Activities and interests: The gourmet tour

Gourmet picks

Tsukiji Outer Market - Food market: Tsukiji
[Closed Sun, some Wed.]
While the tourists crowd Tsukiji's Inner Market, dodging forklifts and generally getting in the way, local Tokyo gourmets do their shopping at the consumer-friendly Outer Market. Originally set up to serve restaurants, the Outer Market is now...
Ebisu Beer Museum - Museum: Ebisu
[Open 10am-5pm (last entry) daily.]
Built on the site of Tokyo's original Sapporo Brewery, this museum includes exhibits of beer history and the brewing process. There's a nice gallery of Sapporo advertising through the years, and reproductions of vintage posters are sold in the gift...
Isetan - Department store: Shinjuku
[Open 10am-7:30pm daily.]
Once you're done checking out Isetan's high-end fashions, head down to the basement to experience the best food hall in Tokyo. You'll find fresh seafood and produce, gift-ready (and astronomically priced) melons and matsutake mushrooms, luxurious...
Kappabashi Market - Retail: Asakusa
[most shops 10am-6pm; some closed Sundays.]
Tsukiji fish market may be the first destination for foodies visiting Tokyo, and a department store basement food floor is also an essential stop, but one often-neglected attraction is the restaurant-supply district of Kappabashi. Famous for its...
Tonya Kokubu - Attraction: Oshiage
[Open 10am-9pm daily.]
Run by a 300-year-old trading and canned-foods company, this free mini-museum and showroom focuses on Japanese food-packaging design over the past 100 years, showing off iconic designs like Akebono-brand salmon's red-and-white striped can (1910),...

Food markets

Chabara - Retail: Akihabara
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
A stylish new retail venture from JR (the train company), Chabara is a sister store of the nearby under-the-tracks Aki-Oka crafts complex, showcasing local food products from around Japan. The retail section offers a vast selection of food and...
Farmers Market @ UNU - Food market: Omotesando
[Open 10am-4pm (weekends only).]
Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables are on sale at the popular farmers market that pops up every weekend in front of UN University (across the street from Aoyama Gakuin). Besides the dozens of stalls there are also a few food trucks selling...
Matsuya - Department store: Ginza
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
The two-level basement food hall at Matsuya houses dozens and dozens of kiosks and stalls with freshly prepared foods and packaged goods to take home. There are also a few sit-down counters run by the various shops and a decent wine department with...
Mitsukoshi Department Store - Department store: Ginza
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
Since the store's recent renovation, Mitsukoshi's two-level food hall has expanded to more than a hundred food stalls run by well-known restaurants, bakeries, sweets shops, tea sellers, and other purveyors of gourmet food and drink. The tiny...
Mura Kara Machi Kara Kan - Retail: Yurakucho
[Open 10:30am-7:15pm (Sun -6:45pm) daily.]
Mura Kara Machi Kara Kan offers a selection of interesting local foods from around the country, so you'll find everything from artisanal salts and hot-pepper sauces to meats (sausages and hams), seaweed products and many, many styles of pickles. ...
Murachin - Food market: Ueno
[Open 10am-8pm. Closed Wednesdays.]
This ethnic grocery store and its neighbors sell raw ingredients and packaged goods from China, Korea and southeast Asia, including fresh vegetables from Thailand that are flown in two or three times a week. The shop is located in the basement of...
Odakyu - Department store: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
Odakyu's basement food hall has dozens and dozens of stalls selling everything from Chinese food to fresh-squeezed juices and organic vegetables.
Seibu Department Store - Department store: Ikebukuro
[Open 10am-9pm daily.]
One of the biggest department stores in the world, this flagship branch of the international chain is spread out over fourteen floors and includes specialty shops Muji and Loft as well as dozens of restaurants. The two-level food hall is the...
Takashimaya - Department store: Nihonbashi
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
The basement food floor of Takashimaya is upscale and a bit old-fashioned at the same time, just like the rest of the store; you'll find booths run by traditional eel restaurants and similar fare.
Tokyu Foodshow - Food market: Shibuya
[Open 10am-9pm daily.]
Located in the basement of the Tokyu Department Store next to the east exit of Shibuya Station, this sprawling food hall is one of the biggest and most varied in town. They sell fresh fish, meat and produce and prepared foods of all kinds -...

