Food, Japanese Food, Tokyo

Tokyo Food Guide: 20 Must-eat Food in Tokyo and Where to Find Them

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It’s not a secret that Japan is my absolute favorite country in the world. Over the past few years, it has become almost a second home to me – I have been visiting Tokyo twice a year for the past decade. But really, does anyone need an excuse to go to Japan?

Anyway, through my frequent visits, I’ve gathered a list of my favorite things to eat in this country. This article took a long time to put together but I’m finally ready to share them with you!

Common Terms in Japanese Cuisine

Before we get into it, I’m going to list out some of the most common food terms you will see in Japan.

By themselves, these words don’t mean anything and can’t be used as-is. But when combined with each other, or paired with some other food-related words, it forms some of the well-known dishes you’ll find across Japan. Understanding these terms will help you know what you can expect from a menu item.

Cooking Methods

  • Katsu (カツ) – Meat cutlet, usually deep-fried, and breaded in panko crumbs
  • Age (揚げ) – Deep fried
  • Yaki (焼き) – Grilled or cooked over direct heat

Types of Carbs

  • Men (麺 or メン) – Refers to a noodle dish. Comes from the Chinese word “mian”, which means noodles.
  • Soba (そば or 蕎麦) – buckwheat, usually refers to soba noodle which is made from buckwheat flour
  • Don (丼) – Rice Bowl

Types of Protein

  • Gyu (牛) – Beef
  • Tori (é³¥) – Chicken
  • Buta (豚) – Pork
  • Ton (豚) – Pork

For example – Gyudon means beef rice bowl, Torikatsu means deep-fried and breaded chicken cutlet, Butadon means pork rice bowl, and so on, so forth.

Another example would be the word “men“. When you see a menu item that ends in “-men” – such as Tsukemen, Somen, or Ramen – you can expect that it will be a type of noodle dish.

Easy, yes?

The Holy Trinity of Japanese Cooking

Soy, Mirin, and Dashi – These three ingredients make up a large portion of flavors used in Japanese cooking. Let’s get to know what you’re eating:

  • Soy – The type of soy sauce used in Japanese cooking is shoyu. It is different than the soy sauce you might be familiar with. Shoyu is made with soybean and wheat, slightly sweeter and lighter than other types of soy sauce you might be used to.
  • Mirin – Rice wine with low alcohol content and high sugar content. It is used to add a hint of sweetness to the dish.
  • Dashi – The soup stock commonly used in Japanese cooking, usually made from bonito (fish) flakes and kombu (kelp) or shiitake mushroom, It adds the umami flavor to the dish.

A combination of this holy trinity makes some of the most popular Japanese dishes – teriyaki sauce, miso soup, gyudon, oyakodon, just to name a few.

If you have these three ingredients in your kitchen, you’ll be able to cook many Japanese dishes at home very easily.

About Japanese Rice 🍚🌾

I know you’re starting to wonder – is she going to finally get to the point and tell me what I should eat in Japan? Okay okay, I’ll be quick, but I don’t think this is a section I could have skipped. Japanese people are SERIOUS about their rice.

Japanese rice is typically short-grain white rice. It is more sticky than other varieties of rice you might find elsewhere in the world. Due to the milling process used in Japan, it results in a rounder and shorter grain of rice with a chewy texture. They also have a different taste than other types of white rice. So, the next time you eat white rice in Japan, take a moment to appreciate its taste and texture!

There are many varieties of Japanese rice, but Koshihikari is probably the most popular variety.

What to eat in Tokyo

And finally, here are some of my must-eat dishes whenever I’m in Tokyo and where you can find them!

Please remember that this is not an exhaustive list of what to eat in Japan. Within Japan itself, there will be dishes that are popular in certain regions and cities. I am only listing Japanese dishes that are popular and can be commonly found no matter where you are in Japan.

If this is your first time visiting Tokyo, please read my Tokyo Guide for First-timers post for useful tips and tricks!

