When mentioning Shinjuku, lots of people will think of it as one of the busiest shopping areas in Tokyo with a mix of office buildings, department stores, and electric outlets. However, for many tourists, it is also a great place to have a taste of many Japanese traditional dishes such as sushi and tempura. If you feel like getting lost because of too many restaurants in the area, here are our recommendations:
Numazukou for sushi
Photo by textlad
The No 1 ranking Kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) is the most favorite restaurant for local and international sushi lovers. It is highly recommended for the fresh sushi, and also very friendly staffs that make your meal more enjoyable. The price here may be higher than that in other places, but you will definitely blow it off your mind after taking a bite of their sushi. Just sit down and grab plates of the sushi. You will be charged at the end by the number of the plates and types of the sushi you choose.
Opening time: 11 a.m. - 10.30 p.m.
Address: Ikeda Plaza Bld 1F, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Tokyo Mentsudan for udon
Photo by Fuyuhiko TAKAYA
The restaurant offers a warm atmosphere with wooden décor and many old, black-and-white photographs of Kagawa, known as the udon prefecture. The udon noodles are handmade by expert noodle makers from Kagawa. First order the type of udon from their menu and the noodles are made right before your eyes.
There are many types for you to choose, such as hot udon, cold udon, and cheese-egg udon. You can add tempura, rice balls, or stewed pork in your bowl at a price of around 100 JPY.
Opening time: 10 a.m. - 11.30 p.m.
Address: Nishi-Shinjuku, 7-9-15 Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Katsukura for tonkatsu
Photo by Takashi Nakajima
Situated on the 14th floor of the Shinjuku Takashimaya Times Square shopping complex, Katsukura - the tonkatsu chain from Kyoto - is known as the place serving the highest quality tonkatsu in Tokyo. It's breaded, deep fried pork cutlets are crispy outside, very tender and juicy inside. Each meal comes with a soothing barley tea, cabbage salad, tsukemono (special Japanese pickles from Kyoto), miso soup, and mugi gohan (rice mixed with wheat). You can add ponzu sauce and sesame seeds, which cannot be found in any other tonkatsu restaurants in the city.
The restaurant also provides diners with other options including fried prawns, chicken cutlet, and crab meat croquette.
Opening time: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Address: Sendagaya 5-24-2 Shinjuku Times Square Building 14th Floor, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tsunahachi for tempura
Photo by Isriya Paireepairit
The restaurant has built up its reputation for its best tempura in town for 92 years. It is easy to spot it in the busy Shinjuku Street due to a long queue in front of the restaurant. Using fresh seasonable ingredients, Tsunahachi offers a la carte lunch and dinner. All sets come with an assortment of tempura, including shrimps, white fish, vegetables, and kakiage - the fritter-like mixed veg, often with shrimp. Tempura is traditionally served with green tea salt. Besides, the restaurant provides regular white salt, seaweed salt and shiso salt.
If you are not a local, they provide you with an illustrated instruction of how to enjoy tempura using the sauces and condiments. Remember to enjoy tempura ice cream for dessert. It may be pricey but worth to try.
Opening time: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Address: 3-31-8 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
Fuunji for ramen
Photo by Guilhem Vellut
The crowded restaurant is very famous for its special tsukemen (dipping noodles) and classic pork ramen. Once inside, you will buy tickets at the vending machine and hand it to one of the ramen chefs with your portion preference. The prices for the size portion (small, medium and large) are the same.
Most of the diners prefer tsukemen. The noodle was chewy and the dipping soup was thick and tasty, filled with soft-boiled egg, pork, and green onions. The soup is tied with pork, and a pile of smoked fish powder sits on top.
Opening time: 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Address: Yoyogi 2-14-3, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hajimeya for yakitori
Photo by miner8
There are many places to eat yakitori in Tokyo, but only in Omoide Yokocho, literally Memory Lane, can you find the best grilled chickens. Among of them, Hajimeya is the most popular restaurant. The eatery offers a variety of yakitori but what distinguishes it from others is toriwasa that is grilled on the outside but raw on the inside. The sauce is really good, as it is not too sweet but very flavorful.
Photo by Pierre Margueritte
The place is tiny and cozy and you can sit down at the window to look out on the street.
Opening: 5 p.m. - 5 a.m. of the next day
Address: Kawano Building 1F, 1-26-7, Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
If you feel a bit tired and hungry after hours shopping in Shinjuku, why don’t you try Japanese traditional food? Your experience there will be unforgettable and you may not stop yourself going back to try the dishes.