The three main neighborhoods for foodies in Tokyo are Ginza in the East, Shinjuku in the West and Harajuku just underneath Shinjuku.
In Ginza you’ll find many restaurants serving traditional Japanese food. You’ve got ‘Ramen Street’ in Tokyo Station and several different authentic restaurants underneath the train tracks running from Tokyo Station to Yurakucho station. Many restaurants don’t have an English menu and sometimes it’s a surprise what you’re going to get. So don’t be afraid of trying new things when you go to a restaurant in Ginza.
Shinjuku is the go-to neighborhood for cheap sushi. There are many conveyer belt sushi restaurants in this area where each dish (containing two pieces) will cost around ¥150 (1.50 €/$). You can read my top 3 (affordable) sushi restaurants here. One of them is Genki Sushi. Genki Sushi is quite popular with tourists because of the experience. Here the sushi isn’t only served on a conveyor belt, you also get to order it from your own screen. You’ll sit next to each other facing the wall and the conveyor belt, and after you’ve ordered your dishes they’ll stop right in front of you.
If you want to go for a drink before or after diner I recommend Sanagi Shinjuku. This café is located underneath the train tracks but with a ceiling covered in colored lanterns it’s very cosy. You can sit at one of the different areas, all decorated in a different style.
Harajuku is great if you like Kawaii restaurants (read more about Kawaii food here) and if you have a sweet tooth. It looks like everything is sugarcoated in Harajuku!
Harajuku is most famous for its French crepes. Several stands sell them, of which some have been around for many years. You’ll have many options to choose from, they’re often all displayed in plastic. I’ve heard that the best place to get a crepe in Harajuku is at Angel Crepes, so I’ve tried a crepe with banana and chocolate ice cream there as you can see on the picture above. It was really delicious! Also in Harajuku is the Cookie Time Cookie Bar and Pompompurin Cafe. You can get Pokemon style latte art at Reissue and Rainbow colored Cotton Candy at Totti Candy Factory.
But my favorite cute restaurant is Kawaii Monster Café. This cute monster restaurant is a bit hidden on the 4th floor of a building on Meiji-dori street, but it’s a world on its own once you go through the doors. You’ll pay a ¥500 entrance fee and have to order at least one drink and one food item per person but you’ll get an unforgettable ‘only in Japan’ experience. The restaurant has several areas and you can choose your favorite at the entrance. You’ll be greeted by girls dressed up as cute monsters at the entrance and after you’re seated you can choose one of the Kawaii food items on the cake shaped digital menu like rainbow spaghetti or colored cupcakes. Every now and then the girls will perform a dance show and you’re invited to clap and dance along! Read more about Kawaii Food on this page.
When you’re in Japan you should also try a Taiyaki, this fish shaped pastry is a traditional Japanese treat. Normally it’s filled with red bean paste (it tastes sweeter than it sounds), but there’s a stall near the Senso-ji temple that serves the Taiyaki with several fillings like vanilla cream and matcha cream.