When traveling to a new place, tasting the seasonal local specialties is definitely a must. During the summer, Japanese people love to have unagi (eel), hamo (pike conger), ayu (sweetfish), tomatoes, and kakigori (shaved ice). Here are 15 restaurants in Tokyo where you can taste them!
1. Unagi Fujita Shirokanedai Branch (Shirokanedai)
One of the best representations of summer Japanese cuisine is the unagi. During the Edo period (1603 - 1867), unagi was eaten on the day of the ox (midsummer according to the Japanese adaptation of the Chinese calendar) to prevent heat strokes. This restaurant's main branch is in a historical part of Hamamatsu, which is an area renowned for its unagi. Their [Kabayaki] (3,100 JPY plus tax) (boiled eel basted with a special sauce) consists of unagi rinsed with good water to remove the smell of mud, and then carefully grilled on charcoal until fragrant. It's served with a delicious tare (sauce) and is beloved by gourmands. Their classic [Unaju] (eel on rice in a lacquer box) starts from 2,800 JPY (plus tax).
Unagi Fujita Shirokanedai Branch
: Lunch from 11:30 am (L.O. 2:00 pm), Dinner from 5:00 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)Closed
: MondayAverage price
: [Dinner] 6,000 JPY / [Lunch] 3,000 JPYAddress
: 3F, IGAX Bldg., 4-19-21, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo (Map
2. Iriya Kishimojin-monzen Nodaya (Iriya)
Established in 1868, Iriya Kishimojin-monzen Nodaya is a famed restaurant specializing in unagi. It is directly managed by a chef employment agency that has cranked out thousands of renowned chefs. Their unagi, carefully grilled with a technique called "Manben-gaeshi" (repeatedly flipping the unagi without scorching it), has crispy and fragrant skin, as well as fluffy and tender meat with an exquisite flavor. Enjoy the chef's mastery by ordering their [Unaju] (from 2,600 JPY plus tax). If you're interested in à la carte dishes, try their original [Unagi no Su-jime Ura Ume Zukuri] (1,650 JPY plus tax), which consists of unagi marinated in vinegar, and is served with a refreshing plum pulp sauce.
Iriya Kishimojin-monzen Nodaya
: Lunch from 11:00 am, Dinner from 5:00 pm *Both lunch and dinner end as soon as everything is sold outClosed
: Monday *If it's a national holiday, it will be closed on the next day insteadAverage price
: [Dinner] 8,000 JPY / [Lunch] 2,000 JPYAddress
: 2-3-1, Shitaya, Taito-ku, Tokyo (Map
3. Kanda Ajigura Namakoya (Kanda)
Kanda Ajigura Namakoya is a popular Japanese restaurant in Kanda that specializes in Kaiseki (Japanese banquet with alcohol). If you come here during the summer, their hamo is a must try. It's similar to unagi, but it comes from the sea instead of a river and has a very light flavor. From the beginning of summer to fall, you shouldn't miss the refreshing [Hamo no Yubiki] (850 JPY), in which hamo is thinly cut and quickly cooked in boiling water. It matches divinely with cold sake (Japanese alcohol)! Alternatively, try their [Hamo no Segoshi - Sashimi] (950 JPY) to fully enjoy its incomparable freshness.
Kanda Ajigura Namakoya
Open: 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm)
Closed: Sunday, National Holidays *Closed during the beginning and end of the year
Average price: 6,000 JPY
Address: 1F, Daido Bldg., 3-5-5, Uchi Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo ()
4. Kyomachi Koishigure Shinjuku New Annex (Shinjuku)
When you step inside this restaurant, you'll feel like you traveled all the way to Kyoto, thanks to the atmosphere created by a red bridge over a streamlet. Here, you'll get to taste lots of hamo delicacies, which are classic summer dishes in Kyoto. Some highly recommended items are the [Hamo to Kyo-yasai no Tempura Assortment] (780 JPY plus tax), where the delicate flavor of the white meat is enhanced to the fullest, the [Hamo to Asparagus no Ume Shiso Naruto-maki] (890 JPY plus tax), and the [Hamo Ita no Ume Shiso with Chili Pepper] (380 JPY plus tax), which is a fish cake with hamo in it. Forget about the summer heat with their refreshing [Homemade Hon Nigari Tofu] (450 JPY plus tax)!
