Tokyo Food Guide

Japan is home to my favorite cuisine so it was a dream come true to eat my way through Tokyo. I’m a very adventurous eater and will try just about anything – which I did while I was on this trip. Many times I saw a line of people and it smelled amazing so I would queue up. I was lucky enough to go during cherry blossom season so there were quite a few festivals that I stumbled upon and I got to try a bunch of street food. Here is everything I ate in Tokyo.

Beautiful Bento Box
In the basement of a Isetan, a department store, is a food court. This food court is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. I walked in and my jaw hit the floor, there was so much beautiful food all impeccably packaged. After much much gawking (I must have looked like I had never seen food before!) I settled on an adorable bento box.

One of the things I discovered while I was in Tokyo is that you don’t always order at a counter. Dining at AFURI was my first experience with ordering at ticket machine. It’s actually quite easy, when you walk into a ramen shop that uses a food ticket system you will see a vending machine. You put in your Yen and make your selection. Out pops a ticket that you then take to counter. Soon you will have your delicious ramen!

My best advice is to try all the sushi you can. I had sushi at Genki Sushi Uobei, a cheap conveyor belt restaurant, and it was quite good! Most of the items on the menu were about a dollar each. It was a lot of fun to type in an order and have the sushi come zooming right to your seat.

I also had sushi at Happo-En, a very beautiful event space with an exquisite restaurant that a good friend from high school took me to. It was an lovely experience and the sushi was incredible.

Kit Kats
There are so many flavors of Kit Kats in Japan. In Isetan there was even a little Kit Kat boutique where they had flavors for every birthstone. There are a lot to try and they make one of the best souvenirs to bring back home.

Kaisendon – Sashimi Rice Bowl
While there are many different varieties, the one I had was different cuts of tuna over rice. The restaurant was located in the Tsukiji Fish Market so chances are that the tuna I had been caught and brought to the market in the last 24 hours. It was the most amazing sashimi I had ever tasted and it melted in my mouth.

Oyakodon – Chicken and Egg Bowl
While I was at the Tsukiji Fish Market I also tried Oyakodon which translates to “parent and child in rice bowl” which is kinda amusing considering the chicken in the dish is the parent and the egg is the child.

Seared Scallops
While was walking through the Tsukiji Fish Market (seeing a trend here?) I saw these scallops being cooked and I had to try them. So good!

Strawberries with Mochi
Fruit is a big deal in Japan, it is a traditional gift and can get quite expensive. I saw mangos that cost $50 each! Strawberries were in season when I was in Japan and these mochi desserts were the perfect treat. I got mine with red bean filling, yum!

Soba Noodles
These are cold noodles which is a bit odd because most noodles in the West are warm. There is a bit of a process to eating them. The noodles come with a sauce that you mix green onions and wasabi in. The noodles are then dipped in the sauce and then you eat them. After you are finished with your noodles the restaurant will bring you a small pot with the water the noodles were cooked in to mix with the remaining dipping sauce to drink as a broth.

This is a sweet bread that is named because it resembles a melon. Which I did not know when I got one. I totally thought it was going to taste like melon!

I honestly thought I didn’t like matcha before I went to Japan. Every time I tired it in the states I thought I was drinking lawn clippings. That all changed when I tired matcha in Japan. Further proof that sometimes things taste better in the countries they come from.

Cotton Candy in Harajuku
While not technically a Japanese food this larger than life cotton candy is so much fun. You can find it in shops in Harajuku and trust me, every child you pass with it will be so jealous.

All the Food on Sticks
Cherry blossom seasons is the festival season in Japan. Everyone is outdoors enjoying the sakura, drinking and eating amazing street food. A lot of which comes on a stick to make it easier to walk and enjoy your snacks.

This is my favorite Japanese snack and I never had it prior to visiting Tokyo. Takoyaki is like a pancake ball filled with octopus and spices then topped with sauces and bonito flakes. There are a variety of toppings that can be added like egg. I loved it so much I had it twice when I was on my trip and the day after I got back to Austin I was looking up local restaurants that served it.

Food from Convenience Stores
I’m not kidding with this one. The best piece of advice I got before I went to Japan was to buy fresh food from the convenience stores. Not only is it cheap, but it is really good. I would go to the store and pack a picnic for myself to enjoy in the park. The stores closely monitor how long each item has been out on the shelf and won’t let you buy it if it has been sitting too long. Japan is the only place I would ever buy gas station sushi from!