dining establishments, long-time readers will also know that I’m a huge fan of some pretty low-brow foods. Especially burgers. While in Japan this trip (I am writing this from Tokyo), one of the many things on my must-do list was visit a Freshness Burger.

Freshness Burger is a nation-wide chain. One friend once described it to me as the closest he had ever found to In-N-Out Burger outside of California. Other friends had similarly raved about Freshness Burger’s small but amazingly well-prepared burgers. During my last trip to Japan, my darling wife S had pretty much hijacked our itinerary. That meant that Freshness Burger was not on the menu — instead we ran back and forth across Tokyo trying as many high-end pastry shops as possible.

Well, this time, I finally made my way to a Freshness Burger. The branch I visited was in Fukuoka, but I’m pretty sure that the quality is standard across all of the company’s many outlets. Not wanting to get too creative, I had the Classic Cheese Burger. All I can say is, “YUM!” It was, hands-down, one of the best burgers I have ever had, in either a gourmet restaurant or a fast food outlet.

The staff, pictured here, were also really cool. The guy in the cap made my burger while the dude with the glasses took my order. The girl in black seemed to be in charge and the gal in the cap was, well, I don’t know what she does there, but I enjoyed watching her do it (yah, I know, I’m a dog).

I can’t wait for my next visit to Freshness Burger. I’d love to slowly work my way through their pretty extensive menu. Sadly, when I went to this branch in Fukuoka, I wasn’t too hungry — I had just filled up on the best tonkotsu ramen I had ever eaten (but that my friends is another post).

On a totally unrelated note, I just want to say that I LOVE Hokkaido. Even through I was there for just 2 days and really didn’t see that much, I am already a fan. I’m posting 3 pictures from my quick visit. The grilled scallop, topped with Hokkaido butter, was part of the breakfast set I was served at the gorgeous ryokan I stayed in.

This miso cod, plated with daikon and tamago, was also part of the same really huge breakfast. I can’t even begin to describe the Kaiseki dinner I had the night before. It was ridiculously good, but moron that I am, I didn’t take a single picture.

I did take this shot though, which is the private, outdoor hot spring tub attached to my room. I have to admit that visiting some of the country’s best ryokans these past 2 weeks in Japan has given me a new appreciation for the art of bathing. While I was really a shower-only person, I’m now sold on a good hot soak.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his three kids!


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27 April 2008


This post makes me want to visit Hokkaido next. When are your recommendations going to show up on mrandmrssmith ? I don’t see any coverage on Japan at the moment.

Hi CH, I had just recently made my first visit to Freshness Burger in HK, and I also think it’s great. It may not be the best burger in HK, but it’s definitely up there.

The food you have at the breakfast looks just amazing, could you please share the adress of the ryokan with us? I m going to Japan this summer and i’m startin to make some reservations now…
Thank you for your great mouthwatering post!!

Scallops and miso cod for breakfast, yes indeed you are a lucky dog.

These days too I am preferring holidays that emphasizes doing nothing much at all, bathing and soaking in steam sounds just the ticket. Here in Paris we are working up the courage to go to a hammam; I went to a fancy one in KL and it was great but not really the same thing.

Hello. I’ve been lurking for the past few years, but this post about Japan’s ryokan food was too tempting. (:

Your pictures make me want to expedite the wait for my trip to Japan in December. I love the traditional Ryokan meals; the last time I had one was when I went to an Ryokan in Morioka (Iwate) last August. It was summer, so they served huge summer oysters the size of a fist, cold jajamen, and the breakfasts there were really huge, too, but ever so delicious.

I’d love to visit Hokkaido again, too – the private onsen looks gorgeous.

I’ll be sure to pop by a Freshness burger outlet this December, too; that burger looks deliciously juicy, especially with all that melting cheese!

Here’s a belated thank you for sharing so many yummy finds; I’ve enjoyed reading your blog immensely since a few years back, and I look forward to more! (And sorry for the disgustingly disorganized response. My thoughts are always so scattered.)

Wow that bath looks fabulous. Always felt a bit self-conscious bathing in public (brought up Singaporean and all…) but a private outdoor hot tub? That sounds like the way to go. The Venice guide looks beautiful too! Now have another reason to plan that trip…

I love Freshness Burger!! I used to live very near the one in Tsukuba. It helped a homesick, pregnant gaijin feel more at home.

all the food looks amazing. I wouldn’t mind seeing that katsu ramen…That burger is giving me serious cravings. thanks

Freshness burger is fabulous! I tried it when i was in Hong Kong…they have it @ the Harbor City

may I check which ryokan is the hot bath pic taken from?

Hi CH, been checking out your blogs regularly. Your hokkaido trip caught my eyes. Would you please share which ryokan is it that you stayed shown in the picture? Will be going end June. Thanks.

If you liked burgers- you ought to try Fergus Burger down in the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown. They serve fresh prime NZ beef patties with fresh sour dough bread. The best burgers I have had eaten!!!

Can you please tell us where you stayed in Hokkaido? My husband and I will be in Hokkaido in Aug and we’re having a hard time finding a ryokan…with a cool private bath. We can wait for Hokkaido!

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