Kyomachi Koishigure Shinjuku New Annex
Open: 5:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:00 pm)
Average price: 4,000 JPY
Address: 5F, Seno Bldg., 3-18-4, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo ()
5. Kiyomizu (Sangen-Jaya)
Kaiseki cuisine refers to traditional Japanese course meals that come with tea. At this famous restaurant, you can enjoy Kaiseki made with seasonal ingredients. Their specialty for summer is the [Tennen Ayu no Shioyaki]. Ayu is a river fish that can be distinguished by its particularly refreshing aroma. It is a typical summer ingredient in Japan. This rustic yet luxurious dish is grilled with salt, which makes it an excellent choice as both a snack with alcohol and for a meal. You may also want to try their [Kisetsu no Agetate Tempura], which is served with all their dinner courses.
Open: Lunch 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm (L.O. 3:00 pm) *Only served if groups of 2 people or more make a reservation at least 2 days in advance. Split into 2 sessions on Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays.
Dinner 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 8:30 pm) *Reservations and referrals are required for groups of 2 people or more
Average price: [Dinner] 8,000 JPY / [Lunch] 5,000 JPY
Address: Royal Taishido, 5-4-9, Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo ()
6. Ginza Sugimoto (Ginza)
This popular restaurant is known for its delicious seasonal Kaiseki cuisine. Most of its beautifully arranged dishes are made with Sendai beef, seasonal fish, and vegetables from all over the country. For example, the [Early Summer Otsukuri] consists of sashimi topped with the best in-season seafood available - like hon-maguro (bluefin tuna) from Oma, Aomori Prefecture, which is considered to be a top-class ingredient - gorgeously arranged on a checkered Arita porcelain plate. From May - September, don't forget to try their amazing [Hamo Shabu], where you can eat thinly sliced hamo after dipping it in piping hot and delicious dashi (broth).
: [Tuesday - Thursday] Lunch 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm *Private rooms for 4 - 6 people are available, Dinner 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm *Last admission is at 9:00 pm
[Monday, Friday, Saturday] Dinner 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm *Last admission is at 9:00 pmClosed
: Sunday, National HolidaysAverage price
: [Dinner] 30,000 JPY / [Lunch] 16,000 JPYAddress
: 5F, Mikuni Ginza Bldg., 6-7-19, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (Map
7. Ginza Yoshizawa (Ginza-itchome)
This Kaiseki restaurant was opened by Sadahisa Yoshizawa - a chef from Ginza Ibuki, which is a popular place that was recommended for 4 years in a row by the Tokyo edition of a world-renowned gourmet guide. There are 3 types of seasonal flavors in this cuisine: [Hashiri] (the flavor of the first catch of the season), [Shun] (the peak flavor of the season), and [Nagori] (the flavor of the past season). The skillful chef here uses only ingredients carefully selected from various parts of the country, turning them into superb dishes that tell a story. Through each dish, like sashimi and soup, you'll get to appreciate the authentic beauty and taste of Japanese cuisine.
: Lunch 11:30 am - 2:30 pm (L.O. 12:30 pm), Dinner 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)Closed
: Sunday *If Monday is a national holiday, it will be closed on both Sunday and MondayAverage price
: [Dinner] 15,000 JPY / [Lunch] 8,000 JPYAddress
: B1F, Habiulu Ginza, 1-13-8, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (Map)More Details
8. Mita Basara (Mita)
Mita Basara is a popular restaurant that serves a new style of Japanese cuisine, combining traditional dishes with modern cooking methods and ingredients. One dish you should try at least once is the [Tomato Sukiyaki Kaiseki (Course)] (from 6,000 JPY), which uses tomatoes whose umami (Japanese savory taste) is at its peak thanks to the sunlight of early summer. It is a dish where sukiyaki (hot pot stew) - a traditional meat dish - is enriched with the sourness of the tomatoes and the sweetness of the warishita (soup base). This also brings the deliciousness of the Wagyu (a type of high-quality beef) to a whole new level.
