It blends old with new in seamless fashion, and is home to some of the world’s finest restaurants. Below, local journalist Akihiko Yamamoto picks some of his favourite places to eat and drink...

Our favourite Tokyo wine bars and restaurants

1 Ginza Kojyu

Refined and eccentric Japanese cuisine from chef Toru Okuda, combined with warm hospitality. Seasonal foods are inspired by the Kaiseki aesthetic traditions and served in dramatic fashion. Okuda has a sommelier diploma, and the food pairing with wine and saké is outstanding. He also runs a Japanese restaurant in Paris. www.kojyu.jp

2 L’Effervescence

Innovative French cuisine from a young chef, Shinobu Namae, who served as sous chef at The Fat Duck and the Bras family’s Toya Japan. Japanese ingredients and French technique are beautifully integrated. This two-star Michelin establishment is one of the most difficult restaurants to book, but it’s worth the effort to try. www.leffervescence.jp

Tokyo wine bars and restaurants

L’Effervescence. Credit: L’Effervescencegram

3 Tsukiji Information Center

Tour company specialising in Tsukiji market visits and Japanese culture. Tours of the market with English-speaking guides can also include short courses in sushi or soba noodle making, or a visit to the kabuki theatre where you can enjoy different Japanese green teas. A range of other activities is also offered and the company can advise on how to register for the tuna auction in Tsukiji market. www.tsukijitour.com

4 Birdland

The first one-star Michelin yakitori (Japanese-style skewered chicken) restaurant. Chef Wada grills different parts of the chicken, timed accurately to the second; the exquisite liver is juicy and tasty. He selects saké and wines to match with the different yakitori dishes. This is a restaurant that’s visited by many famous wine producers. www.ginza-birdland.sakura.ne.jp

Tokyo wine bars and restaurants

Birdland

5 Tsubaki Wine Bar

Takeshi Tsubaki has run this legendary wine bar for 25 years. The price of old French wines can be lower here than in France: just viewing the selection of Bordeaux and Burgundy is an entertainment in itself. It also offers wonderful food cooked with truffle or foie gras. Popular with foreign visitors.
+81 3 5485 1410

6 An Di

An upcoming modern Vietnamese restaurant with a fabulous list of natural wines, sakés and spirits. The ownersommelier is an international wine consultant – many producers and Masters of Wine arrive by introduction of Ken Ohashi MW. www.andivietnamese.com

Tokyo wine bar and restaurants

An Di. An Di Instagram

7 Sushi Fujimori

This sushi restaurant serves only omakase meals comprising about 12 dishes (omakase is the Japanese tradition of letting a chef choose your food), including grilled fish and seasonal sushi. Tuna is recommended. The well-considered wine list includes The Sadie Family wines and Chasselas from Switzerland.
+81 3 3406 0141

8 Ippudo

Top Japanese ramen restaurant expanding across Asia, Europe and the US. Hakata ramen is produced with Tonkotsu pork broth and premium, house-made thin noodles: it’s very creamy and crunchy. There are 21 Ippudo branches in Tokyo. www.ippudo.com

Toky wine bars and restaurants

Ippudo. Credit: Ippudo Instagram

9 Wine Shop Enoteca

Leading wine importer’s biggest retail shop in Ginza and a showcase for wine retail in Japan. The 1,600 items stocked range from Japanese wines to large-format Bordeaux. Bottles purchased can be opened and tasted for an extra charge of about £8. www.enoteca.co.jp

10 Seiju

One-star Michelin tempura restaurant close to Tsukiji market. The excellent omakase menu of 12 dishes costs €130. Their technique of dehydrating fresh fish and vegetables is superb. The chef visits the Burgundy region regularly, and this restaurant has the best wine list of any tempura restaurant.
+81 3 3546 2622


Akihiko Yamamoto is a leading wine journalist in Japan, and founder of the country’s first online wine subscriber platform Wine Report.


This first appeared in Decanter magazine. Subscribe to Decanter here.

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