DESTINATION OF THE MONTH – 2023
WEEK 3 OF 4
Eating and drinking is an art form in Japan and nowhere offers a better selection of exciting culinary experiences than Tokyo’s bars and restaurants. From award-winning restaurants, and authentic local eateries to trendy rooftop bars, the city where old meets new has visitors well covered.
Here are some experiences that are a must for any foodie:
Visit the world’s largest fish market
Toyosu Fish Market draws everyone from the capital’s top chefs to home cooks to peruse the day’s catch. Get there early to enjoy the lively atmosphere of the tuna auction from the public observation area giving a better view than ever before. The new market opened in October 2018 and comes to life at around 4:00, when fishing boats unload their catches from all over the world. The public are allowed in from 5:00 until 17:00, although certain shops and restaurants may have different opening hours. The market is closed on Sundays and holidays, so take care when you’re planning your trip. Whilst Toyosu fish market is undoubtedly a highlight, the old market Tsukiji Outer market is still worth visiting for the street food, knife shops, kitchenwares and an array of food-related vendors, also a perfect place for fresh sushi, breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Enjoy Michelin-starred Gastronomy
Tokyo is simply the world’s greatest food city and there is proof: Michelin awarded Tokyo restaurants a total of 263 stars for 2023, making it the city with the highest number of Michelin stars in the world. Michelin-starred restaurants that serve some of the best Japanese food in Tokyo, from tempura to yakitori, include:
Yakitori Omino (one star) – for some of the best yakitori in town. Everything here is focused on creating beautiful, delicious yakitori. The restaurant serves Date chicken, a premium breed from southern Tohoku, a region of northeast Japan.
Tempura Kondo (two stars) – for world-class tempura: Kondo has held a proud place for years at the forefront of Tokyo gastronomy and has won over countless celebrities. The menu here is centered on classic Tokyo Bay seafood and seasonal vegetables prepared in innovative and surprising ways.
Nihon Ryori Kanda (three stars) – holding 3 stars since Michelin began ranking in Japan 16 years ago, Kanda offers the best in quintessential Japanese kaiseki cuisine. The philosophy of star chef Hiroyuki Kanda is based on the quality of ingredients, respecting their natural flavours he puts his own unique touch on his dishes. Recipient of the Michelin Mentor Chef Award in 2021, Kanda-san has become one of the most respected and internationally recognised chefs in the world. The restaurant moved to a new location in Toranomon Hills in February 2022.
Tokyo’s very own Edo-style sushi “Edomae sushi”
Sushi made with fresh seafood caught near Tokyo Bay is called Edomae and a style of sushi making dating back to the 1820’s. The bay used to provide plenty of fishing opportunities in Edo times with the bayshore full of fish and shellfish. The catch from Tokyo Bay exceeded that of all other prefectures in Japan – an abundance which made it possible for the famous Tsukiji fish market to be built. When in Tokyo trying Edomae sushi is a ‘must’ and for those wishing to try their hand at becoming a sushi chef head to the Tokyo Sushi Academy.
Explore local downtown Street Food
There is one area of Tokyo that can be one of the best to experience what Tokyo looked like before World War II – Taishakuten Sando in Shibamata is an old-world street of restaurants and stalls in one of the few areas of Tokyo untouched by the air raids of World War II, this 200m. long street is one of the city’s best places to experience what Tokyo looked like before the modern era. With a retro feel and nostalgic atmosphere, the shops sell many edible local specialities from wooden old-fashioned shops. Local tip: Try the Kusa-dango (Japanese mugwort sticky rice dumpling). Learn more and access information HERE.