Japan’s quintessential fried cuisine tonkatsu reflects a savory heritage of East and West. In short, tonkatsu is a pork chop or cutlet; but unlike its cousin of French origin, this essential Japanese dish boasts a crisper texture and is often served with condiments not readily found on European tables. If you are looking to sample the best tonkatsu in Tokyo, look no further than these seven restaurants.
Sukiyaki may be well-known as a popular anglicized version of a Japanese-language song in the ‘60s, but it really refers to a Japanese hot pot dish of thinly-sliced beef that is slowly simmered in a sweet broth of soy sauce, sugar and mirin. It evolved to its current form during the Meiji era, or late 19th century, when the consumption of meat and eggs became more widespread. The sliced marbled beef, when cooked, is usually dipped in raw egg before being slurped up. Other ingredients include tofu, vegetables such as carrots, leek and cabbage, and konnyaku noodles made of konjac. Sukiyaki is usually eaten during winter as a year-end or new-year treat, and is a popular choice as the whole family gathers around a simmering iron pot and partakes from it in a convivial setting. Once you learn about these 9 Tokyo sukiyaki restaurants, you’ll surely want to be right there beside them.
Tokyo’s first Thai restaurant, Chiang Mai, opened in the Yurakucho area in 1979. In those days, not many people in Japan were familiar with Thai food and it was difficult for the restaurant to source authentic ingredients from Thailand. But the Japanese owner, who worked at the consulate and wanted to be able to enjoy Thai food in Japan, is said to have used his connections to get the necessary ingredients, and the restaurant soon became a popular lunchtime spot among office workers in the Marunouchi, Yurakucho, and Ginza areas. While Chiang Mai closed its doors after roughly 30 years, the popularity of Tokyo Thai restaurants has continued to grow and grow. Read on for some of the most popular Thai food in Japan, and some of the best Thai restaurants in Tokyo at which to enjoy it.
Kaiseki dining is Japan’s traditional haute cuisine, a tasting course of small, elegant dishes precisely prepared to evoke the flavors and imagery of the season. While Kyoto is the birthplace of kaiseki, Tokyo, with its world-class dining offers its own inimitable kaiseki dining scene, influenced by the cooking styles of various regions across Japan. Here are 11 must-try kaiseki restaurants from Japan’s metropolitan capital city.
Yakitori is a popular type of Japanese food consisting of skewered chicken meat cooked typically over a charcoal grill, where “yaki” means to grill and “tori” is bird. The meat can come from all different parts of the chicken--from the neck, crest, breast, wings, heart, liver, and more. Vegetables such as shiitake mushrooms, green peppers and cherry tomatoes may also feature either with the chicken or separately on skewers. Yakitori is often flavored with salt or a soy sauce-based sauce known as tare, and is usually eaten as casual-style snack or meal with drinks. Read on to discover some of the best places for yakitori in Tokyo.
Japan is a country that was relatively late when it comes to eating beef, due to Buddhist tradition which forbade eating meat. However, during the Meiji era the country adopted a more Western-style diet as it aimed to modernize. Today, Japan is one of the best places to enjoy an excellent steak thanks to the generations of artisan cattle farmers who have carefully raised regional varieties of Japanese domestic cattle, known as “wagyu”.
Japanese fireworks, or hanabi (meaning “flowers of fire”), are a tradition that goes back several centuries. Arriving to Japan during the Edo period, the art of making fireworks has become a major artistic endeavor with master artisans crafting stunning spectacles to be displayed at the fireworks festivals known as hanabi taikai. While in other countries firework displays are typically held as part of holiday celebrations, in Japan, fireworks festivals have become an important summer tradition and usually take place alongside large rivers to help people keep cool in the heat. Read on for four of the most renowned Tokyo fireworks festivals of summer, along with recommendations for great places to indulge in great food and drinks before or after the show.
Tsukiji, located in Tokyo’s Chuo ward, was made world famous by the wholesale fish market located in the area. The district is also home to plenty of other attractions that make it a great day out in Tokyo for both residents and visitors. The elegant Hamarikyu Gardens nearby were originally a feudal lord's residence and duck hunting grounds. The Tsukiji Hongan-Ji temple adjacent to Tsukiji Station is a Buddhist temple that dazzles visitors with its ancient Indian Buddhist architectural style. A stroll along the Sumida River is the perfect activity for a fine day, with view of several famous Tokyo bridges.
Curry is one of the most popular dishes in Japan that has been enjoyed since the early Meiji period. During that time, Japanese people started to eat British-style curry and other Western foods as a way to emulate modern Western culture. Over time the flavor of British curry, which is based on Indian curry, became sweeter with a more mild flavor to suit the Japanese palate, and the dish came to be known as a Japanese dish called “kare raisu” (curry rice).
The Asakusa district is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Although it’s located in the middle of Japan’s largest city, Asakusa, which was historically the town’s entertainment quarter, maintains the traditional “shitamachi” downtown vibe of old Edo, and it’s one of the few places in Tokyo where one can still take a ride on a rickshaw. The local landmark Kaminarimon is a massive gate that leads to Sensoji Temple, which is flanked by the Nakamise shopping street, a traditional market that has sold souvenirs and local snacks to visitors for centuries.