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Eat Your Way Through a Day in Tokyo

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Eat Your Way Through a Day in Tokyo Tokyo is a food paradise, and has something for everyone. Welcome to MojoTravels, and in this video, we’re going to lead you through a perfect day of eating in Tokyo, focusing on iconic eats that you just can’t miss.
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Eat Your Way Through a Day in Tokyo

Tokyo is a food paradise, and has something for everyone. Welcome to MojoTravels, and in this video, we’re going to lead you through a perfect day of eating in Tokyo, focusing on iconic eats that you just can’t miss.

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day - and that goes double when you’re travelling. Located in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the Nihonbashi district, K’shiki is unique blend of traditional Japanese and Italian dishes, all elevated and perfected to satisfy the “urban gourmand”. For breakfast, they offer both a gourmet buffet and an a la carte menu, guaranteeing that even the most particular eater will find something satisfying. Oh… and the view doesn’t hurt.

Of course, if you’re more interested in keeping up with foodie trends and don’t feel the need for a traditional Japanese breakfast, Ivy Place is just about the hottest spot for breakfast or brunch in Tokyo. Pancakes have been rather in vogue in Tokyo in recent years, and there’s arguably no place doing them better than this hotspot in Daikanyama - a neighborhood which has been described as “Tokyo’s little Brooklyn”. Nestled in the green oasis that is Daikanyama T-Site Garden, both the atmosphere and dishes at Ivy Place are sure to appeal to all palates.

Later, after a big morning of exploring the city, you’re likely to have worked up quite the appetite. And that’s a good thing, because for lunch, we’re having ramen. There are literally too many ramen places to count in the city, each offering their own unique spin, but you can’t go wrong with Nakiryu! This Michelin-starred Ramen joint in Minami-Otsuka is widely considered to be among the best in the city, which means there’s usually a lineup. Then again, considering how flavorful the broth is, how perfectly cooked the noodles are and the richness of their pork chashu… it’s worth the wait.

If you’re in the popular upscale shopping district, Ginza, and in the market for a truly one of a kind bowl of ramen, Mugitooribu is the place to be. One of the most-talked about shops in Tokyo, this forward thinking ramen joint sets itself apart from the crowd with its unique broth - a mixture of dashi, chicken broth and... clams. The end result is a mouthful of nuanced flavor the likes of which few bowls of ramen can compete with.
Found in the ever-trendy Ebisu area of Tokyo and easy to get to at just a minute’s walk away from the nearest train station, Suzuran offers up their own elevated brand of ramen. Their noodles are made in-house and have been cited as being among the best in the city. The broth is clear and fresh, never overpowering nor bland.

But what if you’re not a fan of ramen? Well… thankfully, Tokyo has other, similarly iconic noodle dishes available. As with ramen, there are too many great soba places to name, but if you’ve only got time for one… Kanda Matsuya is the one to pick. This institution has been around since 1884, and you can taste that history and experience in every bite.

The thing about Tokyo is that there are far too many must-try foods to try in a single day (many that you’ve likely never even heard of). If you’re looking to get a taste of city’s many dishes however, the Ebisu Yokocho food court is a great place to try a wide variety in a short period of time, and makes for the perfect spot for a little afternoon grazing. This “food alley” is jam-packed with tiny restaurants serving up everything from yakitori and hotpot to kushikatsu, savory pancakes and beef tongue.

Here’s hoping that you didn’t go too hard in Ebisu Yokocho, because for dinner, we’re having sushi! And — surprise! — you can’t get it better anywhere else in the world than in the country that has been perfecting it for many centuries. One of the best bites of sushi to be found in Tokyo is at Kizushi, located in the beautiful Edo style neighborhood of Ningyocho. Kizushi has been open since 1924 and the family business is now on its third generation of sushi master.

Should you find yourself closer to the Minato District come supper time, Sushi Saito is without a doubt the best bite of sushi you can find. In fact, depending on who you ask, it might be the best sushi in Tokyo - if not the world. The three Michelin star restaurant takes sushi very seriously. Chef Takashi Saito is a master of his craft - there isn’t a morsel of sushi that goes out to diners that hasn’t been perfectly balanced in terms of flavor, texture and temperature. Considering the dining space is tiny, you’re going to need a reservation or an in with a regular.

Sugita Sushi is another must-try sushi spot in Tokyo, but, again, only for those who have the wherewithal to plan ahead. Renowned chef Takaaki Sugita has made it a destination for a-fish-ianados from around the world.

You can also easily try excellent sushi without breaking the bank. For the more budget-minded, we recommend Nemuro Hanamaru, both reasonably priced and an experience - a conveyor belt style of service, also known as “kaiten sushi”. Don’t let the atmosphere fool you though, Nemuro Hanamaru might be a novel place to eat… but it nonetheless serves up some truly delicious sushi.

At this point in the day, you’re probably so full of food that you want to go back to your hotel room and pass out until morning. But given Tokyo’s reputation as a party city, we suggest setting an alarm, taking a power nap to recharge and getting back out there. And once you’ve caught your second wind and cut loose a bit, we suspect you might be in the mood for some late night eats. If you’re looking for the classic pairing of yakitori and sake, you can’t go wrong with Birdland. Located in Ginza, this Michelin-star restaurant serves up some of the best chicken yakitori you’ve ever tasted, all grilled to perfection over charcoal.

Of course, when in Tokyo, there’s really no such thing as eating too many noodles. So if you’ve still got room after the ramen or soba you had for lunch, we highly recommend satisfying that late night urge for carbs with Tsukemen from Mentoku Tsujita. Less popular in North America than Ramen or more common soba noodle preparations, Tsukemen is a cold noodle dish that almost works like deconstructed ramen - you dip cold noodles into a hot soup. It puts a highlight on the noodles themselves and makes for a unique eating experience.

Last but not least… you really can’t visit Tokyo without trying gyoza. A popular type of dumpling, perfect for late night eats in the city, gyoza consists of pork and cabbage wraps in wonton wrappers. These little mouthfuls of joy can be found all around the city, but Shinjuku Kakekomi Gyoza (open 24 hours) is your destination. They offer up a wide selection of delicious, perfectly seasoned and cooked homemade dumplings for an incredibly reasonable price - ensuring that you end your night happy and satisfied!

With only one day in Tokyo, there are only so many places you can visit, and only so much you can eat, so we know we’ve left off a ton of great places. Don’t worry, we’ll get ‘em next time!

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