Chee Wah covers living and going out in Tokyo, from the best restaurants and bars the city has to offer, to what to do in Tokyo to avoid fomo.
15 best cheap Michelin-starred meals in Tokyo
We know Tokyo is the best food city on the planet. But don’t just take our word for it – the metropolis has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants of any city in the world. As of 2023, Tokyo has 200 restaurants with Michelin stars – and that’s not even counting the many restaurants that were conferred Bib Gourmand status for their 'exceptionally good food at moderate prices'. While eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant is high on the to-do list for any foodie, in most places around the world, those fancy meals can really eat into your budget. Luckily in Tokyo, you can still eat at some top-rated restaurants on the cheap. Many of these restaurants offer affordable lunch sets, which are often designed to give you a taste of the more elaborate dinner menu. Here are some Michelin-starred and Bib Gourmand restaurants in Tokyo where you can enjoy a meal without breaking the bank. RECOMMENDED: The best cheap eats in Tokyo
14 best restaurants at Tsukiji Market
Since 1923, Tsukiji Market has drawn crowds with its vibrant mix of street eats, colourful vendors, bustling market vibe and kitchenware shopping galore. While the inner wholesale fish market moved to Toyosu in November 2018, the outer market hasn’t gone anywhere – it’s still an exciting, fun-filled place for shopping and dining. Home to over 300 shops and restaurants, Tsukiji Market is a dense grid of lanes and interlinked alleyways just south of Tsukiji Station. Some require a little legwork to find, but you’ll be rewarded with excellent sushi, kaisendon, soba noodles, fish burgers, curry, sake and more. We’ve trawled the market to pull together our favourite restaurants and food stalls – so be sure to save time in between shopping to have lunch, and maybe breakfast and dinner, too. RECOMMENDED: Best street food and snacks at Tsukiji Market
タイムアウト東京 > レストラン＆カフェ >東京で楽しむ、手頃価格のミシュランレストラン ミシュランの星を獲得したレストランの数は、東京が世界最多と言われるように、美食の街だ。2020年版のミシュランガイドブックにその名を刻むことができた星付きレストランは212軒。この数には、「本格的な料理を手ごろな価格で提供する」という理由でビブグルマンを与えられた店を含んでいない。 ここでは、予算を気にせずに、良質な食事を楽しめる東京のミシュラン星付きレストランやビブグルマンレストランを紹介する。 ※新型コロナウイルスの影響で、営業時間やサービスに変動があるため、最新情報は公式ウェブサイトから確認してほしい
23 of the most beautiful places in Japan
It’s no secret that Japan has a stunning amount of beauty. From the lavender fields of Furano in Hokkaido down to the crystal clear beaches of Okinawa, this small country is filled with gorgeous nature, contemporary museums, mountainside temples and of course, those pretty cherry blossoms in spring. Now that Japan has reopened for international tourism, it's time for you to start putting this list into action. Recommended: The most beautiful festivals in Japan
9 best art hotels in Japan
Japan boasts an abundance of dream destinations for art lovers, from the remote art islands of Setouchi to spectacular city-centre museums like teamLab Borderless. Recently, however, some cities have even expanded their art scene into the domain of accommodation. Gone are the days when you’d have to visit a gallery or museum to view a prized art collection – now you can stay in well-curated hotel rooms that double as exhibition spaces. Rather than having floors after floors of cookie-cutter rooms, these art hotels feature thoughtfully designed, one-of-a-kind suites created by local and international artists. Far more than just being a place to rest your head after a big day of sightseeing, these unique lodgings are attractions in and of themselves. If it’s art you’re after, look no further than these splendid immersive hotels. RECOMMENDED: Best public art sculptures in Tokyo
7 popular types of ramen and where to eat them in Tokyo
Noodle novices and experts alike have faced the dilemma of what to order at the ramen shop. Ramen refuses to be categorised neatly. Generally, ramen can be classified by soup (or flavouring; tare), or noodle type or region – you can see why it gets confusing. Everything is jumbled together to create one of Japan’s best dishes. The four main types are tonkotsu, miso, shoyu and shio, but there are other popular options, too. You’ll also see combinations of these; for example, miso ramen and tonkotsu, a pork bone broth, are sometimes mixed. Specific types of noodles accompany different soups, so you won't find curly noodles everywhere. Most ramen dishes are also associated with their region – you’ll find meaty shoyu ramen in Yokohama whereas Hokkaido is famous for serving hearty miso ramen (with corn!). This might warp your brain a bit, but remember, the best part of ramen is that there are no strict rules. For all its Michelin stars and global fame, ramen is still the fun and experimental sibling of traditional Japanese noodles such as udon or soba. This guide breaks down all the classic ramen flavors, and where to eat them in Tokyo. Now go ahead and indulge in that hot bowl of comfort. You deserve it. RECOMMENDED: The best cheap eats in Tokyo under ¥1,200
10 best international restaurants in Tokyo
