“Itadakimasu” is one of the first phrases you’ll encounter on your trip to Japan. The phrase loosely translates to “I humbly receive.” You’ll most likely hear it right before a meal where the meaning becomes, “Let’s eat!”
While Japan is brimming with incredible budget options, street eats, and novelty restaurants and cafes, take the opportunity to try out some of their incredible restaurants. At KKday, we’ve rounded up 10 of Japan’s best restaurants you have to try on your next trip. So clasp your hands together, bow your head slightly, and say, “Itadakimasu!”
For travelers who take their food excursions very seriously, any restaurant with the coveted Michelin Star ought to be checked out and sampled. It comes as no surprise that Unagi Uomasa Restaurant, one of Japan’s best Unagi restaurants, has garnered this prestigious international recognition. Uomasa prides itself for serving only the freshest eel. It’s only the moment you order when Uomasa cuts, skewers, grills or steams your eel.
In order to ensure your meal is as fresh as it can possibly be, preparation times take at least 40 minutes. While you wait, Uomasa will bring out a selection of fresh appetizers along with freshly cut liver, wasabi, and eel bone chips.
Specialty: Unagi Eel Dishes
Hours: Mondays to Sundays at 11:30am to 2:00pm and 5:00pm to 9:00pm. Closed on Tuesdays and 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month.
Location: 4-14-4, Higashiyotsugi, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo
After the department stores close, take a short breather from Ginza’s bustling night life and sit down for some high quality Kuroge Wagyu Beef Steak cooked teppanyaki style, with seasonal vegetables, wasabi, and garlic.
Chefs expertly prepare quality meats, wagyu beef, Yonezawa pork and Daisen chicken alongside fresh, local seasonal ingredients.
Hours: Daily at 5:00pm-11:00pm, with Fridays open until 3:00am
Location: Nitta Building 3F, 8-2-1, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Japanese restaurants across the globe always highlight their sushi bars, but nothing will ever come close to Hyakumangoku, located just off Showadori in Ueno.
The owners and chefs have spent 45 years perfecting their Edo style sushi techniques, using only the freshest seasonal ingredients handpicked from the Tsujiki Market each morning. Dishes are served with homemade karasumi, along with herbal miso soup marinated for three weeks.
Hours: Mondays to Fridays at 4:00pm-10:00pm, Saturdays at 4:00pm-9:00pm. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Location: Ebato Building 1F, 2-11-5, Higashiueno, Taitou-ku, Tokyo
Sample a taste of Ancient Japan in central Tokyo. Hyoki Kasuitei boasts of great customer service, that allows you to truly enjoy their famed Steamed Hot Pot course, served with sashimi, miso soup, and dessert.
Courses: Braised White Sukiyaki Course, Steamed Hot Pot Course
Hours: Mondays to Saturdays at 6:00-11:00pm. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Location: Mercury Roppongi 1, 2F, 6-7-7, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Wagyu beef has earned cult favorite status from the seasoned gourmands to the amateur foodies, and Wagyu Imari Restaurant serves some of the best. The Hapinesumura beef, characterized by its melt-in-your-mouth flavour, is handpicked daily and rivals the Matsusaka beef.
Specialty: Wagyu Beef
Hours: Mondays to Fridays at 5:00pm-11:00pm, Weekends and Public Holidays at 11:30am-10:00pm
Location: Uniden Ginza building 7F, 2-8-12, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Since 1830, Nadaman has made a name for itself with its legacy for excellence. The restaurant chain has branches all over Japan, and a few in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. And while each branch delivers the same top-notch meals, the experience at Kioi is particularly elevated because of the spectacular view of the Imperial Gardens.
After visiting the Imperial Palace at Chidoya, feast like royalty at Nadaman and enjoy exquisite and authentic kaiseki cuisine.
Courses: Tempura, Steak, Shabu-shabu
Hours: Weekdays at 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:00pm-10:00pm, Weekends at 11:30am-10:00pm
Location: Hotel New Otani garden tower 6F, 4-1, Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Stop by not only for a delicious meal, but also to personally experience the art of paper frying. In Rogetsu, chefs use use a Kami nabe hot pot lined with special hot pot paper. Here they cook fresh and seasonal ingredients along with their signature Ojiya rice porridge.
Specialty: Kami Nabe Course
Hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 12:00pm-10:00pm. Closed on Sundays.
Location: Rogetsubiru 1F, 1-7-10, Sonezakishinchi, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Kondo Restaurant lies in the beautiful and historic city of Kamakura, Kanagawa. The scenic coastal town is known for its incredible seafood and while many restaurants compete for the title, it’s Kondo Restaurant’s legacy of excellence that puts it on top.
Specialty: Traditional Japanese Cuisine
Hours: Mondays to Sundays at 5:30pm – 9:00pm, except on Wednesdays and the second Thursday of each month.
Location: Tsutaya building 1F-3, 1-8-36, Yukinoshita, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa
Many places can boast about carrying Kobe Beef, but few can claim to know how to serve it. It takes skill and expertise to capture the flavor, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture and many restaurants simply fall short. Thankfully, Osaka Kobe Aburi Bokujo, which lies right by the heart of where the cattle graze, guarantees authenticity and excellence with every dish.
Specialty: Kobe Beef Course
Hours: Daily at 11:30am – 2:00pm and 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: Osaka City, Osaka City, North District, Shibata 2-8-11 Eong ル 1F
Tired of tempura that’s more batter than shrimp? Nothing like that will happen at Akasaka Hanamura! Founded in 1921 and tucked away in the back alley, Akasaka Hanamura may be small and unassuming but its near century’s worth of expertise and loyal patronage go unmatched.
Enjoy a delicious tempura meal cooked right before your eyes, vegetables dipped in tentsuyu sauce along and served with freshly grated daikon radish and yuzu citrus.
Specialty: Seasonal Tempura Course
Hours: Mondays to Sundays at 5:00pm to 10:00pm, except on Tuesdays.
Location: 6-6-5, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
These restaurants that are guaranteed to leave you hungry for more, but long lines can leave you waiting and just plain…hungry.
Not today! In partnership with Gurunavi, KKday will ensure that tables are reserved for you at whichever restaurant and time slot you choose. You no longer have to spend hours queueing for these popular, crowd favourite restaurants or worry about not getting a seat. For more information or to make a reservation, go to our page here. Start your meal saying ‘Itadakimasu!‘ and end it with ‘Oishi!’
Looking for other things to do while in Japan? Check out our other activities: