(Tokyo) : tips and ideas

I love visiting places where I can wander without planning much. That’s how I dined until around 2006. About 3 years ago, I stopped having hyper structured plans for dining. Now I have a huge list saved as a note and a Google map with lists, and a few places saved in TripAdvisor, but I don’t sweat it if I don’t hit the places I saved, and I try things if they look good, without researching the restaurant/bakery/whatever.
I’ll sometimes use Resy, OpenTable or the regional equivalent to find something nearby that has good ratings, if I need a reservation.

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My favourite places would be:

  • Roast Beef Ono. The beef slices are served on top of rice with an egg yolk on top of the beef. Really good feed here and it was really affordable too.
  • Onyasai. If you’re looking for shabu shabu (japanese hot pot) this is a great option. You can also choose all you can eat if you want to eat without worrying about the price.
  • Tapas Molecular Bar. I know it says under $75USD but if you want to splurge for one night this is the place to go. I had a really great experience here and it only sits 8 people. Each dish is served in a very unique and fun way, I would definitely recommend.
  • If you like sashimi, you should try fatty tuna (o-toro). The tuna just melts in your mouth and the best quality would be found in Japan. It can be found in many restaurants and also the fish markets as well.
  • If you’re into theme parks and want to see Mt Fuji, I’d recommend going Fuji-Q. This amusement park however is not for the weak. I also remember one of my first rides there we were on the rollercoaster and you could see the best view of Mt Fuji. At the time we went it was the beginning of winter and they also had a little skating area for extra money as well- it was worth it because we had nice photos of Mt Fuji in the background as well. If you want to go see Mt Fuji make sure the weather is clear because when we went another day it was too cloudy to see unfortunately.

Hope this information helps!!

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yeah, these are great. the one at Takashimaya is especially amazing and if you go there you can also eat fantastic tonkatsu at the Maisen counter. Isetan is another cool one, and these are both in Shinjuku.

it is too bad Tsukiji market has moved. I know someone that wrote a book about Tsukiji and he recently went to the new market where they moved it, and he was really sad about how soulless the new place was.

You’ve probably already heard of the 7-11 thing. Definitely check that out. Those egg salad sandwiches really are great.

Ramen Tokyo is an excellent food blog with recent updates that maintains a map of recommended ramen places in the city, which could come in handy. Also good is Robbie Swinnerton’s Tokyo Food File. He does food reviews for the Japan Times & sometimes does a year end review of his favorites.

haven’t been to Tokyo for a decade, so I don’t think I have any more specific recs. I went to a great unagi restaurant that was like 200+ years old, but I can’t remember the name. And I’m having trouble finding it on the Internet because apparently Tokyo has multiple 200+ year old unagi restaurants!

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This is a result of the completely weird and complex addressing system that is used. A lot of streets aren’t even named, and when they are named the name isn’t necessarily used in an address. The system actually uses numbered blocks, which sounds straightforward enough but totally isn’t: a numbered block is a unit that can easily consist of multiple “blocks” as we would think of them in America, they can be made of a completely irregular shape so they don’t run straight like streets do and to top it all off the house or store numbers are generally not sequential!

It can be kind of confusing. But websites and such almost always have detailed maps for the location of their place because of this.

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I thought it was just me that had a love for Japanese convenience store egg sandwiches. I loved that the yolks were still a bit soft. Though I favoured (the now sadly defunct) AM:PM stores over 7-11. I could spend ages just browsing in these places. The 7-11s in Taiwan are really good as well.

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The seafood wholesale operation has moved. Some of the restaurants in the outer market also moved to the new location as well.

When we visited last year, most of the restaurants and food stalls were still there. We go mostly to graze and stroll the outer market anyway. Our favorite Uni hole in the wall was great as usual.

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The must have Offal place was less packed than before, a good thing.

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We found the new market rather sterile also, Tsukiji is one tough act to follow. Maybe after a few years, the patina of time will give the new market its own character.

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the more I think about this, the more I think that it was Lawson’s that had the convenient store egg salad that I really liked.

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I appreciate all these tips, everyone :slight_smile:

Finding your way around Tokyo:
There are very few street names and what I think we learned is that buildings are numbered as they are built - #65 is not always close to #63 as we expect in the US.