Here is a list of what you must try whenever you’re in Japan:

  1. Ramen 🍜
  2. Tsukemen
  3. Soba Noodles
  4. Sushi and Sashimi 🍣
  5. Tonkatsu
  6. Gyukatsu
  7. Kushikatsu (Kushiage)
  8. Oyakodon
  9. Gyudon
  10. Okonomiyaki & Monjayaki
  11. Takoyaki
  12. Yakitori
  13. Oden 🍢
  14. Tempura 🍤
  15. Ochazuke 🍵
  16. Japanese Curry Rice 🍛
  17. Omurice
  18. Onigiri 🍙
  19. Kaiseki
  20. Dango 🍡

1. Ramen 🍜 (ラーメン)

OK, let’s face it. You can’t go to Japan and not get a bowl of ramen! Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup dish. It originated from the chinese dish Lamian, but has been well adopted into Japanese culture.

Ramen is so popular that there are many different styles of soup broth across Japan. There is shoyu (soy) ramen, shio (salt) ramen, miso ramen, tonkotsu ramen (which uses pork bone as the base of its broth), just to name a few.

Shio Ramen at Enjin Hakodate Noodles
Shio Ramen
Miso Ramen at Teshikaga Ramen
Miso Ramen

There are also a variety of styles for the noodles: whether it’s straight noodles vs curly noodles, thin vs thick noodles, or yellow vs white noodles.

Lastly, each ramen may have different toppings. The most popular toppings are chasu (pork belly) slices, negi (spring onion), nori (dried seaweed sheets), menma (braised bamboo shoots), narutomaki 🍥 (fish cake with pink swirl design) and ajitsuke tamago (seasoned runny egg).

Tonkotsu Ramen at Zundouya in Osaka

One most popular style of ramen that you’ll find in Japan is Tonkotsu ramen, which originated from Hakata in Fukuoka. Usually served as straight thin noodles and white milky tonkotsu broth (pork bone) with toppings like chasu, nori, and ajitsuke tamago.

But if you ask me, my personal favorite is Shio ramen. I love the clear and light broth, which doesn’t leave you feeling heavy! I feel it is also the easiest entry into the world of ramen, because while the taste is complex and delicious, it is not very strong.

Where to eat Ramen in Tokyo

Tokyo Ramen Tour – If you’re a fan of this comforting noodle dish, definitely go on this Tokyo Ramen Tour. I went on this tour during one of my visits to Tokyo. Although I’ve had plenty of ramen in my life, they were mostly just Tonkotsu ramen. I learned a lot about many other types of ramen from Frank’s tour.

If you decide to go on this tour, come with an empty stomach! Seriously, because you’ll be trying many different types of ramen during your visit – up to 6 bowls of tasting-portion ramen. I was so stuffed (but happy) by the time we were done with the tour.

➡️ Book the Tokyo Ramen Tour here. You won’t regret it!

Ichiran – Hakata ramen originated from Fukuoka in the Kyushu region of Japan. While Hakata ramen can be found pretty much everywhere in Japan, what made Ichiran stand out from the rest is the way the dining experience here works – it is completely designed for solo diners!

Hakata Ramen in Fukuoka

From start to finish, you rarely need to interact with a human being – Ordering and payment can be done through the vending machine outside right before you fall in line for a spot in the restaurant (and there is always a line). Once it’s your turn, you won’t sit at a regular table, but you’ll sit at a single-occupancy booth instead. Your noodles would then be served through a small window in front of you. Once done, you leave – that’s it! No human interaction is needed.

Zundou-ya in Shinjuku – This is a great spot to try tonkotsu ramen. They are open 24 hours on weekends!

Kisurin – This place is famous for Tantanmen, which is a Japanese take on the famous Chinese dish “dan dan mian”. Unlike other types of ramen, the broth of Tantanmen contains sesame paste, which gives it an extra savory taste.

