Restaurants

Top Choice Soba in Kamakura

Bonzō

Intimate, rustic, Michelin-star restaurant that specialises in handmade ju-wari (100% soba), including kamo seiro (cold soba in hot broth) with wild duck imported from France. The homemade sesame tofu is incredibly …
Top Choice Ramen in Sapporo

Menya Saimi

Sapporo takes its ramen very seriously and Saimi is oft-voted the best ramen shop in the city (and sometimes the country) – and it's not overrated. You will have to queue, which is annoying, but you will be rewarded…
Top Choice Sushi in Ginza & Tsukiji

Kyūbey

Since 1935, Kyūbey’s quality and presentation has won it a moneyed and celebrity clientele. Even so, this is a supremely open and relaxed restaurant. The friendly owner Imada-san speaks excellent English as do some …
Top Choice Izakaya in Miyako-jima

Nanraku

Nanraku is Miyako-jima embodied in an izakaya – an earthy, convivial atmosphere, with ingredients sourced from local bounty. Chef Nanraku-san is a local boy, and his celebration of the island's cuisine and its prove…
Top Choice Ramen in Fukuoka

Ichiran

Ichiran has been serving noodles for 39 years. Customers eat at individual cubicles, and fill out forms requesting precisely how they want their noodles prepared. Flavour strength, fat content, noodle tenderness, am…
Top Choice Japanese in Ueno & Yanesen

Innsyoutei

In a gorgeous wooden building dating back to 1875, Innsyoutei (pronounced 'inshotei' and meaning 'rhyme of the pine cottage') has long been a favourite spot for fancy kaiseki-style meals while visiting Ueno-kōen. Wi…
Top Choice Izakaya in Nara

Washokuya Happoh

This large, cheery, modern farmhouse-style spot salutes Nara as sake's birthplace, in both drink and food. Alongside izakaya standards like sashimi and karaage (fried chicken pieces), we loved the dishes marinated i…
Top Choice Japanese in Downtown Kyoto

Menami

This welcoming neighbourhood favourite specialises in obanzai ryōri – a type of Kyoto home-style cooking using seasonal ingredients – done creatively and served as tapas-size plates. Don't miss the delicious spring …
Top Choice Izakaya in Miyako-jima

Pōcha Tatsuya

This hospitable izakaya is a warm, efficient bastion of Miyako-jima quality, serving fresh, thoughtfully prepared local fare such as kobushime-yawaraka-ni (steamed cuttlefish; ¥730) and sūchiki (vinegared pork with …
Top Choice Okonomiyaki in Osaka

Chibō

Chibō is one of Osaka's most famous okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) restaurants. It almost always has a line, but it moves fast because there is seating on multiple floors (though you might want to hold out for the co…