The humble little neighborhood of Musashi-Koyama is home to the longest undercover shopping arcade in Tokyo. It’s a residential neighborhood but with a warm charm, conveniently located in the Shinagawa area, with the station just two stops away from Meguro on Tokyo’s Yamanote Line. The neighborhood’s main shotengai shopping street is known as Musashi-Koyama Shopping Street Palm, which has an extensive stretch of shops that’s 800 meters long. With an atmosphere that’s both relaxed and lively, you can feel the nostalgia of the small community here, watching families spending time together and neighbors greeting each other as they go about their day.
While there are some chain stores, there are still many locally-run greengrocers tucked in between 100 yen stores, second-hand clothing shops, and specialty retailers. Wander through the arcade and take a break from the big city of greater Tokyo to get the feel of what it’s like to be a local. Check out what delicious delights are on offer in this Musashi-Koyama Shopping Street Palm food guide.
Having been around for about 90 years, Tori-Yuu is Musashi-Koyama’s locally famous yakitori joint. The legendary approach to yakitori from this little stall isn’t like other yakitori restaurants in Tokyo, rather it’s self-service style. Customers are able to choose their favorite type of skewer from big piles of yakitori goodness, which are then dipped in Tori-Yuu’s signature sweet sauce. You can try skewers from a small but delicious range of yakitori, from neck and liver to meatballs, and they even have an unagi (eel) special, too. Each succulent stick of grilled chicken costs about 160 yen, and for those who like a beer with their yakitori you can crack open a cold one with the locals, as there are always people milling around the small shop front for a chat and a snack.
Mochi Buta Tonkatsu Taiyo
Mochi Buta Tonkatsu Taiyo is a small restaurant located along Musashi-Koyama Shopping Street Palm that specializes in high-quality tonkatsu, which is a panko-crumbed deep-fried pork cutlet. For those who think that the deep-fried deliciousness of tonkatsu is too oily, give this one a try because it is sensational, and the owners say it’s deep fried with heart. While the concept of tonkatsu might be basic, here each piece is juicy and cooked to perfection. The dark wooded restaurant itself is cozy with a relaxed atmosphere, it is an intimate place to eat delicious tonkatsu or menchi katsu, a minced meat patty. While they’re only open for a short time for lunch and between 5:30-8:30 PM for dinner, when they are open they do it well. The delicious teishoku set comes with rice, miso soup, and shredded cabbage.
Quite a popular chain of ramen that opened in 2005, Mitsuyado Seimen also makes a delicious tsukemen with their signature noodles. Specializing in both regular wheat and whole wheat noodles, they are made freshly onsite at the restaurant where you can even see the machinery they use sitting in the front window. Tsukemen is a Japanese-style noodle dish, a type of ramen where the thick and flavorful broth is separate from the noodles. The noodles are then dipped into the sauce, which traditionally is served cold, though you can choose to opt-in for hot ones too. At Mitsuyado Seimen they have options, like their chicken-based soy sauce soup or seafood and pork flavored soup. For its refreshing taste, the most popular tsukemen is one flavored with yuzu citrus. They also have an “Ae-Soba” soupless ramen, where the toppings are stirred into the noodles, as well as gyoza dumplings made from their own dough. Mitsuyado Seimen is also known for having special menu items; previous dishes include carbonara sauce tsukemen and “mabodofu” spicy tofu tsukemen.
Shabu-Yo is the restaurant for reasonably-priced and delicious shabu shabu along Musashi-Koyama Shopping Street Palm. This hotpot style of shared food is popular with families, particularly at lunchtime with a good price for all-you-can-eat (known as tabehoudai in Japanese). It’s family-friendly, wallet-friendly, and for the most part healthy as well as delicious, as the soup flavors intensify while you shabu-shabu (Japanese onomatopoeia for cooking the meat by dipping it and waving it back and forth in the hot soup). You can choose the price per person based on different levels of meat quality, and you can continue to order trays of meat unlimitedly! It’s a very customizable food experience. The big nabe pot, which cooks right at your table, has a divider running through the center so you can choose two different soup bases. There is also a buffet where you can help yourself to unlimited vegetables, tofu, and noodles, while the self-service salad bar area also includes a small dessert bar with ice cream where you can even make your own waffles.
At Hazeryu, you can get a truly delicious bowl of noodly goodness by first ordering a ticket from the vending machine. Here they sell big bowls of noodles with colorful toppings in their signature blue bowls, but, if you want to get technical, at Hazeryu they actually use a soba noodle. The noodles are soba-style but served in a soup like a regular bowl of ramen, or in the case of mazesoba, without soup. A brothless soup, mazesoba is a noodle dish where you mix the noodles and toppings together. Apart from specializing in their Chinese style soba, Hazeryu also has a salty broth and a roasted miso broth soba bowl, too. Each bowl is really packed with ingredients: extra toppings like fresh corn, perfectly cooked soft boiled eggs and shallots, to top it off. At this friendly restaurant they also have changing special soba bowls, ranging from Mexican mazesoba to a Thai-themed one as well. There is often a queue outside of Hazeryu but it’s definitely worth it for their thick and juicy chashu pork slices and delicious broth. A spacious open-plan kitchen in the center of the small restaurant, you can see them grilling their thick, juicy pork slices in front of you.
For Dessert: Shigemori Eishindo, Osamu To Strawberry, and Takeya Dessert Inn
If you want something sweet while you’re exploring Musashi-Koyama Shopping Street Palm, you should try ningyoyaki, a popular Japanese-style sweet, from Shigemori no Ningyo-yaki Zeitaku Senbei. While the shop name is quite a mouthful, here you will find a Japanese-style waffle that has anko (sweet red bean) or custard filling. Similar to taiyaki, a waffle-like sweet cake with various fillings, ningyoyaki come in different shapes, like ones resembling the Japanese Seven Lucky Gods. For those with a big sweet tooth, at the cozy kissaten cafe, Osamu To Strawberry, you can get their infamous king parfait. This monster of a dessert can feed about six people, as it is 3.5 kilograms and 60 centimeters tall! Or, for something a more manageable size, the Italian sweet experts at Takeya Dessert Inn can definitely supply you with a delicious gelato as a sweet fix.
If you need an afternoon pick me up after a lazy morning of exploring the shops, Amameria Espresso will sort you out. A cozy little cafe just off the main mall area, there’s a friendly, laid-back atmosphere here, and not to forget that they serve a delicious coffee. With a citrusy essence, the beans are a done at a medium roast in the onsite resident roaster, for optimal flavor according to coffee guru and owner Toshiaki Ishii. Amameria has coffee options including Aeropress, espresso, and paper drip, along with a few snacks such as waffles and maple butter toast.
If you reach the end of the stretch, you’ll arrive at Gyomu Super, where families can bulk buy their groceries, or else you can try some unusual Japanese snacks pretty cheaply. If you haven’t quite yet shopped till you’ve dropped, if you keep walking down Musashi-Koyama Shopping Street Palm you will, in fact, reach the longest shotengai in Tokyo. Just a 10 minute walk away, Togoshi Ginza Shotengai is 1.3 kilometers long, with over 450 stores running down it! For those who have done enough shopping, really relax like a local and try taking a dip in the local onsen bathhouse, Shimizu-yu Musashi Koyama Onsen. It’s a modest onsen but for around 500 yen entry, you can bathe traditionally in black or gold mineral water. Make sure try the milk from the vending machine afterward, it’s a delicious post-soak pick me up.
Never not hungry, Lucy is an artist and foodie from Australia. You can find her hunting for the next delicious deal, documenting her food, or brunching. She lives firmly by the philosophy that food friends are the best of friends.