Some of the best food in Tokyo can be found among the tiny street food stalls and markets, but without the help of a local, it can be difficult to know where to find it. Check out our recommendations on some of the best street food in Tokyo and where to eat it.
Omoide Yokocho – Shinjuku
Best for grilled meats
A collection of lantern-lit narrow alleyways close to Shinjuku station, Omoide Yokocho is known for its open barbecue grills and retro vibes. The street has an interesting history, starting life as a black market in the late 1940s and developing over the years with the addition of more food outlets and izakayas. Omoide Yokocho is a great place to try yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), and kushiyaki (grilled meat or vegetable skewers). All of the restaurants are fully licensed so you can be assured of good hygiene standards.
Takeshita Dori - Harajuku
Best for dessert foods
The Harajuku area is famous for its colorful and kawaii (cute) street food often seen on Instagram and is the perfect place to visit if you love sweet food. The best places to find these foods are on the main Takeshita Street opposite Harajuku Station and the side streets around the area. Some of the most popular street food items include the giant cotton candy from Totti Candy Factory and the rainbow grilled cheese sandwich from Le Shiner. Other popular foods you can find around Harajuku include sweet crepes, chocolate pizza, cream puffs, and animal-shaped ice cream.
Tsukiji Outer Market
Best for seafood
Tokyo’s famous tuna auction and the fish market may have moved to Toyosu but at the original Tsukiji site, you’ll still find many of the restaurants and small food stalls selling fresh seafood at the outer market. It’s best to visit Tsukiji during the morning, as many of the restaurants and stalls close for the day by mid-afternoon. As well as fresh sushi and seafood, top street food snacks in this area include tamagoyaki (rolled omelet), and onigiri (rice balls). Dessert wise you can find a unique version of taiyaki in the shape of a tuna fish called maguroyaki. This fish-shaped snack is a sweet pastry filled with red bean paste.
Best for a variety of Asian street food
A short walk from the spacious park and museums of Ueno you’ll find the Ameyoko market filled with hundreds of food vendors serving up dishes from China and Korea in addition to Japanese food. Around the market, you can try classic Japanese street food snacks such as takoyaki (deep-fried octopus balls), and menchi, which are breaded cakes containing ground meat and onions. If you want to try some other Asian dishes, there is also Chinese street food available to purchase including meat pies and dumplings, or Korean pancakes.
Best for drinks & izakaya food
Tucked away down a discreet alleyway off one of Kichijoji’s covered shopping streets, Harmonica Yokocho is an old flea market that has been converted into tiny bars, restaurants, and food stalls. Its location in the west of Tokyo means it’s rarely visited by tourists but is a well-known eating and drinking hotspot among locals. The area is best visited by night when the light from the paper lanterns helps create a nostalgic atmosphere of a past Tokyo, a total contrast from the towering skyscrapers that dominate the cityscape today. Food vendors and bar owners place wooden stools out in the alleyways for customers to sit on whilst enjoying 300-yen drinks and bar snacks like gyoza and fried chicken.
Best for snacks & souvenirs
The Nakamise shopping street leading up to Sensoji temple is one of the best spots in Asakusa to try Japanese snacks. Located inside the temple grounds, this shopping street has a long history that can be traced back to the late 17th century when shops first began to open up selling food and drinks to weary pilgrims who had come to visit the temple. Some of the snacks you can buy include rice crackers, confectionery made from sweet potato, and ningyo-yaki baked-doll cakes which are sponge cakes filled with sweet bean paste.
If you’re looking to discover Tokyo’s best street food download the OodyMate app and connect with a Tokyo resident for free to show you around and get the best local recommendations and tips.