It was only last year when I finally got to visit the Land of the Rising Sun. Never did I imagine I’d be visiting the country again very soon. Japan sunk its hooks onto me during that first trip to Osaka and Kyoto. The sights, the culture, the weather, the people; everything was just as I imagined it to be, and more! But the most impactful factor that I, and many tourists, love about Japan is the food. People ALWAYS talk about Japanese food, and it’s rare that you hear anything bad about it! So in this post, I’ll be showing you the things I got to eat during my trip to Tokyo! I’ll be rating the food from 1 star to 5 stars, with 1 being mazui (not good) and 5 being oishii (delicious)!
[Caution: Don’t read this on an empty stomach!]
Konbini Fare – ✪✪
The first meal we had after we got settled at our BNB was an assortment of konbini food. Konbini is short for convenience store in Japan, and you can find one (or more) in most streets of Tokyo! The most common ones are 7-11, Family Mart, and Lawson. But whichever one you visit, you’ll always find a section for a variety of food! From onigiri to oden, sando to bento, even grilled meats and curry rice! You won’t miss dessert, too, because they have a selection of sweets, pastries, and fruits! A lot of travellers go through their Japan vacations eating solely konbini food! They don’t taste half-bad, too! I liked the rice meals! Remember to ask to have your food heated or else you’ll end up eating cold rice and meat. (Which was a mistake I made on the last day of our trip.)
AFURI, Harajuku – ✪✪✪✪
Ah, the first ramen for this trip! We visited the Harajuku branch of AFURI, which is just a 5 minute walk from the JR Harajuku station. The specialty of AFURI is their Yuzu Shio Ramen or the Yuzu Shoyu Ramen. They also serve tsukemen, which is what my friend ordered, and a vegan ramen. I got the Yuzu Shoyu Ramen (around Y980). The yuzu (sour Japanese citrus fruit) added a dash of zing to the soup which was a very welcome change for me! Their char siew was dee-lish-shuz!
You also have to order your meal from a machine standing in the corner of the ramen house. It’s fairly easy to use, and fun as well!
AOYAMA Flower and Tea Cafe, Minato-Ku – ✪✪✪
AOYAMA, the café that has served me the most visually appealing food in my whole life so far.
My friends had to wait in line before they were seated and as I arrived to join them, there was still a considerably long line for the café. What you need to know is that this café is hidden inside a flower shop! So before you get to your table, you can take a stroll around the shop full of fresh flowers!
Get your phones and cameras out because you won’t be able to resist taking shots of every flower, every arrangement, and every dish here! The café area is decorated with fresh flowers and potted plants, and you’ll find flowers and petals on your food as well! Don’t worry, they’re edible! (Or at least, the ones on my food was.) They mainly serve fresh herb tea, french toasts, rose jelly, and parfaits. They’re a bit pricey so prepare your wallet! But if you can visit the café, do it! It’s a magical experience!
Here’s a link to the full MENU!
GUT’S SOUL, Yoyogi Store – ✪✪✪
Noisy, lots of smoke, full of people. Those were the three things I noticed when I entered Gut’s Soul, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was an immersive experience cooking Korean BBQ while watching locals chat, eat, and celebrate a birthday party!
Just so you know, this restaurant has a sort of system. You decide how long you want to eat (90 or 120 minutes) and then you choose a set menu (they have english menus, don’t worry) to know what dishes you can order. Once you’re seated, they’ll give you an electronic device that lets you summon endless amounts of meat from the kitchen! Some of the staff know how to speak a little bit of english, so don’t hesitate to ask them how to use the device because that one is all Japanese! Definitely order the galbi beef! I think I ordered 5 plates of that. The marinade was VERY good and addicting! There may be a bit of a wait time before you can be seated, depending on how full the place is, but it’s worth the wait! Make sure to come an a completely empty stomach!
Yamazaki, Tsukiji Market – ✪✪✪✪
What’s a first time Tokyo vacation without a trip to the famous Tsukiji Market, right? On our last day, we went to the famous fish and seafood market! We strolled up and down the busy streets trying out different kinds of food! But for lunch we decided to try one of the few famous sushi restaurants found here.
Yamazaki is one of a couple of restaurants lined up on one street in the Tsukiji Market compound. You’ll know you’ve found the rice place when you see the hordes of people lining up outside their doors! It took us a good hour or so of waiting before we were seated. The place is a rather snug fit but I didn’t mind. It felt more personal.
We ordered the Kiku Set (Y3,900). It comes with 11 pieces of sushi and miso soup. The chef serves you the sushi as soon as he finishes making them. The fatty tuna and medium fatty tuna were my favourites! They almost melted in my mouth and I so wanted to get more!
If you’re ever dropping by Tsukiji Market and want to try out expertly prepared fresh sushi, give Yamazaki a try! They have friendly staff, chefs, and a considerably shorter wait time compared to some of the other shops!
Ginza Kagari, Ginza – ✪✪✪✪✪
The “last supper” during our Tokyo trip was at Ginza Kagari. A hole-in-the-wall that serves the most delicious ramen I have EVER had so far. (No exaggeration.) The place was a bit difficult to find because they used a bit of a misleading shop sign but we found it eventually after seeing the line of people outside the store and asking one of the staff taking advanced orders along the queue.
This tiny ramen shop seats only 8 people at a time so you might have to wait a while for your bowl of ramen, but trust me when I say that IT. IS. WORTH IT. I didn’t have high expectations for it at first because it was a chicken based ramen and I’m more of a pork and shoyu ramen fan, but this particular bowl of creamy goodness has changed my mind. The tori-paitan soba bowl is beautifully presented and the thick, creamy broth is very inviting. Brace yourself for that first sip of the heavenly broth because it was, honestly, mind blowing for me. Like my friend said, it tasted like the belly part of lechon (whole roast pig), and this was after tasting a chicken based broth! The noodles were chewy and very filling, and the chicken breast meat they serve on top the ramen (instead of the usual chashu) was also unbelievably packed with flavour!
It was truly a meal worth having at the end of a Japan trip. I will dream of that bowl of ramen until the day I get to have it again. DO NOT MISS THE CHANCE TO VISIT THIS SHOP!
So, those are the food highlights of my Tokyo trip! I hope you found this entertaining and mouth-watering to read!