Our Guides

Sharing in-depth knowledge, reviews, and local recommendations.

Can You Go To Japan Without Knowing Japanese?

Your trip doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking; there are a few simple tricks and some advice below to get through Japan without being fluent.

Spicy Food in Japan: Do Japanese People Enjoy Spicy Food?

No, Japanese people tend not to enjoy very spicy food as you would find in other Asian countries. In general Japanese food is quite mild and focuses on expressing the umami in quality ingredients using the perfect cooking technique. I suppose wasabi is probably the spiciest thing you would experience in Tokyo, outside of specific […]

21 Interesting Japanese Cultural Experiences to Enjoy in Tokyo

Culture you don’t always see in guides for some reason. While sightseeing and dining in Tokyo are absolutely incredible, there’s a ton more to Japanese culture and the Japanese people. In this guide, I want to give you a list of interesting Japanese culture to learn about and maybe check out while in Tokyo. Bunraku […]

Chochin: Traditional Japanese Paper Lanterns

Chochin (提灯) – paper lanterns. A red paper lantern is called akachochin. Aka means red. I mention it because you’ll often see akachochin hanging in the front of izakaya.

BLACOWS, Tokyo: Delicious Pure Wagyu Burgers

BLACOWS is an amazing burger shop specializing in authentic, high-grade Japanese wagyu burgers located in Ebisu, Shibuya, Tokyo.

Asakusa Sushi Ken: Halal Sushi in Asakusa

Sushi Ken is a halal-friendly sushi shop in Asakusa Tokyo. In fact, it was the first to offer a fully halal-friendly sushi menu in Japan.

Does it Snow in Tokyo? How much? When?

Yes. It does snow in Tokyo. But not much. Of course, that depends. Obviously it isn’t anywhere near places like upstate New York, or Michigan may see.

Tokyo is so Clean Because of Japanese Culture

A beautiful city with a pure soul. The reason Tokyo is so clean is because the Japanese people tend to have a strong sense of moral obligation to treat other people, and things, with respect. They seek the attainment of perfection with the understanding they will never reach it but strive to nonetheless. Obviously this […]

23 Essential Things To Know Before Visiting Tokyo

Invaluable Tips You’ve Never Heard Anywhere Else — From 24 Years in Tokyo Hi! Is this your first time in Tokyo? Or perhaps arriving soon? You’re in for a treat. Tokyo is so interesting. The wonderful Japanese food, the spectacular sights (and sounds)… and the unique culture. There’s a lot to enjoy here. It’s not […]

Where is Tokyo: Suburbs, Districts, & Neighborhoods

A Whirlwind Tour of Tokyo and the Major Areas to Enjoy Long ago when Tokugawa Ieyasu deemed Edo (now Tokyo) the capital of Japan, we wonder if he imagined it would turn into what it has today — a sprawling metropolis packed with amazing things to see, do, and eat. To amplify your time in […]

The One Thing All Tourists Should Do When Visiting Tokyo

How to Adventure in Tokyo Without a Plan The one single thing all tourists should do when they visit Tokyo is to spend some time on an unplanned adventure. You will discover more food and culture in Tokyo than you thought possible. We like the word adventure. It conjures images like hiking through the dense jungle […]

The Price of Coffee in Tokyo

Expensive Sometimes, But Not Outrageously Coffee in Tokyo can be very expensive but also quite affordable — it all depends on the place you get your coffee, the type, size,  and the experience you’re after. Coffee prices in Tokyo are not overly high. Expect to spend between ¥100 to ¥800 on coffee in Tokyo; depending […]

7-Eleven Japan: Great Food & Actual Convenience

Convenience stores in Japan are conveniently convenient. We know… 7-Eleven? Really? Yes. Fly all the way to Tokyo for a 7-Eleven convenience store, you should (okay, maybe not only for 7-Eleven). Greasy pizza, ginormous gulps of soda (or slushies)… what’s the point?  How about 7-Eleven in Japan doesn’t have Slurpees? No pizza either. No fountain […]

