Ochanomizu is a neighborhood rich with history, as feudal lords and samurai resided there in the past, but today you’ll find that it is a bustling city filled with music stores and college students. Though often overlooked due to its proximity to Akihabara, its towering neighbor, Ochanomizu is the perfect place for a day out. While in Tokyo, make sure not to overlook this small neighborhood and the hidden gems that it offers.
Ochanomizu translates to “tea water.” The neighborhood earned this name because during the Edo period the shogun would get water for his tea from the Kanda River, which runs through Ochanomizu. Restaurant 1899 Ochanomizu is the perfect embodiment of Ochanomizu, as it incorporates matcha into every dish on its menu. You’ll be able to get one of a kind dishes here, like matcha beer and sausages that contain three different types of tea. Come on by if you love tea, have an adventurous palate, and are looking for a great brunch spot.
Butayaro is a lucky find among the multitude of ramen restaurants in the Tokyo area. Located right next to Ochanomizu Station, this small eatery has a variety of cheap options that range from 550 to 900 yen. When visiting, you’re sure to find a long line up the staircase to the entrance, so make sure to come early. Many of those in line are locals who wait patiently to get a serving of their signature butadon, or pork bowl. Butayaro’s butadon is made up of thick slabs of pork grilled over charcoal and generously slathered with a sweet and spicy sauce, all placed over a warm bowl of rice that is sure to leave you satisfied.
Maruka Udon has some of the best udon in Tokyo. Here they serve Sanuki Udon, which is a specialty of the Kagawa Prefecture. The noodles here, made of white wheat, are smooth with just the right amount of chewiness. They’re so delicious that you will wish you had ordered more. Located just a seven-minute walk away from Ochanomizu Station, make sure to get to Maruka Udon early to avoid the line that begins to form long before the restaurant opens. Also, be prepared with an idea of what you want to eat before you get here because the staff will take your order while you wait in line.
At Kanda Yabu Soba, one of the oldest establishments in Tokyo, you can get an affordable and delicious meal. This soba restaurant has been around since 1880 and continues its traditions to this day, making most of its food in the store and using the same recipes since its inception. Much like the previous entries on this list, be prepared for a bit of a wait since Kanda Yabu Soba is a popular spot for those who want to eat traditional soba. Don’t let this discourage you though, as the food here is well worth the wait!
Tonkatsu Marugo is regarded as one of the best places to eat tonkatsu in Tokyo, and for good reason. It was featured in Tokyo’s 2016 Tokyo Michelin Guide, proving its worth as a fantastic place to get an amazing meal and great service. Each piece of meat here is cooked to tender and juicy perfection, and with large portion sizes, I would recommend coming here with an empty stomach. After one bite it’ll be obvious why Marugo was awarded its Michelin star. So, if you are looking for a hearty and meaty meal, then try out Marugo for the best tonkatsu you’ve ever tasted!
Francisco is a student who is currently studying abroad in Japan. He enjoys walking around the streets of Tokyo and discovering great places to eat.