Densely populated with students, Kanda is not your typical tourist-y area, rather, it is a neighborhood surrounded by universities. While this area may not be a prime option for tourists, it is, however, a place densely populated with youth, particularly students. Kanda is also the home of Yushima Seido, a shrine devoted to Confucius. This university belt is near Akihabara, the district famous for anything manga. Other than being a university district, Kanda is also popular for the Kanda Myojin Shrine and the Kanda Festival, touted to be one of the three famous festivals celebrated in Tokyo. The Kanda Festival commemorates three deities: Daikokuten for good harvest and matrimony, the god of fishermen and businessmen Ebisu and Taira Masakado.
Whether you are interested in shrine hopping in Kanda or a student-at-heart with a fascination of sight-seeing various universities in the area, Kanda has something to offer every foodie, local or tourist alike. Let’s dig into some of the flavors that Kanda’s cooking in the kitchen.
If you find comfort in ramen, then you are in for a treat at Ippuku. This Kagawa Prefecture noodle restaurant has already made its name for its superb Sanuki udon dishes. Sanuki, which is the feudal name of Kagawa, is also the name for the noodles served in this region, immersed in a clear, savory broth with scallions, sesame or grated ginger. Ippuku also serves side dishes such as kamaboko fish cakes, wakame seaweed, abura-age and onsen tamago. The restaurant also sells tempura and other Japanese favorites. Another must-try noodle hub is Yabu Soba, which serves hand-cut noodles topped with duck or ten-seiro soba or cold soba paired with shrimp tempura.
Speaking of comfort food, what could be more comforting than combining cheese in one of Japan’s all-time favorite food, gyoza. Warashibe Gyoza has converted the small but flavor-packed gyoza into a more festive dish, with their signature teppan gyoza fondue. Gyozas are placed in a teppan, with a generous serving of cheese that when melted coats the gyoza for a more delish feast. Other gyoza dishes served in this restaurant include barbecue gyoza and coriander gyoza.
Izakaya dining is the style of Koju, which offers full course meals composed of 10 dishes which can either be cooked with seasonal ingredients. Other specialties include dishes of bite-size firefly squid, bamboo shoot with wakame seaweed, among other exquisitely prepared dishes.
For those who prefer eating seafood, head on to Surugaya Kahei, which serves squid guts, snow crabs, skipjack tuna and sea bream. Meanwhile, for some French bisque-like ramen, the menu of Gonokai Suisan perfectly fits your palate, featuring ramen broth that’s thick and creamy. Shinpachi, meanwhile, offers izakaya seafood meals freshly caught from the Sea of Japan in Toyama Prefecture.
Cap off the night at Hotaru, Tokyo’s first sake bre-pub, which serves doburoku, or unfiltered and thick sake packed with alcohol. For beer lovers, Kanda offers quite a list of beer pubs. There is Wiz, a must visit beer pub serving 31 taps. Also, there’s Hitachino Brewing Lab, which brews its own beer such as Hitachino Best Lager. Meanwhile, Craft Beer Market, is known for its 30 kinds of craft beer from across Japan and the world. DevilCraft, which opens after dark, is known to serve devilish ales while Kura Kura, with its posh ambiance, reflects a selection of craft beers across Japan in its menu.
Kanda may be a salaryman and university town, packed with workers and students, but it is an area that packs good food finds and craft beer joints. Enjoy and explore Kanda on your next trip to Tokyo. ‘Til the next foodventure.
Aleli is a wanderlust whose main itinerary is to culture soak in the places that she sets foot on, sinking her teeth in the gustatory offerings that the place has to offer and knowing the story behind it. Food for her is a marriage of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the rich history of every city she explores and uses the pen as her tool to share to the world each unique experience she unravels.