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Tokyo's street food culture differs from Thailand's or South Korea's. Though harder to find, Japanese street food is tasty enough to rival the best worldwide.
The oden, the takoyaki, the yakitori, oh my! You might have to search for Tokyo street food. Still, there are many incredible places to find simple traditional Japanese dishes, desserts, and snacks. They can be served over the counter, in markets, and on streets.
If you're planning a trip to Japan, it's an excellent opportunity to fill up while spending less yen. Tokyo has fantastic things to do, and food is no exception. In this article, I'll look at the 9 best spots in Tokyo to enjoy exceptional traditional Japanese street food.
No matter where you stay in Tokyo, know you're only a few metro stops away from simple but memorable traditional Japanese street food! But if you don't know where to start, why not take a street food tour with a local foodie.
Musashi Koyama Shopping Street
Musashi Koyama street is the longest-covered shopping street in Tokyo, so it's perfect for a rainy day.
You'll find plenty of clothes and electronics there. Tokyo street food, including anpan bread, tonkatsu, soba noodles, and yakitori, fills the street.
One of the best spots is Toriyuu, a yakitori shop over 90 years old, with its signature mouth-watering sauce. A yakitori is grilled chicken on skewers.
Unlike most street food vendors, this yakitori spot is self-service. You choose the skewers, and they grill them for you and cover them in the sauce.
Although chicken is a traditional choice, Toriyuu also has skewers with liver, meatballs, and even eel. It's all about personal taste. They serve cold beer, which goes excellent with yakitori.
To get here, take the Tokyo Meguro line to Musashi Koyama station, and leave through the East exit.
Togoshi Ginza Shotengai
Togoshi Ginza Shotengai is the longest shopping street in Tokyo, at 1.3 km. It was built in 1923 after the great Kato earthquake, using stones and materials from nearby Ginza.
It's packed with great deals and unbelievable street food, especially potato croquettes. You'll find it in wide varieties as a Togoshi Ginza specialty.
One notable variety you'll get to sample is the oden croquette. Oden is a "hot pot" style Japanese dish popular as a street food, using tofu, vegetables, and other ingredients in a rich dashi broth.
When you add potato and daikon croquettes to oden, they absorb the broth and taste amazing!
You can find some of the best oden croquettes at Goto Kamabokoten, which has served plenty of Japanese celebrities, including former prime minister Shinzo Abe.
To get to Togoshi Ginza station, take the Metro Ikegami or Asakusa line. From there, it's less than a 5-minute walk to the shopping street entrance.
Oyama Happy Road
This shopping street has more than 200 shops and is home to some shops dating back to World War II. It includes the legendary Arai Meats shop over 80 years old.
You'll find a great mix of Tokyo street food here. Some include Japanese sweets, an unbelievable ham and cheese katsu from K's Kitchen, and incredible yakitori at Ippo or Funachu.
One of the best street food picks here is Pierrot, a shop serving dozens of Japanese crepes varieties.
Suppose you're used to the French variety. In that case, you need to sample some of the more interesting Japanese varieties, including cod roe and bean paste. They're a true delicacy!
You can get to Oyama Happy road from Oyama station on Tokyo's Tobu Tojo line.
This street market was originally a black market where Tokyo citizens went to buy American goods. Now, it's a great place to sample the best Japanese candy!
You can browse many shops in Ameya Yokocho, but the highlight here is the famous Niki No Kashi candy shop. You'll find every variety of KitKat or Pocky imaginable, along with some candies you won't find anywhere else.
You can get to Ameya Yokocho on the Yamanote line by walking from Ueno station or Okamachi station. You can also take the subway to the Ueno-Okachimachi station on the Oedo line.
Sugamo Jizo Dori
Sometimes called "Harajuku for seniors," Sugamo is located in an area that many elderly residents of Tokyo call home.
It does look a little like Takeshita street in Harajuku, but quieter and more dated, with a little less bustle and a little more nostalgia.
Jizo Dori is a great place to taste a local specialty, moist rice crackers, or nurusenbei. Senbei is a Japanese rice cracker. Unlike the dry variety, which is crispy and crunchy, nurusenbai is more like a mochi made into a pancake with a special sauce.
You owe it to yourself to try this unique Tokyo street food, and Raijindo is a great place that specializes in it.
You can get to Sugamo Jizo Dori by taking the subway on the JR Yamanote or Mita subway lines to Sugamo station. It's just a short walk from there.
Yanaka Ginza Shotengai
One of the best Tokyo street food spots has a cat as its mascot! You'll find cats, or neko, all through the area.
Cats are everywhere in Yanaka. Well, not actual street cats, as they aren't as common as when the area was first named. Still, you'll find many cute cat images everywhere in this retro-styled Tokyo street.
You can't leave without trying a cat's tail donut from Yanaka Shippoya. These come in a bunch of different flavors for less than 150 yen.
To get there, take the subway on the JR Yamanote line to the Nippori station, and it's a very short walk from there.
This bustling street is home to some of the planet's most innovative and exciting street food. If you want to eat like it's the year 3000, walk through Harajuku.
You'll find Eiswelt Gelato ice cream cones in the shapes of animals and rainbow grilled cheese sandwiches from Le Shiner. The Tokyo street synonymous with bright, interesting fashion, is the same when it comes to food.
I recommend something a little more traditional. That's the fruit-filled mochi called daifuku from Yurinan. This Japanese classic is extra special at Yurinan and specializes in strawberries with just the right balance.
Harajuku is right next to Harajuku station on the JR Yamanote line. It's also close to the Meiji-Jingumae subway station.
Tsukiji was originally a fish market, but all the seafood moved to a new location in 2018. More than 200 shops on the site still sell other goods, including incredible street food.
Despite the exit of the fish market, there's some excellent seafood here, including fresh sashimi, steamed oysters, and grilled scallops.
While here, you must try the tamagoyaki sandwich from Tsukiji Shouro Honto.
Originally a sushi shop, this spot now specializes in turning the traditional Japanese rolled omelet into street food. You can eat it on a stick or between two pieces of fresh white bread with Japanese mayonnaise.
You can get to Tsukiji Market from Tsukiji station on the Hibiya line or the Tsukiji Shijo station on the Oedo line.
Sunamachi Ginza Shotengai
This is my favorite street to visit for a great, traditional Tokyo street food experience. The stalls that line Sunamachi Ginza won't disappoint, offering everything from candy and sweet pastries filled with bean paste, to rich and wholesome oden and juicy yakitori. You'll find a bit of everything packed close together. This street's nostalgic architecture and design make it a refuge from the rest of modern Tokyo.
It's hard to go wrong at Sunamachi Ginza. Still, one stop I recommend to everyone is the Maguro Katsu at Sakai. It's crispy and deep-fried on the outside, with a rich and delicious tuna cutlet inside. There's nothing else like it, so save some space in your stomach.
Take a local tour to sample delicious street food and learn about Japan's culinary traditions. 3.5 hours seems long on paper, but it's well worth it to discover Japanese cuisine with a local.
Getting to Sunamachi Ginza is more complicated than other street food locations because it's not close to a major station. You can take the Hanzoman or JR Yamanote line to get to Kinshicho street, where you'll need to catch a bus. Then, get off at Kitasuna 2-chome. It's a bit more work, but well worth it!
Find the Best Tokyo Street Food With Pilot
Tokyo isn't known for its street food, but it should be. If you're ready to awaken your taste buds, it's time to visit Tokyo. Before then, plan your trip with Pilot for a hassle-free experience.