Tokyo Food Guide

Food | Travel | Tokyo | Japan

Tokyo, Japan is the food capital of the world and home to over 160,000 restaurants. Tokyo has been awarded more Michelin stars than any other city in the world, and for good reason. 

There is no shortage of good food in Tokyo, and there’s no need to be picky when trying to find a place to eat. Just drop into the nearest ramen shop or izakaya (Japanese gastropub) and you’ll walk out satisfied! Honestly, it’s hard to have a bad meal in Tokyo. Even the pre-made food at the convenient stores are good quality.

Japanese cuisine is very diverse, be adventurous and try something new while you’re there! Here’s a list of 10 essential food entrees you should try when visiting Tokyo, Japan. Besides entrees, there are plenty of snacks and desserts as well, those will be covered in another post so stay tuned!

>> Related: Tokyo Street Snacks <<

Soba そば

Soba is thin buckwheat noodles, often served chilled with a dipping sauce but we went to a place on top of Mount Takao that specialized in tororo soba (grated yam). Can we take a moment and appreciate that view, please? Probably the most memorable meal of our Tokyo trip. We highly recommend a trip to Mount Takao just to eat here. 

Where We Went: Momijiya 
2177 Takaomachi, Hachioji 193-0844, Tokyo, Japan

Okonomiyaki お好み焼き

Okonomiyaki translates to “grilled as you like” and is a savory pancake made of flour batter, cabbage, and various types of proteins, vegetables, and condiments. Try to go to a place that allows you to grill the okonomiyaki yourself, it’s quite the experience! 

Where We Went: Sometaro
Address: 2-2-2 Nishiasakusa, Taito 111-0035, Tokyo, Japan

>> Related: 8 Things to Do in Asakusa <<

Shabu-shabu しゃぶしゃぶ

Shabu-shabu is Japanese hotpot, the name comes from the “swish-swish” sound made when you dip thinly sliced meat into the broth to cook. Great choice for a meal especially when it’s cold out!

Where We Went: somewhere in Shinjuku, Tokyo (sorry, don’t have the exact location)

Ramen ラーメン

Ramen is a staple Japanese noodle dish. There are variations on the type of broth and toppings used, different regions in Japan have distinct styles. Please do yourself a favor and try Ichiran Ramen while you’re in Tokyo. It’s a chain, but it’ll change your perspective on ramen and possibly also your perspective on life (it’s THAT good). In case you need a little more convincing, check out Strictly Dumpling’s video about this place. 

Where We Went: Ichiran Ramen
Address: multiple locations, visit the official website 

Gyudon 牛丼

Gyudon is a Japanese beef bowl consisting of simmered thinly sliced beef and onions on top of a bed of rice. It’s so simple, but so good. It is widely available, you may be familiar with chains like Yoshinoya, which also has stores in the US but it’s MUCH better in Japan. 

Where We Went: Kitsuneya @ Tsukiji Fish Market
Address: 4-9-12 Tsukiji, Chuo 104-0045, Tokyo, Japan

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Kaisendon 海鮮丼

If you like raw rish, you have to try kaisendon. Kaisendon is a Japanese sashimi rice bowl, there are all sorts of variations depending on what type of fish you want on it. We recommend going to Tsukiji Fish Market and walking around until you find a store that catches your eye. They’ll have pictures of their dishes all over the restaurant, just point at the one you want in case there isn’t a English menu!

Where We Went: random shop in Tsukiji Fish Market 

Sushi すし

If you’re in Japan, you have to eat sushi. Even if you don’t like raw fish, at least try the cooked fish or vegetable options. We went to a pretty cheap sushi joint, one of those “flying” sushi places where you order on an iPad and the sushi comes out to you on the belt, and was mind-blown at how fresh the fish tasted. The dishes in the pictures above were only $1 to $3!

Where We Went: Genki Sushi
Address: 24-8 Udagawacho, Shibuya 150-0042, Tokyo, Japan

>> Related: 10 Things to Do in Shibuya <<

Udon うどん

Udon is a thick wheat flour noodle that’s considered fast food in Japan. You can opt for a more traditional dine-in setting, but I recommend going to a fast casual udon bar. You walk in, pick which size and type of udon you want then add additional toppings (various tempura). 

Where We Went: Hanamaru
Address: multiple locations, visit the official website

Tonkatsu 豚カツ

Tonkatsu is a breaded deep-fried pork cutlet typically served with rice but sometimes used as a topping on some noodle dishes. If you like meat, you’ll like tonkatsu. We actually went to the only Michelin starred tonkatsu restaurant in the world (it was absolutely amazing), but there are plenty of other places to get tonkatsu around Tokyo. 