Many businesses will have a map on their web site. I want to remember that we would write directions like “take Exit A4 from the subway, go to the 7/11 and turn left, go past the park and then turn right, it should be on the next block”.

We found Google Maps to be very powerful to use. First they label the subway exits - you may want “A1” not “A3” - zoom in on the Google Map to see the labels.

Then we would check our “directions” on the Google Map looking for businesses or specific buildings to use as “way points”.

Last we would Google street view the place we wanted to find. We don’t read any of the Japanese alphabets so a sign might be “House, L, Tree” to us and knowing what the building front looks like in street view was our clue.

Also not all business have an “on street” entrance. May be in a building courtyard or basement or upper floor - just be aware that you need to keep looking.

We carried a “pocket wifi” for internet data connections and it was well worth it. If your cell provider has a good plan for you to use in Japan you should be all set but being able to street view, or map, or use Google Translate away from WiFi was essential.

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I’m glad Google Maps works quite well. I was worried it wasn’t going to work at all.

I must also agree that Google Maps work great for us in Japan. Very helpful for public transportation, especially to some of the outlying areas.

The color codes for the various train lines, the numbered exits, number of stations between entry and destination, time between stations, etc… very helpful.

SUICA cards a must for public transportation. and paying for Walkabout beers at 7-11. :wink:

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Odd but fun places to eat in Tokyo
www.dumbodc.com Dumbo Donuts - amazing great donuts (American style) with Western (chocolate!) and Japanese flavor glazes.

www.tsurutontan.co.jp - chainof Udon restaurants but we’ve had fun every time we’ve eaten there. We’ve gone to the Roppongi shop and it’s a pretty casual place.

www.marzac-omotesando.com/ - small place, make a reservation. Some amazing meat (the lamb chops!). There has not been much English spoken when we’ve gone so it can be a little uncomfortable ordering. The food we’ve ordered is “western” in style. Good wines.

http://restaurant-eatrip.com/ Hidden on a side street up a “walk way” this place is a find. Small, make reservations, very friendly, western style plating but an interesting mix of flavors. We’ve been twice for lunch and it’s been a great experience.

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Re: Japanese 7-11 stores

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Just adding this for reference. TableAll seems to be the best place to reserve online. They charge 4000 yen per reservation. https://www.tableall.com

Pocketconcierge is another rival site
https://pocket-concierge.jp/en/ , and OpenTable also covers some restaurants.

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I LOVE those egg sandwiches! So soft and fluffy. Aside from the occasional onigiri or food hall portable lunch find, I would always make sure to go into a convenience store and buy 1-2 of these for lunch if I had sightseeing plans at a special location. Since I was often in the middle of a temple, garden, etc. where immediate dining options might be more limited, I could just break that out and have that for lunch. It saved money and then I would splurge on a nice place for dinner. :yum:

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following. my sister and I are maybe planning on going in 2021.

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I’m intrigued by the fruit sandos

and the places serving fancy parfaits.

https://www.jnto.org.my/beauty-of-the-seasons/winter/winter-appetite/

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First dinner in Tokyo was a Wagyu Teriyaki Burger at a trendy fast food resto. We had spent 40 minutes circling a block in Shinjuku for Gyukatsu Motomura, with Google maps, which would show us we were 0 or 20 or 40 or 100 yards away. We asked 4 different locals for help. The last pair of locals we asked asked another local who found it. We had walked past the same steps 5 or 6 times Long lineup. We were hungry and irritated, and wanted beef, but needed to get to a live show where we were meeting friends, so we needed to eat in a hurry. We were seated in one restaurant but realized it was going to cost $100+, then the next cheaper spots we saw seemed to be Korean BBQ.
We went with Shogun Burger. It was delicious and quick. My first Wagyu experience. Hopefully we will get gyukatsu elsewhere. Teriyaki burger was a bit much . Might try a regular burger or cheeseburger if I returned. Amazing patty.
In retrospect, I wish we went to a department store restaurant, 10 minutes after we were having trouble finding the recommended restaurant, when we needed a quick meal. The restaurants are so specialized, that it was frustrating to be looking for a $40 or less beef main course in a hurry. Eveything on the street seemed to be sushi, ramen, chicken, other cuisines, things we didn’t want. Luckily this was a tasty meal, even if it was a Western meal.


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