Food is one of the easiest ways to transport yourself somewhere else. Whether you’re missing home or just missing an overseas holiday, a meal at one of these Tokyo restaurants is like a passport for your palate. Food memories call on all five senses, which is why we’ve chosen venues not just for their food, but also their design and atmosphere. From Mexican tacos and Spanish tapas to Thai curries and Hong Kong seafood, these are the perfect spots to get your favourite comfort food in the city. RECOMMENDED: 5 best non-Japanese curry rice in Tokyo
Best souvenirs from ¥100 shops
Buying gifts and souvenirs is a big part of your travel, and they can potentially take up a big chunk of your budget – but not at Tokyo’s many ¥100 shops. Don’t turn your nose up at these cheap and cheerful items just yet; a lot of these gift-ready products are not only well-made but also feature design details that are quintessentially Japanese. So if you’re looking for a rewarding gift-shopping spree in Tokyo on a limited budget, we have put together a list of the best ¥100 souvenirs to get in Tokyo. Note: All items featured are ¥100 each (¥110 after tax). We purchased these items from Daiso Mark City and Can Do Ebisu-Minami. Availability of items may vary from outlet to outlet, and while stocks last. RECOMMENDED: The best flagship stores you need to visit
タイムアウト東京 > レストラン＆カフェ > 東京、眺めのいいレストラン6選 ターミナル駅の電車が行き交う様子、高層ビル群がそびえ立つ都心の景色など、東京ではさまざまな眺めが楽しめる。街並みを一望できるレストランは、高級な場所ばかりだと思うかもしれないが、決してそんなことはない。 ここでは、ランチであれば1,000円ほどで楽しめる店から、特別な日に訪れたい贅沢な店まで、食事と一緒に絶景を堪能できるレストランを紹介する。自分の予算に合わせて、店をセレクトしてほしい。 関連記事『東京、夜景を愛でるバー11選』
9 best soba restaurants in Tokyo
Soba may look simple but it's actually quite complex. On the surface, you have the cold soba, where you dip the chilled noodles in a separate sauce before eating. Then there's the hot soba, which is served in a warm dashi broth along with a variety of toppings. Of all the major noodle types in Japan – especially in comparison to ramen and udon – soba is considered the most artisanal of them all. Each soba master has their own skills and secrets, whether it be the sourcing of their buckwheat, their perfected ratio of buckwheat to wheat flour, or their signature kneading and rolling techniques. Some masters are even known for their purist approach as they make the noodles with 100 percent buckwheat; this takes a lot of skills as this flour is notoriously hard to work with. Whether you prefer a cheap slurp-and-go meal or a more refined noodle experience at one of the top soba institutions in the city, there's a lot of options out there for every budget. To help you get started with your soba adventure, we've curated a list of our favourite restaurants, featuring both old and new schools of soba. RECOMMENDED: Check out Tokyo's best bowls of modern ramen
7 best modern ramen in Tokyo
A ubiquitous Japanese comfort food, ramen is not bound by strict rules like many of Japan’s traditional cuisines. It’s also perhaps one of the most democratised Japanese dishes: it’s cheap, it’s widely available on every street corner at any time of day, and it has many different interpretations. These four styles of ramen are classic and they’re common across Tokyo: shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso (from Sapporo) and tonkotsu (from Fukuoka). However, we’re seeing more and more chefs looking to reinvent the humble noodle soup with new – and sometimes experimental – flavours. Here we pick just five of Tokyo’s best modern ramen that break the mould – but they’re just as delicious and satisfying as the classics, if not more so. RECOMMENDED: If you’re looking for more traditional bowls, you’ll find Tokyo’s 22 best ramen here.
タイムアウト東京 > フード＆ドリンク > 東京のベストバー28選 クラフトビールのパブから日本酒専門店まで、タイムアウト東京が愛するバーを厳選して紹介。東京で今最も話題のヴェニューを集めた。 選定のポイントは、良質なドリンクを扱っていること。銀座の老舗や受賞歴がある店だけでなく、何度も通いたくなるようなカジュアルでリーズナブルな店も余さずリストアップしている。バーテンダーに季節のスペシャルカクテルを「お任せ」したい場合も、このリストはおすすめだ。 クールなインテリアデザインや個性的なメニューなど、それぞれ魅力ある店がそろう。ここで紹介する店は全て、タイムアウト東京スタッフの行きつけだ。友人に勧めるにも問題はないだろう。 ※新型コロナウイルスの影響により営業時間に変動があるため、訪れる際は必ず公式ウェブサイトを確認しよう 関連記事『東京のベストを選ぶ、Time Out Love Local Awardsノミネートが開始』『東京、隠れ家バー7選』『東京、眺めのいいレストラン6選』
Listings and reviews (55)
Tsukiji Yakiuo Ishikawa
Aozora Sandaime is a Tsukiji institution. This elegant Edomae sushi restaurant has been around for about 100 years, famed for its wild-caught tuna and seasonal fish. Its third-generation owner, however, has recently leveraged on the company’s reputation for quality seafood to introduce a new way of enjoying fish in Tsukiji through the new sister restaurant Tsukiji Yakiuo Ishikawa. Tsukiji Yakiuo Ishikawa has all the offerings of a good sushi restaurant. On the menu are sea bream, yellowtail, blackthroat sea perch, anago (salt-water eel), fugu (blowfish) and, of course, tuna in various levels of fattiness, from the lean cheeks to the unctuously rich belly, just to name a few. But instead of enjoying them raw as is, you’re meant to grill them very lightly over fire. And since these are sashimi-grade fish, they come without marinade, just a light seasoning of salt or soy sauce to accentuate their natural flavours. This fish yakiniku restaurant is a rare gem in the Tsukiji outer market, where a majority of restaurants offer barely distinguishable sushi sets or kaisendon (raw fish on rice). It certainly is a much needed respite from the sea of raw seafood restaurants. Tsukiji Yakiuo Ishikawa is spread out over two floors: the ground level is an open space with tables for two and four while upstairs features rooms that can fit up to four diners each. Every table is fitted with a gas grill. Come lunch or dinner, you can order a platter of different types of fish (lunch from ¥1,960,
Sobahouse Konjiki Hototogisu is only the third ramen restaurant in the world to get a Michelin star (awarded in 2019, after Tsuta and Nakiryu). The signature shouyu soba is made from three types of soup stock – pork broth, wa-dashi (Japanese stock) and hamaguri clam dashi – and topped with truffle sauce as well as porcini oil and flakes for that bold umami punch. However, the restaurant recommends the shio soba – and we concur. The elegantly balanced base stock blends two types of salt (Mongolian rock salt and Okinawan sea salt) and it’s the perfect foil for the hamaguri clam and red sea bream soup’s distinctive seafood sweetness. The noodles are then finished with Italian white truffle oil, porcini mushroom sauce, pancetta bacon bits and inca berry sauce. This adds a pesto-like robustness and depth in the overall flavour. It is moreish, and you’ll be compelled to finish the soup till the last drop. There’s tsukemen (dipping noodles) too, along with add-ons such as eggs, chashu pork slices and more. You’ll find an English explanation sheet at the vending machine to help you with the ordering. Do note that there are only seven counter seats plus a couple of small tables for two. So expect to queue – but it’s worth it, especially since a bowl of Michelin-quality ramen here will only set you back ¥1,000.
Chef Masa who runs Ebimaru does not have any training in ramen. It’s his experience in French cuisine that led to the creation of this luxurious bowl of lobster noodles. The soup, which is the star here, is actually a rich and creamy lobster bisque that wouldn’t look out of place in a French restaurant. It’s made with Canadian lobster, brandy, wine and a plethora of herbs, vegetables and spices on a base of chicken broth. The most popular item on the menu, the whole lobster ramen (¥3,300) is a feast. It comes with a whole roasted lobster, two slices of pork, half a smoked egg, chopped onions and strangely, a smear of sour cream on a piece of baguette. The sour cream does help tone down the bold and punchy taste of crustacean, but we much prefer to add in the chilli oil to boost those sweet, roasty, shrimpy flavours instead. While we know it’s hard to resist licking the bowl clean, make sure to save some of the bisque for part two. Order a small serving of rice, a raw egg yolk and shrimp (¥440), pour in the leftover soup, let the waiter grate a heap of cheese over it, stir to mix, and you’ll have an exquisite risotto. After that, head home and enjoy your food coma.
Whether noodles are a Chinese or Italian invention, it doesn’t matter at Ajito Ism: here, the ramen, which is Chinese in origin, has been reinvented with Italian flavours. In lesser hands, this would be a disaster, written off as another cringe-inducing Asian-Western fusion food gimmick. But the chef, who goes by the name Mr M, drew on his training in French and Italian cuisines to create a bowl that, while befuddling at first, turns out to be utterly delicious. The tsukemen (dipping) noodles are unmistakably ramen – thick, chewy and slightly doughy – but cooked al dente like the best of pasta. They are slicked with chilli and basil oil, garnished with specks of spring onions and fried shallots, and topped with baby spinach leaves, grated cheese and tomato cubes. We’d gladly eat this on its own, if not for the superior tomato-based dipping broth. Made with vegetables, pork back fat and seafood dashi, the thick broth has a meatiness that lends some depth to the sweet and tart tomatoes. Coupled with the lardy char siew and the crunchy chopped onions, this rosso tsukemen is a joy to eat. Word has it that the chef has a lot more of these unconventional ramen creations up his sleeve (nacho-soba, anyone?), which you’ll sometimes find on today’s special. On any given day however, you can also go for another one of the popular menu staples – pizza soba. True to its name, this Italian-Japanese fusion dish is essentially dry noodles tossed with pizza toppings: tomatoes, garlic, capsicu
Kyorakutei is a good place to get an education in soba. This old-school restaurant in the backstreets of Kagurazaka features a grinder in its storefront window, where the noodle master makes soba by hand. You’ll also get to compare the two different types of buckwheat noodles: the regular soba, which is made by cutting a small percentage of wheat flour, and the juwari soba that’s a craft by itself as it uses pure 100 percent buckwheat. Darker in colour compared to the regular soba, the juwari soba at Kyorakutei is one of the best we’ve had. The texture is firm with a bit of give, and it has a beautiful nuttiness that makes it delicious even on its own. The best way to appreciate the texture and flavour is to eat it cold with a side of dipping broth. We also have to tip our hats off to Kyorakutei for executing its tempura with great finesse when most noodle restaurants simply treat theirs as merely a cursory accompaniment to soba or udon. Get the seasonal tempura, especially when pike conger and ayu (sweetfish) are in season. There’s more items on the menu – from udon and hiyamugi (thin and light wheat noodles that’s prevalent in summer) to grilled conger eel (anago) and sake – but for first timers, you can’t go wrong with the soba and tempura.