Afuri – A different type of ramen than what you might be used to in Japan. The broth is light and clear. It contains Yuzu, a citrus fruit commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

2. Tsukemen (つけ麺)

Tsukemen is a dry dip noodle dish, where the broth is served separately as a dipping “sauce” for the noodles. This dish was allegedly invented in Tokyo in the 1960s, so it is a must-have in Tokyo!

Where to eat Tsukemen in Tokyo

  • Rokurinsha in Tokyo Station – made popular recently by Ugly Delicious, Rokurinsha has been a local favorite for over a decade. You can find a long snaking queue for this restaurant at the basement of Tokyo station – expect a 1-hour long queue since the place is quite tiny (seats about 15 people). But, here’s a hack! if you’re flying from Haneda Airport, there is a Rokurinsha in the airport after immigration, and it rarely has any queue. The flavor and authenticity are preserved, so you’ll be eating the same thing as you would in Tokyo station. The downside is you don’t get that uniquely Tokyo vibe. I think it’s a fair trade though!
  • Tsukemen Gonokami in Shinjuku
  • Fuunji Tsukemen in Shibuya

3. Soba Noodles (そば)

Soba is buckwheat, and is famous in Nagano prefecture as a rice alternative and a way to get some carbs, due to the mountainous terrain where it’s difficult to grow rice successfully. Soba became the main product of Nagano. The most popular form of buckwheat is, of course, Soba noodles!

Hot Soba in Nagano
Hot Soba in Nagano

You can have soba pretty much everywhere in Japan, and of course, in Tokyo as well. You’ll find soba commonly served as fast food in Tokyo. When you’re in a business district like Shibuya or Shinjuku, you’ll often see small eating establishments with automated tickets outside, where you can choose how you want your soba.

You can have Soba noodles in a hot soup or served cold with a broth on the side, and with various toppings. You can then take your ticket inside, and your soba will be served in less than five minutes.

Where to eat Soba in Tokyo

  • Miyota in Aoyama
  • Kanda Yabu Soba near Akihabara Station
  • Kanda Matsuya near Akihabara Station
  • Ginsei Soba in Aoyama

4. Sushi 🍣 (寿司) and Sashimi (刺身)

Sushi is yet another type of food that’s pretty much synonymous with Japan. It’s usually a piece of raw fish, served on top of a nugget of Japanese rice that has been mixed in vinegar, and might be eaten with light soy sauce and wasabi. There are different types of sushi with the most popular being nigiri, maki, and chirashi.

Sashimi, on the other hand, is raw fish that has been sliced thinly and eaten as-is, without rice. You can then dip the sliced fish in soy sauce and wasabi, depending on what you like!

16-piece sushi for breakfast? Why not!
16-piece sushi for breakfast at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo

If you don’t want to eat raw food, you can still try sushi. There are cooked sushi such as Unagi and Anago, which are eels from freshwater and seawater, respectively. Although they are both eels, the texture is very different. Anago is a lot softer and more crumbly than Unagi.

Where to eat Sushi in Tokyo

  • Magurobito in Ueno-hirokoji
  • Tsukiji Outer Market near Higashi-Ginza station – Tsukiji used to be a popular place to have sushi for breakfast, as it was Tokyo’s largest fish market that got the freshest catch early in the morning. While the market has been relocated nearby to Toyosu, there are still plenty of sushi restaurants here. Sushidai is a popular one in this area, but I think any of them is good!

5. Tonkatsu (とんかつ)

Tonkatsu is a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet. The type of breading used in Japanese cuisine is slightly different than what you might expect. In Japanese cooking, they will often use Panko, which is breadcrumbs made from white bread and ground into thin flakes. It results in a more crispier texture than regular breadcrumbs!

