Many visitors would already be familiar with some of Japan’s most popular edible pleasures, such as sushi, tempura and yakitori.
But if you think you know everything about Japanese cuisine, then Tokyo will surely be a pleasant surprise.
The Japanese have an almost religious fervour when it comes to their food and in the capital city it is no different.
Street food culture is not all that common, but that won’t stop you from chancing upon quick yet satisfying food stops around the city.
It is a culinary treasure trove, with many hole-in-the-wall style drinking joints or traditional family-run eateries serving up their freshest signatures. So whether on a cold wintery morning or a breezy spring evening, the best 5 of Tokyo on this list will be food for both your stomach and soul.
Chuka Soba Inoue
Address: 4-9-16 Shin Ohashi Dori, Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
How to get there: Take the metro to Tsukiji metro station and head towards exit 1. Turn left and you will see the shop on your left facing the road
Opening hours: Open from 4.30am to 1.30pm, closed on Sunday
Contact: +81 3 3542 0620
Tourists and locals alike flock to the famous Tsukiji fish market for their sushi fix, but the real treat lies in this shop lying on its outer edge.
Chuka Soba Inoue serves a Tokyo classic of shoyu ramen, which are noodles in a light chicken stock base with a hint of soy sauce. Each bowl is crafted meticulously and rhythmically by the chef, and served piping hot at only 650 yen ($8). There are no seats here, only tables set up for customers to stand by the side of the street.
The noodles are accompanied with four generous slices of pork, but unlike typical Japanese chasu that can be fatty at times, the slices here are of the leaner variety.
Together with a touch of pickled bamboo shoots, minced garlic and freshly chopped leek, this is a simple dish that hits all the right spots.
Yakitori Ton Ton
Address: 2-1-10, Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
How to get there: Take the metro to Yurakucho station. It is a 10-minute walk from the station and you can find the eatery under a bridge at the end of an alley
Opening hours: Open daily from 11.30am to 11pm
Contact: +81 3 3508 9454
Are you a meat lover, beer lover or simply both? Yakitori Ton Ton is a tiny establishment tucked under the railroad tracks near Yurachuko that will satisfy all your cravings.
This Japanese-styled yakitori bar specialises in charcoal-grilled chicken and pork skewers, but a variety of other meats and parts are also available.
At 150 ($1.84) to 180 yen per skewer, many locals are often seen popping by for a quick snack on their way home from work.
The gyu-motsu-nikomi, which is Japanese style beef giblets stew flavoured with miso, is also a popular choice.
These juicy meat skewers are best paired with a glass of cold beer at 450 yen ($5.50) served fresh from the tap.
Tsukishima Monjayaki Street
Address: 1-8-1-103 Tsukishima, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0052
How to get there: Take Exit 7 of Tsukishima Metro Station
Opening hours: Open on weekdays from 12pm to 8pm (except public holidays)
Contact: +81 3 3532 1990
Poke around the back alleys and lanes of Tsukishima and it is as if you’ve stepped back into old Tokyo.
A man-made island in Tokyo Bay, Tsukishima was actually created more than 100 years ago using earth that was dredged from the bay during the construction of a shipping channel.
Today, Tsukushima is best known for monjayaki, a type of runny pancake made from finely chopped cabbage, small dried shrimps, tempura crumbs and flour batter.
You can customise your dish with a variety of other ingredients such as cod roe, pork, cheese, rice cakes and corn. Eat it straight of the teppan grill with a mini spatula known as hagashi.
The heart of the action lies at Nishinaka Dori, where there are more than 75 monjayaki eateries alone.
There’s even a Monjayaki Information Office established by the local shopowners. Some shop names that have popped up on our research include Bambi, particular character, so take your pick.
Address: 2-11-3 Nihonbashi Ningyocho, Chuo, Tokyo
How to get there: Take the metro to Ningyocho metro station
Opening hours: Open from Monday to Saturday, 12.30pm to 6pm, closed on Sunday
Contact: +81 03 3666 9901
This is a place for both the history buff and the intrepid foodie. At Yanagiya, taiyaki are made using moulds that pre-date World War II.
Clearly, the lure for these fish-shaped pastries filled with azuki bean paste has stood the test of time, since it was established in 1916. For the less adventurous, there is also the choice of chocolate, custard, black sesame or green tea fillings.
The snack has a thin crispy shell, giving it an unusual yet satisfying bite. The filling is slightly sweet and yet not too overpowering.
It is one of the three most popular taiyaki haunts in all of the city (along with Wakaba in Yotsuya, and Naniwaya Souhonten in Azabu Juba) and deservingly so.
Address: 1-6-15 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
How to get there: Take the metro to Harajuku metro station. Exit from the Takeshita Exit, cross the street and walk into Takeshita Dori. Walk two blocks east, staying on the left of the road. Turn left onto the small street at the end of the second block across the Matsumoto Kiyoshi store. Look for the crepe stand with the blue signboard on your right
Opening hours: Open from Monday to Friday 10.30 am to 10pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 10pm
Tokyo’s Harajuku district is best known for the bustling Japanese youth scene, but it’s also home to Japan’s longest-running crepe stand.
Marion Crepes started as a food truck in 1976 for a year before settling down at Harajuku’s famous Takeshita Dori. Since then, it has grown into an essential part of the Harajuku street experience.
The crepes are rolled into a cone shape and stuffed with sweet or savoury fillings of your choice. There are the usual culprits such as strawberries and whipped cream, and banana, chocolate and homemade custard.
Unusual fillings include tuna and curry sauce.
Feeling spoilt for choice? Admire the variety of crepes available at the display case with plastic replicas of its menu items.