When day turns to dusk, Tokyo’s yokocho alleyways are lit with paper lanterns and filled with the chatter of office workers ending a long day with a pint of beer and a bite to eat. These clusters of streetside food stalls are long-standing features of neighbourhoods like Ebisu, Shibuya and Shinjuku, where some vendors have been operating for decades. But now a new generation of modern yokocho has arrived in Tokyo – welcome to Toranomon Yokocho.
When you can’t choose between fresh platters of seafood, skewers of yakitori or izakaya dishes paired with locally distilled gin (and how could you?), an evening of hopping between these 'capsule restaurants' is everything a foodie could dream of.
Many of the venues that comprise the yokocho have been hand-picked from Tokyo’s top restaurants, including some with Michelin stars. These offshoots offer the same high quality food as their bigger brothers, albeit in a slightly pared down menu that is more casual and affordable. Though the open plan set-up makes it easy to hop from one counter to another, sampling food from all 26 kitchens in one night could be a challenge, so we’ve picked some of our favourites to give you an idea of where to start.
Note: Toranomon Yokocho is currently operating on shortened business hours (11am-8pm) due the current Covid-19 measures imposed by the authorities. In addition, restaurants have been asked to refrain from serving alcohol while the state of emergency is in place.
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