A typical Tonkatsu Set

Tonkatsu is usually served as a set with miso soup, a side dish of thinly sliced white cabbage with goma (sesame) dressing, some yellow mustard, and grated radish. There is also usually Tonkatsu sauce on the side you can choose – sweet one and sour one.

Unlike its cousin Katsudon, Tonkatsu is considered a luxury dish. Many tonkatsu restaurants have received the coveted Bib Gourmand nod from Michelin.

Where to eat Tonkatsu in Tokyo

  • Maisen Tonkatsu in Aoyama
  • Wagokoro Tonkatsu Anzu in Ginza
  • Keitei Tonkatsu in Ginza
  • Katsukichi Bodaijyu in Shibuya
  • Imakatsu in Roppongi

6. Gyukatsu (牛かつ)

Gyukatsu is similar to tonkatsu, but instead of pork, it is breaded and deep-fried beef cutlets. It’s less popular than its cousin Tonkatsu, but the preparation and the way it’s served is pretty much the same way – breaded with panko and served with cabbage salad.

Where to eat Gyukatsu in Tokyo

  • Gyukatsu Motomura (Multiple Locations)
  • Gyukatsu Kyoto Katsugyu (Multiple locations in Tokyo)
  • Asakusa Gyukatsu in Asakusa

7. Kushikatsu (串カツ)

A popular street food originated in Osaka, Kushikatsu is a breaded and skewered vegetable and meat. Similar to tonkatsu and gyukatsu, panko crumbs are used to coat the vegetables before it is deep fried.

Kushiage at Tatsukichi in Shinjuku, Tokyo
One of the deep-fried veggies at Tasukichi in Tokyo

Where to eat Kushikatsu in Tokyo

  • Tatsukichi in Shinjuku
  • Kushiageya Namaiki in Shibuya
  • Kushikatsu Bon in Ginza

8. Oyakodon (親子丼)

“Oya” means parents in Japanese and “ko” means children, so the literal translation of Oyakodon is “parent and children” rice bowl. This refers to the fact that the dish contains both chicken and egg, a rather grim reminder that you’re indeed eating a parent and its potential children in one bowl. But hey, it’s tasty!

Oyakodon is one of my favorite comfort Japanese meals – tender chicken with soft eggs, put over a warm bed of Japanese rice. It’s a classic and commonly made at home due to its simplicity.

Where to have Oyakodon in Tokyo

  • Kisuke in Akasaka
  • Oyakodon Senmonten Marukatsu near Tokyo station

9. Gyudon (牛丼)

Gyudon consists of simple ingredients – thinly sliced beef, simmered with onion, in a broth of dashi, shoyu, and mirin, and served over a warm bed of Japanese rice.

Much like Oyakodon, Gyudon is a comfort meal that can be found everywhere in Japan. And because it is easy to make, this is a common homemade food as well.

Where to eat Gyudon in Tokyo

  • Sukiya (Multiple Locations) – Cheap and reliable, this is probably the most popular place to try Gyudon in Japan
  • Yoshinoya (Multiple Locations) – This restaurant has been franchised all over Asia and is probably not an unfamiliar name to you anymore, but they’re still a reliable place to find Gyudon
  • Kitsuneya in Tsukiji

10. Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) & Monjayaki (もんじゃ焼き)

Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake, usually cooked on a teppanyaki (iron griddle) right in front of the guests and served fresh. I love going to Okonomiyaki restaurants because they usually would have teppanyaki on every table, making it a very interactive experience.

My Okonomiyaki at Hiroki in Shimokitazawa
My Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki at Hiroki in Shimokitazawa

This dish is highly customizable – “okonomi” literally means “to your preference”, because you can choose what goes inside your okonomiyaki.

In Japan, there are two popular Okonomiyaki styles – Kansai style and Hiroshima style. The Kansai style okonomiyaki is more like a pancake, with the ingredients mixed into the batter. Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki, on the other hand, would have its ingredients cooked in stages. They are both topped with Okonomi sauce and kewpie mayonnaise.

