Like most capital cities, Tokyo also the perfect place to sample the incredible, diverse range of food from around the country. Expand your horizons as you tantalise your taste buds at these regional Japanese standouts.
Tucked-away along a back street of Shinjuku, Cha Cha Hana is a Showa-era house repping traditional obanzai (Kyoto cuisine). The simple, old-school shoji door, tatami floor and blond fit-out create a soothing ambiance in which to dine on seasonal delights like sashimi, grilled prawns and fragrant rice pots. An occasion to celebrate? Order extra-special courses like sea bream, or better yet, opt for the tea ceremony. There’s also a secluded salon for private soirées.
For a proverbial journey to Japan’s north, try Harukor, a small and intimate dining room repping Ainu fare from the Hokkaido region. Taking its design cues from a traditional Ainu thatched house, the rustic decor creates a wholesome, cosy feel. Unsurprisingly, the menu features hearty, nourishing dishes like ohaw (hotpot soup) and kampoca rataskep (mashed pumpkin, beans and plants). Food for the soul.
Hailing from the Kanazawa prefecture, Kaga-ryori showcases the region’s seafood and rich stews/curries, and nowhere does it better than hip hangout Oshima. Pulling in a young, well-heeled crowd with its style and exquisite presentation, Oshima’s food is as good as it looks; standouts include the prawn tempura, shabu-shabu and jibuni (rich stews), elegantly served by kimono-clad staff.
If you’re new to Japan’s regional treats, the quirky-cool Kenmei Nagaoka-designed D47 Shokudo is on hand to save the day. Rather than focusing on one region, this cafe-meets-restaurant offers a culinary tour of all 47 prefectures (get it?). The seasonal menu is accompanied by a cute yet comprehensive book that introduces the regions; there’s also an onsite shop selling often hard-to-come-by provincial ingredients. Forget the shopping mall situ, this is for the foodie bucket list.
Cha Cha Hana / 1-1-1 / Kabukicho / Shinjuku / +81 3 5292 2933 / 5pm-11.30pm daily /www.commercial-art.net/shop/chacha
Harukor / 1 Chome-10-1 / Hyakunincho / Shinjuku / +81 3 3368 4677 / lunch & dinner Mon-Wed & Fri, lunch Sat-Sun, closed Thu / www.facebook.com/pg/Ainu-Giappone
Oshima / 9/F / Ginza Core Bldg / 5-8-20 Ginza / Chuo-ku / +81 3 3573 4761 / lunch & dinner Mon-Wed & Fri, lunch Sat-Sun, closed Thu / www.oshima-site.com
Shokudo / 8/F / 2 Chome-21- / Shibuya / +81 3-6427-2303 / 10.30am-11.30pm daily /