The best restaurants and cafés near Tokyo Skytree

Skip the tourist traps when visiting Tokyo’s tallest structure and explore the surrounds instead
Photo: Max Pixel
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Opened in 2012, the 634m Tokyo Skytree, uh, towers over the entire eastern part of the capital and has slowly but surely become accepted as the successor to good old Tokyo Tower. Having helped transform its once quiet and unassuming neighbourhood just east of the Sumida River into a go-to tourist destination, the massive mast is rather expensive to climb – adults pay a wallet-worrying ¥3,000 for access to both observatories – but still merits a one-off visit for its spectacular views over the entire Kanto plain.

The structure and its associated Solamachi shopping mall are home to a number of restaurants and cafés, but most of them are overpriced and uninspiring. You're much better off exploring the surrounds, where you’ll find old-school soba shops, casual eateries and a remarkably good selection of cafés. These are some of our favourites.

Where to eat around the Skytree

Restaurants, Cafés

Sekai Cafe Oshiage

icon-location-pin Oshiage

The traveller-friendly Sekai Cafe aims to attract vegetarians and Muslim customers, with the café-style menu currently featuring soy-based karaage, Japanese curry and vegan desserts. Everything's put together with 100 percent halal ingredients, and those looking for meat-free options will find plenty to choose from as well. Our meat-eating tasting team was fooled by both the soy karaage and the curry, which both tasted and looked closer to real meat than any veg version we've seen to date.

Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Higashi-Mukojima Coffee-ten

icon-location-pin Mukojima

Owned by a born-and-bred local eager to liven up his 'hood, this comfy joint has earned a steady following over the decade it's been open. Don't miss the no-bake cheesecake, certified by the local authorities as one the best in the city. Higashi-Mukojima Coffee-ten also took home the Best Café award at the Love Tokyo Awards 2017, just so you know.

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Restaurants, Steakhouse

Katayama

icon-location-pin Mukojima

This Western-style restaurant, named after owner Yukihiro Katayama, maintains the quaint old-school atmosphere of the working-class neighbourhood in which it's found. Many of the dishes on the menu sound more befitting of a greasy spoon diner – think omurice and deep-fried cutlets – but the steaks here are prepared with the utmost seriousness. The star of the menu is the dabincho, a rump steak where the sinew has been removed using a special patented cutting technique.

Restaurants, Cafés

From Afar

icon-location-pin Sumida

The ideal place for stylish coffee-sipping, perhaps with a small cake on the side, this spacious and relaxing café by the Sumida River is set in a former timber warehouse with a high ceiling. It's decorated with antiques, old books and small flowers, while tea sets, an international selection of stamps and even minerals are sold at the counter.

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Restaurants, Ramen

Rantei

icon-location-pin Mukojima

Located on a sleepy residential street not far from the Sumida River, Mukojima's top 'ramen izakaya' is a little tricky to find. But it rewards intrepid noodle-hunters with back-to-basics chuka soba, available in four flavours: shoyu, shoyu-chashu, shio and shio-chashu. The standard salt option is their most popular dish, and for good reason.

Restaurants, Sushi

Toriton

icon-location-pin Oshiage

With seafood (and pudding!) delivered straight from the restaurant’s Hokkaido headquarters, it’s immediately clear why people are willing to stand in mind-numbingly long lines for a spot at this delightfully affordable kaitenzushi joint. Toriton is a seafood lover’s paradise: plates range from ¥130 to ¥630 and unlike other sushi-go-round spots where it’s advisable to order directly from the chef, don’t hesitate to pluck plates straight from the conveyor belt.

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Restaurants, Cafés

Oshiage Nyanko

icon-location-pin Oshiage

Standard latte art is unlikely to make much of an impression after you've laid eyes on the 3D foam cats decorating drinks at this super-cute café. That's not to say it's all show and no go, either: Their coffee, tea and hot chocolate are expertly crafted, while the 'molasses and black sugar matcha soy latte' is a thing of beauty.

Restaurants, Omurice

Restaurant Azuma

icon-location-pin Sumida

Fry some rice, wrap it in an egg and sprinkle your sauce of choice over the goodness – hey, you've just put together some omu-rice, a staple of Japanese home cooking that's satisfyingly filling and easy to customise. This chic eatery has been specialising in this particular comfort food since 1913, and it shows. Azuma is by no means a cheap spot, but very much worth a look – and not just for the nostalgia factor.

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Restaurants, Coffeeshops

Shigeno Coffee

icon-location-pin Oshiage

Gaze up at the Skytree while you sip on a mug of joe. Owner Minegishi has been in the coffee industry for over 30 years, so you can't go wrong with the coffee you get here. He'll tell you everything about the beans and how to make the perfect cup. If you like your coffee bitter and strong, we suggest trying their speciality Shigeno Blend. 

Restaurants, Soba

Nagaya Sabo Tenshinan

icon-location-pin Sumida

Coffee and soba are an unlikely combo, but both taste best in artisanal form – which is exactly how you'll get them at this charmingly old-school establishment, found inside a 70-year-old wooden townhouse. 

More things to do in the area

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