Tokyo Food Guide: What and Where to Eat in Tokyo, Snack Edition
Are you going to Tokyo?! Are you hungry for good food? Here’s a list of places that we’ve been eating and loving in Tokyo. It’s by no means exhaustive because we eat A LOT. This is the snack attack edition, full of small snacks, sweet stuff, and cafe recommendations. If you’re looking for more, check out this post. New ramen, pancakes, yakitori, udon, curry, and tonkatsu editions coming soon!
If you love cotton candy, you have to hit up in Harajuku. The cotton candy is bigger than your head and rainbow to boot. The fluffy clouds of heaven are practically made for Instagram so do it for the gram. They have plastic bags if you don’t finish, so remember to grab one on your way out. Directions to Totti Candy Factory.
Croissant Taiyaki is always a good choice. If you’ve had classic taiyaki, you’re probably already addicted to those little hand held fish shaped waffle-like pastries filled with sweet fillings. Croissant taiyaki is much the same, but instead of a pancake/waffle outside, it’s croissant dough. These treats are flaky and crispy with caramelized, crunchy outsides and creamy tasty insides. They sell them at most of the Gindaco Takoyaki stands (there are many of these), usually hiding out behind a glass case. I like the ones filled with custard! Directions to the Harajuku location.
Speaking of classic taiyaki, you’ll want to visit Naniwaya in Azabu Juban, a taiyaki specialist that’s been making taiyaki for over 100 years. If you’ve never had taiyaki before, that crispy yet fluffy curiously fish shaped pastry that’s traditionally filled with sweet red bean, give this place a try. And if you’re a taiyaki connoisseur, I think you’ll be a huge fan of this place. The outsides are thin and crisp and the insides are stuffed to the brim with their famous warm sweetened red bean paste. If you’re ordering takeaway, it can take a long time (apparently they discourage people from ordering just one with quoting a long wait time) but you can put your order in, wander around the cute shopping area of Azabu Juban and then head back and have a hot and tasty treat. Directions to Naniwaya.
Melon Pan: You can get melon pan – a soft and fluffy bun topped with a crisp cookie like hat, not melon flavored at all – almost everywhere in Japan but I have two places in Tokyo that I really like because they serve them fresh and hot. One is in Asakusa, right next to Sensō-ji Temple (the one with the giant lantern), at a bakery called Kagetsudo. The other melon pan place is called Tokyo Melon Pan, a chain that has several melon pan outlets all over Tokyo. The Kagetsudo melon pan is giant and delicious: crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. It essentially is melt in your mouth kind of bun and even though it’s gigantic, you won’t have any problems finishing it. The melon pan at Tokyo Melon Pan is slightly more sturdy on the inside with an extremely crispy exterior. I prefer Tokyo Melon Pan, but that probably makes me in the minority because Kagetsudo is definitely more famous. Directions to Kagetsudo or Directions to Tokyo Melon Pan.
Ice cream: There are so many places for ice cream in Tokyo. You can’t go to Tokyo and not have ice cream! If you’re at Tokyo Skytree, hit up Tomorakuno 63℃, a soft serve place where the ice cream is made from fresh milk that’s pasteurized at 63°C for maximum freshness. They have a black sesame cone that I like pairing with matcha. I also love Melting in the Mouth for their creamy flavor and too-cute shape. But really, most soft-serves, or soft cream, as it’s known over there, are exceptionally good. Directions to Tomorakuno 63°C at Solamachi or Directions to Melting in the Mouth.
If you do make it to Solamachi, don’t miss Croquant Chou Zaku Zaku! These crispy cream puff sticks are the best cream puffs I’ve ever eaten. They’re extra crispy (croquant in French), thanks to an almond-sugar crust and filled with a rich Hokkaido milk custard cream. They’re made fresh at each location and are filled to order. You’ll defintely smell them before you see them – they smell warm, cozy, and all kinds of good. They have lots of locations. Directions to Solamachi or Harajuku.
Cafe Kitsune – Feet tired from all that shopping in Aoyama? Stop by this Tokyo outpost of French clothing label Maison Kitsune if you’re looking for a quick matcha/coffee break. I love their little kitsune (fox) cookies and matcha lattes. Directions to Cafe Kitsune.
Another great place for coffee is Toranomon Koffee. Now that Omotesando Koffee is no more, if you want one of those addictive cubed kashi (essentially a canelé), you have to visit Toranomon. It’s in a mall that doesn’t have much else, but good coffee and sweets are worth traveling for. Plus they have an amazing tamago sando: a fluffy egg omelette sandwich, one of the best I’ve had. They also have a nice selection of other square toast items. Directions to Toranomon Koffee.
If you, like me, have a thing for Japanese egg sandwiches, please visit Camelback. Camelback is a tiny coffee stand (there’s no where to sit, really) that’s short walk from central Shibuya. Their egg sandwich is essentially a tamagoyaki inside a small bun, similar in texture to a ciabatta. The man behind the sandwiches used to be a sushi chef and there’s a lot of care that goes into that little sandwich package. Directions to Camelback.
Japan is all about coffee. Coffee shops are a dime a dozen in Tokyo, with a massive influx of third-wave cafes. One of them, Streamer Coffee Company, owned by Hiroshi Sawada (a celebrity latte artist) is a casual, not-to-serious place to get a really, really good free pour latte. There are lots of locations, so if you need a quick pick me up, check one out. Pro tip, their seasonal lattes are on point. Directions to Streamer Coffee Company, Shibuya.
If beer is more up your alley, Hitachino Nest, a very popular not-so-indie microbrewery, has several locations you can hit up for a fresh pour. Some of them have snacks and they also serve coffee in adorable owl mugs. If your feet need a break, there’s a very convenient location right at Tokyo Station. As they like to say, Nest is Best! Directions to Hitachino Nest.
Now, I present to you one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten, with the most hilarious name: Cheese in the Baum. Cheese in the baum brings together two of Japan’s great dessert loves: cheesecake and baumkuchen. I’m not sure why but baumkuchen, that German spit cake that looks like the cross section of a tree with a hole cut out of the middle, is very popular in Japan. Nenrinya and Juchheim are very good, but maybe even better is Cheese in the Baum. They are more of a pop-up kind of thing, but they do have one shop in Futako Tamagawa, which is super out of the way, but also a very cute shopping area with the prettiest Tsutaya Electrics store you’ll ever see. Directions to Cheese in the Baum.
Floresta Nature Donuts may be the cutest donuts you’ll ever bite into. They’re made of organic natural ingredients so you don’t have to feel bad about eating off the cute little faces. They have plenty of seasonal donuts that aren’t decorated like animals as well, but if you’re going to make the trek out, get the kawaii one! Directions to Floresta.
If you like fries, mashed potatoes, or anything potato based, visit the Calbee+ store in Tokyo station. Be sure to get a cup of hot poteriko because they are absolutely the best: crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, they’re kind of like mashed potatoes in a french fry form. Calbee is also a fun place to shop around for omiyage (food souvenirs) to bring home with you. Directions to Calbee+.
Satou Menchi Katsu are internet famous and for good reason. Satou is a popular steak shop and they sell little fried balls of deliciousness down in the street. Most people buy the menchi katsu, a juicy seasoned ground meatball rolled up in panko and deep-fried. If you’re ever wandering around Kichijoji and see a random giant line of old ladies and tourists lining up, they’re probably lining up for menchi katsu. Directions to Satou.
Alright, that’s it for now! Hope you guys get to try some of these places out. Let me know if you have any suggestions of places you love, we’re always looking for new eats. I’ll be posting more guides on Tokyo eats soon, so don’t forget to check back 🙂