The gourmet tour
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Gourmet picks

Tsukiji Outer Market - Food market: Tsukiji
[Closed Sun, some Wed.]
While the wholesale fish market has moved to nearby Toyosu, the much more consumer-friendly Outer Market is still here, and well worth a visit. Originally set up to serve restaurants, the Outer Market is now also open to the general public. Here...
Aoyama Farmers Market - Food market: Omotesando
[Open 10am-4pm (weekends only).]
Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables are on sale at the popular farmers market that pops up every weekend in front of UN University (across the street from Aoyama Gakuin). Besides the dozens of stalls there are also a few food trucks selling...
Chabara - Retail: Akihabara
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
A stylish new retail venture from JR (the train company), Chabara is a sister store of the nearby under-the-tracks Aki-Oka crafts complex, showcasing local food products from around Japan. The retail section offers a vast selection of food and...
Isetan - Department store: Shinjuku
[Open 10am-7:30pm daily.]
Once you're done checking out Isetan's high-end fashions, head down to the basement to experience the best food hall in Tokyo. You'll find fresh seafood and produce, gift-ready (and astronomically priced) melons and matsutake mushrooms, luxurious...
Kappabashi Market - Retail: Asakusa
[most shops 10am-6pm; some closed Sundays.]
Tsukiji fish market may be the first destination for foodies visiting Tokyo, and a department store basement food floor is also an essential stop, but one often-neglected attraction is the restaurant-supply district of Kappabashi. Famous for its...
Niigata 100 - Retail: Hibiya
[Open 11am-9pm daily.]
Dedicated to the crafts and local foods of Niigata Prefecture, Niigata Ichi-Maru-Maru feels like a cross between an upscale design shop and a prefectural antenna shop. The shelves are filled with beautifully crafted glassware and pottery,...


Dengama - Retail: Asakusa
[Open 10am-7pm daily.]
Located at the entrance to the Kappabashi shopping district on the corner of Asakusa-dori and Kappabashi-dori, this two-story shop offers an impressive selection of tableware in all price ranges. Upstairs you'll find artisanal pottery from all over...
Fukui Minami Aoyama 291 - Retail: Omotesando
[Open 11am-9pm daily.]
Unlike most prefectural antenna shops, this spacious, attractively appointed store specializes in local handicrafts more than food and drink, and it's well worth visiting just for its pottery selection. You'll also find beautiful glassware, paper...
Kuroeya - Retail: Nihonbashi
[Open 9am-5pm. Closed weekends.]
Gorgeous soup and salad bowls, bento boxes, trays and other items for the table are sold at this lacquerware specialty shop. In addition to traditional styles they also offer modern interpretations of the classics, including lovely silver-colored...
Midette - Retail: Mitsukoshimae
[Open 11am-8pm (Sat, Sun -6pm) daily.]
In addition to the usual local food and booze, this large prefectural antenna shop offers a good assortment of crafts - tableware, glassware, wooden dolls and other decorative items - all made in Fukushima. The sake refrigerators - showcasing more...
Nagasakikan - Retail: Nihonbashi
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
Nagasaki Prefecture runs one of the largest prefectural antenna shops in Tokyo, selling a wide range of regional food items that are otherwise hard to find. There's quite a bit of Nagasaki-made shochu (and a smaller amount of Nagasaki sake) in the...