Fuji Five Lakes Okonomiyaki Zoo
Okonomiyaki near Mount Fuji
Fuji Five Lakes Okonomiyaki Zoo
Watching my chef cook our okonomiyaki in front of us!

In the Kanto region, there is a similar concept for savory pancakes called Monjayaki. The batter for Monjayaki is similar to Okonomiyaki, but with added dashi stock which makes it more runny. However, I have to warn you: the watery texture of the batter makes Monja look like vomit 😂 Delicious vomit though!

Where to eat Okonomiyaki in Tokyo

  • Hiroki in Shimokitazawa
  • Okonomiyaki Kiji near Tokyo Station
  • Jun Jun near Honancho Station
  • Imari in Ebisu

11. Takoyaki (たこ焼き)

Takoyaki is one of the most well-known street snacks in Japan. It’s a ball-shaped snack made from a wheat-flour-based batter with chopped-up juicy octopus tentacles and other ingredients such as ginger and green onion, grilled in a pan with hemispherical holes to help shape it into a ball. Once done, it’s served with takoyaki sauce and Japanese mayo, then topped with crispy bonito flakes.

Takoyaki is more of an Osaka thing, but you can find this snack all over Japan these days.

Messy delicious takoyaki from Takocha
Messy, delicious Takoyaki

Where to eat Takoyaki in Tokyo

  • Gindaco (Multiple Locations)
  • Takohachi in Ginza
  • Dainkanyama Tempu in Daikanyama

12. Yakitori (焼き鳥)

Yakitori is a skewered grilled chicken – it could be many parts of the chicken, from meatballs (Tsukune), chicken thighs (Momo), wings, liver, and heart.

Yakitori is often associated with izakaya, a small nightlife establishment in Japan that offers alcoholic drinks and yakitori as casual snacks that are often patronized by Japanese salarymen on Friday nights. It’s associated with fun times of winding down after a long week of work!

Yakitori dishes with draft beer at an Izakaya in Osaka
Izakaya Yakitori
Yakitori at Omoide Yokocho in Tokyo

Where to eat Yakitori in Tokyo

  • Kushiyaki Bistro Fukumimi in Shibuya
  • Yakitori Sumire in Shinjuku
  • Yakitori Icchan in Shinjuku
  • Yakitori Toriyoshi in Nakameguro

13. Oden 🍲🍢 (おでん)

Oden is a type of nabemono, which is a soup that is served while still being simmered, similar to a hot pot. It often consists of different types and shapes of fishcakes, as well as radish, boiled eggs, and udon, simmered in a light soy and dashi-based broth. It’s the perfect food for cold winter nights.

Where to have Oden in Tokyo

  • Oden Ore-no Dashi in Yurakucho

14. Tempura 🍤 (天ぷら)

Tempura is deep-fried fritters made from all kinds of vegetables, and typically protein like shrimp, white fish, or chicken. The batter used for tempura is usually very light, resulting in crispy and non-oily fritters.

My favorite tempura vegetables are Japanese pumpkin (kabocha), shiitake mushrooms, and eggplants.

Where to eat Tempura in Tokyo

  • Tempuraya Miyakawa in Aoyama
  • Tempura Tensho near Gaiemmae Station
  • Takiya Tempura near Azabu-juban Station

15. Ochazuke (お茶漬け)

Ochazuke is a breakfast soup made with light broth from green tea and dashi, served over rice and topped with flaked salmon, small cuttings of nori (seaweed), and furikake (Japanese fish-based crispy condiment) for crunch. It is usually used as a way to use up leftover rice.

Where to eat Ochazuke in Tokyo

  • Komeraku (Multiple Locations)
  • Dashi Chazuke En (Multiple Locations)
  • Ochazuke Bar Zuzu in Kabukicho

16. Japanese Curry Rice 🍛 (カレーライス)

In Japanese cuisine, there are plenty of occurrences of “Japanized Western food” aka Yoshoku, where the Japanese have adopted foreign (usually Western) dishes and made them into a unique dish that is entirely their own, often no longer recognizable from the original.

