Tokyo is a huge city and looking for a restaurant, especially for first-time travelers, could be quite challenging. So I’ve gathered a list of some of my favorite tourist-friendly restaurants in Tokyo!
Ikkakuya Ramen (Harajuku)
Skip the lines on those famous Ramen joints and have one at Ikkakuya instead. I found this randomly while walking around Harajuku and that first sip was unforgettable. Their flavors are so rich, every bite is a festival of taste. Though, it is understandable if you get easily fed up by it. So maybe don’t order a big bowl if you’re not sure you can finish it.
Price of around 800-1000 Yen per bowl
I combined these three restaurants because they all have one thing in common, gyudon! Gyudon, or beef bowl, is a common Japanese dish that you can eat at any time of the day. Typically, it’s just beef, rice, and some seasonings, and it can pretty much get you through up until the next meal time. These restaurants are perfect for budget travelers and backpackers wanting to try great local cuisine but are tight on budget. They’re even cheaper than McDonald’s or Burger King, and they’re just as scattered all over Japan!
Price for a good meal set is around 400-800 Yen
One of the cheapest Michelin Starred Restaurants in Tokyo, Nakajima invites long lines of crowd every lunch time for people to try their sardines sashimi. We went there just before 11 AM and the line was still pretty short. By the time they open, we were included in the first batch of people to eat. I tried the fried sardine which was good, but there are better ones in their menu. Like the Sardine sashimi and the fried sardine omelet. Sit at the counter so you can watch the preparation of food, amazing and interesting!
Lunch Price from 800~ Yen
Going for a late night snack after partying around the area? Then Donaiya is your place. This takoyaki place will get you back to your senses whether you’re drunk or high on experiencing Shinjuku. This is also a place for office workers to have fun after work hours. But it’s still as friendly to tourists as much as it is to locals.
Price from 350~ Yen
Sakura Sushi/Sakurazushi (Shinjuku)
An affordable but quality conveyor sushi place. You just go in and grab plates from the belt. They offer a lot of dishes with price as low as 100 Yen. This is a go-to place for locals but still very tourist-friendly. My favorites are their egg, cooked shrimp, and squid sushis.
Prices from 100~ Yen
Genki Sushi (Shibuya)
Another affordable conveyor sushi place, but this is more popular to tourists. They also provide tablets in each table where you will place your orders. The sushi arrives through a belt and specifically stops at your table. Since it is popular, there is often a queue outside and once you’re in, they only allow you to order and eat for a certain amount of time. I went there with 5 other people and we were given 45 minutes in total. Definitely not enough time, the only good thing is it prevented us from ordering and spending too much!
Prices from 100~ Yen
Okonomiyaki is one of my favorite Japanese foods and Chibo is a good place to get it. Prices are above average so expect to spend to get the best ones on their menu. Great food, great service, the only thing I was bummed about was their okonomiyaki was made in the kitchen instead of cooked in front of you. They do have an iron grill on each table, but only for keeping the food warm.
Prices from 2,000~ Yen
These restaurants are only a few of the ones I’ve tried. Others I didn’t get the name, and others I totally forgot about. But the good thing with Tokyo is, almost every restaurant I’ve been to is decent at the least. No matter the budget, there is a good authentic Japanese restaurant for you.
But my most important tip is to never limit yourself to eat. Do the “Seefood” diet, when you see an interesting and yummy-looking food, eat it. Japan has amazing cuisine and what better way to learn its culture and fall in love with the country than having a food trip!