Tokyo is every food lover’s paradise. Japanese food in Tokyo is a one-of-a-kind experience. The authenticity is that priceless and memorable, that it is simply not possible to forget the mouth watering delicacies offered here. The food is delivered on a completely different level. Once you have had Japanese food in Tokyo, your life will never be the same again. Here are a few places that you cannot afford to miss dining at while in Tokyo.
1. Ichiran, Shibuya
Ichiran Ramen one of the most renowned tonkotsu ramen noodle chain in Japan, focusing only on one type of ramen that is Tonkotsu Ramen, a standard pork-based broth that has been boiled for hours using two kinds of cooking methods. Located in Shibuya Spain-zaka, Ichiran Shibuya is near LOFT Shibuya or at a 5 minute walk from Shibuya Station. The best part from Ichiran Ramen is most of their branches are open for 24 hours every day. You simply have to buy your meal ticket, find a seat that hasn’t been taken, mark on the order sheet (also available in English) based on your preference for every component of the ramen and press the button in front of you to call the staff and hand in your order sheet along with the meal ticket from vending machine. With a promising and amazing taste, this place tales your taste buds straight to heaven and that too for a price of mere $6-8.
2. Asakusa Okonomiyaki Sometaro, Taito
Asakusa Okonomiyaki Sometaro offers delicious food in a wooden shack, within easy walking distance of Asakusa’s tourist destinations. Located near Tawaramachi station, it is open from 12:00- 22:00 every day. You have to remove your shoes and sit on a tatami floor. Those who want can cook their own okonomiyaki with the waitresses always eager to help. It is the kind of a place where the food is secondary compared to the company that you have. With an incredibly infectious vibe, this place serves mouth watering okonomiyaki for $6-8. This is without a doubt a type of restaurant you need to go to at least once while in Japan because of its authentic and inviting place to eat where the service is quick and the food is extremely yummy. It can get incredibly sweaty in summer, but when you’re sitting round the okonomiyaki pan, the cherished atmosphere is brilliantly authentic. Cold water is complimentary and is a great respite and a way to beat the heat, literally.
3. Tonki, Meguro
Tonki is a Tokyo restaurant specialized in Tonkatsu and is the most awesome restaurant in Tokyo offering amazing mouth watering food for $8-24. It is normal that when you claim that a certain place is THE best place to eat, you easily get into a heated argument with someone who happens to disagree. Despite being only a couple stations away from tourist destinations like Shinjuku or Shibuya on JR Yamanote Line, it is a bit off the beaten track in Meguro area. It could be difficult to find as it is located in the centre of a low-rise building block and right next to a pachinko arcade. You don’t have to wait in a line here and move along. You can wait at the bench at the back of the restaurant until they gesture you to sit at the counter. Apart from the various qualities that Tonki has, the best is that they do everything right in front of you, and hence you can be sure about how your meal is cooked, the cleanliness and everything that is a matter of concern to you while dining out. It is closed on Tuesdays and the third Monday of the month. The timings are 16:00- 22:45.
4. T.Y. Harbour Brewery, Shinagawa
T.Y. Harbor Brewery is a waterfront restaurant that features their own line of microbrews, American food and an amazing view of the Tokyo skyline. The food tours around standard American dishes like crab cakes, steaks, pizzas, and some creative fusion dishes. Despite the prices, the food was terrific. They serve draught brewed on the spot, and with the exquisite waterside location, it is an exceptionally romantic place for a date. It is recommended that you make a reservation before you visit, as the place is always jam- packed and bustling with customers. It is the perfect place to chill for a wealthy and affluent crowd for whom the relatively high prices are irrelevant. Located near the Tennozu Isle Station, the Business hours are 11:30am-2:00pm and 5:30pm-10:30pm on Mon-Fri, 11:30am-3:00pm and 5:30pm-10:30pm on Saturdays and 11:30am-3:00pm and 5:30pm-9:30pm on Sundays.
