Tokyo Food Guide
January 1, 1970
by Alyse Gibson
Tokyo Food Guide
If you are a lover of sushi, consider yourself a foodie, or if you’re just looking to try something new, Tokyo is the perfect destination for you. With restaurants of every variety on nearly every corner, you never have to look too far.
One of the most popular dishes in Japan is sushi, and it is a must try as a visitor to the country. There are traditional sit down sushi restaurants and sushi-go-rounds, where your food is delivered to you on a conveyor belt. These restaurants can be found all over Tokyo. One common chain is Hamazushi. Here, you order your appetizers, sushi, and dessert from a screen. There are also plates of already made sushi rolling by on the conveyor belt that are available to enjoy immediately. The sushi is usually in the form of nigiri (two pieces of fish over rice), regular rolls, or hand rolls. Hamazushi (and most other sushi restaurants) have traditional raw fish, but also have dishes of cooked fish as well, in case you’re new to trying sushi and are a little nervous about the consumption of raw fish.
There are many drinks that you can order from the screen, but if you are looking to enjoy a traditional Japanese drink, there is matcha powder on each table. Beneath the conveyor belt is a spout that pours out warm water for your tea, with cups located above the conveyor belt. If you enjoy your green tea, be sure to try the green tea ice cream for dessert!
In Tokyo, there are many themed restaurants for an entertaining night out. One of the most popular is the Robot Restaurant. The Robot Restaurant is most well known for its unusual costumes and entertaining show that comes with the dinner. You can expect to pay a pretty penny if you choose to visit this restaurant (around $70 entrance fee and $10 for the meal), but it is sure to be an experience that you will never forget.
Hananomai Ryougoku is a sumo-themed restaurant. Visitors sit around a Dohyo(sumo ring), that is located in the middle of the restaurant. On some saturdays, you can even catch a performance in the Dohyo!
Zauo Shinjyuku is a fishing restaurant. When you arrive at this restaurant, you receive a fishing pole to catch your dinner. You eat in a boat, and there is water surrounding the boat with different types of fish that you can catch for your meal. When you catch your fish, the restaurant employees sing a song and everyone in the restaurant claps. Then, they give you the option of how you would like your fish cooked and prepare it for you and deliver it to your table. If you get your fish fried, they’ll even fry the bones for you to eat!
At Ninja Akasaka, you can find ninjas hiding in the shadows throughout the restaurant, and if you order the right thing, your meal might come with a magic trick!
There is even a restaurant created to be just like a prison hospital in Shibuya. At Alcatraz E.R., you’ll be transported to the hospital inside of famous Alcatraz. The dishes may not look very appetizing, but they actually taste pretty good! Besides, when else will you be able to eat food that looks like organs inside of a prison hospital replica?
Other themed restaurants include Samurai-themed, Kyoto-themed, Vampire-themed, Ghost-themed and several different Alice in Wonderland restaurants.
Curry is a very popular dish around the world, but many people in western countries have never tried Japanese curry. It is different from Indian and Thai curry, both in color and in taste. Japanese curry is a brownish color, and has its own very unique flavor. It is usually served with rice and some sort of meat or vegetable. Cutlet curry(chicken, pork, and seafood) is one of the most popular dishes at any curry house. Curry houses can be found all over Tokyo. There are many local places to try, as well as the very famous CoCo Ichibanya Curry House.
Gyoza, also known as potstickers or dumplings, is a very popular appetizer in Japan. There are some restaurants, however, that serve gyoza as their main dish, and they are known for making the best gyoza around. Gyoza houses aren’t as common as sushi restaurants, but they are definitely worth seeking out if you enjoy this delicious appetizer. The most popular gyoza house is Harajuku Gyoza-ro, located in the Harajuku district of Tokyo.
Though Cup Noodles was created in Japan (and you can even visit the Cup Noodles museum in Yokohama), Japanese ramen is a bit different from what you might find at a store in any western country. Each bowl of ramen has more than just noodles. Many have seaweed or kelp, tuna flake), shiitake, onions, some form of meat and a quail egg. Some ramen shops are like traditional restaurants, some you order at a counter, and some you order from a vending machine, though the food itself is hand delivered to your table.
Although beef bowls, also known as Gyudon, are simply beef and rice (with sauce and a few toppings like onions and ginger), they are actually quite unique to Japan. They sound easy to make at home anywhere, but you don’t find many beef bowl restaurants in western countries. The most popular restaurant for beef bowls in Japan is Yoshinoya. Though they sound pretty simple, beef bowls are actually full of flavor and very filling. They are also reasonably priced and great for a short meal!
Japan has many unique food choices for any variety of tastebuds. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite at a sushi-go-round or spending your evening with dinner and a show at any of the many themed restaurants in Tokyo, you’re sure to find something that you enjoy. Next time you’re in Japan, give these restaurant choices a try–you might just end up with a new favorite food!