Zero Two Nasi Kandar Tokyo
Nasi Kandar is a bombastic rice dish of spicy, punchy flavours. It’s essentially a one-plate rice meal, piled high with meats and vegetables and drenched in curry and gravy. The dish came from the Indian Muslim community in Penang, an island in Malaysia well-loved for its vibrant street food culture. To our delight, the nasi kandar at Zero Two is authentic – and reasonably priced, with rice plates ranging between ¥1,000 and ¥1,980. While the heat level here is not as fiery as those in Malaysia, the spices are very well-balanced and Zero Two manages to retain the essence of what makes nasi kandar such an enjoyable meal. Of course, the food at Zero Two Nasi Kandar Tokyo is halal-certified. For starters, the dishes on offer are extensive and you’ll see them all laid out in the display case at the ordering station. Brace yourself as you’ll be spoilt for choice. First, decide on a main dish: hard boiled egg (with a gooey yolk, no less), grilled chicken, deep-fried lamb cutlet, fish fingers and a vegetarian option. Then your preferred base: plain white rice or biryani rice. Now this is where the fun begins. From the selection of vegetables, choose three side dishes. (Tip: get the pink-hued pachadi, or yoghurt-based pickle, if you want something to help tone down the heat of what’s about to come.) Then, two curries out of six. The chicken curry as well as the prawn and squid curry are exceptional. There’s also a vegetarian curry and a seasonal option. To finish, the server will thro
Kaiseki is the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine and that prestige comes with its own set of formalities, which can make the multi-course banquet a little intimidating for the uninitiated. Thankfully two Michelin-starred Den – also the best restaurant in Asia for 2022 – is not that kind of kaiseki restaurant, making it such a rare treat in Tokyo. Head chef Zaiyu Hasegawa has trained in some of the most esteemed ryotei (traditional high-end Japanese restaurants) in the city, and it’s evident that his omakase menu is grounded in kaiseki traditions. But what’s really interesting is the modern interpretation and the relaxed attitude he brings to the table. The unusually bright lights, casual set-up with nary a starched tablecloth in sight and friendly service are a refreshing departure from the genteel air of other restaurants of its calibre. It puts you right at ease, so you can truly enjoy the food without getting too hung up about the etiquette. And that’s not difficult to do as there’s a lot of wit and humour in Hasegawa’s dishes. The classic monaka is traditionally a dessert but at Den, these crisp wafers are sandwiched with a rich sweet-savoury filling of miso-marinated foie gras blended with kumquat jam and pickled cucumber. It’s an absolutely divine first dish that hypes up your expectation for the rest of the meal – and boy does Hasegawa deliver. His Dentucky Fried Chicken is an obvious parody of the famed fast food chain, down to the serving box. Inside lies a plump, golden-
Getting a Michelin star is no easy feat. Even more so for a new restaurant that’s only been open for a little over a year – and for a majority of that time operating under Covid-19 restrictions. That makes Est, which earned its first coveted star in the gourmet bible’s 2022 guide, all the more impressive. However, it’s not entirely surprising for the contemporary French restaurant, perched on the 39th floor of the sumptuous Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi. Est has always had a clear vision since its first day. It’s led by chef Guillaume Bracaval who’s no stranger to Michelin accolades, as he’s trained under culinary luminaries including Alain Passard of L'Arpège in Paris and Christian Le Squer of Le Cinq, also in Paris. The restaurant’s omakase courses (lunch from ¥12,500, dinner from ¥25,000) are rooted in French cooking but reimagined through Japanese terroir. In fact, Est sources about 95 percent of its ingredients from within the country; their provenance proudly displayed on a welcome card on the table, matching produce to their respective small farms in Japan. The food at Est is a celebration of the freshest seasonal flavours and as such, the dishes change regularly. But they are faultless: the flavours, while clean and precise, are still sophisticated and multi-dimensional. The seaweed cured Hokkaido turbot wrapped in cruncy daikon ribbons is a joy to eat: textural and singing with brightness from the zesty citrus cream. By contrast, the guinea fowl from Iwate is
The Locker & Loft
Hidden behind a block of beat-up lockers on the first floor of a nondescript shophouse in Damansara Kim is this speakeasy bar. The industrial vibe favoured by many bars and cafés in the city is given an interesting twist here – the addition of exposed metal pipes lining the ceiling and jutting out from the beaten-copper bar and walls, an obvious nod to the steampunk aesthetic. The drinks menu is a mile long with lots of whiskies, rums, gin, vodkas and such. The cocktails here feature inventive use of local and Asian ingredients - they have their own menu for cocktails. Jacked-up is a gin, mustard, jackfruit, Cointreau and honey mix. The best part is, cocktails are very affordably priced. The food menu, consisting mostly of finger food and bar bites, is just as interesting. Tex-Mex-inspired dishes have been reinterpreted with local ingredients – so expect punchy flavours. We highly recommend the spicy yet addictive mutton varuval quesadillas with mango chutney – a perfect accompaniment to the drinks. Other highlights include their Nasi Goreng Haram with lap cheong (RM23), Tempe Meatballs (RM16) which is vegan, and the interestingly deep fried Potato, Bitter Gourd and Jackfruit Pakora that comes with a mint yoghurt dip (RM15).
