Any fan of Japanese food should go on at least one food tour when they come to Japan. You will always learn something new or try a meal in a different way.
I experienced this when I went on a Tokyo Food Tour organized by Arigato Travel, a great tour company in Tokyo.
As you all know, Japan is known for its amazing cuisine and the variety of excellent dishes offered. Tokyo, in particular, is well recognized as the city with the most Michelin stars worldwide. But fancy restaurants are not the only places to get delicious Japanese food. Tokyo street food is also known far and wide.
That is why booking a Tokyo food tour is one of the best things you can do if you are a food fan! I did so and booked a tour with a company I had heard many good things about, Arigato Travel.
Let me tell you about this great Tokyo street food tour I went on with Arigato Travel. After arranging a tour with them, I received an email with instructions to meet with their guide near the large mural in Shibuya Square. I had no issue locating the guide, and I arrived there on time.
The guide’s name was Alex, and he was from Mexico. He had been living in Japan for many years and became an expert in the Shibuya area and all the street food offered here.
As we walked around Shibuya, he explained many interesting things about the area. You see, this is not only a food tour but also a tour that will introduce you to many things about the Shibuya area. For example, Alex showed a large artwork located within a building next to the Shibuya Crossing. This large artwork was originally commissioned for a Mexican hotel, and when that hotel closed many years ago, it was lost until it was recently rediscovered.
Then, since the author was Japanese, it was returned to Japan and displayed here on this large wall. I had never paid any special attention to the mural, but now, thanks to his story, I always remember to appreciate it when I pass there. This is just one of many cool things I learn on this tour. But of course, the food was the highlight.
We made our way to the first stop of our food tour, which was a small sushi place. However, this one was a little bit different than the ones I usually go to. This was more of a traditional style restaurant, and one of their main features is that they promote the traditional way of eating sushi.
The way you usually imagine eating sushi is with chopsticks, right? Well, this is a modern way of doing that – in the old days, sushi was eaten using your hands only. Yeah, you heard that right. The proper way to eat sushi is with your bare hands.
Of course, we should make sure to disinfect and clean them. But still, I have to admit that it feels really nice to eat it with your hands. True, I was skeptical at first, but I’ve grown into it. We tried several different types of sushi, from tuna and salmon to mackerel, squid, and octopus, and it was really delicious.
Next up on our tour was one of Shibuya’s most iconic street foods – yakitori. Alex explained that yakitori originated after World War Two when people in Japan were still poor and recovering from the war, and this provided a simple meal where you would just stick chicken and different types of vegetables or mushrooms on sticks and grill them.
Over time, many different types of yakitori have developed; some now include only vegetables or only mushrooms or other types of meat – not just chicken – but still, it’s called yakitori.
Next, we walked to the other side of Shibuya, where Alex continued to explain all the interesting tidbits about many of the smaller streets that we were passing through and some interesting bars. Finally, we arrived at a place that was known for its okonomiyaki.
As many of you know, okonomiyaki is a Japanese type of pancake – its literal translation means “whatever you want”. Everyone has a different way of preparing it. Some variants are more well-known than others.
For example, the Hiroshima okonomiyaki at the place we visited is actually owned by a famous Japanese traditional singer, so it’s quite a popular spot. We got served our okonomiyaki, and it was grilled in front of us. Then we cut it ourselves and placed the toppings that we preferred.
As with everything on this food tour so far, it was extremely delicious. To me, this restaurant was the most intriguing of all the places we had been to so far.
The final stop of our food tour across Shibuya was a yakiniku place. Yakiniku is a type of Japanese grill where you get served raw meats and different toppings and side dishes which you then grill yourself.
I had never had the chance to go to a yakiniku place before, so this was a huge thrill for me. We got various different types of meat, some vegetables, and an egg.
I was a bit surprised at how we could use the egg when Alex explained that you have to crack it and place it in a jar. Then you soak the meat and put it on the grill. So, it’s quite an interesting procedure – it takes a little bit of skill to grill the meat well, but it’s not a big deal.
You will surely handle it. The meat was melting in my mouth, and I really loved it. And I think it’s a great way to end the tour.
All in all, this Tokyo food tour was a great thing. If you’re a Japan food fan who doesn’t want to spend much time searching for a particular place and would love to learn some extra things about the food you eat and the area around you, I think you will really enjoy this Tokyo food tour offered by Arigato Travel.
I had such a good time, and Alex was a great guide; I can only say the best. I highly recommend that you visit their website and check out all the different types of tours they offer because this is just one of many. I’m sure you’ll find some specialized tour that will be perfect for you.