Tired of eating with tourists? Want to eat where Tokyo locals actually eat? Then check out our guide to some of Tokyo’s best local restaurants.
Sushi restaurant near Tsukiji Market - image © Jeena Paradies
If you crave authentic local food and want to dine with the locals, this page is for you. The other restaurants on this site are all great, but they’re all fairly well known to tourists. The restaurant on this page are largely unknown to foreign travelers and have a local clientele. However, most have some form of English menu. In cases where they don’t, we give you some menu translations so that you can order with confidence.
Most of the places listed here are reasonably priced, because locals certainly know the best values. The restaurants here are divided by district, so you can easily find a great local restaurant near you.
Shinjuku Eat Like A Local:
The “special” grilled flying fish ramen with egg, seaweed, and two types of chashu at Takahashi. - image © Florentyna Leow
- Funabashiya Honten
A short walk from Shinjuku Station takes you to Funabashiya, which is the place to go for elegant, tasty tempura set meals.
Kabuto, in Shinjuku’s Piss Alley, takes you back to 1950s Tokyo with its no-frills head-to-tail (unagi) eel dining experience.
If you find yourself craving some delicious ramen in Shinjuku, Takahashi’s fantastically smoky ramen bowl will save your stomach and your soul.
Roppongi Eat Like A Local:
Gomadare seiro soba - cold buckwheat noodles with sesame sauce at Honmura-an. - image © Florentyna Leow
- Mengekijo Genei
For a great bowl of Hakata-style ramen in Roppongi, try Mengekijo Genei. It’s truly delicious and it’s MSG-free!
For a slow lunch of soba in serene surroundings, try Honmura-an in Roppongi. It’s an oasis of calm amid the chaos of Roppongi.
- Bistro Shirube
For fabulous, inexpensive fare at the friendliest izakaya in town, head over to Shirube in Roppongi.
- Butagumi Dining
Craving a quick meal in Roppongi? Head to Butagumi Dining - a casual tonkatsu restaurant taking this B-grade cuisine staple to heavenly heights.
For slightly upscale but unpretentious, umami-packed Hakata-style grilled skewers, Jomon in Roppongi hits the spot.
Ueno Eat Like A Local:
Kashiwa-nan soba - buckwheat noodles with chicken and negi (Japanese leeks) at Okinaan. - image © Florentyna Leow
- Kaisentango Ami no Shokudo
Kaisentango Ami no Shokudo in Ueno serves up a hearty sashimi and egg rice bowl fit for a fisherman. Venture further afield from the station for this quiet cozy neighbourhood restaurant.
Hearty soba in an atmospheric, local noodle joint that’s just a stone’s throw from Ueno Station.
Lovers of sweets should make a beeline for Mihashi in Ueno for their Japanese-style desserts. Come for the anmitsu, stay for the red bean paste and soft serve ice cream!
Ginza Eat Like A Local:
The hitsumabushi set meal. - image © Florentyna Leow
For hearty, homestyle Okinawan cooking, check out Chanpuru-ya, an underground izakaya in Ginza.
- Hitsumabushi Bincho Ginza
If you’d like a refined meal of unagi while exploring Ginza, then this Nagoya-style restaurant is sure to please.
Shibuya Eat Like A Local:
Uoriki's daily special sushi set. - image © Florentyna Leow
- Echigoya Sandayu
Echigoya Sandayu is a tasty, inexpensive teishoku lunch spot that’s open all afternoon in Shibuya. You can’t argue with that!
A narrow back street in Dogenzaka houses some of the best soba noodles in Shibuya - a great lunch between all the shopping.
- Yakitori Tetsu
Tetsu is a cheap and cheerful yakitori restaurant right by Shibuya Station. Just stick to drinks and grilled skewers - avoid everything else on the menu.
For an old-school yakitori experience in the heart of Tokyo, eat some grilled chicken with the regulars at Shibuya’s Morimoto.
If you’re in Shibuya and craving fresh, tasty sushi that won’t break the bank, look no further than Uoriki.
Harajuku Eat Like A Local:
Mokubaza’s keema curry - the moment after breaking the yolk. - image © Florentyna Leow
If you’re looking for a healthy lunch option for a reasonable price in Harajuku, then head to t.shizen, an unassuming neighborhood teishoku (set lunch) spot that’s popular with the local office workers.
Afuri’s chicken-based yuzushio ramen might be light on the fat, but it sure is heavy on the flavor! It’s one of the best bowls of ramen in Harajuku.
Looking for tonkatsu in Harajuku? Skip the queues at Maisen and visit Fukuyoshi instead - a charming mom n’ pop shop with tasty pork cutlets.
- Teuchi Soba Matsunaga
For high-quality soba noodles in quiet, relaxed surroundings, Teuchi Matsunaga Soba is a great choice when you’re in the Harajuku area.
Mokubaza’s keema curry is the heavenly holy trinity of stewed meat, melted cheese and egg yolk. It’s a great way to fill up while exploring Harajuku or Shibuya.
- Soup Curry BagBag
In an underground restaurant in Harajuku, BagBag serves up Hokkaido soup curry that’s like a hug for your stomach.
- Mi no Ringo
Mi no Ringo’s keema curry is saucy, soul-warming, and spicy - a perfect lunch break on a chilly autumn day in Harajuku.
- Ohitsuzen Tanbo Omotesando
Wander down Omotesando’s back streets for solid set meals at this hole-in-the-wall teishoku restaurant.
Tokyo Station Eat Like A Local:
A delicious, spicy bowl of vegan tantanmen at T’s Tantan. - image © Florentyna Leow
- T’s Tantan
Looking for a tasty vegan bowl of noodles while in Tokyo Station? Then look no further than T’s Tantan Ramen for a delicious and spicy meal.
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Truly Tokyo Google map:
- Open the Tokyo map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
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- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online with Klook for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings on Skyscanner
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