A gourmet's tour of Tokyo's best food and drink from fish at Toyosu Market, to deli delights in depachika and Shinjuku Golden Gai
Our tour starts at the kitchen of Tokyo, Toyosu Market. Try fresh seafood dishes like sushi and sashimi, the epitome of Tokyo cuisine!
Tsukishima is just a short hop from Toyosu and is famous for monjayaki. Experience the fun of sharing a meal - literally.
Shinjuku depachika is a trove of delicacies. Grab some deli treats or trendy desserts, this is a treasure hunt!
Night falls and we move to Shinjuku Golden Gai, a network of alleys and passages where the evening atmosphere is something special. Fill up on Tokyo gourmet treats and beverages at an izakaya bar.
Shibuya is famous for its scramble crossing, and is also home to some very popular sushi train restaurants. Take in the sights of Shibuya while you're here.
To truly experience Tokyo food culture, kaiseki dining is not to be missed. It is offered at high-end Japanese restaurants. We visit a famous establishment in Asakusa for delicious kaiseki.
Sushi and sashimi are the best-known dishes of Tokyo food culture. Toyosu Market, the hub for fresh seafood, is a must-visit place for sushi and sashimi lovers. In the restaurant area, you can order sushi, seafood bowls, tempura and more to enjoy the freshest market produce. In the viewing areas, you can observe the morning tuna auction, one of the few such events seen in the entire world. An excellent shopping area also allows you to purchase ingredients, seasonings and implements used by professional chefs. Searching for the product you want is a lot of fun here.
10 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Monja-yaki is a dish that represents the Shitamachi area of Tokyo, and "Tsukishima monja" is renowned for its runny dashi (stock) batter. Tsukishima Monja Street is the main attraction of Tsukishima and home to over 50 monjayaki restaurants. The excitement of this dish lies in sitting around the hotplate with your group, chatting and grilling together. Each restaurant serves up different flavors and toppings, so hopping around a few different eateries is recommended. To round out the day, we retire to Tsukishima Onsen, local, soft water baths that will revive your flagging reserves and leave your skin smooth and supple.
25 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
For amazing flavors at a lower price than a restaurant, head for "Shinjuku depachika." At the bottom floor of all department stores, you will find a lineup of famous Japanese and foreign eateries offering yakitori, tempura and other Japanese dishes, as well as cuisine from all over the world, for takeout. Bread and the latest trending sweets, domestic and foreign, are also on offer. Shinjuku has the large department stores Takashimaya, Isetan, Odakyu and Keio, and their depachika
tenants vary widely. The Shinjuku depachika
scene is a gourmet treasure trove.
5 minutes by foot
Shinjuku Golden Gai (izakaya culture)
Shinjuku Golden Gai is a network of alleys and paths and around 200 drinking establishments. It has over 70 years of history and was once a gathering place of writers, actors and artists. Old wooden houses line the crisscrossing lanes, the little bars crammed among them. Many bars are full of character, featuring unique decor. Why not get tipsy and immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of this retro and eccentric jumble of bars?
10 minutes by train(JR)
Shibuya (sushi train)
Shibuya has plenty of sushi restaurants where you can get your sushi fix at reasonable prices, from the sushi trains now all the rage overseas to famous "standing" sushi bars. Their appeal lies in their easy-come, easy-go nature: the counter is great if you are going solo, and they are open late into the night. Snack on sushi and then take a walk through hustling, bustling Shibuya. The popular sights are the famous scramble crossing and the statue of Hachiko the dog. It is also worth visiting the trendy shops and cafes of the MIYASHITA PARK and SHIBUYA SCRAMBLE SQUARE.
35 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Asakusa (kaiseki dining at traditional restaurant)
Asakusa Hanamachi, a "flower street" or geisha district, has prospered for centuries and has a number of traditional restaurants. This is an excellent place to try kaiseki dining accompanied by delicious sake, served with sophistication. However, some restaurants are "by invitation only" for first-time diners, which can be difficult for tourists. To make life easy, go for lunch instead - this is also more affordable.
20 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Exquisite! taste fruit parfait and sea bream mixed rice
Once you've had your fill in Tokyo, make your way to Chugoku and Shikoku.
If you start off in Okayama, you will want to taste the fruity bounty of the prefecture's warm climate, in the form of a very fruity parfait. In the city, you can also stroll around and enjoy offerings other than fruit.
Once you've filled up on the sweeter things, it's on the road to Ehime! Along the coast, stop at two places to compare different "taimeshi" (sea bream mixed rice), the signature regional dish.
