The best restaurants and cafés near Meiji Shrine

Stop for lunch or grab a coffee and dessert before or after visiting one of Tokyo’s top attractions
Meiji Shrine | Time Out Tokyo
Photo via Rs1421
By Ili Saarinen |
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Urban oasis, solemn prayer site, essential Instagram spot – the vast grounds of Meiji Shrine serve many functions, but always offer a much-needed break from the constant hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Just getting from the shrine’s Harajuku entrance to its main building involves walking through the woods for a good ten to 15 minutes – you’ll be sure to work up an appetite on your visit. Here are some of the best places to eat and drink around the expansive park, from slick cafés and casual ramen joints on the Harajuku side to hidden coffee shops and neighbourhood bistros on the opposite, western flank.

Where to eat near Meiji Shrine

Restaurants

Kamakura Matsubara-an Keyaki

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Dine on a fine selection of quality soba and traditional Japanese snacks at this serene spot located right above the hustle and bustle of Omotesando and Harajuku. Serving up the famed noodles from their original shop in Kamakura, Matsubara-an offers handmade soba in a variety of styles including sudachi soba, which is served with thin slices of the citrus fruit and a hefty pile of grated daikon.

Restaurants, Bistros

Kiki

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Hidden away in a quiet back alley just steps from the hustle and bustle of Harajuku lies Kiki, the domain of haute cuisine wizard Yuki Noda. He's left behind the hallowed halls of Michelin-starred restaurants in favour of a more casual setting, and is hoping to attract a young clientele with affordable lunches and seven-course dinners priced at a reasonable ¥5,000.

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Restaurants, Cafés

The Deck Coffee & Pie

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Walk a few blocks north from Harajuku's busy Takeshita-dori and you'll spot this little wooden café on a calm back street. As the name suggests, house-roasted coffee and homemade pies are the main attractions here, although the incessant country music also deserves a mention. Hungrier patrons can go for the big and juicy hamburg steak and a beer.

Restaurants, Japanese

Relax Shokudo

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Opened in April 2017, Relax Shokudo serves the kind of down-to-earth, nutritious, wholesome and competitively priced lunches that can be surprisingly hard to find in central Tokyo. At lunchtime from 11.30am to 2.30pm, choose from the daily teishoku (which comes with rice, miso soup, pickles and a main dish; ¥980), the weekly donburi (¥1,080), or the eight-dish hakumai (white rice) teishoku (¥980).

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Restaurants, Street food

Onigiri Stand Gyu!

icon-location-pin Harajuku

The Japan Onigiri Society is behind this gourmet rice ball stand inside Laforet, one of teenage Tokyo's most hallowed sites. Besides standard onigiri topped with salmon or ume, you'll get to choose from healthy varieties made with brown rice instead of the usual white, and offbeat mixtures like coriander or matcha onigiri. The menu also includes artistic mini-onigiri, a daily miso soup and pickles made with the finest domestic vegetables.

Restaurants, Chinese

Hashizume

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Set in a European-style building filled with Taisho-era relics, this restaurant's main theme is soba-mae, which essentially means 'all things noodles'. Their appetisers, presented on carefully selected tableware and incorporating influences from Chinese cooking, are a good lead-in, while the Hashizume noodles should be your go-to main.

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Restaurants, Ramen

Kyushu Jangara Ramen

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Kyushu ramen from Fukuoka is the speciality here, and how you have it is entirely up to you. At this bright and breezy noodle house, customers can specify particular broths (lighter or heavier), types of noodles (thin, thick or in between), quantities and toppings. There's always a queue, but don’t worry – with 73 seats, an opening will soon appear.

Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Be A Good Neighbor

icon-location-pin Harajuku

Opened by the former editor of lifestyle magazine Relax, this coffee stand crams a lot of action into its tiny corner-shop perch, on a back street five minutes' walk from Harajuku Station. Most of the beans come courtesy of Kagoshima boutique coffee shop Voila, and are prepared in a variety of styles: drip, French press, espresso and – if you ask nicely – with an AeroPress.

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Restaurants

Curry Up

icon-location-pin Harajuku

This laidback and stylish curry shop was reportedly named by none other than Pharrell Williams. South Asian diners may not recognise the fodder on offer, but fans of Japanese-style curry and rice will be in comfort food heaven – no additives are used, and all the ingredients taste fresh. Most customers opt for the two-in-one combo plates, with choices ranging from butter chicken, keema and all-veg to beef options.  

Restaurants, Mexican

Chiles Mexican Grill

icon-location-pin Harajuku

This friendly Mexican eatery is well worth a quick visit. Situated just off Takeshita-dori, Chiles serves up the usual selection of nachos, burritos, fajitas, tacos and quesadillas, all at reasonable prices. Choose from a selection of six kinds of meat for your burrito, add toppings as desired, and finish off your meal with a Mexican beer or a shot of tequila. Vegetarian options are also available.

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Restaurants, Italian

Pinsa de Roma

icon-location-pin Harajuku

A healthier alternative to pizza, the pinsa dates back to ancient Rome and is similar to a normal pizza but lighter, crunchier and made with wheat flour, rice flour, soy flour and natural yeast. To make them even more authentic, the restaurant imports special ham and cheese direct from Italy.

Restaurants, Bistros

Path

icon-location-pin Yoyogi-Hachiman

Path is a sensation in Shibuya’s Tomigaya neighbourhood. The perfect hangout before or after a day out in Yoyogi Park, it serves breakfast and brunch – including their famous, super-fluffy dutch pancake – from 8am to 2pm. Get there early to secure a seat and wait around 30 minutes for this oven-baked delicacy, topped with uncured ham, burrata and copious amounts of maple syrup.

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Restaurants, Bakeries

365 Jours

icon-location-pin Yoyogi-Hachiman

Found right beside Yoyogi-Hachiman Station, this bakery has earned the approval of both local residents and bread-hunters from other parts of the city. All the goodies here are made from strictly organic ingredients, including the popular curry bread, a taste bud-tickling creation that'll have you reaching for more. The shop is equipped with a café area.

Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Little Nap Coffee Stand

icon-location-pin Yoyogi-Hachiman

You'll be getting your coffee in a paper cup at Little Nap, a friendly wee shop that's been serving caffeine addicts since 2011 at its location just across the road from Yoyogi Park. Music-mad owner Daisuke roasts the beans together with a friend, and does single-origin drip coffee in addition to the espresso-based drinks, which are whipped up on a Synesso machine. The lattes are on the mellow side.

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Restaurants, Yakiniku

Manten

icon-location-pin Yoyogi

Anyone looking to expand their meat-eating pursuits should check out this Yoyogi offal eatery that serves around 40 different kinds of fresh intestines. We recommend trying the liver with onion – a great introduction to the world of gut eating. The menu also includes non-meat choices like wakame soup and chilled noodles.

Find more things to do in Harajuku

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