Best Food Tours in Tokyo: A Great Way to Explore Local Culture
Tokyo - this vibrant, mesmerizing city is one of the world's most fascinating destinations. Among other things, it is also known for its delicious and diverse culinary offerings. Food tours are a great way to explore the city's food traditions while sampling delicious authentic fare. Food tours in Tokyo cover a host of experiences which can include:
- Sushi-making classes: Learn how to make sushi from expert sushi chefs, and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
- Ramen tours: Check out a variety of different ramen flavours from different shops and learn about the history and traditions of this beloved dish.
- Market tours: Visit the famous traditional markets or the Sunamachi shopping street and try local specialties, including fresh seafood and homemade dishes.
- Street food tours: Explore the city's bustling streets and hidden alleys where you can try out different local snacks and treats, from takoyaki to yakiniku.
These are just a few of the many food tours available in Tokyo, each offering a unique and delicious way to discover the city's culinary delights. We have curated a selection just for you so read on.
What is a Food Tour? A Guide of Food Tour in Japan
The Japanese culinary culture is famed for its variety, complex flavors, and unique presentation. A food tour is a hands-on way to experience a range of dishes, learn about their origins as well as cultural significance. Guided by local experts, you will be able to explore local and regional cuisines and get a deeper understanding of the culture through food.
A tour typically includes visits to a selected set of restaurants, food stalls, and markets, where you can sample a range of dishes and get to know about the history and traditions behind them. They may also include visits to local food markets and food-related cultural sites, such as sake breweries or tea houses. Some popular dishes to try on a food tour in Japan include sushi, ramen, tempura, shabu-shabu, and tonkatsu.
Food tours in Japan easily available in all of the country's major cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, and can focus on specific types of cuisine or experiences. Take advantage of a food tour and explore the remarkable range of flavors and traditions on offer.
Top Ten Trending Food Tours in Tokyo
In this article, we have provided a list of the best trending food tours offered by local guides in Tokyo along with their uniqueness and features.
1. Bar Hopping Night Tour
A bar-hopping night tour is a great way to experience the energy and excitement of this neighborhood. Foodies can venture to Tokyo’s bustling nightlife with a guided tour. The all-in-one three-hour bar hopping tour includes a guided visit to three local izakaya bars in the Shibuya neighborhood, with the option of a vegan menu. Izakaya is a type of Japanese pub that serve a variety of small plates and drinks. On this tour, tourists will be able to try local drinks and food, as well as experience Shibuya's urban night culture by sharing a table with the locals that include four drinks and three dishes.
The tour guide who is well-versed in English will take photos during the tour, and the tour includes recommendations for local drinks and food to try. Overall, this tour seems like a great way to experience the lively nightlife and diverse culinary offerings of the Shibuya neighborhood, while also learning about local culture and customs. The three-hour bar hopping tour is available for US$94 and is offered by Magical Trip.
2. Hidden Gem Evening Food Tour
The Shinbashi bar hopping tour in Tokyo is a three-hour guided tour that takes you through the maze of eateries, izakayas, and standing bars in the Shinbashi neighbourhood, known for its vibrant nightlife and rustic pubs. The tour begins outside Shinbashi Station and includes stops at various local spots to try more than 15 different kinds of dishes, including grilled treats, oden, yakitori skewers, ramen noodles, and taiyaki desserts.
The tour also provides an introduction to Japanese drinking and dining culture and the opportunity to observe the busy working class as they unwind after a long day at the office. The tour ends back at Shinbashi Station, allowing guests to safely head home after a full and memorable culinary experience. The three-hour hidden gem evening food tour is available for US$149 from Arigato Japan.
