4 Must-Visit Restaurants in Tokyo
Wow Tokyo, you are just way too cool. With bright lights and MILLIONS of people, one quickly realizes why Tokyo is one of the coolest and craziest cities in the world. Now when first arriving in Tokyo, I'll admit I wasn't totally sure what to think. After coming from Kyoto, where everywhere you turn feels like it could be a scene out of Memoirs of a Geisha with beautiful historic sites and a long list of places to see, we were a bit taken aback by the vastness of Tokyo. All we could do was simply start paving our way by exploring the numerous different areas each to which seemed to encompass it's own "personality". I'll be the first to admit, that as a traveller I LOVE to just explore and wander and come across beauty wherever I go, yet I also like to have my "list" of places to visit. Now with Tokyo being as big a city as it is, I had a hard time figuring out exactly what was a "must see" and what places needed to simply be explored. I found that there weren't a ton of sites necessarily that needed to be visited but rather a numerous amount of neighbourhoods (if you will) that needed to be checked out! Now all that aside, Tokyo was amazing, and frankly the best advice I can give about seeing Tokyo is just start wandering! Wander the streets of Harajuku and Shibuya, check out the cool shops and wander into any restaurant that catches your eye (because frankly, there aren't many bad restaurants in Tokyo)! Now that being said the food scene in Tokyo WILL change your life. That's my little forewarning for you. You will see food that you have NEVER seen before. If you can imagine it, you can probably find it in Tokyo! Now all that aside, if you are like me and you LOVE seeking out "Must Visit" restaurants, I have created a condensed list of a few places that simply should NOT be missed!
1. ROKURINSHA AT RAMEN STREET IN TOKYO STATION
If you are taking a full tour of Japan, chances are at one point or another you will find yourself in transit via Tokyo Station! That being said, should you find yourself there DO NOT miss the opportunity to check out Ramen Street (a hallway full of different restaurants devoted to ramen... sounds like heaven AM I RIGHT?!) If you go down to the end of the hallway, the very last restaurant is called Rokurinsha and it serves up some mad tasty ramen! Now don't be alarmed should you find a line up that wraps around the outside, it moves quickly and it is SO worth it. Rokurinsha specializes in Tsukemen (or dip ramen) where the noodles are served separate and are meant to be dipped into the rich and flavourful broth prior to consumption. The noodles are thicker than regular ramen noodles and super delicious. The broth is a tonkotsu broth which is broth made from both pork and chicken bones, as well as with dried baby sardines (niboshi), and is topped with sababushi (dried smoked mackerel flakes), katsuobushi (dried smoked bonito flakes), negi (a type of green onion), nori (seaweed), chashu (BBQ pork), naruto (fish cake) and menma (fermented bamboo). I had the Special Dip Noodles and it was FAB.
Rokurinsha, 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (Tokyo Station Ichibangai Basement Floor, B1F Yaesu South Exit)
2. TSUKIJI FISH MARKET
Now if you have googled any sort of "must eat" sushi spots in Tokyo, you will have undoubtedly come across Tsukiji Fish Market (the worlds largest fish market) notorious for its EARLYYYYYYY morning tuna auction (where the freshest tuna is auctioned off). Now rumour has it that if you want the best sushi experience that you need to get to the market before the crack of dawn... Now I can neither confirm or deny that the sushi is fresher before dawn (as there was NO chance of me getting up that early... although I did try, but unfortunately the snooze button won) but I can confirm that heading to the market at a reasonable hour (say around 11am) you can still munch on hella fresh sushi and experience the buzz of the market. I ordered this sashimi bowl and it was SO good! That fresh salmon was seriously like butter! Now there are a plethora of different restaurants that you can stumble into at the market and trust me, there's no going wrong! SO pick your spot and prepare for some of the best sushi of your life!
Tsukiji Market, 5 Chrome-2-1, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
3. HARAJUKU GYOZA
Now if you like Gyoza, you are going to LOVE this joint. If you don't-don't bother because gyoza is all they do! With a short and simple menu yet often a queue that extends beyond the door, you know they know what they're doing. Serving up original or garlic & chives you choose whether you want them pan fried or steamed (I prefer the pan fried but both are delish) and it's simple as that. With a few other small plates such as cucumbers with miso sauce or boiled bean sprouts with meat sauce their Harajuku Goyza keeps it simple and delicious. Harajuku Gyoza has a pub like atmosphere and is made all the better when you accompany your gyoza with a Kirin or a Oolong Sour!
Harajuku Gyoza, 6-2-4 Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku Tokyo
4.NAGI GOLDEN GAI
Okay first off when you're in Tokyo, you gotta check out Golden Gai at one point or another. Golden Gai is an area in Tokyo famous for having over 200 tiny bars among 6 narrow alleys. These bars used to be used for prostitution back in 1958 but have now been turned into a common meeting place to grab a drink. Hidden in this area is a small 10-seat ramen shop which I hit up approximately 3 times whilst in Tokyo it was THAT good! Serving up a DELICIOUS niboshi broth which is a broth made of dried baby sardines ( if you look close enough to your broth you can spot these little guys floating around) and packed full of thick chewy noodles, Nagi served up one of my absolute favourite ramen bowls in all of Japan! Now on top of that, it's open 24 hours so if your lookin for a post-club snack, this will definitely do the trick!
Nagi Golden Gai, 2F Shinjuku Golden Gai (G2 Street), 1-1-10 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 1-1-10
So dieters, I hope you enjoy Tokyo as much as I did!
You stay hungry and remember, your diet starts tomorrow!