Aug 3, 2019 @

foodies in japan yakiniku

Tokyo Japan Food: Lots and lots of Yakiniku restaurants in Tokyo. As foodies in Japan, be prepared to eat a lot of meat.

What to eat in Japan guide to the best of traditional Japanese cuisine as well as the tastiest and best street food: You know as certified foodies, food was a big part of our Japanese vacation. We visited both Tokyo and Kyoto and hope to revisit them as well as discover other destinations in Japan such as Osaka and Nara.

The one thing  that disappointed me a bit about Japan was the lack of  tons of sushi restaurants, something l had assumed would be so. Unless there is a specific area that we did not visit that was chock full of sushi places, we had a hard time finding them, and they were pricey when found.

We did go by the famous (old) Tsukiji fish market one afternoon. This is the place where they have the world famous tuna auctions at 5AM daily. I’m not that invested in fish, no matter how exciting it sounds ;-)  to wake up that early, line up by 4.30AM hoping to be one of the only 120 people allowed in to watch the auction. I understand you can find really good sushi for breakfast close by. When we went, it was in the afternoon, and it wasn’t brimming with sushi places either.

*Update* Please note that since our visit, the location of the market has changed. The new location is at the Toyosu market and can be found at 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0045.

What to eat in Japan: A guide to the most awesome food to try

Yakiniku Tokyo Food Guide:

yankinu grill tokyo

Popular dishes in Japan and especially Tokyo. Ready! You get a piece of lard to grease the grill so the food does not get attached.

What Japan does have are a gazillion Yakiniku restaurants. Yakiniku translates to grilled meat. Think Japanese BBQ, similar to Korean BBQ. You get to cook your own bite sized pieces of meat and vegetables at a little grill that is at your table. This seems to be way more popular than sushi. It would be extremely hard to be vegan or vegetarian in Japan.

There is meat everywhere you look. They are also high in unsaturated fat, so indulging doesn’t feel quite so bad, and the Japanese tend to live a long life, so they must be doing something right. Once cooked, you dip the meat in different kinds of tare sauces which are mostly varying mixtures of sake, soy, sugar, garlic and sesame oil and fruit juices. That should have been added to our first impressions :-). I think populous Tokyo is probably the best food city in Japan.

 octopus grilling tokyo

Federico loves octopus even more than l do. We ate a lot of it too. You can see sashimi tuna on a bowl of rice. Some of the most popular dishes in Japan involve seafood.


Yummy steak salad..grilled of course.

Foodies in Japan.  Our yummy steak salad..grilled of course, just one of the many Tokyo food we had.


foodies in japan tokyo salad

Japanese cuisine: This was called a Tokyo salad. It was so good we had to have a second bowl. Incredible! One of Japan’s best food in my humble opinion.

Tokyo and Japan Food: The most delicious and mouth-watering cut of beef of the Waygu (Japanese Cow) beef that you might be familiar with is Kobe beef. In the old days, the cows, in order to produce the most awesome meat, were put on regimented diets which include sake (Japanese wine) and beer. The alcohol was supposed to aid their digestion as well as induce hunger during the humid seasons. They were also regularly massaged to prevent cramping. It was a cow’s life back then :-) . These have mostly been discontinued as it was determined not to have any effect on the quality of the meat. Bummer!

grilled seafood on grill in Tokyo

Japanese food to eat in Tokyo: Grilled seafood, preferably doing it yourself

My theory is that Yakiniku in Japan is quite popular because the restaurants get to do very little and get a high return. Once you’re seated and your grill is lit, they do little besides bring you the already cut meat and side dishes to grill by yourself. No complaining from customers as to the quality of the food since you only have yourself to blame if you burn it or what not.  The sell the meat in 100gm servings. Your bill can add up very quickly, 100gm is not even appetizer size :-) . We rarely ate a meal that was less than $70 for Yakiniku.

We didn't forget our veggies..

Vegetarian Japanese Food : We didn’t forget our veggies.. It’s not hard to eat vegetarian food in Tokyo because you can pick and choose what to grill. Saves a lot om money too as the meat and seafood are sold in 100gm sizes which when cooked, shrink a lot and you end up ordering more.

Foodies in Japan: Sushi in Tokyo

The times we had sushi, they were very, very good. The best sushi in Tokyo that we had was at a place called Ouigisushi. It is worth checking out. The sushi was fantastic and you got really thick slices of fish. The price was also very fair. Most of the restaurants would have one or two plates only of sushi, like an after thought. Once we thought it was just us, but while walking around, we heard a French family behind us on the street complaining about the lack of sushi places. Maybe we were expecting too much..haha! We did find some places where it was prepackaged for takeout, but that’s no fun.

foodies in Japan ougisushi #sushi #visittokyo #foodiesinjapan

The best sushi ever. Period. Find this place if you ever get to Tokyo as we think it is definitely one of the best sushi restaurants in Tokyo. The cuts are super thick and so delicious.


what to eat in japan definitely includes sushi like on these 3 plate assortment of rolls

Amazing sushi in Tokyo.. one of the few places we went to that had sushi


foodies in japan chefs

What to eat in Tokyo Japan? Sushi of course. The two men lovingly making the sushi at Oigusushi

We found a great place in Kyoto with really good sushi as well. The name is Japanese, so l have no idea what it’s called, but it is quite close to the Kyoto train station. The only sucky part was that you must agree to this appetizer as part of your bill, and it costs about $3.50 per person. It was disgusting tasting to us. We also fell for the “extra cold beer” at $7 plus a glass. It was not super cold, and tasted the same. Don’t fall for it ;-) .

what to eat in Japan - place setting at a restaurant in Kyoto

Restaurant in Kyoto. We love any sort of Japanese food and were willing to try different dishes.