There’s no point trying to intellectualise a review of fried chicken; that would be pretentious. So we’ll just come right out and say it: This is some of the best fried chicken we’ve had in a long while. Our only mistake was ordering the Combo 1 meal, which came with two wings, a drumstick, a bowl of Korean rice, a small side salad, pickled radish and a drink. Save for a few spoons of the perfectly cooked, slightly glutinous rice, we hardly touched the side dishes because the chicken was just too good. There are three flavours to choose from: the original soy series coats the chicken in a fragrant soy garlic glaze; the red series uses Korean red chilli peppers for a piquant kimchi-like spicy kick; the sweet and sticky honey series is pre-marinated for 24 hours, fried and then coated in honey sauce. You could choose to have the wings and drumettes, or the drumstick, or a combination of both. Although it’s a very famous South Korean chain, KyoChon is adamant that it’s not a fast-food outlet. This is because their chicken is not frozen, there’s table service and they only cook to order, which explains the 15-minute wait. Take a bite of the chicken and you could vouch for that. Korean fried chicken is radically different from the Western fried chicken to which we are so accustomed. Rather than a coating of thick batter for a mouthful of crunch, the chicken here is fried just in their marinade, so you get a thin crisp on the outside with all the concentrated flavours of the season
Udatsu once again proves that fat and char together create the best flavour – and it really doesn’t matter if the fat comes from premium wagyu or a delicate cut of tuna. This is not something we expect to enjoy at a sushi restaurant, but it pretty much sums up Udatsu’s take on the most iconic of all Japanese culinary traditions – textbook perfect sushi that still manages to sneak in a few surprises to make it exciting for the modern palate. Head chef Hisashi Udatsu’s background has something to do with his contemporary approach to sushi. Udatsu comes from a family of butchers but picked up the sushi trade by choice, and so he is not strictly bound by heritage rules. It’s clear that there’s still a great deal of respect for tradition: that beautiful slice of fish, gleaming as if it has just been hauled off the sea; the perfectly formed shari (vinegared rice) that’s still warm to the touch; the bare whisper of seasoning that teases your palate but never detracts your attention away from the seafood. Those alone would have been enough to make good sushi – but Udatsu brings in another element to elevate his food further, using ingredients or techniques not usually seen in sushi. These creative executions seem neither gimmicky nor out of left field, as they are informed by modern cooking and the current food trends. In other words, they make sense. It’s that sticky dashi jelly on ishidai (striped beakfish) that makes you lick your lips in delight. The use of red hot charcoal to li
Mr Chew's Chino Latino Bar
Mr Chew’s Chino Latino Bar is brought to you by the same team behind Troika Sky Dining; so you know they’d have the styling here down pat. Located on the highest floor of the WOLO Hotel, this former duplex penthouse has been transformed into an inspired space for food, cocktails and of course, Instagram. The overall aesthetic is very eclectic; it’s like a Manhattan loft meets 1920s Shanghai jazz era with a bit of Art Deco thrown in, while a towering hand-painted mural behind the bar – a humourous interpretation of the iconic portrait of Empress Dowager Cixi – presides over the main dining hall. In terms of vibe and food direction, Mr Chew’s feels like an evolution of Fuego. The fun, carefree spirit of its sister Latin American-inspired restaurant and bar over at The Troika is strong here. The menu, however, is largely Asian with just a sprinkling of Latin American influences by way of ingredients such as avocado or food such as tacos. Perhaps more than Fuego, the team, helmed by Executive Chef James Thong and Chef Ivan Ong, takes more creative liberties here: The food is bold and punchy in flavours, but also very cheeky. It’s evident that both the menu and the decor share a sense of playfulness; it’s rare to see such cohesion in a restaurant. On the menu, you’ll find salads and tapas, buns and dumplings, fried snacks and of course, bigger main courses. The best thing to do is to order for sharing. You’ll be glad to know that you can now have yee sang at anytime of the year, t
The best times to visit Tokyo in 2023 – according to your interests
Tokyo 2023 is looking very promising, especially with a slate of new openings and events set for the city this new year. But when is the best time to visit Tokyo, you ask? Well, that depends on what it is you’re looking for in this dynamic city. Here we have outlined some of the best times to visit Tokyo based on the city’s key events. But here’s a little disclaimer: some of the flagship events in Japan have yet to announce their dates for 2023, and seasonal specials like the cherry blossoms and autumn leaves are notoriously hard to predict since they are solely dependent on the climate and weather patterns. So this is just a rough guide on possible timeframes based on how these events had unfolded in the last few years. The point of this is to give you a rough idea of when to take that trip to Tokyo if you’re interested in catching these landmark events. Photo: Picture cells/ShutterstockSakura season at Ueno Park Cherry blossoms Ah, possibly the most crowded time to be visiting Tokyo, but it’s perfectly understandable: who could resist the lure of the cherry blossoms? While it’s hard to pinpoint the exact dates to catch the pink flowers at their peak bloom – it’s all dependent on the weather and temperature – nevertheless you can now start to plan your trip based on this year's sakura forecast. According to the Japan Meteorological Corporation, Tokyo's sakura trees are speculated to flower around March 22, with peak bloom expected to happen around March 30. If you’re com
Two Japanese carriers are in the world’s top 3 most on-time airlines in 2022
