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The Eater Guide to Tokyo

There’s so much more than ramen. (But there’s a lot of ramen.)

Meghan McCarron

Tokyo is the food paradise that every city hopes to become: where Jiro dreams of sushi, where ramen demands noisy slurping, where cocktails taste best 40 floors above the ground. Everything great about modern dining right this second, from masterful daily staples in brisk cafes to intricately plated twelve-course meals at intimate chef’s counters, was perfected in Tokyo a million years ago. Why put it off any longer? Book your tickets to Tokyo right now.

The magnificence of Tokyo’s dining scene is no secret: Food world megastars and Instagram superstars alike have all declared it the best place in the world to eat. What makes the city overwhelming is the same thing that makes it awesome (in the realest sense of the world): the dense, spiraling, mind-boggling urbanity of it all. No guide can offer more than a sliver of the city’s riches, famous or obscure, but Eater’s local experts will tell you where to find incredible pizza, affordable sushi, intense coffee, and hidden restaurants in historic alleys.

Convenience foods will buoy and delight you, but the real finds in Tokyo are the restaurants tucked away on the second floor of an apartment building, pouring American craft beer you can’t even find in America, or the cash-only sushi counters with eight seats, or the after-work yakitori joints firing skewer after skewer. On the plane home, those are the meals you’ll remember the most. Okay, also the ice cream you scarfed outside 7-Eleven — it’s really that good. Just like the rest of Tokyo.

What to do the minute you step off the plane

What does it mean to take a selfie with an owl? No trip to Tokyo is complete without a visit to a cafe filled with bunnies — or kitschy, neon-lit performers. But how much do we really understand what's happening? Emily Yoshida dives deep into tourists’ fascination with "weird" Japan, and finds the soul of the city.

Totally maximize your dining experience

Meghan McCarron

"Tokyo" is a verb, not a noun — and it’s relentless. Kee Byung-keun navigates his way through a single day of non-stop eating all across the city, and discovers an edible Tokyo in old-school coffee shops, department store depachika, and raucous izakaya.

Give yourself over to your obsessions

Sunshine Sento Sake

Skip work, bathe, drink a beer, repeat. Wondering what to watch on the plane? Whitney Reynolds finds the perfect armchair getaway in Sunshine Sento Sake, a Japanese TV show about the simple, exquisite pleasures of ducking out of the office to get a snack.

Get to know the city like a local

Your Tokyo dining atlas

Editors: Meghan McCarron, Matt Buchanan, and Helen Rosner
Project manager: Marguerite Preston
Copy editors: Cameron Allan McKean and Rachel P. Kreiter | Logo Illustration: Angie Wang
Contributors: Matt Buchanan, Michael Booth, Kee Byung-keun, Hillary Dixler, Melinda Joe, Tom Kretchmar, Daniel Krieger, Brian MacDuckston, Meghan McCarron, Cameron Allan McKean, Craig Mod, Mona Nomura, Ko Ransom, Whitney Reynolds, Yukari Sakamoto, Ko Sasaki, Robbie Swinnerton, Aoko Umi, Irwin Wong, Justine Wong, Emily Yoshida
Thanks to Sonia Chopra, Erin DeJesus, Hillary Dixler, Esra Erol, Missy Frederick, Brenna Houck, Craig Mod, Adam Moussa, Erin Perkins, Jenny Zhang, and Nicole Bae

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