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Tokyo Food Guide: Where and What to Eat

Tokyo is another part of Japan that offers a wide range of local and regional cuisine, as well as other international dishes.

The food selection in the country’s busy capital is so diverse and of the highest quality that the top restaurants have received more Michelin stars than those in Paris and New York combined!

But don’t worry, despite the international acclaim, you can still enjoy the best dishes this metro has to offer at a budget price!

From chicken karaage to Japanese pancakes, here are ten affordable yet tasty treats you must try during your Tokyo visit.

 

1. Takoyaki

Takoyaki

Japan’s favorite go-to snack, Takoyaki is a piece of ball-shaped wheat flour batter cooked in a molded pan and filled with minced octopus (tako), scraps of tempura (tenkasu), ginger pickles, and green onion. It’s then topped with bonito flakes, seaweed, mayonnaise, and Takoyaki sauce.

Tsukiji Gindako

Tsukiji Gindako is a well-known Takoyaki chain. Opening its first stand in Tokyo in 1997, it now has over 300 branches throughout the country, including in major cities like Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Akihabara.

Their bestsellers are Cheese Mentaiko and Ebi (Shrimp) Tartar.

  • Location: Multiple branches throughout Tokyo
  • Operating Hours: Depends on the branch

Ginza Fukuyoshi

Located at the eastern part of Ginza, Fukuyoshi offers classic Kansai-style Takoyaki, which has a fluffy yet crunchy texture.

The restaurant has chairs and tables inside, so visitors can avail drinks with their food as well.

Another specialty that Ginza Fukuyoshi offers is their Inari Sushi. You should definitely try other dishes on their menu, which are as good as their bestselling Takoyaki.

  • Location: 3-12-19 Ginza, Chuo 104-0061
  • Operating Hours: Daily 11:30AM to 4PM and 5PM to 10PM

 

2. Shabu-Shabu

Shabu Shabu

Shabu-Shabu is a hot pot of thinly sliced meats and vegetables in a boiling broth. This dish is great for tourists who crave a hearty meal after a long day of exploring Tokyo.

You’ll also enjoy being in charge of your own hot pot by putting in your preferred amount of meats and vegetables, as well as the sauces and garnish.

Zakuro Nihonbashi

Zakuro Nihonbashi is known for its excellent service and even more excellent food choices, making it an ideal spot for visitors to enjoy a night of fine dining.

The intimate dining rooms in Zakuro were designed with wooden walls, adding to the restaurant’s timeless charm.

  • Location: B1 Shin-Nihonbashi Bldg, 3-8-2 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku
  • Operating Hours: 11:30 AM to 3PM and 5PM to 10PM on weekdays and 11:30 AM to 10PM on weekends and holidays

Kagayaki

This restaurant is not only known for its hot pots, but for the savory Wagyu and grilled skewers as well.

To top off your Kagayaki experience, enjoy drinks from their well stacked bar, or order one of their bottomless beverages.

  • Location: 2-16-6 Ryusen Taito-ku,
  • Operating Hours: Daily; 5PM onward

 

3. Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu

A thick, deep-fried pork cutlet that comes with a serving of Tonkatsu sauce. Due to the heaviness and richness of the dish, it’s often served with shredded cabbage on the side.

Tonkatsu Hasegawa

Recently added as an entry to the Michelin Guide this 2018, Tonkatsu Hasegawa uses premium Hiraboku Sangenton pork from Yamagata.

The panko breadcrumbs are specially made in-house. Tonkatsu Hasegawa cooks their pork to a golden crispy crust without turning the Tonkatsu greasy.

  • Location: Ryogoku Ozaki Bldg. 103, 3-24-1, Ryogoku, Sumida-ku
  • Operating Hours: Daily; 11:30AM to 2:30PM and 5PM to 10:30PM

Enraku

Being family-managed, Enraku has always stuck to its traditional recipes and has hardly made any changes since opening in 1950.

Making this place a part of Tokyo’s cultural history, the Ma family specializes in cooking, offering their juicy Tonkatsu to tourists and locals for three generations now.

  • Location: 6-22-7 Shinbashi, Minato-ku
  • Operating Hours: 11AM to 2PM and 5PM to 9:30PM on weekdays (also open on Saturdays)

 

4. Karaage

Karaage

Karaage–or Japanese fried chicken–is a crowd favorite in Tokyo. Fried to a golden perfection, it’s super crunchy on the outside and irresistibly juicy in the inside.