Japanese Curry Rice, or Kareraisu, and Omurice is a popular example of this and has become a staple comfort food for many Japanese households. Unlike the curry we know from Thailand or India, Japanese curry is not nearly as spicy. Often served with rice as the name implies, but it’s sometimes on offer with thick udon noodles as well.

Where to have curry rice in Tokyo

  • Pakupaku Morimori in Shibuya
  • Raisukarē Manten near Jimbocho Station

17. Omurice (オムライス)

Like Kareraisu, Omurice is a type of Yoshoku. Omurice is short for Omelette (Omu) Rice. It can be served in tomato-based sauce, or demi-glace sauce (savory beef sauce). I prefer the latter.

Omurice is usually categorized as a children’s dish because it’s usually a dish made by a mother for their small children as it’s fun to eat and tastes good.

But no one is stopping any adults from enjoying Omurice! In fact, this is one of my favorite comfort Japanese dishes.

Omurice with Demi-glace sauce in Osaka

Where to eat Omurice in Tokyo

  • Rakeru in Shinjuku
  • Kanda Tamagoken in Akihabara

18. Onigiri 🍙 (おにぎり)

Onigiri is a quick meal that can be grabbed on the go. It’s made from steamed rice with various fillings like roasted salmon, tuna mayo, chicken karaage, and umeboshi (sour plum).

In Japan, you can find Onigiri at any konbini (convenience store). My personal favorite is roasted salmon from Family Mart.

Onigiri is convenient to eat by hand without any utensils needed, so it has become a popular choice for picnics. During Sakura season, you’ll see some homemade onigiri making an appearance at Hanami parties!

Rows of neatly stacked Onigiri - my personal heaven
Rows of neatly stacked Onigiri at a konbini – my personal heaven

Where to eat Onigiri in Tokyo

  • Omusubi Gonbei – Many locations around Tokyo. Search for おむすび権米衛
  • Onigiri Marutoyo in Tsukiji Outer Market
  • Onigiri Bongo in Toshima
  • Any Konbini – like Lawson’s, 7/11 and Family Mart is also a convenient place to grab onigiri

19. Kaiseki 🍱 (懐石)

When you stay in a ryokan in Japan, it is also a custom to have a Kaiseki â€“ a multi-course traditional Japanese dinner. It is similar to fine dining in Western culture, where you are served lighter dishes in the beginning, leading up to a main and dessert.

Nikko Onsen Hotel Kaiseki
Kaiseki at Nikko Onsen Hotel

Usually, Kaiseki will use seasonal ingredients that are available locally, with an emphasis on manners and respect for the ingredients you are eating. Thus, you’ll have different Kaiseki experiences depending on where and when you are having it.

Where to have Kaiseki in Tokyo

  • Chisofufu (ちそう ふふ) in Shinjuku
  • Kinari near Gaiemmae Station

20. Dango 🍡 (団子)

Dango is a traditional snack consisting of chewy balls made from rice flour. It is similar to Mochi but with a different texture and different ways of serving.

There are many types of Dango, but the most popular one is Mitarashi dango, which are grilled and served with a sweet soy-based sauce, and Hanami dango, which are colored like the sakura flowers and were traditionally eaten during the Sakura season.

Dango at Kawaguchiko Ropeway
Savory Dango at Kawaguchiko Ropeway
Hanami Dango during Sakura Season

Hanami Dango is a dango variation with pink, white, and green and is traditionally eaten during the Hanami or spring season. And yes, it’s the emoji! 🍡 The pink color comes from either the Sakura flower itself, or azuki (red beans) and the green is from green tea. It is said that the pink, white, and green symbolize the blooming Sakura, the white sky, and the green grass the trees grow on.