Japanese knives

Aritsugu - Knife shop: Tsukiji
[Open 6am-3pm. Closed Sundays, Tsukiji market holidays.]
This smaller, Tokyo outpost of the famous Kyoto-based knife shop Aritsugu is popular with chefs, and is one of several choices for professional knives in the Tsukiji Outer Market area.
Kamata Knife Shop - Knife shop: Asakusa
[Open 10am-6pm (Sun 12:30-5:30pm). Open every day.]
Patronized by both professional chefs and home cooks, Kamata uses traditional methods to craft their knives, offering more than 800 different items for sale. It's also a good place to buy whetstones, which make nice gifts for any chefs in your...
Kiya Knife Shop - Knife shop: Nihonbashi
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
Established in 1792 and still going strong, Kiya sells an amazing variety of kitchen knives, including ones crafted specifically for cutting fugu, salmon, soba noodles and vegetables. They carry seven different styles of eel knife alone. They also...
Masamoto - Knife shop: Tsukiji
[Open 6am-3pm. Closed Sundays, Tsukiji market holidays.]
Befitting this shop's location on the outskirts of Tsukiji's wholesale food market, the vast majority of Masamoto's customers are professional chefs. Cleavers, sashimi knives, small fruit knives - they're all here, and the shop also provides...
Sugimoto Cutlery - Knife shop: Tsukiji
[Open 7am-4pm. Closed Sundays, Tsukiji market holidays.]
Dating back to the 1930s, Sugimoto started as a metalsmith specializing in swords and knives. Today they produce Western knives and Chinese cleavers as well as traditional Japanese knives made with Japanese carbon steel. They also carry a variety...

Food markets

Ameyoko Center Market - Food market: Ueno
[Open 10am-8pm. Closed Wednesdays.]
With an atmosphere reminiscent of the bustling food markets of Hong Kong and Thailand, the basement of this old commercial building is filled with small shops specializing in ingredients from China, Korea, Southeast Asia and South Asia. You'll find...
Matsuya - Department store: Ginza
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
The two-level basement food hall at Matsuya houses dozens and dozens of kiosks and stalls with freshly prepared foods and packaged goods to take home. There are also a few sit-down counters run by the various shops and a decent wine department with...
Mitsukoshi Department Store - Department store: Ginza
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
Since the store's recent renovation, Mitsukoshi's two-level food hall has expanded to more than a hundred food stalls run by well-known restaurants, bakeries, sweets shops, tea sellers, and other purveyors of gourmet food and drink. The tiny...
Odakyu - Department store: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
Odakyu's basement food hall has dozens and dozens of stalls selling everything from Chinese food to fresh-squeezed juices and organic vegetables.
Seibu Department Store - Department store: Ikebukuro
[Open 10am-9pm daily.]
One of the biggest department stores in the world, this flagship branch of the international chain is spread out over fourteen floors and includes specialty shops Muji and Loft as well as dozens of restaurants. The two-level food hall is the...
Takashimaya - Department store: Nihonbashi
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
The basement food floor of Takashimaya is upscale and a bit old-fashioned at the same time, just like the rest of the store; you'll find booths run by traditional eel restaurants and similar fare.
Takashimaya - Department store: Shinjuku
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
Although perhaps not as trendy and modern as nearby Isetan, Takashimaya's basement level houses one of the more upscale food halls in town, well stocked with luxury items as well as more everyday fare. The sake area is well stocked, and there's a...
Tokyu Foodshow - Food market: Shibuya
[Open 10am-9pm daily.]
Located in the basement of the Tokyu Department Store next to the east exit of Shibuya Station, this sprawling food hall is one of the biggest and most varied in town. They sell fresh fish, meat and produce and prepared foods of all kinds -...

More gourmet destinations

Food and Agriculture Museum - Museum: Setagaya-ku
[Open May-Nov 10am-5pm; Dec-Apr 10am-4pm (last entry 30 min. before closing). Closed Mondays.]
If you're interested in taxidermied roosters, cactus plants, sake paraphernalia, ancient farm tools, modern architecture or lemurs, then this quirky little museum has something for you. Run by Tokyo University of Agriculture, the Food and...
Maizuru - Retail: Asakusa
[Open 9am-6pm daily.]
Although the custom is not as popular as it once was, some restaurants in Japan still show off plastic food models in their display windows to entice passersby. Maizuru is where they buy them. You can purchase realistic-looking plastic...
Museum of Yebisu Beer - Museum: Ebisu
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Mondays.]
[Update: the Museum of Yebisu Beer is scheduled to reopen in April 2024.] Devoted to the proud history of the Yebisu beer brand, this renovated facility is built on the site of Tokyo's original Sapporo Brewery. It includes a spacious restaurant, a...
Namja Gyoza Stadium - Restaurant complex: Ikebukuro
[Open 10am-9pm (LO) daily.]
Food-focused "theme parks" in Japan range from full-on amusement park style (Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum) to glorified shopping-mall food courts. The long-running Gyoza Stadium is at the themier end of the spectrum, with entertaining retro-style...

