Tokyo is one of the world's most exciting dining destinations. The city features a wide range of both local and regional Japanese cuisine in addition to all types of international fare. Its top restaurants have accrued more Michelin stars than both Paris and New York combined. But good food can be found at every price range from cheap hole-in-the-wall joints to expensive high-class restaurants with every budget in between.
As Japan's political center for over four centuries, Tokyo has naturally exerted great influence on Japanese cuisine. Consequently, some Tokyo specialties have become so popular that they are now known as the standard version of the dish rather than a local specialty. Local creations from Tokyo (formerly called Edo) are often referred to as "Edo-mae", literally meaning "in front of Edo", in reference to Edo Bay (now Tokyo Bay) which provided the city with its local seafood. The following are some popular Tokyo specialties:
Regional specialties from across Japan
Tokyo is also a good place to enjoy regional Japanese foods from across the country, which have been available in Tokyo since the Edo Period when the regional lords (daimyo) from across Japan were forced to maintain large villas in the capital and spend alternate years there. A by-product of this policy to keep the regional lords under the shogun's control was the influx of various regional cooking styles into the capital.
These days, foods from across the country can be found at many restaurants specialized in regional cuisines. Some of the most popular regional foods that can be sampled around Tokyo come from Okinawa, Kagoshima, Fukuoka, Kyoto and Hokkaido. In addition, successful restaurants from across Japan often open outlets in Tokyo in an effort to branch out and make a name for themselves.
International food is enjoying great popularity in Tokyo, and many Japanese chefs have achieved recognition for their skills in foreign cooking, often acquired by practical training overseas. Furthermore, Tokyo is home to various international communities, which have brought a variety of different cuisines with them.
While popular foods such as Chinese, Indian, Italian, French and Korean can be found virtually anywhere in the city, there are also a few districts serving less prominent international cuisines especially around the embassies located in the Azabu, Hiroo and Roppongi districts. Below are a few of the more concentrated international districts:
There are lots and lots of casual dining restaurants of all types found across Tokyo. While restaurants are easy to find just about anywhere in the city, good places to go for a large variety of them are around train stations, entertainment districts and the restaurant floors of most department stores, where there is usually a good selection of restaurants ranging from Japanese cuisine to international dining.
Izakaya are the most common type of casual dining establishments and are good places to try a variety of dishes. They can be found in droves around train stations and entertainment districts and serve popular food items such as yakitori, sashimi and of course beer. The following are a few casual dining areas around Tokyo that are well known for their atmosphere:
Tokyo is well known for its fine dining and has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants of any city in the world. Fine dining restaurants are often found on the top floors of skyscrapers and major hotels, and the cuisine served at these restaurants ranges from traditional Japanese to international and fusion fare. Of course, they tend to be priced accordingly, and some restaurants may require advance reservations. The following are a few districts that are known for their fine dining establishments.
Themed cafes such as maid and butler cafes, as well as pet cafes are popular attractions where you can converse or play games with a maid or butler, or spend time with animals such as cats, rabbits or birds while eating light meals or enjoying a coffee or tea. Maid cafes can easily be found in Akihabara whereas butler cafes are more concentrated around Ikebukuro. Pet cafes can be found in small numbers around the city. All these types of cafes usually charge a small cover charge in addition to food and drinks.
Another type of themed dining are food theme parks which typically feature different variations of a specific food such as ramen or gyoza. Despite the name, food theme parks are usually indoors and work similarly to a food court except that all the vendors are selling variations and regional types of the same dish. Some food theme parks around Tokyo include the Namja Gyoza Stadium in Ikebukuro and a ramen theme park in Aquacity on Odaiba.
Finally, for those looking for a quirky and entertaining meal, themed restaurants like the Ninja Restaurant and The Lock Up in Tokyo can be a fun and appealing attraction. Themed restaurants are decorated similarly to an amusement park, have themed menus and staff who dress in costume. The food usually follows the overall theme of the restaurant, and there may be some type of show during the meal.
The easiest place to try a Japanese-style breakfast are hotels, many of which offer Japanese breakfast set meals or buffets with both Japanese and Western dishes. Otherwise a Japanese-style breakfast is difficult to find as most restaurants and coffee shops tend to serve Western-style breakfasts or coffee and toast sets only. One option may be gyudon restaurants which often offer basic Japanese breakfast sets at cheap prices.