: [Weekdays] Lunch 11:30 am - 3:00 pm (L.O. 2:00 pm), Dinner 5:30 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 9:30 pm)
[Saturday] Lunch 11:30 am - 3:00 pm (L.O. 2:00 pm)
[Sunday, National Holidays] Lunch 11:30 am - 3:00 pm (L.O. 2:00 pm), Dinner 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)Closed
: IrregularAverage price
: [Dinner] 8,000 JPY / [Lunch] 2,000 JPYAddress
: B1F, DNI Mita Bldg., 3-43-16, Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo (Map)More Details
9. Sabatini De Firenze Daimaru Tokyo Branch (Marunouchi)
Taste authentic Italian cuisine at this restaurant, which is located in an area that's directly connected to Tokyo Station. As summer approaches, the flavor of tomatoes deepens, and this is apparent in their [Whole Mozzarella Cheese and Tomato Salad] (1,800 JPY plus tax). Water buffalo mozzarella cheese, imported directly from Naples, makes juicy seasonal tomatoes even more delicious! If you're in the mood for meat, have the [Domestic Calf Shank Stew with Milano-style Saffron Risotto] (2,600 JPY plus tax), which is a traditional dish from Lombardy, Italy.
Sabatini De Firenze Daimaru Tokyo Branch
: Lunch 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, Tea Time 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm, Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm)Closed
: None *Closed on January 1Average price
: [Dinner] 6,000 JPY / [Lunch] 2,000 JPYAddress
: 12F, Daimaru Tokyo, 1-9-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (Map)More Details
10. LaSana Ginza (Ginza)
LaSana Ginza is a popular Italian bar in Ginza where you can have delicious and healthy dishes made with organic vegetables and paired with organic wines. Their flagship early summer dish is the [Lobster Flavored Thick Tomato Cheese Fondue with Seasonal Heated Vegetables] (1,780 JPY). The sweet flavor of tomatoes, deepened by the hot sun of the early summer, is boosted by the rich taste of cheese. If you want more of this tomato and cheese combination, try the amazing [Mozzarella Cheese and Fruit Tomato Caprese] (1,680 JPY).
: [Weekdays, Day before National Holidays] Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 11:00 pm)
[Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays] Lunch 11:30 am - 3:00 pm (L.O. 1:00 pm), Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)Closed
: IrregularAverage price
: [Dinner] 5,000 JPY / [Lunch] 3,000 JPYAddress
: 2F, Sukiya Bldg., 6-3-12, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (Map)More Details
11. Ganso Sapporo-ya Aoyama Branch (Gaiemmae)
Among all the noodles available in Japan - like soba (buckwheat noodles), udon (thick noodles), and somen (thin noodles) - the one that's the most commonly eaten in summer is called "hiyashi chuka". Chuka means "Chinese" in Japanese, but these noodles were actually born in Japan. The dish consists of cold soup poured over cooled chuka noodles that are topped with ingredients like vegetables, char siu (roast pork), and omelet strips. Located in a corner of Aoyama, Tokyo, this restaurant makes delicious hiyashi chuka. Their homemade noodles don't lose their chewy texture even when cooled down, and they're extremely refreshing. Plus, they're topped with plenty of vegetables to offer you a healthy yet tasty treat!
Ganso Sapporo-ya Aoyama Branch
: [Weekdays] 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
[Saturday, Sunday] 11:00 am - 9:00 pmClosed
: NoneAverage price
: [Dinner] 1,000 JPY / [Lunch] 600 JPYAddress
: 2-7-27, Kita Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo (Map
12. Uokou (Kaminoge)
Ever since the Edo period, the beginning of summer has been seen as the time of arrival of skipjack tunas, which are carried north by the Kuroshio Current. Uokou is a popular restaurant where you can enjoy dishes made with this fish. Their signature dish is the [Nama Katsuo Warayaki] (980 JPY), which consists of freshly caught skipjack tuna scorched by the fire of burning straw (warayaki) and served as sashimi. This is a traditional delicacy that is generally called "tataki". The aroma of the burnt straw, along with plenty of seasonings, truly enhances the deliciousness of the tuna, making it the perfect dish for the summer!
