TOKYO FOOD SCENE HEADER BOX

Tokyo Food Scene

I absolutely loved the crazy busy madness of Tokyo and I was particularly excited to experience the Tokyo food scene.

Is Tokyo really the food capital of the whole world?

Many a Tokyo foodie will insist that Tokyo is indeed in the top spot because its restaurants have more Michelin stars than both Paris and New York combined.

Is Japanese food really the healthiest food in the entire world?

Japanese chefs will tell you that the emphasis on high protein, the freshest ingredients and healthiest preparation methods, make Japanese cuisine the healthiest food in the world.

During my two-week four-city tour of Japan this year, I made it my mission not only to complete an amazing sightseeing itinerary but to enjoy lots of fresh and authentic and healthy Japanese food.

In Fukuoka, Japan, we had the very best and original Hakata Ramen.

In Hiroshima, we had delicious and tender Teppanyaki.

In Miyajima, we tried every kind of oyster dish including the famous oyster Okomoni-Yaki.

See my Miyajima Food Guide!

In Tokyo, I wanted to try everything from the freshest sushi to Wagyu steak!

Tokyo Food Scene 1: by The Backpacking Housewife
We purposely sought out small independent ‘hole in the wall’ style restaurants bustling with locals

Tokyo Food Scene

You’ll see from my photos and videos in this post that we toured all the exciting districts of Tokyo.

Firstly, we tried several types of sushi at a budget chain restaurant where the sushi is delivered to your table by conveyor belt.

But, for contrast, we also ate at a small independent sushi restaurant, where we sat at a narrow counter and had the sushi expertly prepared right in front of us by skilled sushi chefs with very sharp knives.

Each piece of sushi was then presented to us individually and by hand.

Each piece of sushi was delicate and bursting with flavour!

TOKYO FOOD SCENE: SUSHI #japanesefood #sushi #tokyo #travel #midlifetravel
Sushi!

We purposely sought out small independent ‘hole in the wall’ style restaurants bustling with locals and found an amazingly tasty Japanese curry that way.

We also ate (twice) at a fabulous mid-priced Tokyo steak restaurant called Ikinari where the steak ordered (by type and weight) is first brought to your table uncooked for your personal inspection and approval.

Then is it taken away to be cooked to your specific requirements and returned on a sizzling iron platter.

I’m not normally a big meat eater but I was open to trying all types of authentic Japanese cuisine and it was so very delicious!

JAPAN - TOKYO FOOD SCENE - IKINARI STEAK RESTAURANT #japan #japanesefood #tokyo #travel
We also ate (twice) at a fabulous mid-priced Tokyo steak restaurant called Ikinari.

And of course, we ate egg sandwiches at Lawson’s convenience stores, again!

LAWSON’S CONVIENIENCE STORE

JAPAN: STREET FOOD - LAWSON'S CONVIENIENCE STORES #japan #japantravelguide #travel #midlifetravel
Lawsons: If you know you know!

And, in our airport hotel, the night before we flew to Osaka – the last city in our two-week four-city tour of Japan – we also had a cheap but ever-so-tasty microwave dinner from a Lawson’s store.

I made the video below to show you that it really is possible to travel well – and eat well – in Japan on a budget because we really did a lot – and we ate a lot! – by mixing it up between high price – mid range – and budget experiences.

And, again, I can’t enthuse enough or agree more heartily with the Late Great Anthony Bourdain in his travel show No Reservations about the quality of food from this highly regarded Japanese convenience store.

Lawsons: If you know you know!

JAPAN: TOKYO FOOD SCENE - A Lawson's Convenience Store Microwave Dinner! #japan #tokyo #lawson
A cheap but ever-so-tasty microwave dinner from a Lawson’s store!

HOW TO CHOOSE RESTAURANTS IN TOKYO

Choosing restaurants in Tokyo can be a delightful experience and so here are my top Tokyo tips to help you make the best choices:

Research Online: Check online platforms or travel blogs for reviews and recommendations. Use food-focused apps or Google Maps to find popular restaurants and read customer reviews.

Local Recommendations: Ask locals or your hotel staff for recommendations. They often know hidden gems that might not be as well-known to tourists.

Cuisine Preferences: Consider what type of cuisine you want to try. Tokyo offers a wide range of options, from traditional Japanese to international cuisines.

Budget: Determine your budget beforehand. Tokyo has restaurants to fit every budget, from affordable street food stalls to high-end Michelin-starred establishments.

Location: Take into account the location of the restaurant. Tokyo is a vast city, and you might want to choose places that are easily accessible from your accommodation or the areas you plan to visit.

Reservations: For popular or high-demand restaurants, it’s advisable to make reservations in advance. Many top-rated places in Tokyo get fully booked quickly.

Seasonal Specialties: Consider trying seasonal specialties. Japanese cuisine often emphasizes seasonal ingredients so you might get a unique experience depending on the time of year.

Street Food and Food Markets: Don’t forget to explore street food and food markets. Some of the best and most authentic culinary experiences in Tokyo can be found in the bustling street markets.

Adventure and Exploration: Be open to trying new things. Tokyo is known for its innovation in the culinary world, so be adventurous and explore dishes you may not find elsewhere.

Language Barrier: Learn a few basic Japanese phrases or have a translation app handy. While many places in Tokyo cater to tourists, some smaller establishments may have limited English-speaking staff.

Time of Day: Some restaurants may have different menus for lunch and dinner. Check the timings and offerings to plan accordingly.

Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions: If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, make sure to communicate them clearly to the restaurant staff. Some places may be better equipped to accommodate specific needs.

IS DINING IN TOKYO EXPENSIVE?

Tokyo is a food lover’s paradise with options for every taste and budget.

Yes, it can be expensive if you want to go high-end, but Tokyoites love to eat out and do so regularly while demanding high quality casual dining.

This makes eating out affordable in Tokyo if you choose your venue and your menu wisely.

WHERE WE STAYED IN TOKYO

THE BACKPACKING HOUSEWIFE AFFILIATE LINK STATEMENT

I did a lot of research in choosing where is best to stay in Tokyo as we wanted our accomodation to be affordable, comfortable, but also in an area from where we could travel easily to all the places we planned to visit in and around Tokyo.

Not an easy feat in the world’s largest city!

I use (affiliate link) Booking Dotcom for booking most of our accommodations while travelling.

We stayed at Hotel Monterey Akasaka in the Minato District for three nights.

The hotel is close to the centre of Tokyo and 1500 feet away from the Akasaka-Mitsuke metro tube station.

We found it to be a wonderful hotel in a perfect location for us. Our three night stay total cost – 44,415 Yen (237 GBP).

For travelling around Japan – especially if you plan to use the Bullet Train between cities – it’s worth getting a JR Rail Pass.

For travel within cities on trams, metro trains, buses, and ferries, its absolutely worth getting a Suica Card.

For more information about the JR Pass and Suica Card: I wrote a post explaining the advantages and the differences between these two Japanese tourist-only travel cards and how to buy them in my post Should I Buy A Suica Card.

Are you planning a trip to Japan?

Is Tokyo on your Itinerary?

Let me know? Leave a comment.

I’d be delighted to hear from you!

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