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Tokyo’s Best-Kept Culinary Secrets: 5 Restaurants Only Locals Know About

① Local Favorites in Tokyo


With the yen reaching record highs, more travelers are expected to visit Japan. Tokyo is a popular Japanese tourist destination, and it holds a special place in the hearts of Korean tourists. Tourists who have visited Tokyo always capture stunning images of local cuisine. Among the numerous restaurants in Tokyo, those popular places for locals are gaining attention.

Butagumi (とんかつ 西麻布 豚組), located in Roppongi Hills, is a Tokyo Tonkatsu restaurant that uses premium ingredients. At Butagumi, the selection of meats varies based on their origin and cut, with prices reflecting this diversity. The Tonkatsu made with thick beef boasts a fantastic taste and an exquisite balance of crispy and tender on the inside.

  • Address: 2 Chome-24-9 Nishiazabu, Minato City, Tokyo 106-0031 Japan
  • Operating Hours: 11:30 – 14:00, 18:00 – 21:00, closed on Mondays
  • Menu: Loin cutlet 110g 1,500 yen (about $13), Fillet cutlet 110g 1,700 yen (about $15)

Gyoza no Ousama (餃子の王様) near Asakusa Sensoji is a dumpling restaurant that locals have loved since its establishment in 1954.

Ousama’s dumplings contain chives, cabbage, garlic, ginger, and ground meat. At the first bite, you can taste the authentic flavor of the dumplings. In addition to their classic menu, you can also savor specialty dishes like Yu Gyoza, which features dumplings boiled in savory chicken broth and soup dumplings brimming with fresh vegetables.

As it is a restaurant with a long history, you can fully experience the local atmosphere of Tokyo.

  • Address: 1 Chome-30-8 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0032 Japan
  • Operating Hours: 11:15 – 14:00, 16:00 – 08:00, closed on Tuesdays
  • Menu: Ousama’s Gyoza 420 yen (about $3.70), Niku Gyoza 500 yen (about $4.40), Yakisoba 630 yen (about $5.60)

② Word-of-Mouth Favorites Among Tourists


Yakiniku Motoyama Shinjuku branch (焼肉もとやま 新宿店) is a Wagyu specialty restaurant. Since opening its doors in 1975, this place has been committed to serving unparalleled excellence in Wagyu, including esteemed varieties like Kobe beef. Yakiniku Motoyama specializes exclusively in premium A5 grade Wagyu. Visitors can savor rare cuts of Kobe beef, revered as the epitome of Wagyu perfection.

This popular place in Tokyo enhances the taste of meat with yuzu pepper directly sourced from Kyushu and Fukuoka, homemade Ponzu, and European salt. They also offer a curated course menu, allowing visitors to enjoy various cuts of Wagyu.

  • Address: Japan160-0023 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Nishishinjuku, 7 Chome−10−12 2F
  • Operating Hours: 16:00 – 11:00
  • Menu: Kobe Beef Rib 1,408 yen (about $12.50), Kobe Beef Kaiman 3,278 yen (about $29), Assorted Rare Cuts 4,268 yen (about $38)

Godai-me Hanayama Udon Ginza branch (五代目 花山うどん 銀座店) is an Udon specialty restaurant. You can taste Himokawa Udon, which is made with wide noodles and served with broth and tempura. Renowned for its exceptional quality, the place always has a long queue to taste its delectable dishes. As a fifth-generation establishment, you can taste chewy Udon cooked with unmatched expertise and dedication.

Onigawa Udon has been ranked as the best Udon in Japan for three consecutive years, and it is popular among locals and tourists.

  • Address: 3 Chome-14-13 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061 Japan
  • Operating Hours: 11:00 – 16:00, 18:00 – 10:00
  • Menu: Jaru 800 yen (about $7), Oni Himokawa 1,200 yen (about $10.50)

③ The Tenth-Generation Long-Established Restaurant


Momonjiya (もゝんじや) is a Sukiyaki restaurant in Asakusa. This store has been passed down for ten generations and is famous as a traditional restaurant. It specializes in unusual ingredients such as wild boar, bear, and deer. You can taste quality meat here, and it is considered a long-established restaurant loved by locals.

Most visitors have left reviews stating the meat is fresh and has no gamey smell. They have also commented that the accompanying Udon noodles are chewy and delicious. Although it is made with similar ingredients to regular Sukiyaki, the most prominent feature is the different types of meat used.

If you’re curious about long-established restaurants in Tokyo, visiting at least once is worth it.

  • Address: 1 Chome-10-2 Ryogoku, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0026 Japan
  • Operating Hours: 17:00 – 09:00, closed on Sundays
  • Menu: Lunch Special 1,350 yen (about $12), Nabe & 3-Item Course 6,600 yen (about $58)
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