I come from a country (Scotland) where people don’t usually eat hot dogs. That’s a disclaimer of sorts. However, Tokyo is a big city and over the years I have, from time to time, fancied indulging in a hot dog or two for various reasons. Firstly, because on the occasions when I was mad drunk it made some kind of gluttonous sense. Other times when it was lunch or breakfast it seemed easy because it was on the kissaten menu, a glistening dirty dog in a bun packed with French mustard.

There was a time, due to issues outside my control, that hot dogs were the only form of food that I could reasonably stomach. Easy and cheap, they went down the gullet fairly easily, to be honest.

Tokyo and surrounding areas have had and have their fair share of hot dog vans that park up at various spots intermittently and bring joy and culinary peace to wherever they may serve. When I lived in Chiba Prefecture’s Funabashi area many years ago, there was a very amenable chap who occasionally parked his hot dog van near my local JR station and not too far from my favorite German bar, now sadly shuttered, Danke Schön. After a few steins of Bitburger the hot dogs were a godsend, a gustatory paradise, if you like.

hot dog tokyo

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Where To Get a Great Hot Dog in Tokyo

In Tokyo proper, however, it can be fairly tricky to get your mitts on decent hot dogs but here is a rundown of my favorite spots that are dotted throughout our great city. I apologize in advance to my American friends for what could be considered, by some, an act of blasphemy.


My first destination on the list is standing bar and eatery C.O.D., a compact space near Gaienmae Station which serves drinks and, for reasons unknown, outrageously great real beef hot dogs in various forms. It has been in the same spot since 1985 and through word of mouth, I got to hear about the bar’s beautiful chili dogs which go down well with some rum and coke and tequila on a Friday night. If you have a hankering for a true bad boy, then opt for the gargantuan C.O.D. Special Dog which comes with pretty much everything you can imagine.


If you find yourself near Ikebukuro, then head to Doggs in the cozy college town of Ekoda. Not the easiest spot to find but well worth the journey. While they aren’t cheap, Doggs’ dogs pack some impressive volume and come in many forms from plain dog and coleslaw dog to cheese dog and the more traditional New York-style variety.


When I worked in Sangenjaya I heard about a lady that was serving up gargantuan German dogs in buns. Could it really be true? Aye, it is true and they are amazing. There are even a couple of videos on YouTube for you to see the delights of this spot up close in all its grubby and greasy glory. Whether these can be considered good ol’ hot dogs on the other hand is up for debate. These are mammoth German-style sausages loaded onto hot dog buns and filled with every kind of topping imaginable. If you’re starving or in need of some home comforts then Kujira is the place for you.


Situated on Meiji Dori between Shibuya and Ebisu stations is Jollys, which is actually a liquor store and standing bar which has been around in one form or another for more than a century. There is a rehearsal room down in the basement for bands that are based in the area, and they will occasionally pop their heads up for beer and refreshments which include some very decent hot dogs. Nothing fancy here, but quality and freshly made hot dogs which go down well with the craft beer and Pabst Blue Ribbon which are sold on the premises.


In Ikebukuro, inside the ticket gates of the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, you’ll come across Tameals which is essentially, although it styles itself on a Brooklyn-style diner, just a wee cafe for commuters to fuel up either on their way to work or on their way home. The dogs on offer here are very simple, a light base of mustard and onions but the sausage is the star of the show. They are tasty and slightly herbal with just enough snap and resistance to rival any of the other dogs on this list.

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Big Franchises and Their Hot Dogs

In terms of our fast-food friends, then I’d say that Mos Burger and Freshness Burger have adequate hot dogs at reasonable prices. Freshness Burger goes way overboard on the diced onions but the actual dogs are more orthodox and perhaps a touch tastier than Mos. The spicy chili dog at Mos, however, is worth any self-respecting hot dog fan’s time and pretty pennies.

I asked my pal; kissaten King and hot dog honcho Kota about the variety of hot dogs at the city’s legion of kissaten and he said that the quality, size and style vary greatly. He points out that even the chain kissaten like Komeda are worth it and in easy-to-find spots near large stations across the capital.

And finally, you may well want to take a seat for this one. I’m going to go all out and say that while Doutor’s coffee is outrageously poor, its small selection of hotdogs are fantastic. The plain and simple German dog is good, but the lettuce dog which is smothered in mustard is the star of the show. Affordable, quick, convenient and very tasty, it will do the job any time you are in dire need of some cylindrical meat products.