For the more adventurous, the sushi restaurants in the Tsukiji Outer Market and at Toyosu Market are open from early morning, offering fresh sushi for breakfast. Note that many of these restaurants close by mid-afternoon.
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TOE LIBRARY Tokyo AsakusaLocated in Tokyo, near Honryuin Matsuchiyama Shoden, Sanyabori Park and Chokoin Temple, TOE LIBRARY Tokyo Asakusa features free WiFi. Every unit features a private bathroom and bidet, air conditioning, a TV and a fridge. Some units include a dining area and/or a balcony. Popular points of interest near the apartment include Honryuji Temple, Imado Shrine and Great Tokyo Air Raid Memorial Monument. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 18 km from TOE LIBRARY Tokyo Asakusa.View on Booking.com
HISAYO'S INNSet in the Ota Ward district in Tokyo, 5 km from Tokyo International Airport Terminal No2 Observation Deck, HISAYO'S INN features air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi throughout the property. Each room has air conditioning and a safety deposit box. A shared kitchen comes with a refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, toaster and electric kettle. Bathrooms are shared and include free toiletries, towels, hairdryer, mouthwash and toothpaste. You will find a washing machine, tumble dryer and electrical adapter. Guests can try Japanese traditional haori jacket and have their photos taken free of charge. Rental bikes are available, and the staff can assist guests try on a yukata robe for female at a fee. Free luggage storage service is offered. Bike hire is available at this guest house and the area is popular for cycling. Oedo Onsen Monogatari is 8 km from HISAYO'S INN, while Fuji TV Odaiba is 9 km from the property. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 3 km from HISAYO'S INN.View on Booking.com
7 Rooms Hotel & CafeLocated in Tokyo, 500 metres from Subway Museum, 7 Rooms Hotel & Cafe provides rooms with air conditioning and free WiFi. This property is situated a short distance from attractions such as Shin Nagashima River Shinsui Park, Shinsakon River Shinsui Park, and Ario Kasai. The hotel features family rooms. All units in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. The private bathroom is equipped with a bidet, bathrobes and slippers. The rooms will provide guests with a fridge. A continental breakfast is available daily at 7 Rooms Hotel & Cafe. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Furukawa Shinsui Park, Gyosen Park and Ukita Park. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 15 km from 7 Rooms Hotel & Cafe.View on Booking.com
Backpacker's Mini HouseConveniently situated in the Chiyoda district of Tokyo, Backpacker's Mini House is located 500 metres from Kanda Children's Park, 600 metres from Bellesalle Kanda and 600 metres from Tokyo Sankei Building Metro Square. The 2-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with a shared bathroom and free WiFi. The property is close to popular attractions like Taira no Masakado's Grave, Wake no Kiyomaro Statue and Goto Inari Shrine. Popular points of interest near the hostel include Otemachi Building Shops & REstaurants, Tokiwa Park and Kotoku Inari Shrine. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 28 km from Backpacker's Mini House.View on Booking.com
Resol Poshtel Tokyo AsakusaIdeally set in the centre of Tokyo, Resol Poshtel Tokyo Asakusa offers air-conditioned rooms, a shared lounge and free WiFi. The property is around 400 metres from Asakusa Public Hall, 500 metres from Edo Taito Traditional Crafts Center and 600 metres from Sogenji Temple. The property is close to popular attractions like Kinryu Park, Hozomon Gate and Honpo-ji Temple. At the capsule hotel the rooms come with bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near Resol Poshtel Tokyo Asakusa include Asakusa ROX Shopping Center, Drum Museum and Kappabashi-dori Shopping Street. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 32 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
The Barn TokyoWell situated in the Taito district of Tokyo, The Barn Tokyo is set 300 metres from Shikian, 300 metres from Calligraphy Museum and 400 metres from Tokugawa Tsunayoshi Mausoleum Imperial Scroll Gate. With a garden, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The property is close to popular attractions like Kanei-ji Temple, Chosho-ji Temple and Kemmyo-in Temple. The units in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. At The Barn Tokyo all rooms are equipped with bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Nippori South Park, Tokugawa Ietsuna's Mausoleum Gate Plaque and Kuroda Memorial Hall. The nearest airport is Tokyo Haneda International Airport, 19 km from The Barn Tokyo.View on Booking.com
