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  • Laura Kaiser

Where to Find the BEST Hidden Street Food in Tokyo

When exploring Tokyo, it is essential to try its street food. However, where to find the best street food in Tokyo is not a simple question to answer. Among countless districts, markets, and shopping streets, it's difficult to know where the best street food is. From Tsukiji Fish Market to Harajuku’s Takeshita Street – there are plenty of famous street food areas in Tokyo. In this guide, we'll delve into the lesser-known areas, revealing where to find street food in their secret corners. So, fasten your seatbelts as we navigate off the beaten path and explore some culinary secrets of Tokyo.

a crepe shop display on Takeshita Street in Harajuku
Takeshita Street in Harajuku is FULL of crepe shops - you won't be able to escape! I Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Hidden Treasures of Asakusa

Now, this first entry doesn’t exactly seem like a hidden gem. Asakusa is one of the most visited districts in Tokyo due to Senso-ji shrine and its generally traditional feel. Nakamise-Dori Street leading up to the famous shrine, is incredibly packed with mouthwatering street food…and, therefore, tourists too. However, venturing into Asakusa’s side streets, you can explore its more well-hidden alleyway street food joints and stalls.

a view of a fully packed Nakamise Street in Asakusa
Nakamise Street, more often than not, is fully packed with people making their way to the temple

From savory treats like imagawayaki (sweet, filled pancakes), yakitori (grilled skewers), and takoyaki (octopus balls) to sweet indulgences like taiyaki (fish-shaped cakes) and freshly fried senbei (rice crackers), these charming backstreets in Asakusa provide a taste of traditional Japan. This is where you can immerse yourself in a local experience, away from the crowds.

Togoshi Ginza - Tokyo's Longest Shopping Street

Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street, nestled in the Shinagawa Ward of Tokyo, is a delightful pocket of local charm that offers a unique shopping and street food experience. This lively street stretches for 1.3 kilometers, hosting an array of traditional shops. With its over 400 shops, this makes it Tokyo's longest shopping street! What truly sets Togoshi Ginza apart is its delicious street food scene. Here, you can sample takoyaki, yakitori, and many other Japanese snacks such as kare pan and onigiri.

Togoshi Ginza Shopping Street
Not many tourists know about this hidden gem, although it's where you can find some of the best street food in Tokyo

It's just a stone's throw away lies Musashi Koyama Street, renowned for its cozy izakayas. The proximity of these two vibrant streets makes it a perfect one-two punch for those in search of a culinary exploration of Tokyo's lesser-known neighborhoods. We actually offer a Street Food Tour of those two areas ourselves! With us, you can try 7 different types of delicious Japanese street food fresh from the local stalls. If you’re interested, check out more about the tour here.

A yakitori stand with several types of yakitori on display
Yakitori is just one of the Japanese foods you can find here at Togoshi Ginza

Way Off the Beaten Path - Jujo Ginza Street

With a big jump up north to Kita ward, we find ourselves on Jujo Ginza Shopping Street. This arcade spans approximately 800 meters and is lined with an assortment of family-run businesses, and cozy cafes. Jujo Ginza boasts a delectable street food scene, with vendors serving up savory delights such as karaage (fried chicken), okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), and taiyaki (fish-shaped cakes). This hidden gem of a shopping street is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic and peaceful slice of Japanese life.

A bag filled with three karaage (Japanese fried chicken)
Karaage might not be the healthiest, but it definitely is one of the most delicious street food snacks out there!

Where to Find Tokyo's best SWEET Street Food - Taishakuten Sando

Another less often visited ward is Katsushika, and within Katsushika, Shibamata is most certainly a big hidden gem. The historical Taishakuten Temple is not only a wonderful sightseeing spot not found on many tourists’ bucket lists, but its surroundings also offer a culinary adventure. Lying adjacent to the temple, Taishakuten Sando stands as an enchanting alley that invites visitors to explore the beautiful fusion of tradition and modernity.

An old shop in which ame (Japanese candy) is being made
Ame or Japanese candy is sold by many very old shops along the street I Source: Wikimedia Commons

Here, you can delve into a myriad of classic Japanese street food offerings. From crispy tempura to traditional sweets like dango, dorayaki, and yokan, the local vendors ensure that your taste buds embark on a delightful journey. For those craving a cool treat, there's no shortage of delightful ice cream flavors to choose from. For an experience that captures history and tantalizes the senses, Taishakuten Sando is a must-visit destination.

"Granny's Harajuku" - Sugamo's Jizu-Dori Street

Last but definitely not least, Sugamo's Jizo Dori Street, often affectionately referred to as "Granny's Harajuku," is a hidden treasure in the heart of Tokyo. Beyond its reputation as a popular shopping destination for the elderly, Jizo Dori Street boasts an array of delightful street food offerings. As you wander through the cozy alley, you'll encounter a variety of traditional Japanese treats, from senbei (rice crackers) to sweet potato croquettes and freshly baked imagawayaki (filled pancakes).

The entry gate to Jizu Dori Street in Sugamo
Though referred to as "Granny's Harajuku", you should not miss out - even if you're not a granny yourself! I Source: Wikimedia Commons

As we conclude this culinary journey through Tokyo's hidden street food gems, we hope you're inspired to explore these lesser-known areas, savor their authentic flavors, and uncover the cultural richness that lies just beyond the tourist hotspots.

Tokyo's diverse street food scene will forever leave a mark on your memory, reminding you that the most treasured moments often occur where you least expect them. So, venture off the main streets, explore the secret corners, and indulge in the surprises that Tokyo's hidden culinary world has to offer.

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