Former rice warehouse now transformed into a community of artisanal shops, leatherwork stores, cafés, tea shops and restaurants, Kuramae is a hidden gem in the east side of Tokyo between Asakusa and Tokyo Skytree. Being a rice granary area back during the Edo era, Kuramae has attracted merchants and traders. Currently, it is attracting visitors and foreigners who explore the quaint boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. Let us scout this granary town for some tummy-filling adventures.
Healthy option dishes are the main fare of Kuramae. The restaurant offers lunch sets served with brown rice while the store sells nutritious edibles, spices, and snacks. For ramen enthusiasts, Ramen Kai is your best bet, with shellfish ramen as their specialty. For more traditional Japanese fairs, Ebiya Souhonten, which has been in the area for almost 140 years, serves Tsukudani—a traditional Japanese dish of seafood and sea vegetables cooked in sweet soy sauce. Kuramae Genraku Sohoten, meanwhile, has perfected its tonkotsu, with a shoyu soupy-goodness that’s carefully concocted and boiled for three days and served with meat and fresh vegetables.
Kuramae has been blessed with an authentic wagashi shop, Eikyudo since 1887, which serves sweet delights such as chestnut yokan, waka-ayu, and bean paste-filled daifuku. Another place to invade for sweet tooths is Dandelion Chocolate, a chocolate production facility, store, and café. Miwako Bake, meanwhile, is a specialty bakeshop serving original cookies and cakes made with seasonal ingredients from all over Japan. Its popularity draws locals, and even foreigners, back to taste the treats.
Meanwhile, Ashi is a bar that serves a superb line of sake paired with dishes from the Oita prefecture for a perfect meal. Ashi serves toriten and karaage as well as ryukyu or sliced fish meat in soy sauce, sake and sesame as well as boiled young soybeans or edamame. During lunchtime, Ashi serves teishoku that includes a main dish, three side dishes, miso soup and rice for ¥1000. Another offering of this restaurant is their Ashi curry and vegetable stuffed gyoza.
Coffee lovers unite at Kuramae, with a wide variety for your every caffeine-laden drink need. Sol’s Coffee is sure to perk you up with their signature cup of joe. Situated beside Kuramae, Sol’s Café offers healthier coffee options from their roster of hand-picked, twice roasted beans. Another hip place to visit in Kuramae for coffee or drinks is the Bar Lounge of Nui Hostel. The café’s baristas masterfully craft coffee from beans with broad flavor profile—from acidic, fruity, floral and sweet. For those who prefer having a glass of artisanal beers, the bar serves craft beers both on bottle and tap. The menu also includes meals that are easy to pair with the drinks served in the lounge.
Meanwhile, if you prefer tea, Nakamura Tea Life Store is a must visit place. The store sells organic teas straight from Shizuoka. Not sure of what tea to buy? The store’s staff are more than willing to assist you and provide you with free taste.
Kuramae, with its hodgepodge charm of artisanal boutiques, will surely give you a wide array of stores and cafes that will satisfy your craving, whether for desserts, coffee or authentic Japanese dishes. It is a district that you sure don’t want to miss when in Tokyo. ‘Til our next foodventure.