With the ease in international travel restrictions last year, many airlines and airports found it difficult to cope with the sudden surge in flight demands. Needless to say, it was a mess. There were frustratingly long queues, countless delays and cancellations, and we have all seen images of pile after pile of missing luggage on social media. Yet some airlines managed to pull through swimmingly, as revealed by aviation data company Cirium. In its latest survey, the company examined the flights throughout 2022, focussing on their on-time performance, and compiled a list of the most reliable airlines for the year. For this study, any flights that arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled time were considered on-time. Good news for Japan as two Japanese airlines are ranked in the top three most punctual carriers of 2022. Taking the top spot is Azul Brazilian Airlines, which clocked in an impressive on-time performance of 88.93 percent. This means the airline was only delayed for 11 percent of its nearly 280,000 flights. This is followed by All Nippon Airlines (ANA) at No 2 with an on-time performance rating of 88.61 percent, and Japan Airlines (JAL) at No 3 with a 88 percent rating. We all know that public transport throughout Japan, and especially in Tokyo, is always reliable. Now we have proof that even the airlines are punctual and dependable. Here are the top ten airlines in the world with the least delays in 2022, along with the percentage of on-time flights, as reported
Tokyo now has three ramen restaurants with a Michelin star
With Japan being the land of the ramen, you’d think the country would have a long list of Michelin-starred ramen restaurants. Surprisingly that’s not the case. In fact, it wasn’t until 2016 that the prestigious food guide awarded its first ever star to a ramen joint. Tsuta in Tokyo has the honour of being the first ramen restaurant in the world to receive a coveted Michelin star (but has sadly lost it since). Nakiryu followed suit in 2017 and Konjiki Hototogisu in 2019. Now, one of our favourite ramen restaurants in Tokyo – Ginza Hachigo – has also been awarded a star. All three restaurants, which each hold a star in the 2022 Michelin Guide, offer a very distinct take on the classic Japanese dish. If you’re looking for a star-rated meal without breaking the bank, make a beeline now for these stellar noodles in Tokyo. Photo: Lim Chee Wah Ginza Hachigo The newest member of the super-exclusive Michelin-starred ramen club, Ginza Hachigo is helmed by a chef with a French culinary background – and that works in its favour. The beautifully complex soup tastes like consommé. It’s clear, light but flavourful, and made by boiling down Nagoya Cochin chicken, duck, scallop, dried tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms, konbu (seaweed), an heirloom green onion from Kyoto and surprisingly, cured ham. The bowl of noodles is then topped with bamboo shoots, green onion and slices of chashu pork before finishing with a sprinkling of French sea salt and black pepper. Sure, this is a modern take on r
500,000 colourful cosmos are now blooming at Sakura Furusato Square in Chiba
‘Tis the season for the great outdoors again, especially if you’re into catching the autumn foliage and flowers. The cosmos, a herbaceous plant that grows into a meadowland producing colourful flowers, blooms in early autumn – and you can now enjoy the beautiful sight for free at Sakura Furusato Square in Chiba prefecture. The Sakura Cosmos Fest is currently ongoing until Sunday October 23. The venue, located by the shore of Lake Inba-numa, is particularly known for its Dutch windmill, which takes pride of place at the centre of the flower field. Liefde, as it’s called, is Japan’s first fully wind-operated, water-pumping windmill. Photo: Sakura Furusato Square You can visit Sakura Furusato Square for free: take a stroll through the meadows, or rent a bicycle (from ¥500) and follow the dedicated bike lanes. But if you feel inspired to try growing cosmos, you can dig up a few to take home for a small fee. Uprooting five plants will only cost you ¥100, or go big with a bag-full of pickings for ¥300. The organisers have cautioned that the ground might be muddy, so come with your waterproof boots. If you’re planning a visit, weekends are definitely livelier when there are more things to do. You’ll find food trucks serving quick bites and refreshments, and you can even take a sightseeing boat tour out to Lake Inba-numa. There are eight trips per day, with tickets priced at ¥1,000 (¥500 for elementary and junior high school students). Here's the tour schedule:Operating days: Oct
ANA will increase international flights for Japan’s full border reopening
Japan has finally decided to fully reopen its borders for international tourism. After two-plus years of tight border restrictions, tourists can finally visit Japan visa-free and they no longer need to book their trips through travel agencies. The daily entry cap of 50,000 arriving travellers will also be scrapped entirely. This highly anticipated ease in restrictions will take effect Tuesday October 11. More details regarding the visa-free entry as well as Covid-19 vaccine-related requirements will be announced soon. Since this major announcement last week on September 22, airlines have seen a surge in bookings for flights into Japan. With the rising demand, many hopeful tourists have noticed that flight prices have also increased considerably. One of the reasons for this price hike could be that flights to Japan are still limited for the time being due to the current border restrictions. However, as reported by The Japan Times, All Nippon Airways has announced that it will be increasing its international flights into Japan to meet the surge in demand. No further details are available at this moment, but we hope that the added flights will help regulate flight prices and more tourists can travel to Japan. Autumn and winter are some of the best times to visit Japan. These two seasons are traditionally also peak tourist seasons. This full reopening of borders on October 11, though long overdue, comes at just the right time. Are you travelling to Japan on or after October 11?
