Ginza is well known for its high-end boutiques and luxury shopping, but it also has one of the best culinary scenes in Tokyo. While the area is particularly famed for its fine-dining sushi establishments, Ginza has brilliant teppanyaki, yakitori and even international restaurants too. Let Culture Trip help you navigate the menus of one of Tokyo’s most exclusive dining districts.
Eat award-winning sushi at Japan's most famous restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro
Since winning three Michelin stars and featuring in a celebrated documentary, Sukiyabashi Jiro has become one of the most famous sushi restaurants in the world. It’s a tiny, unassuming spot, with only a few seats at the sushi counter, but the food quality is phenomenal. Chef and owner Jiro and his team are renowned for their attention to detail, and serve only the best fish, delicately flavouring and preparing each morsel. Sukiyabashi Jiro is incredibly popular, so reserve way in advance.
Art nouveau and Japanese style combine at lavish Ginza Ukai Tei
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Teppanyaki is a Japanese cooking style that involves using an iron plate to grill different meats, and the Michelin-starred Ukai Tei serves up elegant teppanyaki cuisine on flat grills right in front of diners. The venue – which is located on the gorgeous top floor of the Chanel building in Omotesando – has become famous for its steamed abalone, which is unveiled still moving before being steamed under a copper dome.
Those on the hunt for high-quality wagyu (Japanese beef) in Ginza should look no further than Gyuan, where cosy booths and private, Japanese-style rooms welcome patrons. The restaurant serves Japan’s most famous beef product, Kobe beef, and specialises in transforming it into succulent yakiniku (barbecue cuisine) and shabushabu (a type of hotpot). Whichever you choose, guests cook the meat – which arrives in generous portions, especially if you choose the tabehoudai (all you can eat) plan – at the tables themselves. For the best value, visit at lunchtime; dinner is more expensive at Gyuan, but it’s also significantly more lavish. A simple English menu is available for travellers.
Kyubey is a high-end, intimate sushi bar where guests have front-row seats to observe all the magic that’s being created in the kitchen. The chefs’ delicate craftsmanship is on full display as they slice fresh, carefully selected fish and seafood for nigiri that looks beautiful and tastes delicious. Guests can even choose to eat their shrimp so raw it’s still twitching on the plate. Less adventurous souls still have plenty to choose from – tuna, eel, abalone, sea urchin, boiled shrimp and more populate the extensive menu, and the chefs are happy to provide recommendations.
The fourth floor of an office building isn’t where you would usually expect to find a three Michelin-starred restaurant in Tokyo, but that’s exactly where Ginza Kojyu is located. And there’s nothing businesslike about the experience either, which is a perfect example of Asian haute cuisine, in which delicious dishes are served in private rooms divided by delicate paper screens. The kaiseki menu, a form of traditional Japanese haute cuisine, incorporates only seasonal ingredients, and chef Toro Okuda suggests that sudachi juice and salt should be delicately sipped between courses to cleanse the palate. Reservations are difficult to obtain but worth the wait.
Indulge in all the crab you could ever want at Ginza Kitafuku
Restaurant, Seafood, Japanese, $$$
At Kitafuku, it’s all about crab, which can be seen alive moments before it’s served up. Guests remove their shoes upon entry and are led to one of just three private tatami rooms in the restaurant (reservations are essential). The freshness of each course is apparent in every way and each beautiful, mouthwatering dish is presented with theatrical flair. Make sure you have a couple of hours to spare before choosing the entire king crab, which is served raw, boiled and grilled, including the heart.
Dine on Michelin-starred food at Bulgari Tokyo Restaurant
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
The 10-storey Bulgari Ginza tower not only holds the largest Bulgari store in the world, but also the four-storey, Michelin-starred Bulgari Tokyo. Based on the architectural designs of the Bulgari restaurant in Milan, designer Antonio Citterio has created an elegant dining experience with tall windows offering breathtaking views of Tokyo. Expect fine Italian dining, such as mussel or truffle risotto, prepared with flair.
You’ll need a reservation before heading to Michelin-starred Bird Land Ginza; this upscale yakitori restaurant is deservedly popular for its grilled chicken served on skewers. Unassumingly located in a basement-level room near a subway station, the chefs behind the U-shaped communal dining counter prepare some of the best food in Tokyo. As the name suggests, poultry is the main focus of the restaurant. Chef Toshihiro Wada serves high-quality bantam chickens prepared raw as sashimi or even as liver pâté. Although there are plenty of other choices, customers are particularly encouraged to try the signature yakitori paired with either beer or wine.
Experience a more down-to-earth vibe without sacrificing taste at Sanshuya
Restaurant, Japanese, Pub Grub
Not every eatery in Ginza is about glitz and glam, and sometimes it’s the simplest option that is most worthy of a visit. Sanshuya is a traditional izakaya (Japanese pub), but the quality and attention that are given to each dish rival the famous restaurants around it. Fish and seafood fresh from the nearby markets populate the menu, while laughter and cigarette smoke fill the air. The local vibe here can’t be beaten: patrons come primarily from Tsukiji fish market and nearby office buildings.
Often to the surprise of visitors, Tokyo’s international food offering is excellent in its own right, and that includes authentic Indian cuisine served all across Japan. Annam Indian Restaurant is on par with the other most recommended restaurants in Ginza, so stop by if you’re looking for a break from sushi without compromising your taste buds. Open for more than 20 years, Annam is about as close to actual Indian food as you can get. Gorgeous wooden accents, dim lighting and a high standard of hospitality combine to make the experience feel like fine dining, but the food here comes at a reasonable price. Much of the menu is halal and vegan-friendly.