Gourmet field trips

Budo-no-oka Center - Attraction: Yamanashi-ken
[Open 11am-5pm daily.]
While few connoisseurs would rate Japan one of the world's great wine-producing countries, there is a thriving domestic wine industry, with several dozen major vineyards nestled in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture, just north of Mount Fuji. ...
Cupnoodles Museum - Museum: Yokohama Minato-mirai
[Open 10am-6pm (enter by 5pm). Closed Tuesdays.]
If you love instant ramen and want to learn much, much more about the ubiquitous snack and its inventor, Momofuku Ando, you've come to the right place. Walk around inside a replica of the original shed where Ando first created instant ramen back in...
Fuefukigawa Fruit Park - Museum: Yamanashi-ken
[Open 9am-5pm daily.]
The main attraction here is the fascinating Fruit Museum, where you can explore the history of fruit through the centuries, with particular emphasis on the role of fruit in the history of Yamanashi Prefecture. This sounds like a must-see destination...
Ishikawa Sake Brewery - Attraction: Fussa
[Open 9am-4pm. Closed Sat, Sun, hol.]
If you're in Tokyo and you feel the urge to take an English-language tour of a real-life sake brewery, Ishikawa Brewery in Fussa is the place to go. The picturesque brewery, in operation since 1863, is located in the mountains around fifty minutes...
Kirin Yokohama Beer Village - Attraction: Yokohama
[Open 10:30am-3:30pm. Closed Mondays (Oct. - May).]
Highly organized factory tours like this one are an interesting phenomenon. While you're technically inside the factory building, you're not actually on the factory floor wearing a hairnet and watching people at work, but instead wandering from one...
Mayo Terrace - Museum: Chofu
[Open 10am, 2pm, 3:30pm. Closed weekends.]
You'll amaze your friends with your deep knowledge of mayonnaise-related facts after a visit to Tokyo's one and only mayonnaise museum, Mayo Terrace. Best-selling condiment brand Kewpie has set up this attractive facility on the former site of...
Omori Nori Museum - Museum: Ota-ku
[Open 9am-5pm daily.]
From the early 1700s up until 1962, when the Port of Tokyo began major redevelopment work, the shoreline in this area was the source of some of Japan's finest nori. There are still a number of nori wholesalers located here, and this is also the...
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum - Attraction: Yokohama
[Open 11am-10pm (last admission) daily.]
A miniature historical theme park, Ramen Town, located on the bottom two levels of the Ramen Museum, is a recreation of a bustling urban neighorhood in the year 1958 (which happens to be the year instant ramen was invented). Scattered among the...
Suzuhiro Kamaboko Museum - Museum: Odawara
[Open 10am-5pm daily.]
Traditional kamaboko fish cakes are the unlikely, yet logical, subject of this specialized museum run by a company that makes fish cakes. Most people seem to be here for the 50-minute, hands-on classes in fish-cake production (in Japanese; Y1500),...
Umami Science Square - Attraction: Kawasaki City
[Open 8:30am-4:30pm. Closed Sundays.]
Fans of Ajinomoto's MSG seasoning can learn all about the world of umami flavors and get a glimpse into the operations of a 21st-century food factory with Ajinomoto's very comprehensive factory tour. The ninety-minute adventure includes a...