3. Super Sugamo Local Foodie Adventure Tour
The Super Sugamo Foodie Adventure is a great way to experience local culture and get away from the touristy areas of Tokyo. This tour takes you to the hidden gem neighborhood of Sugamo, known for its 100-year history of food and flavors. You will meet friendly shop owners, try special snacks, and enjoy a delicious local lunch. The neighborhood is known as ‘Harajuku for the Older Generation,’ with its bustling shopping streets popular among the 60+ crowd, but you don't have to be a grandparent to enjoy the unique snacks and traditional crafts for sale.
You will also visit the Kouganji Temple, famous for its healing reputation, and hear the story behind the famous Sugamo ‘lucky red underwear.’ This tour is great for families and offers a 3-hour cultural experience, with food tastings at 5 stops, a dessert, and a drink. You'll also have the opportunity to browse the local shopping arcade for souvenirs unique to the area. The three-hour Super Sugamo local foodie daytime tour is available for US$149 from Arigato Japan.
4. Vegan & Organic Food Tour in Tokyo
Experience the taste of fresh, organic farm food in an old Japanese house on this vegan food tour in Tokyo. The farm food plate includes over six changing menus and the freshest vegetables in season, all of which are organic and prepared in the traditional Japanese style of ‘wa.’ You will also have the chance to try vegan ramen at an original, delicious ramen restaurant. After your meal, you can relax with traditional Japanese tea and sweets at a nice teahouse in the laid-back Shimokitazawa district. With plenty of cozy cafes to explore, you can take a stroll after the tour is over. The unique vegan and organic food tour can be availed for US$106 from Best Vegan Tours.
5. Tokyo Night Foodie Tour
Discover the delicious and hidden gems of Tokyo's culinary scene on this 3-hour food tour through Shinjuku. Accompanied by a local guide, you will visit three of our favourite restaurants, including a sushi restaurant where you can watch an authentic sushi chef create beautiful creations right in front of you, a yakiniku restaurant where you will prepare your Japanese BBQ with the famous Wagyu meat, and an artisan gelato store located in a quiet, cozy cafe right in front of the famous Godzilla TOHO Theater.
The tour includes 7 pieces of seasonal nigiri sushi, featuring 3 different kinds of tuna and 2 pieces of rainbow roll. There is also a full Yakiniku dinner with 2 types of Wagyu and 2 types of beef. For dessert, you can choose between a dessert or a Takoyaki plate. All of these options are available in vegan versions as well. Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to explore some of Tokyo's most famous and must-see places for US$94 and offered by Magical Trip.
6. Sushi Making and Sake-Tasting Tour
Learn the art of sushi-making from master sushi chefs at an authentic Japanese restaurant on this tour. After the lesson, you will enjoy the sushi you made and visit a local shrine, one of Tokyo's oldest and top five major shrines, to learn about the deeply rooted Shinto religion in Japanese mythology and lifestyle. The tour also includes sake sampling at a local shop that brews rare local sake "Kouzuru" dedicated to the god of the shrine. You can sample three different types of recommended sake from all over Japan and purchase the sake of your choice. Our local guide will be there to translate and share their expertise on the culture and religion of Japan. The sushi and sake tasting tour is available for US$92 from Magical Trip.
7. Fish Market Walking Food Tour
Join the guide on a food walking tour of Tsukiji Fish Market, the sacred place for seafood in Tokyo. Although the market recently moved to Toyosu, the lively atmosphere and culture of Tsukiji remain unchanged. Meet your guide at Tsukiji Shijo Mae Station and visit the Buddhism temple before heading to the Outer Market to try 5-6 kinds of street food and seafood. After sampling the street food, you will have lunch at a favorite seafood place inside the market with over 10 kinds of sashimi bowls to choose from. This unique tour gives you the chance to experience both Japanese food culture and religion. The guide will take you to places where you can shop and have an affordable bite, and towards the end of the tour, you will have a meal at a seafood bowl restaurant.
The restaurant also serves meals for vegetarians and can accommodate any food restrictions or allergies. If you are a morning person and want to see the tuna auction, we also offer a combo tour with the Toyosu fish market. The tour ends with a visit to a hidden observatory deck with great views of Tokyo. Avail this one-of-a-kind tour experience for US$64 from Magical Trip.
