Japan

Restaurants in Japan

The chef is the mentor of Masa Takayama, whose $450 sushi omakase has thrilled Manhattan sushi cognoscenti since his restaurant, Masa, opened in 2004.

Ask for a seat on the outdoor terrace at this Teruo Kurosaki-owned eatery.

A traditional ryokan (inn) on a quiet sidestreet in Kyoto, the Yoshikawa Inn presents classic Japanese hospitality in a 100-year-old building surrounded by gardens. Guests can eat at the casual twelve-seat counter or in one of nine private tatami rooms.

Known for its steamed Chinese pork buns, noodle bowls, and "hairy crabs" (a delicacy in season during the fall), 50 Ban is a no-frills, street food lunch and dinner spot in the former geisha district of Tokyo (now considered the French neighborhood).

Thirty-seven floors up in the Mandrin Oriental Hotel, Michelin-starred Signature serves refined French cuisine in a rarefied atmosphere with contempoary glass lighting, old-world carved screens, and astonishing views over Tokyo from a plush, pillow-strewn upholstered banquette in front of a wall

One of the last vestiges of pre-war architecture in Shinjuku, the building housing the flagship Tsunahachi tempura restaurant (there are now dozens of them all over Japan) stands out amid the nearby skyscrapers.

The brilliant fortysomething chef Yoshihiro Narisawa weds French finesse and Spanish avant-garde savvy with kaiseki aesthetics and a passion for local ingredients.

Located on the edge of Aoyama National Cemetary, Kaotan Ramen has a notably shabby exterior and simple interior: a long, worn wooden table and benches across from an enclosed kitchen with an order window.

Sequestered on a side street between the edgy fashion districts of Harajuku and Aoyama, this tiny, cheerful yakitori restaurant provides welcome relief for famished shoppers roaming nearby Omotesando Hills. Free-range Nagoya Cochin chicken, a tender breed, is the specialty here.

Tsukiji Market, the largest fish market on earth, is home to outstanding sushi and tempura eateries that open as early as 5:30 a.m. and close by early afternoon. Take a right from the central square to reach the row of tiny restaurants.

"When I'm in Tokyo, I often go to a place called Dora in Shinjuku, the city's business district. Dora is a classic izakaya, which roughly translates as "pub." It attracts a high-energy crowd, and at night the booze is always flowing.

Considered one of the finest unagi (freshwater eel) houses in Japan, Michelin-starred Nodaiwa is located in a free-standing, three-story wood and plaster storehouse that was relocated from the country to its present location among the skyscrapers.

Specializing in fish caught just hours before it's served, Yanmo is tucked away in a basement in the trendy Aoyama shopping district, offering counter seating in front of the grill, traditional low-tables on a raised wooden platform, and a private room in the back.

Located inside the indoor mulit-attraction extravaganza called Namjatown, the stadium's riotous kitschy sprawl is part pinball-like pachinko parlor, part nostalgia ride through 50's Japan.