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Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/6/6 06:59
Hello Everyone,

Thanks for all the great information on this forum. However, I couldn't find a satisfying answer to this issue. For the sake of other users, Kyoto and Tokyo are probably the most useful places for suggestions, however a complete list of the places I will visit is at the bottom of the question.

I will be travelling around Japan in June/ July, and would like to try some high quality food from a very well respected restaurant. My budget for this is big, perhaps 40,000 yen, but if you can recommend a lunch menu that is discounted but still excellent then that would be even better. Cheaper places (10,000 yen and above) are also fine if you think they compete with more expensive ones, but please suggest places that are truly excellent.

My problem is that most of the highly respected restaurants seem impossible for a foreigner to book without a concierge, and I do not have a concierge. Are you aware of any highly respected restaurants that a foreigner could book/ reserve by himself from abroad? I have a Japanese friend who would probably be happy to read through a Japanese website, or make a phone call, with me. Or, are there any restaurants that you could queue for, or just book on the day in person?

Even though my budget is big, I would still rather not waste it on paying a 3rd party to make a booking for me, unless you think it is really worthwhile.

Here are the places I will visit:

Tokyo
Yakushima
Kagoshima
Aso area and Kurokawa Onsen
Fukuoka (I'd actually like to try the yasai here)
Hiroshima/ Miyajima
Matsuyama
Okayama
Osaka
Koya-san area
Nara
Kyoto
Nikko
Kawaguchiko Lake area near Fuji

It's kind of a different question, but do you have any regional food recommendations for these places, or any lesser-known places that you'd recommend? For these I would like much cheaper - I just wanted to try something more expensive out of curiosity!

Thank you in advance for any answers!
by killerbanana  

Re: Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/6/8 22:07
most of the places you will visit will have a Scottish specialty restaurant. mcdouglas i think ...no, mcdonalds!
they source local ingredients daily and you get a lot of bang for your buck. soz i thought id just attempt to add a bit of humour to the forum.

goodluck with your search for some fine dining. imho from my experience in japan, you really can't go wrong. sure you can go to michelin star restaurants to ensure an extremely high standard but generally speaking, japan's dining scene is of a much consistently higher and standard than any other country i have visited.

whether you spend 4000 yen or 40000yen on a meal, it's very difficult to have a bad experience. restaurants tend to have a culture that takes extreme pride in their food, presentation and service. i grew up in a family where my father was a master chef - so i am quite attentive when it comes to quality, flavour, balance, freshness, service etc. i have spent a total of nearly 3 months in japan - eaten in restaurants nearly everyday, ranging from small noodle shops to michelin star restaurants. they are all great and for me, so far, without exception. no need to pay too much. you'd be paying more for reputation and prestige as the bigger the price gets, the yields are a diminishing return.

bon apetit! oh....soz itadakimasu :)
by AussieRonnie rate this post as useful

Re: Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/6/8 23:07
Obviously you can good food in Japan for little money, if you do not necessarily want to eat Sushi.

But there are also really bad Japanese chefs, at least in Germany, restaurants that sell Inari with burned taste, sell factory made Inari with a sick sweet taste.

Even real Japanese, at least with Japanese name really could not even make proper Tamago. tamago is really cheap you do not need expensive ingredients. I ate Sushi from Japanese were the fish tasted like water.

If you like Sushi it is not about deminishing returns, it is about flavour. Unless ofc you go to Jiro or so, because i find weird that a french company should rate Japanse food. But good Sushi definetly has a price, it also would be unlogical that you have a culture that cares for perfection on one side, but on the other side no one that honors perfection and pays accordingly.
by Kenshiro (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/6/8 23:24
Or they are those who are even to cheap to buy proper Sushi Gari, i always wonder how people can eat there. I always think how can you trust your health to people who have such disrespect for the customer.

But maybe they are definetly in Japan were there is more social pressure and bad side effects for dishonarable behaviour, so maybe my point is flawed.
by Kenshiro (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/6/9 09:56
yes kenshiro - it is flawed. experiences by definition are subjective. just because my father was a master chef and I grew up eating all his meals, doesn't mean my palette is more refined or discriminating than yours or anyone elses. however, I have had over 60 restaurant experiences in japan and have not had a bad one. of course there are varying degrees of quality and complex flavours but diminishing returns couldn't be more the case. i.e paying 40000yen for a meal opposed to 20000 definitely does not mean you could expect a twice as good meal. I have had many meals for under 10000 that far surpassed the many meals I have had for much more.
by AussieRonnie rate this post as useful

Re: Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/6/18 03:37
Thank you for your answers - they are interesting perspectives. It seems that asking for local recommendations may be a good approach.
by killerbanana rate this post as useful

Re: Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/6/19 00:08
Download pocket concierge app. Can make reservations from the app.

Your hotel can make reservations for you for places that wont take foreign reservations.

Ive had success at ryugen calling and making a reservation with a deposit, jiro in roppongi hills as a walk in, atilier de joel robuchon call in and walk in.
by Eater (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/6/21 01:53
I have visited a lot of Michelin starred retaurants in Japan. Most of them you can simply call to make a reservation - they will ask in which hotel you are staying in, though. Or ask your hotel to make a reservation for you. Or check out Pocket Concierge as a previous poster mentioned - very convenient and easy for foreigners, and they offer a lot of top notch restaurants (Kanda!).
by George (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/7/10 20:33
I have had over 60 restaurant experiences in japan and have not had a bad one.
Oh, they are there - you have been lucky.

Some places are harder to book than others, but most restaurants (in my experience) are easy to get in to - some of the more difficult places takes some effort and planning (and sometimes a Japanese speaking person).
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/7/13 20:45
Regarding the booking question, yes, I guess that some / most restaurants will not be able to speak English. However the higher end, the more English. But aren't you going to stay in hotels? With all the places you want to visit, it would seem reasonable you are staying in a hotel. In that case the hotel can make the reservation for you. And I am pretty sure that this will come at no cost.

Aso area and Kurokawa Onsen -- In Kurokawa Onsen, stay in a Ryokan overnight and eat there. There are not many restaurants in town, because everyone is staying in his/her own Ryokan.

Fukuoka (I'd actually like to try the yasai here) -- well, no reservation needed for that.

Osaka-- don't forget to eat Okonomiyaki

Koya-san area -- Stay in a Temple overnight. Will also include dinner/ breakfast. This was actually one of the places with the best vegetarian dinner I had in Japan.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Best restaurants bookable by foreigners 2017/7/31 16:30
Is the 40,000 yen per meal, per day or for the whole trip? The breakdown will determine your choice.
by MoWo (guest) rate this post as useful

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