8. Tokyo Local Street Food and Drink Tour
Experience the slow-paced and nostalgic local atmosphere of Sunamachi shopping street, located in a residential area of East Tokyo. Meet your friendly local guide at Kinshicho Station and take a bus to Sunamachi Ginza. Get ready to taste homemade dishes like tempura, yakitori skewers, and oden hot pot made with passed-down family recipes. Have a street "kampai" party with a cup of Japanese sake and end the tour with Japanese green tea and sweets.
Along the way, listen to the histories and stories behind each store told by your guide and feel like a part of the community as you talk to locals with the help of your guide. The tour includes an English guide, transportation fees, and food. Please inform the guide if you have any food restrictions or allergies at least one day before the tour date. Experience this nostalgic city tour for US$86 from Japan Wonder Travel.
9. Classic Japanese Breakfast Tour
Experience the best of Japanese cuisine on the morning tour of the historic Tsukiji neighborhood market in Tokyo. The local guide will introduce you to the hidden gems and flavors that make up the heart and soul of Japanese cuisine. The tour begins with a visit to one of Tokyo's best artisanal coffee shops, followed by a tour of the 65 specialty vendors at the wholesale building in Tsukiji. Here, you will have the chance to try fresh sashimi and see the best of what's in season.
Next, tourists will head to a shrine with over 300 years of history and take a special tasting breakfast with seasonal bites. Continue the tour with a visit to the bustling outer market, where you will try more famous foods from the area, learn about the history and future of the market community, and end the tour with a traditional Japanese dessert. Along the way, you may find some great things to purchase, but please note that many vendors do not accept credit cards, so be sure to bring cash in Japanese currency to take home any souvenirs. The daytime breakfast tour is available for US$158 from Arigato Japan.
10. Ultimate Ramen Tasting Tour
The Ultimate Ramen Tasting Tour is a dream come true for ramen lovers. In collaboration with a local ramen expert and blogger, this tour offers the chance to try up to 6 mini bowls of ramen at 3 different shops, each with its unique personality and special recipes. Your guide will share the history, facts, and eating tips for each stop, and you will have the chance to choose your flavours through an interactive menu.
This tour is perfect for those who want to taste a variety of different ramen flavours without being overwhelmed by large portions. You will visit 3 award-winning ramen shops, making this a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Don't miss out on this opportunity to discover the delicious world of ramen in Tokyo. The ramen-tasting tour can be purchased for US$138 from Arigato Japan.
Tips on How to Get the Maximum from Your Food Tour
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your food tour:
- Research the tour and the destination beforehand: Look up the restaurants and dishes that will be featured on the tour, and familiarize yourself with the local cuisine. This will help you make the most of the tour and appreciate the food more.
- Come with an open mind: Be open to trying new things, even if they are not your usual type of food. You never know, you may discover a new favourite dish!
- Pace yourself: It is easy to get carried away with all the delicious food on a food tour, but remember to pace yourself. Take small bites and savour the flavors, rather than gobbling everything up too quickly.
- Ask questions: Don't be afraid to ask the guide or the restaurant staff about the food, the ingredients, and the cooking techniques. This will help you learn more about the local cuisine and culture.
- Notify about food allergies and preferences: If you have any food allergies or preferences, please let the restaurant know in advance so that they can accommodate your needs and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the tour.
- Take notes: Consider bringing a notepad or phone to jot down notes about the food and the restaurants you visit. This will help you remember the highlights of the tour and can serve as a reference for future dining experiences.
Immerse yourself in local culinary traditions, and eat and drink where the locals go. Tokyo food tours allow you to experience some or all of Tokyo's most popular areas. Meet locals, share knowledge and ingredients, visit their homes, and sit back and enjoy a home-cooked Japanese meal. A gourmet tour is a perfect way to immerse yourself in local culture.