Okayama, City of Fruit Parfaits
In the warm, dry climate of Okayama Prefecture, produce ripens well and fruit is harvested throughout the year. The "Okayama, City of Fruit Parfaits" campaign kicked off in 2009 to give people an easy way to enjoy Okayama fruit. In one of the 29 stores registered with the campaign, you can order a fruit parfait full of seasonal fruit like white peaches, muscat grapes, pione grapes and melon, ice cream and special sauce. Just looking at the varied colors offered by each shop is enough to make the heart flutter.
Okayama gourmet tour
In Okayama city, you can take a gourmet walking tour. Discover Hiruzen yakisoba, with cabbage and chicken from the Hiruzen mountain area and a secret miso sauce, or Okayama demi-katsudon, a rice bowl topped with tonkatsu swamped in plentiful demiglace sauce. Adding to the huge variety are Hinase no kakioko, a kind of okonomiyaki pancake filled with oysters from Hinase harbor, and Tsuyama horumon udon, a dish of udon noodles stir-fried with tender, juicy offal.
275 minutes by train(JR)
Compare two types of taimeshi:
①Hojo Taimeshi and ②Uwajima Taimeshi
In Shikoku, start with a taste test between two types of Ehime taimeshi. Hojo Taimeshi is gutted sea bream steamed together with rice and is the speciality of the Hojo district of Matsuyama city. The second variation of the dish is Uwajima Taimeshi, the traditional dish of Uwajima city, which is rice topped with sea bream sashimi, sauce and seasonings. On Ikinajiima Island in the north of Ehime Prefecture, there is even a restaurant, Nakaura, where you can turn your hand to making your own taimeshi.
200 minutes by train(JR)
15 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
Lipsmacking seafood and udon. To Kochi and Kagawa
When it comes to gourmet, we can't look past the seafood of Kochi.
For a close-up look at Kochi's produce, it is best to visit a local market. Taste the famous Katsuo no Tataki (seared bonito) and freshly-caught seafood.
To wrap up your trip, have a go at making noodles in Kagawa, the home of udon. There is something special about the taste of your own udon noodles. A tour of a soy sauce factory producing Japan's best-known condiment, is also recommended.
Hirome Market is bustling day and night with locals and tourists, drawn to around 60 food carts and shops from eateries serving up traditional Kochi dishes, souvenirs, fish and more. The atmosphere is more that of a collection of stalls than a wet market and there is a big dining space where you can eat what you bought from any of the stalls. Get a taste of Kochi favorites like seared bonito fresh off the grill and flash-fried gyoza dumplings. Scout around the souvenir shops to find Kochi specials like yuzu products and local sake, or jizake.
15 minutes by bus
50 minutes by train(JR)
Kure Taishomachi Ichiba Market
Kure, in Nakatosa, is a very old fishing port. The town, built around the bay, has a nostalgic atmosphere. At its center, a large sign topped by a large tuna fish announces the entrance to the Kure Taishomachi Ichiba Market. This is a place for anyone to enjoy the freshly caught tuna and other fish. A popular offer is "Kure-don," where customers choose their own sashimi or other toppings from around the market to top their rice bowl (temporarily unavailable). Not to be missed are the "Kure-ten" (small fish from Tosa Bay, tempura-style) and fresh fruit from the greengrocers.
140 minutes by train(JR)
Nakano Udon School
The most famous product of Kagawa is probably the Sanuki udon noodles. If you’re not content with just eating them and would like to make your own, then make your way to the Nakano Udon School. You can enjoy making Sanuki udon noodles the old-fashioned way. You first knead the dough, then roll it out to the right thickness and cut it into strips. Both adults and children are welcome to try. At the end, you even get to eat the udon you made. Note that Kotohira School is now offering online classes.
60 minutes by train(non-JR lines)
35 minutes by high-speed boat
50 minutes by bus
Hishio no Sato, Soy Sauce Village
There is a district on the island of Shodoshima called Hishio no Sato, where a number of factories produce soy sauce, the king of Japanese condiments, and tsukudani, storable side dishes simmered in soy and mirin. The district streets are lined with old wooden warehouses, giving visitors a sense of going back in time. You can try the unique soy sauce-infused sweets or the Hishio-don, a rice bowl topped with Shodoshima specialties as you take a stroll around town. If you are interested in the history and production methods of soy sauce, you can learn about it at the Marukin Soy Sauce Museum.
Here, we have suggested a trip starting in Tokyo and then traveling around Chugoku and Shikoku to encounter the food culture of each region. Means of transportation are provided for your reference, but it is always a good idea to take a stroll at your leisure around the locations mentioned.
*The information provided here is as of March 2022.
*Transportation information does not include the number of transfers or transfer time.
*Admission fees may be charged depending on the spot/facility. For the latest information on business hours, days when spots/facilities are reguarly closed, and prices, etc., please check the official website for each spot/facility or check directly with the spot/facility.