: [Weekdays, Saturday] 5:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)
[Sunday, National Holidays] 4:30 pm - 11:30 pm (L.O. 11:00 pm)Closed
: NoneAverage price
: 5,500 JPYAddress
: 201, Kaminoge Bldg., 3-1-11, Kaminoge, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo (Map)More Details
13. Mamemaru (Marunouchi)
Tofu - made by hardening soy milk with nigari (magnesium chloride) - is a well-known product in Asia. Japanese people eat it all year long, but in the summer, it's often used to make fresh hiyayakko (cold tofu served as is). Mamemaru is a Japanese restaurant that's well-known for serving delicious Kyoto cuisine, which uses a lot of this type of tofu. Their plethora of dishes with tofu and yuba (tofu skin) - made with Mizu Kuguri beans from Shiga Prefecture, which are renowned for their high quality - taste amazing with seasonal Kyo-Yasai (traditional vegetables from Kyoto). If you want to enjoy the genuine taste of soybeans, order the [Asadori Nama Yuba] (980 JPY plus tax)!
: [Weekdays, Saturday] Lunch 11:00 am - 2:30 pm, Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)
[Sunday, National Holidays] Lunch 11:00 am - 2:30 pm, Dinner 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)Closed
: NoneAverage price
: [Dinner] 6,000 JPY / [Lunch] 1,500 JPYAddress
: 3F, Park Bldg. Brick Square, 2-6-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (Map)More Details
14. Ume no Hana Minami Shinjuku Branch (Shinjuku)
If you're in the mood for sophisticated Japanese cuisine made with tofu and yuba, you can check out this restaurant! They use a type of soybean from Hokkaido called "Toyomasari" to make their tofu and yuba, giving them a rich and genuine taste of soybeans. You can enjoy the simple flavor of the tofu offered here with their [Mineoka Tofu] (240 JPY). It's a new style of tofu mixed with cow milk and heavy cream that's characterized by a slightly sweet flavor. Alternatively, let the chef enchant you with their umami-rich [Hikiage Yuba] (1,180 JPY), which is made with carefully chosen soybeans and water.
Ume no Hana Minami Shinjuku Branch
: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm (Lunch L.O. 3:00 pm, Dinner L.O. 9:00 pm)Closed
: NoneAverage price
: [Dinner] 4,000 JPY / [Lunch] 2,100 JPYAddress
: 2F, JA Tokyo Minami Shinjuku Bldg., 2-10-12, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (Map)More Details
15. Himitsudo (Sendagi)
The representative Japanese summer dessert is definitely kakigori. It's like a sherbet made by finely shaving or smashing some ice, and then topping it with syrup. In Yanaka, an area that retains the atmosphere of old Tokyo, you can have delicious kakigori! They make sure to freeze their ice naturally. They make kakigori all year long, with preparations and fruit syrups tailored to the season. The price starts from 900 JPY, but this changes to 1,000 JPY during the summer. Experience the light, refreshing, and melt-in-your-mouth texture of natural ice!
: 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
*From fall to spring, depending on the day of the week, it will close at 6:00 pm.
*From July - September, the opening hours change to 9:30 am - 8:00 pm.Closed
: Monday *Closed on Monday and Tuesday from October - April.Average price
: 900 JPY - 1,000 JPYAddress
: 3-11-18, Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo (map)Source
: hitosara (Japanese)
Although it is known for its extremely hot summers, Tokyo actually offers lots of options to boost your energy and have a pleasant stay. Don't miss these delicious and nourishing dishes to fight against the heat of summer!
Disclaimer: All information is accurate at time of publication.