Tokyo Karaage Ball

Situated in the basement of JP Tower KITTE, Tokyo Karaage Ball’s main attraction is their deep-fried chicken and whisky highballs. The menu is in Japanese, so your best bet in choosing your order is by looking at the photos.

  • Location: 2-7-2 Marunouchi | B1F JP Tower KITTE, Chiyoda 100-0005
  • Operating Hours: 11AM to 11PM on weekdays and Saturdays and 11AM to 10PM on Sundays and holidays

Karaage Yukari

Karaage Yukari offers a deep-fried crunchy chicken you won’t want to miss out on. They’re a pop-up store, so there aren’t any available seats. However, you can do take-out and enjoy your order on-the-go.

Some items on the menu sell out quickly, so you should try to get there before or during lunchtime to try their other bestsellers.

  • Location: 1-24-7 Asakusa, Taito-ku 111-0053
  • Operating Hours: Daily; 10:30 AM to 10PM

 

5. Miso Soup

Miso Soup

A universally beloved soup and a staple in every Japanese meal. Miso Soup is a great option for anyone looking for something hot and tasty but not overly filling.

It’s a traditional Japanese soup that consists of a broth called “dashi” into which softened miso paste is mixed. You can find this in almost every restaurant around the country.

Gogyo

If you’re looking for a restaurant that specializes in flavorful burnt miso ramen, Gogyo is one place you shouldn’t skip. The broth is filled with umami goodness. It won’t be easy to find the restaurant, but it’s truly worth the hunt.

  • Location: 1-4-36 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku
  • Operating Hours: 11:30AM to 4PM and 5PM to 3AM on weekdays and Saturdays and 11:30 AM to 4PM and 5PM to midnight on Sundays and holidays

 

6. Yakitori

Yakitori

Yakitori is the Japanese version of the Philippines’ “ihawan.” Japanese street vendors prepare it by skewering the meat with kushi, a type of skewer made of steel, bamboo, or similar materials.

Afterwards, the Yakitori is placed on the grill. Once it’s grilled to perfection, it may either be garnished with salt or sprinkled with tare sauce.

Tokoshima

Chef Tokoshima serves 20 different items of grilled chicken on the menu and only uses basic seasoning such as salt, black pepper, and tare sauce.

Rather than overpowering the dish, he wants the guests to taste the natural juices of the chicken. The Yakitori here is as authentic as it can get.

  • Location: Luna Park Sangenjaya 105, 2-8-10 Sangenjaya, Setagaya-ku
  • Operating Hours: 5:30 PM to 11:30 PM from Mondays to Saturdays except for the first Mondays of the month

Torisawa

Torisawa finds no interest in fancy furniture or luxurious interiors, what matters most to them is their charcoal grill. Each skewer, albeit small, is grilled to perfection.

Their bestseller is the chicken tenderloin, which is grilled just right but remains juicy and pink in the center and served with a side of wasabi. You can pair this dish with their Omakase (chef’s selection).

  • Location: 2-24-13 Kameido, Koto-ku
  • Operating Hours: 6PM to 11PM on weekdays and 5:30 PM to 11PM on Saturdays

 

7. Ramen

Tsuta Ramen

Ramen, Japan’s iconic noodle soup dish, doesn’t only enjoy massive popularity in its home country but all around the world.

This dish is made with Chinese-style wheat noodles with a meat or seafood broth, flavored with soy sauce or miso, and topped with meat or seafood, dried seaweed, menma (Japanese condiment made from fermented bamboo shoots), and green onions.

Tsuta

Tsuta, the world’s first Michelin Star ramen restaurant, only cooks up to 70 meals a day so the demand for this small restaurant is quite high. The best thing to do is grab a ticket in the morning and head back on the given time written on your queue paper.

The choices for ramen are: hot or cold buckwheat noodles (Soba or Tsukesoba) and served in a salt (Shio) or soy sauce (Shoyu) soup.

Try their bestsellers such as the Sio Soba, Tsukemen, and Rice Bowls.

  • Location: 1-14-1 Sugamo, Toshima-ku
  • Operating Hours: 11AM to 6PM daily except for Wednesdays

Konjiki Hototogisu

Perfect for ramen experts. Konjiki Hototogisu is a small restaurant that’s been specializing in ramen since 2006.

There are only eight seats, which occupy comfy, L-shaped dinner tables overlooking a small kitchen.