Where to have Dango in Tokyo

  • Yayoi in Shinjuku
  • Bushinami in Shibuya
  • Kaede in Asakusa

Tips for Vegetarians and Vegans in Japan

Japan could be challenging for vegetarians. Almost none of the dishes I mentioned above are vegetarian. The Japanese do love their fish! But it’s not impossible.

As vegetarians, you can be on the lookout for Shojin Ryori which consists of plant-based dishes consumed by Buddhist monks. Typically, you’ll find it in temples in Japan. You can expect all kinds of braised, deep-fried, or pickled vegetables, tofu, miso soup, soy, and rice.

In Tokyo, there are also specific vegetarian restaurants you can visit. I went to Sincere Garden in Aoyama and I thoroughly enjoyed it even as a meat eater!

If you plan to eat at a non-vegetarian restaurant, I would advise you to be careful of “hidden meat” in Japanese cuisine – sometimes even if you order what seems like just fried tofu on the menu, dried fish flakes might be sprinkled on top. Look out for Katsuobushi – these are dried bonito fish flakes often found in Japanese cuisine. Sauces and broths might be made using Katsuobushi like Dashi, which is used in a lot of dishes in Japan.

In convenience stores, your best bet would be getting Onigiri (rice balls) filled with sour plum (Umeboshi) – it is one of my personal favorites! You can also get Shio-musubi, which is plain rice ball with salt. If it sounds boring – I can assure you it is not. The combination of japanese rice and salt is one of the purest simple joys one can experience in Japan. Other onigiri fillings you can consider that are vegetarian friendly are Kombu (sea kelp), Yukari (Shiso leaves), Inari sushi (rice rolled in tofu skin), or Azuki (red bean).

And that’s all for now! Wow, that was a long list… I truly hope it helped you in navigating the amazing world of Japanese cuisine.

➡️ What’s next? If you are visiting Tokyo and need a comprehensive guide, check out my Tokyo Guide and Itinerary post! The post is optimized for first-time visitors, but I’m confident even repeat visitors can learn a thing or two from my post 😉

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Filed under: Food, Japanese Food, Tokyo

Written by Melissa

Hi there! 👋🏻 I'm the "Girl" in Girl Eat World. I love eating, traveling and sharing my travel experiences in this blog. During the day, I work as a designer in tech. More about me →


  1. Lukas says

    Hi Melissa! Awesome post. I am visiting Japan in April. What do you think is a must food souvenir from Japan? I saw that Rise is beautifully packed in Japan, Can you give me some recommendation which Rice is the best?


    • Barbara Harkins says

      Hi Melissa loving your post, we are going to be in Japan next week, we are in our 70s and so looking forward to it. We live in Scotland, it seems weather in Tokyo is much similar to Scotland so we best wrap up. Can you advised what type of food is available for vegetarians, thank you regards Barbara

      • Melissa says

        Hey Barbara, it is a little challenging for vegetarians as Japanese love their fish, but it’s not impossible. You can try Shojin ryori which is temple cuisine in Japan and usually consumed by Buddhist monks. It is vegan. In Tokyo, there are also specific vegetarian restaurants you can visit. I went to Sincere Garden in Aoyama and I enjoyed it even as a meat eater! You can expect all kinda of braised or pickled vegetables, tofu, miso soup, and rice.

        If you plan to eat at non-vegetarian restaurant, I would advise to be careful of “hidden meat” in Japanese cuisine – sometimes even if you get fried tofu, dried fish flakes might be sprinkled on top. Look out for Katsuobushi – these are dried fish flakes often found in Japanese cuisine. Or, sauces might be made using fish essence (like Dashi).

        In convenient stores, your best bet would be getting the rice balls that are filled with sour plum (Ume) – those are actually one of my personal favorites!

        I hope you enjoy your trip!

      • Melissa says

        PS: you have inspired me to add a section for vegetarians 🙂

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