Where We Went: Katsuzen (one Michelin star)
Address: 6-8-7 Ginza, Chuo 104-0061, Tokyo

Gyoza 餃子

Gyoza is Japan’s version of potstickers/dumplings/etc. It’s a pretty basic dish and often served as an appetizer but we wanted to include gyoza because we went to one place that was incredible. Harajuku Gyozaro specializes in gyoza, steamed and pan fried, we highly recommend going here if you’re in or around Harajuku. The dishes were all around $2-$3, making it extremely budget friendly. Go early because it gets really busy during dinner time!

Where We Went: Harajuku Gyozaro
Address: 6-2-4 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo, Japan

>> Related: 11 Things to Do in Harajuku <<<

Do you need a place to stay in Tokyo?

Have you tried any of these Japanese dishes?

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  1. Omg I just drooled. I’ve been wanting to go to Japan since I was a kid, and need to save up/plan my vacation days wisely to go. UGH, I’m saving this right now. It all looks so good!

  2. One of the reasons why I would love to travel to Japan is the food! I have actually tried gyoza recently, in a restaurant in London, and I loved it. It was delicious! Looking at your list, I would love to try the Kaisendon. I like trying out strange food. 🙂

  3. I have never been to Japan but hope to make it one day. Every dish looks more delicious then the next one. I love Udon. Great tips and always looking for try something new.

  4. Your photography is awesome and this was such an interesting guide that I also had to pin it, so I could share it with my followers. Japan is one of my dream destinations!

  5. Must read for visiting Japan! It’s so sad how we’ve limited Japanese food in the states, so when you venture through Tokyo you have no idea what to eat. Udon was a major favorite of mine, and I’m so glad there are posts like this to help bridge the gap for fellow foodies. I also recommend sushi conveyor belts. That was an epic experience! And still high-quality food.

    1. Udon is one of my favorites too! I’ve been counting down the days until I head back to Japan just so I can eat everything!

  6. I loooove Japanese food. I agree with your list. These are definitely must try dishes. An other dish I want to try in Japan is the Omurice. It’s not anything special but I always wondered how it tasted. Great post. Hope I get eat the authentic cuisine soon 🙂

  7. thanks for sharing details of the restaurants you tried out – i will use this when we travel to Tokyo. I am keen to try tonkatsu, and I know hubby will eat sushi three times a day!

  8. If I ever head to Japan I’m just gonna screenshot your post and point to pictures when ordering haha, everything looks so good!

  9. I’m not a big foodie, but I can appreciate how attractive the food looks. My buddy Charlie says that Japan is his favorite Asian destination, mostly because of the food. I haven’t been to Japan before, but these examples of the available foods helps me prepare for the trip.

  10. Oh wow all of this looks amazing! I am such a big fan of Asian food and i am literally so hungry right now haha! I had to double check that view to see if it was real in the first pic! Definitely somewhere special to put on my list if I visit.

  11. I did not realise Tokyo had so much variety on offer. The deep fried pork looks yummy. I would certainly try these suggestions out when I go to Japan

  12. Well, now I’m starving! Food in Tokyo looks absolutely incredible. I love trying new things when we travel and this definitely seems like the place to make the most of that experience. Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. This is such a delicious post. It’s 8am and I’m on a train on my way to work and heart broken that I’m not in tokyo eating all the ramen. In all seriousness great post and amazing photos. Off to find my nearest ramen bar…

  14. You totally had me at the kaisendon bowl on the cover photo. I’m craaaving sashimi now! I had to pin this for my trip to Tokyo (crossing my fingers for november). I love how you broke the post down by what we should try and where you tried it – and also, great photos!!

  15. Your post just made me hungry. I love eating Japanese food. They are always appealing and prepared well. Japanese make an extra effort in the presentation of their food. The soba photo looks refreshing to eat because of the beautiful view. I think you want to go back Mount Takao. My favorite Japanese food is gyoza. I can eat that all day and every day.

  16. All of this food is making my hungry!! I love Japanese food but haven’t tried most of these things. Okonomiyaki I’ve never seen or even heard of before – it sounds so interesting. I thought it was pizza at first! Haha. I’d like to try it. Thanks for sharing!

  17. This is the perfect food guide! I love Japanese food – it’s one of my faves. I was quite excited to read this post and had me craving for my favorites as I scroll through these lovely dishes. My favorites are sushi, ramen and gyoza!

  18. I am hungry now. Such appetizing shots. I can imagine how tasty they must be. Though I cannot pronounce all of them but Udon and Sushi are my all time favorites. Though I am not a foodie but I read your post twice. I think food will take me to Tokyo. Thanks for sharing

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