Tokyo Food Guide

Tokyo, one of the best cities for food in Japan.  In Tokyo, you’ll be able to experience gourmet foods from every prefecture in Japan, world-class sashimi, yakiniku...etc, and is also home to the most Michelin restaurants in Japan.  With all the different choices you’re offered here, tourists are often at a loss when it comes to deciding where or what to eat.  In this article, we’ll be introducing the popular food spots in Tokyo and what they have to offer, so you can easily navigate through the maze of restaurants in this city.      

Shinjuku: A Haven for Office Workers

This ever changing district has luxurious department stores, the mysterious Kabukicho, and budget drug stores that offer cosmetics and medicine at bargain prices, dazzling tourists with the charm and diversity of Tokyo.  With a dozen exits, Shinjuku station can be quite complicated, but is generally separated into two parts: the East exit and the West exit.  Most restaurants, department stores and Izakayas can be found in the East exit area, while the West exit consists mostly of office buildings and flashy high-rise towers.

The majority of restaurants here in Shinjuku are Japanese Izakayas or Nabe (Hot Pot) restaurants, and one of the more famous Nabe restaurants is called "Nabe-Zo" (鍋ぞう).  Known for its cheap all you can eat courses, and the wide variety of vegetables, desserts, and meat, Nabe-Zo is the place to go for a satisfying hot-pot experience!  

Shibuya: Foreign Cuisine Paradise

As soon as you step out of the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya station, you will see the famous statue of the loyal Hachiko on your left hand side, and on your right hand side, the busiest intersection in the world.  Shibuya is known for its trendy clothes shops, exotic bars, restaurants and fashionable department stores, keeping Shibuya alive throughout the night with a young, energetic buzz.

Shibuya can be generally separated into two parts: one being the major shopping streets, located beyond the famous Shibuya intersection.  Apart from chic shops, you can also find cheap ‘’standing sushi bars’’, local Izakayas, Yakitori, all you can eat Nabe and more.  Rest your feet at one of the many restaurants here after a day of shopping, and experience the real Japanese cuisine that makes this country proud!

The other popular district of Shibuya is Dogenzaka, a slight slope leading up from the left side of the intersection.  Dogenzaka is lined with various Ramen shops, including the famous "Kiraku" (喜楽).  Founded in 1952, this little Ramen shop sells Chinese style Ramen mixed in with the traditional Japanese spirit.  Kiraku is best known for its ‘’Moyashi-Wonton Men (Bean sprout-Wonton Noodles)’’, with a more refreshing taste compared to the usual creamy Japanese style Ramen.  

Ebisu: Deluxe Cuisine

Ebisu, Daikanyama, and Nakameguro make up of the main high-class residential area in Tokyo, and consists of many petit cafes, restaurants, boutiques and so on.  This area has a strong European vibe, and is popular with many young girls as the perfect date spot.  There are several spots in Ebisu that often appear in TV dramas, such as the Yebisu Garden Place, or the Museum of Yebisu Beer.  We highly recommend everyone to spend a leisurely afternoon walking through this picturesque area and enjoy one of Japan’s finest beers! 

Although it may seem like an expensive area, there are actually quite a few fairly priced restaurants hidden in the streets of Ebisu, such as "Ebisu Yokocho" (恵比寿横丁), located close to Ebisu station.  Designed as an indoor "night market", you will find many food stalls here that sell barbeque meat, sushi, Okonomiyaki, Japanese Sake and so on.  One of the most popular stalls with locals and tourists alike is "Niku-Zushi" (Meat-Sushi), which sells raw horse meat, duck meat, beef, chicken sushi and so on.  Of course, there is also the option of barbequing or grilling the meat, so those who aren’t accustomed to raw meat can also have an enjoyable experience.  

Ginza: Omelette Rice Paradise

The lavish Ginza is known for its high-end shopping malls and international luxury brands, and on weekends, the main street is blocked off to vehicles so pedestrians can roam freely between the many fashionable boutiques.  Apart from pricey brands however, Ginza also offers cheaper options, along with many duty-free shops and drug stores, making this a must-go spot for shopaholics!

Ginza is home to various luxurious hostess clubs, exclusive sushi bars and exotic dining, but here we would like to introduce you to one of the many omelette rice restaurants in this area.  "Kissa-You" (喫茶YOU) is an old cafe hidden in the streets of Ginza, with reasonably priced curry, pasta, and of course, their main attraction, omelette rice (Omurice).  This retro shop offers fried rice topped with a fluffy egg omelette, which you can break open and release the creamy goodness that melts instantly in your mouth, a must-have dish in Tokyo! 

Tokyo: The No.1 Street

Tokyo station is the major transportation hub of Japan, connecting the many train lines that run throughout the country.  The busy Yaesu Exit offers tourists with their first glimpse of Tokyo after getting off airport shuttle buses, giving Tokyo station the important role of being the main face of the city.  There are countless restaurants and souvenir shops within the station, with the major spot being "Tokyo Ichiban Street", which consists of many popular cartoon merchandise specialty shops, comic stores and so on.  

Lets not forget about the famous "Tokyo Ramen Street" (東京駅ラーメンストリート) either.  Situated near the central Yaesu Exit, there are 8 different ramen shops in this area, each promoting their own specialized broth, ingredients, texture and noodles.  One of the more popular stalls is the "Ikaruga", best known for its Tonkotsu Gyokai Ramen (fish stock and pork bone broth), which originated from Tokyo.  Don’t forget to line up and purchase a meal ticket first before heading in!
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The famous Imperial Palace is also located near Tokyo station, reachable within 20 minutes on foot, so stop by after a satisfying meal of ramen!  

Akihabara: The Ramen Warzone

Akihabara--the land of anime and electronics.  The streets here look quite different from the rest of Tokyo, with beautiful girls dressed in costumes promoting "maid cafes", huge advertisement posters, flashy, life-sized anime characters and many more.  One of the most popular spots in Akihabara is the "Electronics Street", where shops compete for the cheapest price and the best business. 

Many tourists come to Akihabara to experience the famous maid cafes and themed restaurants.  However apart from these spots, we also recommend you to try out "Aoshima Shokudo", a modest neighborhood cafeteria that serves "Shouga Shoyu Ramen" (Ginger Soy Sauce Ramen), the ramen representative of Niigata.  The broth is much lighter than the traditional Tokyo Tonkotsu Ramen, so why don’t you stop by here for a change of taste?

Ikebukuro: Little China

With its convenient location, reasonable house prices, and the variety of shops and restaurants, Ikebukuro has attracted many Chinese students to settle down here, hence the nickname "Little China".  Ikebukuro is a shopping paradise for locals and tourists alike, with the famous Sunshine City, Duty-Free mega store Bic Camera, Donkihote, and many local and international clothes brands.  

Ikebukuro can be generally separated into two districts: East exit and West exit.  The East exit is the major shopping area, with different department stores and shops such as Matsukiyo Drug Store, Tokyu Hands, Sanrio merchandise stores and so on; while the West exit mostly has Izakayas, restaurants and cheap bars, and is a popular place for businessmen to socialize after work!

Apart from the many Chinese restaurants, Ikebukuro is best known for its curry.  There are quite a few noteworthy curry restaurants in Ikebukuro, and one of the most popular place is "Kare wa nomimono" (Curry is a drink).  Situated close to the West exit, Kare wa nomimono offers only two kinds of curry, red and black, and prices are the same for small, medium and large sized rice bowls!  Although you might have to stand in line for a bit, this flavorful and generously portioned dish will definitely be worth the wait!  

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