5. Tapas Molecular Bar, Chuo
Tapas Molecular Bar is an exceptional place that is located on the 38th floor, complete with an impeccable view of Tokyo’s stunning skyline. It is all about the drama here. Food is offered in a number of unpredicted ways. The elements used in the preparation of all the dishes are of immaculate quality and the brilliant preparation coupled with matchless service promises that you will leave this place stunned. The chef keeps interacting with the guests thereby making the molecular gastronomy experience pleasant and enjoyable and making it an entertaining night. And the price is quite high, but is much lower than what they charge in Europe. Reservations are a must, as they serve only eight people at a time. Also, it is recommended that you ask for an English speaking chef who can translate all the goings-on for you, providing an upper edge to the already amazing experience.
Anyone who loves shopping knows that Tokyo is one of the most renowned and famous shopping cities in the world. It is a known fact that Japanese people love style and fashion and quite amazingly rock designer labels. Tokyo also serves as a hub of artistic creativity as art galleries and purely Japanese modern architecture are visible throughout the city. There are also a number of flea markets where you can get pretty amazing stuff at an extremely affordable price. Here is a list of the markets you have to absolutely visit while in Tokyo.
Asakusa is a delightful neighbourhood where Tokyo’s oldest and most visited temple, Sensoji is located. A long narrow shopping street right in front of the sensoji temple is called the Nakamise Dori that sells souvenirs. It is the best market in Tokyo for souvenir shopping where all sorts of Buddhist paraphernalia as well as assorted tourist kitsch are sold. However, it is noteworthy that the more expensive items such as swords and kimonos might be of inferior quality. You can get fine quality products when you walk up to the temple, turn right, and turn right again on the first small street running parallel to Nakamise where plenty of small shops are located in the general area which promise better quality souvenirs and gifts, like handkerchiefs, strings of hand-made silk balls, hairclips, etc.
Ginza is the home of Tokyo’s oldest and most prestigious department stores, with the most exclusive being Wako. It will not be wrong to claim that it is Asia’s biggest upscale shopping district. Many top brands have large flagship stores in Ginza and In addition to several major department stores it is home to the Who’s Who of international fashion brands and key Japanese fashion brands. However, in recent years, many affordable shops have also opened large shops in the area. The area is also known for its unique department stores. It is noteworthy that In the 1990s, land prices in Ginza were the highest in the world.
The Harajuku market is most popular amongst Tokyo high school students. The shops in the area are focused on youth subcultures such as hip hop or decora and are obviously easy on the pocket. The Japanese fashion industry keeps a close eye on Harajuku for fashion trends. The heart of Harajuku’s teenage culture lies in Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street) and its side streets, which are lined by many fashionable shops, crepe stands, fast food outlets fashion boutiques and used clothes stores focused towards the fashion and trend conscious teens. This markrt is particularly crowded on weekends. However, Harajuku is not only about teenage culture and shopping. Beautiful ukiyo-e paintings are exhibited in the small Ota Memorial Museum of Art, and the Nezu Museum has an extraordinary collection of various Asian arts.
Shibuya is a major shopping area and a definite place to visit for anyone interest in Japanese fashion and Tokyo’s busiest shopping neighbourhood. Many of the department stores in the area target young shoppers. Other department stores include ShinQs, Tokyu, Shibuya Mark City, Seibu, Loft, Parco and several Marui locations. There’s also a massive Tokyu Hands in the area. Besides department stores, Shibuya is well known for its three shopping streets: Koen Dori, Spain Slope and Center Gai. Apart from the very trendy fashion stores, you can see many young Japanese people wearing what is “in” in the streets. Another interesting place is the Yoyogi Flea Market, located conveniently close to Harajuku and Shibuya. The vendors are mostly young people, including many of the people we shoot at JAPANESE STREETS. They come to sell their own stuff. As a result, it’s almost all clothes and accessories, much of it pretty cool.
Shinjuku is the busiest and in all probabilities, the biggest neighbourhood in Japan. It is home to the department stores Isetan, Takashimaya, Lumine, Odakyu, Keio, Marui and Mylord. The area also has a number of shopping streets and malls where you can buy almost everything under the sun. A classy neighbourhood for a shopping outing, this place can be thoroughly enjoyed even while you are “just looking” at the stuff.
So what are you guys waiting for? Go ahead, pack your bags and make that Tokyo trip to happen. Happy Holidays!