Tokyo Food Tour – Japan will fight hand and tooth with other Asian countries to claim the title of the ultimate food mecca of Asia. Its distinguished and unique cuisine is exciting, flavoursome, and easily enjoyed by even the pickiest of food critics.
Tokyo itself is home to some of the most mouthwatering, flavour-packed, memorable dishes in the world, and whilst it’s definitely not as big a city (in physical size) as some other capitals in the world, it definitely trumps all others in terms of density – it houses in excess of 6000 people per square kilometer!
With a metric like that, you can imagine what the food options would be like…that’s right, downright overwhelming and impossible to choose from.
In light of this, we’ve decided to pool together some of the best Tokyo food tours for you and your friends and family to take part of. These food tours have been carefully curated and run by some of the brightest.
We’ve got tours running during the day and some in the evening; there are tours aimed at those who are gourmet aficionados and those who delight at simple bowls of ramen; there are tours for the night owls, and even tours that include you participating in the cooking process! Read on as we outline our favourites, and choose wisely!
1. Tokyo After 5
Tokyo’s food scene is very much alive after 5. With the general pressures of work during the day breathing down their neck, salarymen and alike often dash towards the local food hangout spots the moment they leave work to ease off the day’s troubles with sake and beer, and various other Japanese favourites.
In this tour, you will gain a local’s knowledge and perspective on the tradition of everyday life in Tokyo, and dine on popular menu items such as yakitori, wagashi (Japanese sweets), monja-yaki (pancakes) and more. You’ll learn about the history of the places you visit, and get to know family traditions along the way.
If you’re interested in this tour, click here to book a spot now!
2. Sake All-You-Can-Drink Tour!
I mean…this tour is pretty much self-explanatory, right? However, we’d like to point out that it’s much, much more than just a boozy night for you to get mindlessly drunk on a few random sake picks!
During this tour, you can expect to be presented with over 100 different types of sakes from all across the country, of which you are free to pick and choose to taste as many as you’d like! There are warm versions as well as chilled versions, so you’ll be exposed to the full spectrum of Japanese sake.
There is a supermarket nearby the bar where you’re encouraged to purchase whatever food you want to consume, and bring it into the sake restaurant to eat at your own leisure. Individuals are most welcome, as the groups are generally quite intimate so you’ll be making friends in no time (as attested by several solo travellers!).
Does this sound like your cup of tea sake? Book the tour here (it gets booked out in advance so we recommend claiming a spot as soon as you can!).
3. Nihonbashi Gourmet Tour and Sushi Roll Cooking Class
This tour is one heck of an experience! From sampling various traditional Japanese foods, to actually preparing one of Japan’s greatest culinary creations, sushi, you’ll get to do it all in one day under the tutelage of an authentic, knowledgeable English-speaking guide.
The day will start with you meeting up with the tour guide, who will take you through Nihonbashi’s most popular complex whilst blasting you with grand and interesting facts about Japanese foods all the while you’re sampling various types of Japanese favourites.
After some detailed exploration, you’ll swing into one of the most prestigious cooking schools in Japan, ABC Cooking Studio, and there you’ll be taught how to prepare and cook authentic sushi. Post food preparation, you can enjoy the lovely meal with fellow tourists whilst sampling some gifted Japanese distilled liquor.
All this to be finished by 2:30pm so you can get on with some more sightseeing around Tokyo! The PERFECT half-day activity.
To book this tour, head to this link here.
4. Local Bar Hopping in Tokyo
Bar hopping is one of the best ways to get to know the nightlife of a foreign city that you’re visiting, and this tour here is one of the humblest yet highly entertaining tours you can do!
Rest assured, you won’t be taken to the ‘most popular bars’ where you’ll see other tour groups making up the majority of the crowd; instead, you’ll be blindfolded and handcuffed and taken underground so some of the most revered drinking establishments known to the locals.
Just kidding about the blindfold and handcuff part! But you’ll definitely be kicking it back with a small crowd, sipping on authentic Japanese brew, and munching on some authentic izakaya at multiple watering holes.
Previous customers have attested to the fact that the establishments they’ve been taken to are not what they’d normally frequent, but have an authenticity factor greater than they expected, and they’ve all left feeling pretty zoned-in on how the locals eat and drink!
If you’re all about the bar hops, head to this link to book your tour now.
5. Tokyo Ramen Experience with a Local Foodie
Ramen is an absolute staple in the Japanese diet, and it’s one of the first things people think of when they want to associate something to Japan’s epic food scene. If it’s your first time, and you’re one to find pleasure in understanding the history, nuances, and secrets of food, then this unique food tour is right up your alley. Frank, the tour guide, was born and raised in Tokyo, and is so deeply appreciative of the ramen dish that he even runs his own blog called “5 AM Ramen”.
Over coffee, he will present to you a wealth of knowledge on ramen: how it came about, what types of ramen are available, what types of ramen might suit your palette, why it’s such a celebrated food today, and many more interesting facts. He will then suggest four different types of ramen stores, of which you can decide on one as a group to head to and try. After this tour, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge you need to make the right choice about ramen moving forward!
If you’re after a food tour you’ll ramen-ber forever, Frank will surely leave that lasting impression! Book his ramen tour here.
