Distinctively delicious cuisine is one of the greatest gifts Japan has shared with the rest of the world. The best place in Japan to indulge in some of the country’s tastiest dishes is definitely Tokyo. This fast-paced but perfectly polite megacity is a food lover’s dream come true, IF you know where to go!
Here’s our advice on the yummiest bites and most relevant sites to check out in Tokyo.
Get into Something Fishy at Old Tsukiji Market
No secret here! Japan’s Tsukiji Market is the world’s most famous fish market. Much of the market has changed or moved to another site in recent years. But the Tsukiji Outer Market — a narrow warren of tight alleys of makeshift shops and tiny eateries with more shops and restaurants in the nearby area — is still very much worth an extended look for anyone visiting Tokyo. That goes double for sushi and sashimi lovers!
Shop for Quirky Souvenirs and Cookery Essentials in Kitchen Town
Kappabashi-dori aka Kappabashi Street aka Kitchen Town is a street in central Tokyo lined with shop after shop selling every item imaginable for kitchens and restaurants — from durable crockery and cheap tableware to bespoke traditional knives and high-end appliances. The street is perhaps best known for the several shops selling plastic sushi and other incredibly realistic plastic display food (you know, like you see in the windows of many Japanese and East Asian restaurants throughout the world). At some of these sampuru shops, you can even watch as artisans carve the models used to create the fake food displays.
Eat Like a Champion in Sumo Town
Chankonabe is a super healthy hot pot of chicken, fish, tofu, and vegetables in a miso and fish broth that sumo wrestlers guzzle in copious amounts to gain weight. A great place to try this flavorful and nourishing “sumo soup” is in Sumo Town. The Tokyo neighborhood of Ryogoku is the location of Ryogoku Kokugikan stadium, where the most important sumo tournaments take place. Thus, the area is home of professional sumo wrestling, where many of the sport’s most elite athletes train. Referred to as Sumo Town, Ryogoku has a number of hot pot restaurants where diners can try chankonabe for themselves. Some venues even have sumo rings for guests to have a go at this ancient Japanese sport!
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Experience an Authentic Green Tea Ceremony
If there’s one traditional food-related experience that’s worth the money you’re dishing out for a flight booking to Tokyo, it’s the Japanese green tea ceremony.
The intricacies and deliberate steps of the ceremony fascinate as the quality matcha (finely ground green tea leaf powder) stimulates. There are plenty of authentic ceremonies with English guidance that can be booked. A smart idea is to attend a ceremony in a beautiful historic setting, such as Hamarikyu Gardens. Filled with manicured plants and ponds and surrounded by Tokyo’s towering modern skyline, Hamarikyu is the site of the 17th century villa of Tokyo’s first Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu.
So Much More!
Conveyer belt sushi, Michelin-star sushi bars, giant bowls of rich broth with ramen noodles in narrow neon lit alleyways, sizzling teppanyaki bar snacks, extra spicy katsu curry … the list of scrumptious Japanese dining experiences goes on and on. Whatever local dish you crave, Tokyo ought to have a place that’ll serve it to you. Areas like Shiodome, Ueno, and Asakusa are great starting points for going out, but honestly it’s hard to come across a bad meal anywhere this town.
Where’s your favorite foodie destination? Leave a comment at the end of this post telling us where you love to go to eat.