My Favorites

My Tokyo Guide

See something interesting? Click on the heart button in the article to add a page from this site to My Favorites.

Main content starts here.

Updated: February 4, 2021

David Conklin

Japanese Food Culture Researcher

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, David Conklin gained a master's degree in Japanese History at Portland State University Graduate School, where he focused on Japanese food culture and globalization. He lives in the shitamachi area of Tokyo, the traditional neighborhoods where the townspeople of Edo once lived, where he specializes in the food culture of traditional shitamachi neighborhoods. He published "Mr. Conklin Eats His Way Around Edo" in 2017 and is currently writing a second book—this time about soba.

With first-time visitors to Tokyo in mind, I've compiled my top recommendations for Japanese food along with the best neighborhoods for taking a stroll. It's always fun to visit famous tourist attractions, but some of the best experiences can be found just by strolling traditional neighborhood and to off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods. From enjoying traditional soba and matcha green tea ice cream in Asakusa, to exploring little-known areas, these are the experiences that will make your trip even more memorable.

  1. Tansouan Kenjirou in Asakusa is one of my favorite soba restaurants. The friendly owner speaks a little English, so you can relax and order with ease.
  2. Komakata Dozeu serves a local specialty—dojo nabe, a richly-flavored stew made with loaches. From the sight of the simmering pot to the mouthwatering aroma, it's a unique dish that is sure to surprise and delight your senses.
  3. Fans of green tea—matcha, in particular—should head to Suzukien Asakusa, which sells matcha gelato by its strength of flavor.
  4. My home for over a decade, Ningyocho is a friendly, traditional neighborhood with many local restaurants.
  5. The historic district of Monzen-nakacho is perfect for a walk. At night, go bar-hopping on Tatsumi Shindo street where you'll find many unique stores, including one where you can sample hundreds of kinds of sake.
  6. Sumida River Terrace isn't that well known but should be—it's a fantastic waterside space on both riverbanks, which covers 28 km in total. One spot to note is Ryogoku Bridge with its sumo-themed design.