You can watch their chefs prepare the bowls of ramen for diners. Try their Shoyu Ramen with Ajitama soft-boiled egg and pair it with a nice cold beer.

  • Location: 2-47-12 Hatagaya, Shibuya-ku
  • Operating Hours: 11:30 AM to 3PM and 6:30 PM to 10PM daily except for Fridays

 

8. Mochi

Mochi

A beloved dessert among locals and tourists, mochi is a Japanese rice cake that’s made of mochigome (glutinous rice).

This popular treat comes in different colors, forms, shapes, flavors, and sizes, but what makes them stand out is their soft and chewy texture, made even more special by the filling. Careful or you can get addicted.

Sentaro

Sentaro produces only high quality and deliciously traditional Japanese mochi. Their dishes are popular for using only natural ingredients–no preservatives and artificial colors–and adding only a meager amount of sugar.

Their bestselling mochi is the seasonal Uguisu Mochi, a mochi cake made with green soybean powder. Sentaro took the name from a Japanese bird that usually comes out during the springtime.

  • Location: 4-6-16 Ginza Chuo-ku
  • Operating Hours: Daily; 10AM to 8PM

Gekkou

Located in Ueno, Gekkou is a hidden gem for mochi lovers who don’t mind a little “hunting” to get to the shop. The place focuses on Japanese tea and freshly made mochi.

Guests get to experience homemade mochi in Japanese home-cooking style. Don’t forget to try the popular dishes on their menu, such as Kinako-mochi, Goma-mochi, and radish mochi. Besides mochi, they also offer ice cream.

  • Location: 1-22-7 Minamisenju Arakawa-ku
  • Operating Hours: Daily; 12:30 PM to 8PM

 

9. Onigiri

Onigiri

Onigiri is a rice ball that is often made as a quick snack or an on-the-go meal. It can be found anywhere in Tokyo, from convenience stores to supermarkets to alley ways.

This tasty food is made with steamed rice shaped into a triangle, ball, or cylinder and is normally wrapped with nori (dried seaweed).

Bongo

Bongo offers Onigiri for take-out or dine-in at their shop in Toshima-ku. The chefs make it right in front of visitors using warm Japanese sticky rice. The Onigiri is then wrapped in a scrumptious crunchy nori.

This restaurant is known to add more fillings than other Onigiri shops.

  • Location: 2-26-3 Kitaotsuka, Toshima
  • Operating Hours: 11:30 AM to midnight

Onigiri Asakusa Yadoroku

Onigiri Asakusa is the oldest Onigiri shop in Tokyo. They opened their doors in 1954 and haven’t changed their style since.

The staff makes sure to choose only top-grade rice from different regions within Japan. The ingredient that makes the diners come back for more is the Edo-mae seaweed.

Although they offer delectable Onigiris, they also specialize in Japanese teas, so make sure to pair your Onigiri with a nice hot cup of tea.

  • Location: 3-9-10 Asakusa, Taito-ku
  • Operating Hours: Lunch starts at 11:30 AM (daily except for Sundays), whereas dinner starts at 6PM (daily except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

 

10. Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake made with a hodgepodge of vegetables, meats, or seafoods. Although its roots may be traced from Kansai, different varieties of this dish exist per region.

Konamon Setagaya

Konamon Setagaya’s exterior gives off a very distinct look, making them stand out from other Okonomiyaki restaurants.

As you step through their classic Japanese entrance, you’ll be greeted by a spacious dining area, which can sit about 200 diners. So even though the restaurant may get crowded on busy days, you can still be accommodated to enjoy their mouthwatering Okonomiyaki comfortably.

  • Location: 4-14-1 Tsurumaki Setagaya
  • Operating Hours: 11:30 AM to 3PM and 5PM to 11PM on weekdays and 11:30 AM to 11PM on weekends

Okonomiyaki Kiji Shinagawa

Okonomiyaki Kiji Shinagawa serves authentic Osaka Kiji flavors right to your plate. Aside from their appetizing Okonomiyakis, they also serve generous portions of beef cuts called Suji Yaki, which is also a bestseller on their menu.

  • Location: 2F Shinagawa Front Building, 2-3-14, Kounan, Minato-ku
  • Operating Hours: Daily; 11AM to 3:30 PM and 5PM to 11PM

 

Can’t wait to try out these treats for yourself? Don’t forget to book your Tokyo flight with Traveloka!

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