Tokyo Food

(Last update Nov 2017)
With Instagram nuking its map feature, I can't just point people there to look for our nearby restaurant check-ins... So here's a few of our favorite Tokyo eats*. We lived in Ebisu, so lots of our recommendations are in the south Shibuya area. I'll keep adding things to this page.

TIP: Some places you may need to look at the Kanji from the Instagram check-in or the Google Street View to help find the place.

My main Japan tips page is here.



Shin Kawa sushi. Ebisu (map ๐Ÿ—พ). We used to go here for lunch. Small, quiet, full of locals. No English. Don't be intimidated, there are only two choices when you walk in: chirashi (bowl style) or nigiri (individual pieces). Everyone orders chirashi. You should too. Everything is perfect and reasonably priced.

look at the knife skills on that cucumber!

Tenka Sushi. Shibuya (map ๐Ÿ—พ). This is a great kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi place. Cheap, lots of locals, some traditional stuff, some crazy stuff. Try the "bonito carpaccio" with lettuce and Italian dressing and mayo. Or the deep fried shrimp with mayo and unagi sauce. The spigot next to each seat dispenses hot water for the teabags.

Our plate stack was so high an old man came over and asked if we were training for a sumo match!

Sushi Nova. Asakusa (map ๐Ÿ—พ). The next-generation conveyor belt sushi is maglev sushi. Skim the menu on an iPad at your seat, make your selection and a high-speed sushi train zips over to your seat with your custom order. These are popping up everywhere.

Niku Sushi "Meat Sushi". Ebisu (inside the little Yokocho market ๐Ÿ—พ). Who says you have to love fish to love sushi? It's not really for picky eaters, though, because you're going to get at least half a dozen parts of the cow that Americans rarely eat.


Afuri Ramen. Ebisu, Roppongi Hills, several others. Their specialty is yuzu ramen. The random question they ask you when you order is if you want an extra ladle of super-tasty chicken fat in the bowl.

Kaoriya Soba. Ebisu (map ๐Ÿ—พ). The best soba I've ever eaten. Make sure you order the dashimaki tamago to start – it's a nice way to enjoy the quality of their dashi.

Tsukumo ramen (aka ไนๅไน or 99 Ramen)Ebisu (map ๐Ÿ—พ). A machine grates a little Matterhorn of cheese onto your ramen and it slowly turns to ramen fondue while you eat. Definitely get a beer to help wash this down. For the crazy backstory on why 99 is pronounced "tsukumo", check this link.


Monja Mugi. Tsukiji (map ๐Ÿ—พ)Okonomiyaki is actually from Western Japan. Its Tokyo-area cousin is called Monjayaki. It's a bit more runny and soupy but it's still quite tasty. There's an entire district near Tsukiji dedicated to restaurants serving it. I'd be falling down on the job if I didn't mention that before an actual Okonomiyaki place.

Jingumae Yaiyai. Shibuya (map ๐Ÿ—พ). Get the Amakara or the Negi. 


Angelica. Shimokitazawa (map ๐Ÿ—พ). First off, I love this neighborhood, so it's worth coming here even without the bakery. That said, I still dream of their sweet potato donut. So so so good. They have several types of curry pan as well, all of them delicious.  Closed Fall 2017 :(

Shirahige cream puff. Shimokitazawa (map ๐Ÿ—พ) Not sure if they're officially licensed, but if you want Studio Ghibli cream puffs in an adorable tree fort-like space, go here.


We spent so much time on trains that we ate a ton of these little bento boxes during our stay. They run the full gamut: from fancy department stores' $80 ekiben full of wagyu beef to the train platform kiosks' rice and vegetable ekiben for $6. My favorite was this one: pull the little rip-cord and it heats itself up!!

Wagyu beef eki bento

Other Japanese

Niagra Curry Station. Nakameguro (map ๐Ÿ—พ). Model railroad curry! Be careful – the spicy curry is actually really, really spicy!

Tonki Tonkatsu. Meguro (map ๐Ÿ—พ). Tonkatsu is a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet. Tonki's is legendary. The line starts well before they open, so plan accordingly. 

Parting Thought…

I posted this to Instagram and I think it's a great mantra: be brave!

“I'm intentionally not tagging this photo because awesome #Ramen is so ubiquitous and cheap in #Tokyo that all you need to do is just walk into the little shop underneath the train tracks and order what everyone else is having”


Japan has amazing coffee, it's just not quite as ubiquitous as it is in New York. There's a coffee search engine here. Three personal favorites:

* I've omitted places where you need to read/speak Japanese


My New York City food guide is here


Popular posts from this blog

Finding and collecting Japanese Railway station stamps

Trip Report: ANA New York JFK to Tokyo Narita Business Class flight 1009

ANA 777 First Class JFK - NRT Trip Report