Japanese knives

Aritsugu - Knife shop: Tsukiji
[Open 6am-3pm. Closed Sundays, Tsukiji market holidays.]
A smaller Tokyo outpost of the famous Kyoto-based knife shop.
Kamata Knife Shop - Knife shop: Asakusa
[Open 10am-6pm (Sun 12:30-5:30pm). Open every day.]
Patronized by both professional chefs and home cooks, Kamata uses traditional methods to craft their knives, offering more than 800 different items for sale. It's also a good place to buy whetstones, which make nice gifts for any chefs in your...
Kiya Knife Shop - Knife shop: Nihonbashi
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
Established in 1792 and still going strong, Kiya sells an amazing variety of kitchen knives, including ones crafted specifically for cutting fugu, salmon, soba noodles and vegetables. They carry seven different styles of eel knife alone. They also...
Masamoto - Knife shop: Tsukiji
[Open 6am-3pm. Closed Sundays, Tsukiji market holidays.]
Befitting this shop's location on the outskirts of Tsukiji's wholesale food market, the vast majority of Masamoto's customers are professional chefs. Cleavers, sashimi knives, small fruit knives - they're all here, and the shop also provides...
Sugimoto Cutlery - Knife shop: Tsukiji
[Open 7am-4pm. Closed Sundays, Tsukiji market holidays.]
Dating back to the 1930s, Sugimoto started as a metalsmith specializing in swords and knives. Today they produce Western knives and Chinese cleavers as well as traditional Japanese knives made with Japanese carbon steel. They also carry a variety...

More gourmet destinations

Dengama - Retail: Asakusa
[Open 10am-7pm daily.]
Located at the entrance to the Kappabashi shopping district on the corner of Asakusa-dori and Kappabashi-dori, this two-story shop offers an impressive selection of tableware in all price ranges. Upstairs you'll find artisanal pottery from all over...
Fukui Minami Aoyama 291 - Retail: Omotesando
[Open 11am-9pm daily.]
Unlike most prefectural antenna shops, this spacious, attractively appointed store specializes in local handicrafts more than food and drink, and it's well worth visiting just for its pottery selection. You'll also find beautiful glassware, paper...
Kuroeya - Retail: Nihonbashi
[Open 9am-5pm. Closed weekends.]
Gorgeous soup and salad bowls, bento boxes, trays and other items for the table are sold at this lacquerware specialty shop. In addition to traditional styles they also offer modern interpretations of the classics, including lovely silver-colored...
Maizuru - Retail: Asakusa
[Open 9am-6pm daily.]
Although the custom is not as popular as it once was, some restaurants in Japan still show off plastic food models in their display windows to entice passersby. Maizuru is where they buy them. You can purchase realistic-looking plastic...
Sake Plaza - Showroom: Uchisaiwaicho
[Open 10am-6pm. Closed weekends.]
Although the atmosphere at this sake-industry information center is rather utilitarian, they do offer sake tastings during the day (Y300 per tasting) along with occasional special events. And of course there's an enormous amount of reading...

Gourmet field trips

Budo-no-oka Center - Attraction: Yamanashi-ken
[Open 11am-5pm daily.]
While few connoisseurs would rate Japan one of the world's great wine-producing countries, there is a thriving domestic wine industry, with several dozen major vineyards nestled in the mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture, just north of Mount Fuji. ...
Cupnoodles Museum - Museum: Yokohama Minato-mirai
[Open 10am-6pm (enter by 5pm). Closed Tuesdays.]
If you love instant ramen and want to learn much, much more about the ubiquitous snack and its inventor, Momofuku Ando, you've come to the right place. Walk around inside a replica of the original shed where Ando first created instant ramen back in...
Food and Agriculture Museum - Museum: Setagaya-ku
[Open May-Nov 10am-5pm; Dec-Apr 10am-4pm (last entry 30 min. before closing). Closed Mondays.]
If you're interested in taxidermied roosters, cactus plants, sake paraphernalia, ancient farm tools, modern architecture or lemurs, then this quirky little museum has something for you. Run by Tokyo University of Agriculture, the Food and...
Fuefukigawa Fruit Park - Museum: Yamanashi-ken
[Open 9am-5pm daily.]
The main attraction here is the fascinating Fruit Museum, where you can explore the history of fruit through the centuries, with particular emphasis on the role of fruit in the history of Yamanashi Prefecture. This sounds like a must-see destination...
Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum - Attraction: Yokohama
[Open 11am-10pm (last admission) daily.]
A miniature historical theme park, Ramen Town, located on the bottom two levels of the Ramen Museum, is a recreation of a bustling urban neighorhood in the year 1958 (which happens to be the year instant ramen was invented). Scattered among the...