6. Walking Tour at Night
If there was ever a walking food tour where you’ll get to sample enough food to keep you going for days but then you’ll have to work for it by walking what seems to be all of Tokyo, then this is it.
Following the guide one of Tokyo’s finest and most knowledgeable, you’ll find yourself in various corners of this intense city you wouldn’t normally tuck into. From the yokocho alleys of Gado Shita, a restaurant district with distinct 70s Japan vibes, to the glamourous streets of Ginza, and through to the tradition-haven Shimbashi, you’ll sample more than 18 different local dishes prepared by generations of born and bred Japanese. And yes, dessert is most certainly included.
If this sounds exciting to you, don’t hesitate, click on this link to book this tour now!
7. Private Tuna Auction and Toyosu Fish Market Tour
The private tuna auction is one of the most revered activities for many first-timers coming to visit Tokyo. It’s a distinct Japanese experience that you can’t find anywhere else in the world, and so of course its mystique and the excitement of waking up at 4:00am in the morning to watch a fish auction is something many tourists try and fit into their schedule.
However, trying to organise this activity by yourself, with family, or with a large group of friends, in a foreign country like Japan where English may not be as recognised or understood, in the wee hours of the morning, might not be as smooth-sailing as you hope. That is the reason why we recommend this highly rated Tokyo tour which includes the organised viewing of the private tuna auction as well as a detailed tour of the fish market where you’ll be able to see and purchase fresh seafood and sample all the unique foods the market has to offer.
Transport is organised for you, with free hotel pick-up available for most properties, you’ll learn about the history of tuna and the auction, the market itself, and various facts about Japanese food. You’ll then have the opportunity to dine on authentic sushi and shop for unique souvenirs at the market.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to view the exclusive private tuna auction, book your ticket now! Just a fair warning, the spots get booked out way in advance so make sure you get in early!
8. Shibuya Evening Walking Food Tour
Shibuya is one of the best places to visit in Tokyo, for shopping, for the activities, for the crossing, and, of course, for the food. It’s jam-packed with restaurants and take-out stores, hole-in-the-wall eateries and dessert parlours, sushi joints and cafes – you’ll find it all here in Shibuya. With so many options to choose from, you’re bound to feel overwhelmed at some stage.
To help you narrow it down, we recommend that you book this evening walking food tour of Shibuya, where you’ll spend three hours digging into the nooks and crannies of Shibuya that tourists rarely venture to, but locals love to hate. You’ll be exposed to the best of the best, the most authentic versions of yakitori, kobe beef, wagyu skewers, takoyakis, okonomiyakis, sushi, and taiyakis that you’ll ever get to try. You’ll feel like a local meandering around the back alleys of Shibuya, and afterwards, you’ll never look at the suburb the same.
Experience Shibuya like you’ve never experienced it before, book this evening food tour now!
9. Create Cartoon Food Art with a Chef
We’ve all seen it, the adorable lunch boxes Japanese people bring to school and work, complete with faces of cartoon characters and famous animation characters created by various ingredients intricately cut, shaped, and displayed in the most endearing fashion.
You’ve probably lusted after these lunch boxes every time you saw an image of them, but always thought that you just didn’t have the time, the energy, but most importantly, the skill and creativity to be able to create something that beautiful. Well, you’re in luck!
This tour will equip you with all the knowledge and skills that you need to create the most beautiful bento boxes of edible characters for your loved ones back home. The class itself is intimate, and you’ll learn first hand what goes into creating these stunning boxes. Afterwards, they’ll take photos of your gorgeous creations, and then you’ll have lunch together, sampling the great food you’ve just created.
If you’re keen to upskill your techniques in the kitchen, book this unique tour now!
10. Learn to Cook Vegetarian Japanese Food Like a Pro
Vegetarians, rejoice, for we haven’t forgotten you! In Japan, there is an increasing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants across all the major cities, so it won’t be hard for those with these dietary requirements to travel at all. However, when it comes to learning how to cook, it may appear as though vegetarianism has been dropped off the list. Well, this is no longer the case, as Akiko, a local organic food and Macrobiotic theory enthusiast, is now hosting intimate vegetarian cooking sessions on the weekends.
You’ll be taught how to create a simple yet wholesome vegetarian course menu that steers clear of any meat, fish, eggs, white sugar and chemical products, and uses only traditional Japanese ingredients and the purest of cooking methods.
Akiko herself has learned from the best of the best, having been under the tutelage of Natural Food Director School (Japan), Natural Bread School (Japan), Kushi Macrobiotic Academy (Japan), Le Cordon Bleu (London), and having worked at renowned vegan cafes such as Cafe 8 in Tokyo.
The only drawback to this class is that it is offered to females only, and so if you’re a male, you will need to attend with a female friend, family member, or partner.
If you’re a vegetarian, or a fan of vegetarian food, then we highly recommend booking this cooking class, not only to learn the basis of Macrobiotic theory in cooking, but to go home and surprise your family and friends with your new Japanese cooking skills!
There has to be at least one food tour on here for you, and if there isn’t, then we guarantee that you haven’t gotten to know them properly! Our selection is as wide as varied as it can get, and we know for a fact that you’ll leave each and every one of these feeling well-fed and super happy with the friends and memories you’ve made. Go ahead, make that booking now!
PS: You can find more articles about Tokyo here: Tokyo Travel Blog.