So you’ve just arrived in Tokyo, maybe for the first time, maybe not, but you’re absolutely starving. This is understandable, you’ve probably just gotten off of a long haul flight and if you’re anything like me, you probably didn’t really eat the airplane food and now all you’re craving is whatever Tokyo food you can get your hands on. Don’t just grab anything on your way to your accommodation though. Be patient, I’m here to help you. After you drop your stuff off you decide that you’ll take a little walk around and see what you can find. You might just settle for some simple food from the “konbini” next to your hotel, but if not, I’m here to offer you a couple of things to try out over three days while you’re in Tokyo. Often times when we are traveling, we don’t eat the greatest food for our health, but let’s make Japan the exception. There are plenty of affordable and healthy places for you to check out in your first three days.
On your first day in Tokyo why not start out by letting someone else show you around with one of our food tours? If you’re a little nervous about being in a new place like I was, the best thing you can do is take one of these food tours and let someone else guide you through the various foods Tokyo has on offer. You’re reading this already so why not step it up a notch and actually let a local show you around? It will set you up with go-to places and you won’t have to stress about getting lost in an unfamiliar area. However, I do recommend allowing yourself to get lost once or twice. Let’s start by dipping our toes in the water though.
One of our popular food tours is the Shibuya Street Food Tour. Street food is incredibly popular all over the world, but the caliber in Japan is something not to be missed. Shibuya is also one of the prime spots for tourists in their first days in Japan. This way you’re ticking a couple of things off of your list. Although, if this isn’t your first time in Japan or you’re looking for something a little quieter try out the Kagurazaka Food Guide.
On your second day in Tokyo, you should absolutely get lost and wander around. There are a couple of areas I can recommend around lunchtime, but it’s best to pick a place that interests you. It can get quite hot and humid in Tokyo, so I always prefer a colder, lighter lunch during the summer. Chilled soba noodles are great for this type of weather and luckily you can find them everywhere. If you’re in Marunouchi then try out Suju Masayuki Raku; the menu isn’t in English, but a handy google translate app alongside the photos really helps. The staff is super lovely and willing to help with absolutely anything.
After lunch, you’re only a couple of stops away from Jimbocho and the handful of must-see bookshops in the area. I make mention of this because I made a little tour of the bookshops myself, but where you can find books and bookshops you can also find coffee, tea, and sweets. I won’t recommend any one place, but simply suggest that you let yourself get a little bit lost amongst the stacks of books and indulge in your cup of coffee. Savor every drop of it rather than down it like most of us are so accustomed to doing these days.
For dinner, there are lots of options. I spend most of my time in Hakusan and there are a few ramen shops around, but check out this little one called Yume Wo Katare Tokyo down one of the streets near the Hakusan Station A1 exit. I have not been able to finish one of their ramen dishes, but while you attempt to make your way through the mountain set before you, you can watch as the local kids finish their own bowls quicker than you could dream. Maybe you’ll swear to yourself that you’ll come back and be able to finish a bowl by yourself like my friends and I did, but it is not an experience to miss.
After dinner why don’t you check out some of the bars in Tokyo? My personal favorite is a jazz bar in Ginza called Apollo. It’s a small bar, but the atmosphere is perfect. It is the kind of place that I would come just to write. I could easily lose an entire night in this small and cozy jazz bar. I wouldn’t always admit it, but smooth jazz is one of my guilty pleasures, so when I walked into Apollo for the first time I immediately melted into the plush cushions. Hidden away, down a small, narrow back alley, this bar is an absolute must for whiskey and jazz lovers. If you’re like me and you don’t like to drink often, I can recommend the homemade ginger ale. It’s a wonderful experience, from the steaming towel when you arrive, to the lovely departure when you’ve had your fill of whiskey. You can find other bars like this in our post: Top 5 Tokyo Whiskey Bars, so if jazz isn’t your thing maybe have a look at what else we can recommend.
By day three you’ve probably explored a couple of different types of food so maybe it’s time to try your hand at making some of it for yourself. Luckily, there are quite a few cooking classes around Tokyo. If you check out the Osaka Style Okonomiyaki Cooking Class you’re sure to learn some new skills and experience a different style of food without ever leaving Tokyo. Or maybe you just want to learn how to make sushi on your own. If that’s more your speed then boy are you lucky, because there are a plethora of sushi classes in and around Tokyo. Try your hand at the Rolled Sushi and Sushi Milles-Feuilles Class. You are bound to learn things you didn’t know in either of these classes, but if you’re not particularly keen on either then have a scroll through our website because there are heaps on offer.
To round off your third day, check out Manpuku restaurant in Chiyoda prefecture. This cute little restaurant has been run by the current owners for the past 23 years. At night the restaurant places tables outside and extends the dining experience even further underneath the train tracks. It is very welcoming to foreigners and the staff is from all over the world too. You won’t have to worry too much about a menu completely in Japanese at this cute little restaurant. It is run by one of the nicest people I have ever met and had the honor of talking to.
This is a lot to do over three days, but there is a lot to do in Tokyo. Don’t worry though, because even if you can’t make it to all of these places a little wander around the streets will definitely reveal the perfect restaurants and cafes for you. Tokyo food is an experience and a string of exciting adventures waiting to happen. Let this guide start you off, but absolutely allow yourself to get lost in the world of Tokyo food.
Hello there! I’m a writer from Brisbane, Australia. I’m currently interning in Tokyo. You’ll probably find me with a bag weighed down by books eating a cake in some small cafe somewhere. Or I’ll be resting in a shady spot reading and soaking up the summer air.