Restaurant Hours In Tokyo: Deciphering The Confusing Opening & Closing Times

Restaurant times can be a bit tricky when visiting Tokyo (although Tokyo tends to have more opening hours than the rural areas of Japan). In general, restaurants in Tokyo open at approximately 11:00 AM daily and close between 11:00 PM and midnight. Izakayas open about 5:00 PM and many fast food shops are open 24 […]

Japanese Food: What To Eat And Where To Find It In Tokyo

Eating in Japan is an Adventure; Discover Something New This is the ultimate guide to Japanese cuisine, where we cover over 80 foods and explain where you can typically find them when adventuring in Tokyo. In this guide, we wanted to create something truly epic for you. It is a single place to learn nearly […]

Best Restaurants In Tokyo: Find The Perfect Meal (2020)

Our Hand-Picked Recommendations With Help From Our Local Japanese Friends Tokyo is loaded with restaurants with some of the most incredible dining experiences you can find in Japan. While Shinjuku is probably a foodie’s mecca, every district has outstanding cuisine. And you don’t need to huddle around Tokyo Station either. We honestly don’t like the […]

What is Tempura? Japan’s Battered & Fried Masterpiece

Tempura is a phenomenal dish. You probably already know what it is. At the basic level, it is simply a fried food with a special batter and technique.

What is Soba? Japan’s Yummy Traditional Noodle Dish

What if I told you there is a noodle dish in Japan that is probably one of the healthiest, but more unknown noodle dishes globally? Unless you’re in Japan, that is. Soba noodles are all over the place here. Some soba specific shops, big chain restaurants with soba on the vast menu… and some boutique, […]

The Incredible Price of Fugu & The Best Fugu Restaurants in Tokyo

Expect to spend between ¥6,000 – ¥30,000 on a fugu dining experience in Tokyo, depending on the restaurant you choose, and the course menu.

Krung Siam: An Amazing Thai Dining Experience in Kichijoji

This place… oh… I remember the first time I dined here. One word. Amazing. Okay, another word.  Authentic. If you’ve dined in Japan for long, you’ll know why that word is essential. I can’t count how many times I’ve eaten at an Italian/Thai/Chinese/Korean restaurant and, while delicious, it wasn’t what I would call authentic. That’s […]

The Best Sushi in Tachikawa; Incredible Quality in the Suburbs

Tachikawa may be little known outside of Tokyo, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some of the most incredible sushi you’ll find in this part of Japan.

HopeKen: Steaming Hot Tonkotsu Ramen Hidden In Musashimurayama

Wow… on a cold winter night in Tokyo this place hits the spot perfectly.  Too bad it’s hiding in plain sight. While not exactly tucked behind buildings, it is on a main road, it is so unassuming it is easy to miss. Plus it is in Musashimurayama, all the way in the Western suburbs of […]

Mensho Tokyo: A Novel Ramen Shop Sourcing Fresh Ingredients

Mensho is a fantastically unique ramen shop in Bunkyo with a top-notch chef that sources the freshest ingredients from local farmers.

Gonpachi Nori-Temaki: Kill Bill Restaurant Does Hand-Rolled Sushi

Gonpachi Nori-Temaki is a hand-wrapped sushi (temaki) spin-off from the famous Kill Bill restaurant chain, Gonpachi, in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Go to Barbacoa when you want Brazilian food in Tokyo

Barbacoa is a fantastic Brazilian churrasco buffet-style restaurant specializing in classic grilled meats in an all-you-can-eat dining experience — with five locations in Tokyo.

Here are the Best Yakitori Shops in Shinjuku; Picked by Our Local Friends

“What should I eat when in Tokyo? Where’s the best yakitori?” We hear these questions all the time. Yakitori. Eat yakitori when in Tokyo. If you love grilled foods, in this case chicken, you will love yakitori. In this guide we enlisted the help of my local friends to pick some of the best yakitori […]

Do You Need to Carry Cash With You When Exploring Tokyo?

Do you need to carry cash with you when exploring Tokyo? Yes. Big chains accept card, but the small mom and pop shops often do not; they’re the best!

