When traveling, the best way to experience the most authentic local cuisine is to do as the locals do. In the case of Hosokawa, the locals will lead you in the right direction to the neighborhood of Ryogoku, the heart of the sumo world. Chef Tadashi Hosokawa is cooking up some of the freshest soba noodles in all of Tokyo in his Michelin star joint. He makes his iconic noodles entirely of freshly milled buckwheat flour, giving his final product a chewy texture that noodles made of wheat tend not to have. The noodles come doused in a smoky soy-based sauce. Take it with a side of anago eel tempura or fried kamonasu eggplant. For those coming in the hot summer months, you can have your soba in a cold dashi broth.
Diners are allured by the unpretentious simple vibes of Ippo and by the ever-so-flavorful food. Chef Masato Takano meticulously prepares seafood dishes as the music plays from the loudspeakers, allowing diners to dance and sing along to Japanese pop songs and ‘90s hip-hop. The staff speaks some English, which proves super handy when trying to decide what to order. Dishes like mackerel tartare and red snapper constitute the menu. For indecisive eaters, the set menu option helps to avert an impending state of panic.
A trip to Tokyo is incomplete without a visit to a depachika, the unassuming underground food halls found in the basement of most department stores. The food halls are stocked with every imaginable food ranging from freshly baked bread, sweet mochi, and bento boxes, presented by beautifully dressed staff. The trendy Isetan Shinjuku department store is one of Tokyo’s largest with the most impressive selection of foods. Locals come for the boutique sake and stay for the elegant bento boxes. While you aren’t allowed to eat in the food court, there is a lovely rooftop garden where you can sit and enjoy your food.
Ninja Akasaka, Chiyoda
Themed restaurants are an absolute must when in Tokyo, especially if you’re coming with kids. Ninja Akasaka in Chiyoda will bring out the inner warrior in you. Stars like Stephen Spielberg and Lady Gaga have dined here in the past, so you know it’s going to be unique. You might initially be put off by the uninspiring building, but your opinion will swiftly change as you enter the restaurant only to be greeted by Japanese ninjas. The menu features foods from an array of cuisine, like Chinese, Japanese, and French. Best of all is the presentation of the dishes – the food comes in ninja shapes. Ninjas will entertain you throughout your meal. For an extra cost, you can even see a ninja magic show right in front of your table.
Ever go to a seafood restaurant and wonder how fresh your seafood is? At Zauo, you don’t have to wonder. You’ll be seated in a giant fishing boat, surrounded by a moat filled with water and fish. Using a fishing rod, your fishing skills will be put to the test when you have to catch your own dinner. The restaurant promises some good laughs and even better memories.
Enjoying a savory bowl of ramen is a right of passage in Japan. Ichiran Ramen is one of the most popular Tonkotsu ramen restaurants in Japan and is noted by many as the best ramen in the world. Your first task upon entering the ramen joint is to take a ticket to customize your order. You can decide on the richness of your ramen, the spiciness, and how much garlic to add. Best of all, it’s open 24 hours a day, so you can enjoy a delicious bowl of ramen whenever that craving hits.