From Kobe beef A5 to premium sushi to street food hole in the walls and generations old noodle shops, Tokyo is one of the world’s greatest cities for food.

On my latest trip to Tokyo, David from The Hungry Tourist invited me to come on his high-end deep foodie Best of Tokyo Food Tour.

For a week, our group ate through a carefully researched selection of restaurants, most of them on the higher end side, with a few ramen and gyoza shops along the way.

In this blog post I’m going to share with you my personal highlights of the tour.

Kobe beef
Kobe beef at Wagyu Mafia

Kobe Beef at Wagyu Mafia

Wagyu Mafia is a group of Kobe and premium Wagyu beef specialists. They buy and source the beef themselves, do Kobe beef popups sometimes, and now have a flagship restaurant in Tokyo.

For our opening night of the tour, we had an insane Kobe beef meal, that included steak, sukiyaki, Chateaubriand steak sandwich, and not forgetting Kobe beef gyoza. It was an unforgettable meal.

Yakiniku at Nakahara

Yakiniku at Nakahara

Nakahara was probably my favorite meal of the entire tour, a restaurant that’s rated as one of the top Japanese yakiniku restaurants in Tokyo.

The Hungry Tourist had arranged for us to eat at the chef’s counter and the owner / chef cooked each bite of beef in front of us. One of his specialties are all parts of the wagyu tongue which was excellent, but the skirt steak and perfect wagyu cutlet sandwich were the courses that really blew me away.

Shima Steak

We went a little overboard on Japanese wagyu beef, and I’m very ok with that.

One more beef meal I just have to share with you is Shima Steak. At this unassuming family run basement restaurant in Tokyo, you’ll find premium Japanese beef, served western style, and it’s amazing.

You can either order the fillet or the sirloin, I got the sirloin, and the chef trims your steak and grills it in his personally designed one of a kind steak oven grill.

The steak is unbelievable!

best food Tokyo
Uni tempura at Motoyoshi

Tempura at Motoyoshi

One of the best things about high-end Japanese food is that you really do get the best of the best – in terms of quality of ingredients, skill of the chef, and perfection of the product.

At Tempura Motoyoshi, the chef pursues perfection, and his tempura is literally flawless, using the best vegetables and seafood, and frying each item perfectly. He’s even so meticulous about the oil for deep frying, and changed it a number of times throughout our meal.

The best bite for me was a fried shiso leaf, topped with uni.

Sushi Arai

On my previous trip to Tokyo, I tried a lot of amazing Japanese street food at Tsukiji fish market, but I didn’t have a chance to visit the inner market fish auction.

But on this tour with The Hungry Tourist, one of the highlights was having the amazing opportunity to go to the Tsukiji fish market tuna auction.

The next evening we ate sushi at Sushi Arai, a highly rated sushi omakase restaurant in Tokyo. It’s one of those sushi restaurants that only has 8 seats, and reservations are extremely hard. Chef Arai was an amazing chef, and his hands literally danced as he assembled perfect balls of rice and attached them to fish with the right balanced amount of wasabi.

Piece by piece, made right in front of you, it was one of the most memorable sushi meals I’ve ever had.

Sushi Namba
Friendly chef at Sushi Namba

Sushi Namba

Another premium sushi restaurant we ate at was Sushi Namba, another extraordinary restaurant. The self taught sushi chef is not only very friendly, but he really demonstrated skill and creativity in the sushi and courses we ate.

All his nigiri were spectacular, and I also enjoyed a course of rice mixed with sea urchin and topped with caviar.

Sake ramen at Kazami

Sake Ramen at Kazami

One day we went on a ramen tour, going to three back to back ramen shops in Ginza. Along with chicken ramen and hand-made noodle ramen, one of my favorites was sake ramen.

While some Japanese food doesn’t have much room for experimentation or change, ramen being a modern, relatively recently added Japanese food, it is culturally appropriate to create new styles and flavors. For this bowl at Kazami, sake is used in the broth, which was more like a thick gravy. It almost had the same effect as a wine sauce, but with that wonderful undertone of sake.

Gyoza overdose!

Gyoza Gaudí

Yes, named after Antoni Gaudí, there’s a small izakaya gyoza shop in Tokyo’s Shimbashi nightlife district that serves incredible gyoza. On this night during the best of Tokyo food tour, we walked around eating with the Tokyo Fixer, who knows some seriously hidden gems of Tokyo.

This gyoza spot was exactly my style – friendly environment, and crazy good home-made gyoza. You can choose from about 15 different flavors or so, and we thought it would be a great idea to try them all. It was!

sushi in Tokyo
Sushi at Sushi Namba

There’s no other country that takes such care in the quality and perfection of food like Japan.

I’m really a spicy food, curry, full on flavor, kind of guy. But Japanese food is one cuisine that is so fresh, and so balanced, that little seasoning is needed.

Being on the best of Tokyo food tour with The Hungry Tourist was a once in a life opportunity and the meals were extraordinary.

NOTE: Thank you to The Hungry Tourist for inviting me to be a part of this tour. I didn’t pay for the food in this blog post. Check out The Hungry Tourist on Instagram and Facebook.

13 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Justin

    6 days ago

    Awesome photos… shame you can’t really get TRUE Kobe in the U.S. Most of what they sell is something else entirely – have to go to the source, I suppose!

  • Penelope

    7 days ago

    Everything looks so delicious. Gyoza is one of my absolutely favorites. You’ve added a new destination to my bucket list.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 days ago

      Thank you very much Penelope, glad you love gyoza. Hope you can visit Tokyo soon!

  • Tikva

    2 weeks ago

    It is really nice to read an article about Tokyo and food that isn’t jut talking about the fish market. Unfortunatly I didn’t have the budget for kobo beaf but next time.

  • Cheryl

    2 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing this with us! I really enjoyed watching your visit to the Shima Steakhouse. My family and I really love everything Japanese, so we’re trying to plan a trip soon, possibly next spring. I’d really like to check out some of these awesome restaurants! Look forward to seeing more of your videos!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 days ago

      Awesome to hear that Cheryl, and thank you for watching. Hope you and your family can visit Japan and eat some amazing Japanese food.

  • Victoria

    2 weeks ago

    It was difficult to find vegetarian food when we were at Narita, Kyoto and Tokyo a year ago. Sounds like you had fun. I’d go for the gyoza and the ramen (minus the meat and the sake) . They do look yummy. I like how they brown the gyoza and the ramen broth looks delicious.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 days ago

      Hey Victoria, thank you very much, that sounds delicious too!

  • Erin

    2 weeks ago

    Japan really does have exceptionally high-quality food – we didn’t have a bad meal during our recent two-week trip there. I love food tours but we didn’t do one in Japan as we’re vegetarian. We did manage to find some amazing places to eat though including vegetarian-friendly tempura, ramen, soba, and okonomiyaki. All so good!

    • Mark Wiens

      6 days ago

      Hey Erin, glad you found some amazing vegetarian food when you were in Japan. The quality, and care of food in Japan is always one of the highlights.

  • Daniel Cowen-Rivers

    2 weeks ago

    Lucky you got to go to Tokyo. I always wanted to go and the food looks lovey making me hungry.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 days ago

      Thanks Daniel, hope you can visit Tokyo in the future!