The Akasaka neighborhood is often passed up for more vibrant areas of Tokyo, but don’t let the business-like environment of the area fool you. Where there are salarymen, there are izakaya, high-end restaurants and hole-in-the-wall type joints waiting to be explored, all with their discerning seal of approval. Here are seven Japanese dishes at eateries in Akasaka to get your chopsticks ready for.


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1. Oyakodon at Uchi no Tamago

Undoubtedly one of the most popular types of rice bowl you can get in Japan is oyakodon. Topped with silky eggs, tender chicken pieces and a shoyu-based sauce, a multi-textured umami laden bowl is almost guaranteed. Enter Uchi no Tamago, an egg cuisine specialist located inside Akasaka Biz Tower. This small but formidable restaurant serves up just three kinds of dishes, including a signature oyakodon that comes with chicken “motsu,” a catch-all term for offal. Be sure to crack open one of the fresh raw eggs served at the table and sample their variety of shoyu for a different flavor in each bite.

2. Katsuo Tataki at Warayakiya

Kochi, a prefecture located in Shikoku, is known for its bonito-loving cuisine. In fact, it’s said to have the highest level of bonito consumption in Japan. Popular izakaya chain Warayakiya is spreading the Kochi-ryori love throughout Japan by offering authentically made dishes such as the katsuo tataki. It’s seared on a hand-held grill that in turn is held over a fire fueled by straw. This is the secret behind the smoky flavor and soft feel of the katsuo. A mere four-minute walk from Akasaka-Mitsuke Station is all it takes to get to this Warayakiya outpost.


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3. Gyoza at Gyoza It

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like gyoza. Whether deep-fried, grilled or boiled and with every filling imaginable, the sheer versatility of this dish is what gives it its mass appeal. Gyoza It is a testament to this with over 15 different dish varieties that all feature gyoza in some way. From classic flavors such as garlic, prawn and pork to a unique gorgonzola and honey gyoza, patrons will be able to satisfy their dumpling cravings.

4. Kaisendon at Sushi no Midori

Literally “seafood bowl” in English, kaisendon is a sushi lover’s dream as it usually features a variety of raw and cooked seafood plus some sushi-familiar toppings such as tamagoyaki. The Midori Chirashi at Sushi no Midori is one of the best with over 13 unique fresh toppings, perfectly cooked rice and the usual accompaniments of chawanmushi, miso soup and green tea. Back in the heyday when overseas tourists regularly visited, Sushi no Midori in Shibuya often had queues of up to three hours. Thankfully this Akasaka branch has always been less crowded and with no compromise to the quality or taste of their dishes.

5. Ramen at Kyushu Jangara

One of the most iconic Japanese dishes is undoubtedly ramen but spend any amount of time in Japan and you’ll soon realize that a multitude of delicious varieties exist. Kyushu Jangara specializes in tonkotsu broth, a nod to its namesake and where this style of ramen originates from. Enjoy it at the cozy Akasaka branch with classic toppings of chashu, seaweed and a boiled egg. Vegan eaters need not fret as it also offers two vegan ramen options with vegetable and tofu toppings.


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6. Kaiseki at Akasaka Kikunoi

Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner typically served at high-end restaurants. While every chef and restaurant’s interpretation of kaiseki is unique, at the crux of this dining philosophy is to create a harmony of taste, texture, appearance and colors. Akasaka Kikunoi, which has two Michelin stars, is no stranger to this. It has a history that dates back to 1912 in Kyoto. The neighborhood location means peace and quiet for guests as they enjoy the sumptuous flavors.


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7. Chicken Wings at Tebasaki Bancho

Opened in 2016, Tebasaki Bancho is a tiny house-shaped izakaya that specializes in chicken wings. The menu includes classic wings as well as additions like mentaiko and cheese. These are award-winning wings, having received the top prize in a chicken wing contest in 2014 and 2015. The izakaya hails from Miyazaki, a prefecture famous for its good quality poultry. Therefore, you know you’re getting top-notch chicken that is also cheap and cheerful.

Feature image by Samantha Low