Palace Hotel TokyoSituated right in the heart of Marunouchi business district, Palace Hotel Tokyo is 5-star luxury accommodation boasting 7 restaurants, a spa and a free-access fitness centre and indoor swimming pool. It is directly connected to Otemachi Subway Station and an 8-minute walk from JR Tokyo Station. Free WiFi is provided in the entire area. Offering elegant and chic ambience, each spacious room comes with a large LCD TV, a blu-ray/DVD player and a safety box. A fridge and an electric kettle are also provided. The en suite bathroom includes a small TV, a bath tub and toiletries. While staying at Tokyo Palace Hotel, guests can enjoy a workout at the fitness gym, or receive rejuvenating treatments at the on-site Evian Spa Tokyo. The concierge desk can arrange various services for guests including mobile phone rentals. Tablet rentals, copy and fax services are available for an extra charge upon request at the front desk or club lounge. Guests can enjoy authentic Japanese culinary experiences in Wadakura restaurant, Tatsumi tempura restaurant and Kanesaka sushi restaurant. Esterre offers exquisite French cuisine and the city views, while Grand Kitchen serves international dishes throughout the day. Located right next to the Imperial Palace, the hotel is a 10-minute walk from Ginza shopping area, and a 5-minute train ride from Akihabara electric town. Popular Tsukiji Fish Market can be reached within a 10-minute taxi ride. Airport limousine buses are available to/from Narita and Haneda airports at an extra charge.View on Booking.com
The Capitol Hotel TokyuDesigned by Kengo Kuma, Capitol Hotel Tokyu boasts 3 restaurants, a 14th-floor indoor pool and direct access to 4 subway lines. Rooms are spacious for Tokyo and have city views. Free WiFi is available in the entire building and paid private parking is available on site. Rooms at Tokyu Capitol Hotel offer a softly lit blend of the old and new, with paper screens and a large flat-screen TV. A minibar and a large private bathroom with a bathtub are included. Free toiletries, slippers and a hairdryer are provided. Guests can look out over Tokyo as they work out at the fitness centre or relax in the hot tub. Carju Rajah TIADO Spa offers massages and the hotel includes a beauty salon, photo studio and other shops. The business centre on the 3rd floor features a computer and photocopying services for guests' convenience. Guests are also provided with a handy Smartphone. Star Hill Chinese Restaurant serve lunch and dinner in stylish modern settings. Suiren offers various Japanese dishes including teppanyaki, sushi and kaiseki multi-courses. Asian and Western cuisines are available all day at Origami. The Capitol Bar offers mood lighting, natural wood and elegantly served cocktails. The hotel has direct access to the Tameike-sanno and Kokkai-gijido-mae subway stations, which offer direct links to the Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ginza areas. The Imperial Palace is a 5-minute drive, while Roppongi Hills is a 10-minute drive away.View on Booking.com
The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection HotelSituated a minutesüf walk away from Akasaka-Mitsuke Station of the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Marunouchi Line, The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho boasts free WiFi throughout the entire property. There is a sake bar, a sushi restaurant and a teppanyaki restaurant on site, as well as a fitness centre and a 24-hour front desk. The hotel is directly linked to Nagatacho Station of the Nanboku Line. It is a 10-minute drive from Tokyo Station, and a 30-minute drive from Haneda Airport. Narita International Airport is a 100-minute drive away. The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho features a spa and wellness centre and a sauna facility, and the front desk offers currency exchange. Laundry services are offered at an extra cost. All rooms are air-conditioned/heated and feature a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Rooms come with a desk, minibar, electric kettle, a coffee machine, personal locker and a refrigerator. The en suite bathroom comes equipped with a bathtub and shower. Hairdryers, free toiletries, slippers and bathrobes provided. Guests can enjoy a variety of Japanese cuisine on site, and there are several restaurants within a 3-minute walk from Akasaka Mitsuke Station.View on Booking.com
328 Hostel & LoungeLocated just a 5-minute train ride from Haneda Airport, 328 Hostel & Lounge offers cosy accommodation fitted with free WiFi and a shared kitchen. Anamori Inari Train Station is a 5-minute walk away. The hostel offers modern dormitory rooms with air conditioning. Shared bathrooms come with a hairdryer. Guests at the 328 Hostel can unwind at the common lounge, or prepare their own meals at the kitchen. The hotel is a 15-minute train ride from Shinagawa Train Station.View on Booking.com