Confirmed: independent tourists can visit Japan visa-free from October 11
After more than two years of tight border restrictions, Japan will finally reopen to independent tourists on October 11. As reported by The Japan Times and Nikkei Asia, this full reopening means that tourists can visit the country without a visa and they no longer need to go through a travel agency. Plus, the daily entry cap will also be lifted entirely. Japan's reopening for international tourism was a slow and cautious move. In June, the country began to accept tourists, provided that they visit the country as part of a guided package tour. Earlier this month, the restriction was further eased: tourists can travel to Japan without a guide but must still apply for a visa and book their flights and accommodation through a travel agency. This full reopening, which takes effect on October 11, is a highly anticipated development for international tourists who have been waiting patiently to visit the country. And it comes at the right time, not just because of the weak yen, but also because of the coming autumn season, which traditionally has been a peak time for inbound travel. Start planning your Japan trip now 12 most beautiful autumn destinations in Japan: from Kyoto to Aomori 23 of the most beautiful places in Japan Japan's 6 most underrated prefectures – and why you should visit Everything we know so far about the world’s first Ghibli Park – opening November 1 8 JR rail passes that are available to tourists and foreign residents in Japan Want to be the first to know what’
日本はパンデミック後の世界において、主要7カ国（G7）の中で唯一、観光を全面的に再開していない国だ。2022年8月31日に首相の岸田文雄が、9月7日以降の水際対策の緩和について明言した。 外国人観光客の入国に関しては、今年6月に受け入れを開始。現在はビザなし入国を許さず、添乗員付きのツアーでの団体観光客のみ入国を許可している。NHKの報道によると、このツアーは「自由度が低い」ということから不評で、7月に日本を訪れた観光目的の入国者は8000人に満たなかったという。 7日以降の緩和では、1日当たりの外国人旅行者の入国者数を2万人から5万人に引き上げ。トラベルボイスによると、個人旅行者は「添乗員を伴わない訪日パッケージツアー」というもので、団体行動はせずに自由に観光が楽しめるようになるようだ。 しかし、依然として旅行会社を介することや、ビザを申請する必要があり、その手続きは面倒なものである。 関連記事 『2022年、世界のベストシティランキング』 『500万本の赤い彼岸花の海が日高市に出現、「巾着田曼珠沙華まつり」開催』 『オール100円、有楽町広場にギルトフリーヌードルの「罪なき屋台」が出現』 『200種類以上のパンダグッズが勢揃いする「上野案内所」が移転リニューアル』 『2023年、進化したチームラボボーダレスが「虎ノ門・麻布台プロジェクト」に誕生』 東京の最新情報をタイムアウト東京のメールマガジンでチェックしよう。登録はこちら
Japan may soon reopen to independent tourists – with one condition
In this (post) pandemic world, Japan is the only G7 nation that has yet to reopen fully for tourism. The country started accepting foreign tourists in June, provided that they enter the country as part of a guided group tour. Unfortunately, this has proven to be unpopular, as NHK reports that less than 8,000 overseas tourists visited Japan in July. But this is about to change. According to the same NHK report, the government is considering allowing independent tourists from overseas to enter the country for tourism purposes. You don't have sign up for a group tour, but there's still one condition. You have to arrange your visit through a travel agency which will manage your itinerary in Japan. If approved, this new measure could start as early as September. While this may not be the reopening news most people have hoped for, it’s still an easing of Japan’s strict border restrictions. Earlier today, Japan has confirmed it will no longer require pre-arrival PCR test from travellers who have been fully vaccinated (booster dose included). This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. More from Time Out Tokyo teamLab Borderless will reopen in central Tokyo in 2023 Yakiniku Like is offering a seven-hour all-you-can-eat barbecue for ¥1,980 33,000 kochia bushes are now growing at Hitachi Seaside Park Here’s where to download traditional Japanese images and designs for free Everything we know so far about the world’s first Ghibli Park Want to b
Kozue's summer kaiseki menu features Kyoto heirloom vegetables and pike conger
Seasonality plays an important role in Japanese cuisine. It dictates what we eat at different times of the year, and this is precisely what makes Japanese food so interesting. Japan’s summer is the season for eels, be it unagi (freshwater eel), anago (sea eel), or in Kyoto especially, hamo (pike conger). This delicacy is being featured in the summer kaiseki menu of Kozue, the Japanese restaurant with a sweeping view of Shinjuku on the 40th floor of Park Hyatt Tokyo. To complement this seasonal speciality, chef Nobuhiro Yoshida has chosen to highlight Kyoto’s heirloom vegetables, otherwise also known as Kyo-yasai, which are beloved for their unique shapes, vibrant colours and high nutritional value. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Time Out Tokyo (@timeouttokyo_) For dinner, the kaiseki course comes in two options: eight-course Shino (¥16,500, excluding service charge) and nine-course Takumi (¥22,000, excluding service charge). The differences are not just in the number of dishes, but also the ingredients. For instance in the clear soup course, which we love for its clarity in flavour that puts the focus squarely on the fish, Shino serves up barracuda while Takumi has the more premium rockfish. Photo: Park Hyatt Tokyo The sumptuous Takumi course starts off light and fresh with the hairy crab and vegetable dumpling, which comes beautifully presented on a piece of lotus leaf, another symbol of Japanese summer. This is followed by wild pike con
日本有数の醸造所の一つであるサントリー山崎蒸留所は、当時としては最も古い『サントリー 山崎50年 First Release』を2005年に発売した。このリリースは大きな話題になり、以来「ジャパニーズウイスキーの頂点」とされてきた。 50本限定のこのエディションの多くは国内のバーが購入、消費したと思われ、市場に流通しているのは1ダースにも満たないと考えられている。その後も、2007年、2011年と山崎50年はリリースされてきたが、最も希少価値が高いのは2005年のエディションだ。 Photo: Bonhams その最もレアなボトルが、2022年5月20日（金）にオークションハウス、Bonhamsの香港のセール、『Fine & Rare Wines and Whisky』に出品される。落札予想価格はおよそ350万〜450万香港ドル（約5,707万2,000〜7,337万9,000円）だ。 Photo: Bonhams このセールでは、ほかにも同蒸留所の最古となる『山崎55年』50ミリリットルなどのジャパニーズウイスキーも出品が予定されている。このミニチュアボトルの落札予想価格は、400万〜500万香港ドル（約6,522万6,000〜8,153万2,000円）。こちらも注目しておきたい。 ※換算レートは4月22日現在 原文はこちら 関連記事 『サントリーウイスキー、2022年4月入荷分から28％値上げ』 『バンクシーの3作品がサザビーズのオークションに出品』 『ラスベガスのリゾートがピカソの11作品をオークション』 『六本木ヒルズでアイラ島の魅力を満喫、ウイスキーの祭典が開幕』 『「ジャパニーズウイスキー」の誕生、定義が初制定』 東京の最新情報をタイムアウト東京のメールマガジンでチェックしよう。登録はこちら
The ultra-rare Yamazaki 50-Year-Old First Release is now valued at about USD500,000
In 2005, the famed Yamazaki distillery, now considered one of the top Japanese whisky makers, released its oldest expression then – the 50-Year-Old First Release. It was a hit, widely touted as the king of Japanese whisky. The limited release of only 50 bottles largely went to local bars. Today, it is believed that there are no more than a dozen bottles left. Even with subsequent releases of Yamazaki 50-Year-Old – in 2007 and again in 2011 – the 2005 edition has become the rarest of fine Japanese whisky. Photo: Bonhams Auction house Bonhams is offering a bottle up for auction on May 20 in Hong Kong. The bottle is estimated to fetch somewhere between HKD3,500,000 and HKD 4,500,000 (about USD446,000 and USD574,000). Photo: Bonhams Another fine Japanese whisky will also be made available at the same auction. The Yamazaki 55-Year-Old, the distillery’s oldest expression to date, has an estimated value of HKD4,000,000-5,000,000, which is about USD510,000-638,000. More news Survey: tell us what living in Tokyo is really like for you JR Kyushu now has three rail passes available to foreign residents Survey ranks the 10 best outdoor museums in Japan This Starbucks in Ginza has an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet Shibuya Sky is opening its rooftop bar for limited time from April 28 Want to be the first to know what’s cool in Tokyo? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates from Tokyo and Japan.
新型コロナウイルス感染拡大による2年間の中断を経て「World’s 50 Best Restaurants」が、アジアを対象にした「Asia's 50 Best Restaurants」のランキングを発表した。2022年3月29日（火）には、ベストレストランを発表するセレモニーが復活する。表彰式はバンコクとマカオ、東京で開催され、日本時間の19時15分からFacebookとYouTubeでライブストリームで視聴することが可能だ。 このほど、アジア12カ国（地域）から100位から51位までが発表された。東京は2つのレストランがランクイン。ミシュラン三つ星を獲得したフランス料理店のレフェルヴェソンスは71位に、同じく三つ星を保持していたが、その後予約を停止したため、ミシュランの2020年版ガイドから除外された鮨 さいとうが78位にランクインした。 View this post on Instagram A post shared by L'Effervescence (レフェルヴェソンス) (@leffervescence) 正直なところ、日本から2店しかランクインしていないことに驚いている。これは東京の有名レストランがトップ50にしっかり入っているということだろうか？ そうであってほしいものだ。 関連記事 『歌舞伎町ホストが握る江戸前寿司が食べ放題のオープンデーを開催』 『サントリーウイスキー、2022年4月入荷分から28％値上げ』 『「千と千尋」再現の新展示も、スタジオジブリ展が3年振りに開催』 『総工費400億のバブル期建築、アーティストインレジデンスを募集中』 『国内初「ネイキッド フラワーズ」常設展が有楽町マルイにオープン』 東京の最新情報をタイムアウト東京のメールマガジンでチェックしよう。登録はこちら