Japan

Restaurants in Japan

Most restaurants in Japan serve local dishes, which consists mainly of rice, miso, fish, noodles, and seasonal vegetables. The local diet is relatively healthy, which is why Japan has a much lower obesity rate than other developed nations. However, in recent years international cuisine has become incredibly popular; it’s now possible to find Japanese restaurants that serve anything from American food to Italian to French cuisine.

However, when in Japan, eat as the Japanese do. Tokyo in particular – which boasts some of the best restaurants in Japan -- is a food lover’s paradise. It contains more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world. Don’t leave without stopping at Daiwa Sushi. Wait times can easily exceed one hour, but it’s worth it: the sashimi melts in your mouth. Japanese restaurants are also known for their noodle dishes, and it would be a crime to leave the country without sampling at least one bowl of ramen and udon.

For authentic dumplings, try this local institution with lines out the door.

British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's Michelin-starred Tokyo venue occupies a space on the 28th floor of the tower housing the Conrad Hotel, affording light during the day and impressive urban nighttime views over the city through its floor-to-ceiling windows.

Tenko is known for two things: its location inside a former, wooden geisha house on a tucked-away side street in Kagurasaka and for having the best tempura in Tokyo. Seating is available at one of the eight counter spots or in the private rooms hidden by sliding shoji-screen doors.

Soba is a staple of many Japanese dishes, from soups to mori soba (a cold-noodle dish), but it's rare to find them made by hand.

Set behind a leafy, courtyard-like entryway, Yabu Soba has an Old Tokyo feel, with its dark wooden beams, paper lanterns, and seating at the counter or at low-wooden tables with cushions for seats atop tatami-mat floors.

The house specialty is a refined version of oden (Japanese hot pot). Sit at the counter, select your oden ingredients from a large brass pot, and sip an atsu-kan (hot sake) such as the seasonal Kikuhime Junmai.

Located on the seventh floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Marunouchi, Ekki is distinguished by its casual design (contemporary black lacquer furniture, upholstered banquettes) and an international menu that includes Japanese specialties such as Waygu beef, Hokkaido scallops, and creative interpre

Bauhaus meets Bushido at Ogata’s Higashi-yama restaurant, where everything from the impeccable seafood concoctions to the décor is the product of a rigorously creative mind. The fatty-salmon salad drizzled with yuzu sauce is edible haiku.

Legendary French chef Pierre Gagnaire is known for subtle dishes, meant to be eaten in progression in order to experience how the nuance of each taste builds upon the last.

"Toriyoshi is a Japanese yakitori chain. This location is in the central Minato neighborhood, close to the Omotesando subway station. Don't let a bias against chains throw you off-there are great ones throughout Japan. This place has amazing ji-dori, or ground chicken.

The accolades for chef Seji Yamamoto's Nihonryori Ryugin are impressive: three Michelin stars and status as one the world's top 50 restaurants as determined by S. Pellegrino's annual awards.

The fare at this international café with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the runway ranges from American-style hamburgers to a bowl of udon (or Japanese wheat) noodles with fried shrimp. Not hungry? Try a 12-year-old Suntory Yamazaki, an excellent Japanese single malt whiskey.

Japan's love affair with the ramen noodle is celebrated at the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, an interactive exhibit space that includes a ramen 'theme park' with recreated mid-20th-century ramen shops from around Japan.

Black laquer, red accents, and floor-to-ceiling windows set the tone for French celebrity chef Joel Robuchon's Roppongi Hills venue, where diners at the the 44-seat counter watch black-clad chefs prepare creative dishes inspired by Mediterranean flavors and the simplicty of Japanese culinary trad