What and Where to Eat in Tokyo

Iron Chef Kimio Nonaga at Nihonbashi Yukari
Iron Chef Kimio Nonaga at Nihonbashi Yukari

Updated May, 2016

I often am asked for restaurant suggestions in Tokyo. Wow. Where does one begin? The food is amazing, from the high end kaiseki restaurants and sushi counters to the neighborhood ramen shop or izakaya. Even on a budget it is very easy to eat well in Tokyo.

Let me put here just some of my recommendations of restaurants based on the types of food one should try when visiting. Also, one should consider location as the city is so big and there are so many great restaurants, it may not be necessary to traverse the metropolis.

Sushi – Ginza Harutaka or Kyubey for high end. Both are in Ginza.

Tonkatsu – Maisen (Omotesando) or Katsukura (Shinjuku)

Soba – Yabu Soba (Kanda), Muto (Nihonbashi), or Kanda Matsuya (Kanda)

Tempura – Kondo (Ginza), Zezankyo (Monzennakacho), or Tenko (Kagurazaka), Taniya (Ningyocho)

Value-priced tempura – Tenmatsu (Nihonbashi)

Tofu – Tofuya Ukai (Shiba Koen) – high-end and not exclusively vegetarian.

Pickles – Kintame (Tokyo Station or Monzennakacho) or Nishiri (Nihonbashi)

Meat – New York Grill and Bar (Shinjuku). Exquisite views and service – a splurge. Alternatively Ukaitei teppanyaki (Ginza or Omotesando) – also upscale service, without the view of the New York Grill and Bar. I also love Dons de la Nature in Ginza as the chef cooks the wagyu in a kiln he built just for this purpose. The interior is stuck in the 70s but the steak is good. Just be sure to confirm the price of the steak before ordering as it is market price.

Izakaya – Yamariki (Morishita) or Saiseisakaba (Shinjuku or Monzennakacho).

Kaiseki – Nihonbashi Yukari  (Nihonbashi), Waketokuyama (Hiroo), Kikunoi (Akasaka). Note, I’ve been told that Nihonbashi Yukari no longer accepts reservations from non-Japanese. Not sure if this is true and will update this after I speak with the chef.


Ramen – Ginza Kagari is my favorite at the moment. Afuri for the yuzu shio is also excellent. Alternatively,  Ippudo (Ueno) or Kyushu Jangara (Nihonbashi or Harajuku). Note that Ginza Kagari in the link above has closed and is now at Ginza 6-4-12 and is now cashless (credit card, Suica, etc.).

Unagi – Nodaiwa (Higashi Azabu)

Monjayaki – Okame Hyottoko Ten (Tsukishima) or Sometaro (Asakusa).

Yakitori – Birdland (Ginza) or Isehiro (Kyobashi)

Oden – Otafuku (Asakusa) or Ogura (Ginza)

My short list of where to drink in Tokyo.

A similar list of culinary highlights in Tokyo from Indagare.

I have also contributed to these great food guides for:

Saveur Tokyo City Guide

Punch Tokyo City Guide

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Meds says:

    Thank you for this list. It’s good to know some recommendations, though every where in Tokyo has its appetizing corners 🙂

    1. yukarisakamoto says:

      Arigato! I needed to put the list together for myself so now when anyone asks I can just refer them to this list.
      Cheers, Yukari

  2. irene says:

    thank god i found your blog. i’m visiting tokyo tomorrow and wondering what to eat! thanks!

    1. yukarisakamoto says:

      where are you visiting from? enjoy Tokyo! Great time for seafood if you like sashimi and sushi and grilled fish and more…..

      1. irene says:

        i’m from jakarta! leaving tonight and very excited!!! just saw your post on tsukiji fish market. can’t wait to try the sushi there. 🙂

  3. yukarisakamoto says:

    Very fun! You must have some good Japanese restaurants in Jakarta.

    Enjoy Tsukiji Fish Market and enjoy the sushi!


    1. yukarisakamoto says:

      I forgot to mention, Tsukiji is closed on Wednesday, December 14th, this week so don’t go on that day.

  4. Megan says:

    Arigato this helped my japanese project

  5. Very helpful post, we’ll be using your suggestions!! Thanks a million!

  6. Laurence says:

    Thank you so much, I just discovered your blog and I love it. I’m a french chef working in my garden in Moorea French Polynesia. I’ll be in Tokyo and Kyoto for 2 weeks in july and will love to take cooking class do you have any adress?? I will try the sushi and ramen restaurant with my husband that you named. We are great fan of unagi don do you have any adress????
    Thank you so much for your blog,

    1. yukarisakamoto says:

      Thanks for your kind words. I spent two weeks in Tahiti and loved it. You are very lucky to live and work there. For cooking classes, please see Elizabeth Andoh’s A Taste of Culture in Tokyo. I think she has some classes this summer. Have you tried anago? If you like unagi, I think you’ll like anago, which is even more delicate. Tamai is my favorite in Nihonbashi. It is just around the corner from Takashimaya department store.


      As for unagi, I also love Nodaiwa. It is in my book, Food Sake Tokyo.

  7. napkintravel says:

    Off to Tokyo in a few weeks so this is the perfect list for me to get started with! Many thanks for putting it together, it will be very helpful!

  8. Jay says:

    Thank you for this list! People are forever asking me where to eat here! 🙂

  9. teng says:

    I couldnt express how thankful i happened to see your blog and enjoying each and everyone reading them. There is so much to see and eat and yet so little time but after stumbling to your blog makes it a little bit easier for me and my wife who will be travelling in 2 more days(woohoo!) to kyoto, osaka, nara and tokyo. love your blog!!

    1. Arigato! Thank you very much for the kind words. Next time before you come back to Tokyo, be sure to pick up my book. You can use it as a guide to many parts of the city.

  10. Konnichiwa, Yukari. Thank you for these helpful suggestions where we can eat in Tokyo. We are very excited for our trip. Hope to meet you the next time we return to Japan.

    1. Arigato, BettyAnn. Enjoy your time in Japan and hoping we can meet on your next journey back.

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