Japan is known for its modern conveniences, technological advances, and business acumen. Many people know that Japan is also famous for its delicious food. However, depending on where you are in Tokyo, the cost of your meal may be anywhere from dirt-cheap to breaking the bank. As a tourist in Japan or just someone who wants to enjoy Japanese food, what should you expect?
The best way to go about it? Eat like a local!
Your first step in enjoying Japanese food is knowing where to eat. Although there are plenty of street vendors selling everything from octopus balls to yakitori (skewered meats), you’d do well to avoid them if possible (and certainly avoid them if you’re on a budget). Instead, head for the small restaurants with no English signage that are frequented mainly by Japanese people. These places usually offer great food at an affordable price. Of course, don’t assume that just because many Japanese people eat their meals there means it’s good; do your research first and make sure to check out reviews of the place before you go!
Japan is known as one of the most polite countries in the world (the concept of “saving face” is still alive and well here), but this respectfulness goes both ways — it’s important that visitors show respect to the locals as well. For example, if you’re eating everything with your hands or dumping soy sauce all over your edamame, you probably won’t go home with a good impression of Japanese food. In Japan, eating is as much about the ceremony as it is about the flavor or nourishment that you’re looking for.
This means that if you want to simply dig in and eat as much as you can, you can; but remember to practice proper table manners (don’t slurp your soup, don’t put your elbows on the table, don’t take food from people’s plates) and always say “itadakimasu!” before digging in.
If you’re looking for a quick meal for breakfast or lunch, try one of the many convenience stores throughout Tokyo. Many of them offer fresh sandwiches and chirashi bowls (rice bowls topped with sushi), though prices vary depending on which store you go to — Lawson’s is known for having great deals! The only downside? You probably won’t have access to a microwave if you want to heat up your meal. However, this may be a plus for people who don’t like their food to taste like plastic!
Keep an eye out for places that offer free samples at the beginning of shopping malls or along the sidewalks (especially near famous landmarks). These are often tourist spots, and many establishments will give you small tastes of their delicacies to get you hooked. Although this may sound like a great deal, it can be misleading; these bites are usually pretty tiny and hardly enough to make up your mind about whether you’ll like the food or not (which is why they taste so good!). Be sure to read reviews before eating here, because some of them offer extremely low-quality food for high prices!
If you don’t speak Japanese (or even if you do!), trying to navigate the Japanese food scene can be intimidating. After all, what do you know about kombucha or matcha? Not very much! Don’t worry — help is on the way! Food tours are becoming more popular in Japan, and each company is different in terms of what they offer. Some tours will just take you to a few restaurants that offer typical Japanese cuisine while others will expose you to more unusual foods that only the locals would try (such as Natto).
Please make sure you know the facts before buying and eating any of them.
Flavored Ice: The flavor is placed on top of the ice cubes instead of inside the ice cream. It’s like having your soda with a scoop of sherbet on top (you can even buy water with flavored ice cubes).
Rice Cakes: They are resilient and not as soft as they look. You can easily hold one by gripping its edges. You don’t want to bite into it, too; they aren’t that tasty, so just break off small pieces and put them into your mouth.
Iced Green Tea: If you are used to sweet Japanese tea, always ask the price of the drink before ordering it. Sweetened (and even milk added!) iced green teas are more expensive than regular ones.
Wasabi: As most people think, wasabi isn’t only for sushi; it’s also for vegetables and sashimi. You can put it on top of any dish you like (but make sure not to cover the original taste).
Tempura Sauce: It is sweeter than soy sauce, so don’t dump too much onto your tempura or you’ll get sick of its taste afterwards.
You’ve never had food this good! Kimono Restaurant offers a great place to take your family for entertainment, delicious eats, and fun. We start with the highest quality ingredients before grilling them right in front of you on our hibachi grill–the perfect way to get involved by watching as we prepare it just how YOU want it so there will be no surprises at all when they bite into your meal. This experience also gives us an opportunity to show off some amazing tricks which is where being entertained comes into play; our talented chefs will astound you even further by flipping meats around wildly or doing some other intricate, spectacular feats. If you’re looking for the perfect place to take your family for food, fun and entertainment. Kimono Japanese Restaurant in Benicia and Pleasanton, California, can’t be beaten! Join us today and experience the Kimono difference.