Posada del Sol: Finally, Authentic Mexican Food in Tokyo

Posada del Sol is a teeny, tiny authentic Mexican restaurant — with actual Mexican chefs — located a couple of minutes from Kumegawa station.

Street food is making a comeback in Tokyo

The Yatai: Return of Street Food in Tokyo + amazing places to find the best! Once prevalent in Japanese culture, street food vendors (or “yatai” as described locally) are starting to return in some parts of the country, including Tokyo.  The most common foods you’ll find served from these mobile wooden carts include ramen, okonomiyaki, […]

Best Yakiniku in Shinjuku: 12 Popular Picks by Locals

What are the best yakiniku shops in Shinjuku, Tokyo? The ones the locals love. Yakiniku is very popular; LOTS of quality yakiniku restaurants to discover!

How much does it cost to go to Tokyo for a week?

How much does it cost to go to Tokyo for a week? This will depend on your travel goals, but expect to spend between $500-$900/person for a week in Tokyo.

What is the best month to go to Tokyo?

What is the best month to go to Tokyo? Late March to early April. Why? Because you’ll experience the cherry blossoms & they’re only around a short time.

How to order just about anything in a restaurant in Japan

Staring at the menu with all the wonderful looking food, but can’t read the words? I know the feeling all too well.

Japanese Table Manners: What are Itadakimasu & Gochisousama?

Before the Japanese begin their meals, they’ll hold their hands together, close their eyes, bow slightly, and say something. What are they saying?

What is Teppanyaki?

Teppan meats flat iron grill. Yaki means to cook, but in this instance, more accurately, to grill. So teppanyaki means grilled on a flat iron grill.

What is Shabu-Shabu?

Shabu-shabu is a hot pot dish where you swish very thinly sliced meat in boiling broth — instantly cooking the meat.

Kushiyaki: Grilled Skewers are the Perfect Japanese Food

Kushiyaki is grilled skewers. Much like a shish kebab. Various meats and veggies, skewered with bamboo skewers and grilled. Yakitori is a popular type of kushiyaki commonly found in izakaya throughout Tokyo.

What is Okonomiyaki?

Okonomiyaki is often referred to as Japanese-style pancakes. A mixture of batter and savory ingredients like seafood, meat, and vegetables.

What is Ramen in Japan?

“Chinese style noodles with meat or fish broth.“ But that doesn’t explain ramen in Japan. It did come from China. But Japan has made it into its own.

Donburi: Phenomenal Japanese Fast Food

Rice in a Bowl With Stuff on Top Donburi means bowl. Yep. That’s it. It’s a simple dish — and the serving bowls can be quite intricate too. You’ll often find it abbreviated as simply don. Also, the varieties of donburi end in -don. Essentially donburi is a rice dish with stuff on top. The […]

What is Karaoke in Japan?

Karaoke was born in Japan! It’s short of karappo (empty) and orchestra; aka “empty vocals.” Karaoke in Japan is insanely fun. They’re like hotels for karaoke!

What are Ryokan?

Ryokan are traditional Japanese style inns. Featuring tatami rooms, communal baths, futon beds, and traditional cuisine.

What is a Super Sento?

A sento is a public bath. Not to be confused with onsen, which is a natural hot spring. A super sento is a very large health spa. They offer many facilities…

What exactly is Dashi?

Dashi is a Japanese soup broth used in a variety of Japanese cuisine. It is made by simmering dried bonito flakes or dried kelp (called konbu).

What is Tatami?

Tatami is the rice straw flooring used in traditional Japanese rooms. The rice straw core is tightly woven with a soft rush (another type of straw). The tatami mat is a standard rectangle size. So you’ll find Japanese room sizes are measured in how many tatami mats would fit. Tatami is often used instead of […]

The Incredible Price of Sushi in Japan: High & Low

Sushi has wildly differing prices from shop to shop. A sushi meal may cost from ¥1,000-¥20,000+ /person, depending on restaurant and how much you eat.

What are Jinja?

Jinja 神社 are Shinto shrines. They sanctify Shinto deities. Fun fact: You’ll find a jinja in almost every community across Japan.