The appetizer..not worth $7, and this is for 2!!!

Japanese appetizer was weird look and weird tasting..not worth $7 per person, and this portion is for 2!!!


Really great food.

Really great food can be found in Tokyo and of course the most popular dishes in Japan involve some sort of fish and rice, along with Udon noodles.


noodles and grilled octopus plate in Tokyo

Noodles is a popular dish in Tokyo and the rest of the country.

Foodies in Japan and the popular Japanese Noodles

No visit to Japan would be complete without Udon noodles. We found most reasonable priced, about $7.50 average for a big bowl of soup accompanied by either gyoza, the Japanese dumplings or tempura shrimp. There were plenty of places that offered them, and we basically just followed the locals to wherever they went. We were never disappointed.

Bowls of tempura and noodles are some great things to eat in japan. So good!

Tokyo food to eat in japan – Tempura and noodles. So good!


foodies in japan udon noodles and gyoza

Noodles with dumplings in Tokyo Japanese dishes. My preferred side dish. If you are ever offered a choice of flavors, choose this milky one instead of the soy base. It is insanely delicious! :-)


udon1soup in Tokyo

Udon in Japan. We had plenty of soups and they were so flavorful and filling, even though it was hard to eat with chopsticks.



udon soup with side of tempura shrimp

More Udon in Tokyo! Definitely one of the best food to try n Japan. So yummy!


Japanese Lasagna in Tokyo

I called this a Japanese lasagna because it just looks like it. It was good though l can’t remember what was in it.


sashimi bowl in Kyoto Japan, a daring food to try in Japan

We had sashimi as well. Japanese cuisine would not be complete without it.


noodle soup in Japan

Who can get tired of soup in Japan..from Miso to Udon to this one with sesame seeds which had a milky flavor, we had them all.

Some other popular dishes in Japan that we tried, but did not take pictures of included Tonkatsu which is a Japanese pork cutlet dish (something we have a lot of at home, so it was not super special) and Unagi (eel), another food that we have plenty of at good Japanese restaurants stateside.

What to eat in Japan – Best Street food

I am not a huge fan of street food anywhere, truth be told as l don’t have a strong stomach. l also usually like comfort when l eat. A table, napkins, service. Federico is not a huge fan either, and his stomach is fussy, so we try to avoid it. We however, had no qualms about eating street food in Japan. The stalls looked clean and the food delicious.


We ate lots of Takoyaki. A favorite snack food that became popular in Osaka, it is now commonly found everywhere in Japan. Takoyaki is a wheat flour based batter mixed with diced octopus (Tako) and tempura scraps. It is shaped like a ball and cooked on the grill in a pan. It’s soft and chewy and my goodness, insanely hot! Wait at least 5 minutes after splitting it open or you burn your mouth. It’s really good, but you can’t taste much when your mouth hurts as Federico found out. :-)

tokyo street food stalls

Fede on the hunt for the best Japanese street food!


foodies in japan takoyaki

Japanese street food: This guy was so fast making the Takoyaki balls, even his partner was impressed..


takoyaki street food japan

Japanese street food Takoyaki. You get 10 pieces for $4.50. They are piping hot!


streetfood onomiyaki stall

This is a popular Japanese street food called Onomiyaki. It’s cabbage filled with all sorts of meat, noodles etc..and topped with an egg. It looked good and was popular with a lot of the tourists. I did not try it.

Teriyaki Chicken: The real deal!

streetfood japan stall skewer chicken

Skewer chicken with teriyaki sauce we had. It was really delicious.


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Fantastic skewer chicken street food Japan in what to eat in Japan guide

Chicken Skewers street food in Tokyo! Fantastic!

Green tea ice cream:

The meals usually came with green tea, so that was what we had. We rarely felt the need for beer or wine truthfully. I thought l would have sake, but l remembered not liking the taste so we skipped that too. We rarely had dessert. We did try the green tea ice cream that everyone raves about. Federico loved, as did a lot of people in line with us. Tasted like medicine to me, so nope..not a fan!

foodies in japan ice cream cones including vanilla and green tea

Popular dessert in Japan is Green tea ice cream. No thank you!

Foodie App Japan: If you’re looking for great tasting food in Japan and don’t speak Japanese, be sure to download the Japan Foodie app from Google Play or the Apple store. You can even use it to pay for your meal. It comes in very handy.

In Conclusion, some of the best food to eat in Japan include:

  • Sushi
  • Onomiyaki (street food)
  • Takoyaki (street food)
  • Tonkatsu
  • Gyoza dumpling
  • Udon and Miso Soup
  • Waygu beef
  • Tokyo salad
  • Tempura
  • Teriyaki chicken skewers (street food)
  • Green tea ice cream (acquired taste)
  • Tempura shrimp

Pin it for later:

Foodies in Japan #japanesefood #sushi #tokyo #kyoto #food #streetfoodjapan #visittokyo

Foodies in Japan #foodguide #tokyo #kyoto #japanesefood #foodtokyo #sushi #streetfood

What do you think of the food in Japan? Are you a meat or fish lover? Does any of these look good to you? Have you tried them or would you be willing to try them?