Eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, toast and at least two hash browns, not to mention a mug of tea to wash it down with. What is this glorious meal I describe? Why, it’s a full English, with all the trimmings.
Breakfast is a sacred meal, and if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to do it properly. Unfortunately, Japan doesn’t quite . . . do breakfast, not in the English sense of the word anyway. If you want traditional rice and miso at 6 am or a stack of cream-covered pancakes at 11 am you’ll be fine, but for a proper fry up, you’ll have to put a little more effort in. With no greasy spoon cafes offering cheap and cheerful plates, you may find breakfast a little pricier than at home, but when you taste those Heinz beans again you’ll know it’s worth every penny. Just don’t get too excited about black pudding—it’s a rarity in Japan.
1. Captain Cook: Delicious, actually
This British-owned spot is looking to prove that British food is “actually delicious”, and when it’s served like this, it actually is. Alongside bircher muesli and some fancy goings-on with bacon-wrapped avocados, they offer a decent full English with a good focus on quality meat. Using a chunky slice of bacon, two large sausages, a grilled half-tomato, fried mushrooms, Heinz beans and two eggs, it’s certainly a heartier portion than most you’ll find in Tokyo. The restaurant has plenty of breakfast options including Eggs Benedict, a full English baked in bread (yes, you read that right) as well as some more modern options. They have recently introduced a full vegan version, complete with sausages and scrambled eggs and have gluten-free options too, so everyone’s happy!
Wins points for: Vegan and gluten-free options, two refills of tea/coffee included, high-quality meat and hp sauce all round!
Loses points for: If anything, no fried bread or hash browns (#carbsMIA)
Breakfast available: 9 am–2:30 pm (3:30 pm weekends) | Price: ¥1,650
2. World Breakfast All Day: Small but satisfying
Serving up one of the most authentic plates in Tokyo, World Breakfast All Day has a ever-changing menu of international dishes, with a permanent English fixture. The breakfast comes with scrambled eggs, a grilled tomato, baked beans, fried mushrooms, a proper sausage (not the usual chipolata kind), a hash brown and fried bread. This all sounds good right? But there’s one thing missing: the bacon. