Long before Haruki Murakami become a million-selling author and perennial Nobel Prize contender, he worked a number of odd jobs while studying at Waseda, saving up in order to realise his dream of opening a jazz café. He also met his wife, Yoko, during this time, and the couple often headed over to this casual tempura joint in Jinbocho. Primarily a lunch spot, Imoya doesn't even allow à la carte orders during the day, but the set meals are satisfyingly sized and cheap – ¥650 for the tempura teishoku – making this place worth a visit even for Murakami non-believers.
Depictions of food are common occurrences in much of modern Japanese literature, with some authors going into significant detail when describing specific dishes, restaurants or feelings experienced by characters over a meal. Although often fascinating in itself, such writing becomes that much more interesting if you actually know the places and tastes the author in question is talking about. Here, we pick out ten Tokyo restaurants that either inspired some of Japan's literary giants from the Meiji era onward, or actually appear in classic novels of the modern era. Guiding you onto the footsteps of literati like Natsume Soseki, Yasunari Kawabata and Yukio Mishima, our tour takes you from venerable yoshoku joints to a simple tempura eatery frequented by a young Haruki Murakami.