What is Kanpai?

Kanpai is the Japanese way of toasting. It literally means “to drink up sake from one’s cup.” It’s used much like in western society, at the beginning of a celebration. Most often it signals the start of the party between friends/family. But… It can also be a bit more formal, where a designated person delivers […]

What is Kaiseki?

Kaiseki 懐石 is a traditional Japanese multicourse meal. Basically consisting of hors d’oeuvre, soup, & 3 other dishes + pickles, rice, & dessert.

Geisha: What are They and Do They Still Exist in Japan?

Geisha are traditional Japanese female entertainers. They are not what you may think they are. They wear kimono & white makeup you’ve seen in movies.

What is Ukiyo-e?

Ukiyo-e is a historical wood-block style of artwork from Japan — where wood is etched and used a stamp on a canvas of the artists’ choice (sometimes washi).

What is Nomikai?

Nomi means drink. A nomikai is a drinking party. Nomikai usually takes place in izakaya, but increasingly at home too.

The Incredible Price and Quality of A5 Wagyu Beef in Japan

Pure Japanese A5 wagyu is mind-blowingly expensive. Why? How much is A5 wagyu beef in Japan? We’ll also show you how to get quality beef at exceptional prices.

Yakiniku: Grilled BBQ Perfection Foodies Love in Japan

Yakiniku is the Japanese word for “grilled meat.” Yaki means grilled and niku is meat. It’s an incredible dining experience.

Sushi: Do You Really Know What Sushi Is in Japan?

Sushi (寿司) does not mean raw fish dipped in soy sauce like you probably imagine when you hear the word. While sushi is often raw, fresh fish, it isn’t always.

Sensu: The Beautiful & Traditional Japanese Folding Fan

The sensu (扇子) is the Japanese folding fan. Started in Kyoto in the Heian Period. Where the handmade fans were originally just thin strips of paper.

What is Wagyu Beef? Everything There is to Know About Wagyu

The word wagyu (和牛) literally translates into Japanese cattle. But you can think of wagyu as high-quality beef. It is world-famous for its marbling & flavor.

What is Ekiben? The specialty delight by region

To learn “what is an ekiben,” let’s break it down. Eki is “train station.” Ben is short for “bento.” Bento is a lunch box. Ekiben is “train station lunch box.”

What is Kushiage?

Kushi (串) means “skewered” and age (揚げ) means “fried.” I think you can guess where this leads, kushiage means “skewered fried food.“

What is an Izakaya (besides absolute perfection)?

Izakaya (居酒屋) are Japanese taverns, or pubs. Often easily spotted by the paper lanterns called “chochin.” Serving some of the most incredible food.

How to Customize Your Ramen in Japanese

Firmer noodles, please. “men o katame de onegai shimasu.” (men oh ka-ta-may de oh-nay-ga-she-ma-sue) Softer noodles, please. “men o yawarakame de oneagi shimasu.” (men oh ya-wa-la-ka-may de oh-nay-ga-she-ma-sue) Less lard (oil), please. “abura o sukuname onegai shimasu.” (ah-boo-la oh sue-koo-na-may oh-nay-ga-she-ma-sue) More lard (oil), please. “abura o oome onegai shimasu.” (ah-boo-la oh oh-may oh-nay-ga-she-ma-sue) Thicker […]

Tonkotsu? Tonkatsu? Two Very Similar Words, But A Huge Difference

The Difference Between Tonkotsu and Tonkatsu Tonkotsu (toe-n-koh-tsu), tonkatsu (toe-n-kah-tsu)… one tiny vowel changes everything. It’s so easy to mix up these words. Have you caught yourself mixing these words up? I see it all the time. I guess after 20 something years in Japan I’ve grown a keen eye for these errors.  It makes […]

Welcome to the World’s Largest Starbucks; In Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo is currently the largest Starbucks in the world, built in the Nakameguro area of Tokyo, Japan.

Costco Japan: My #1 Tip to Avoid Pain & Suffering

If you want to avoid pain and suffering at Costco in Japan, go on a weekday — avoid the weekend mega-crowds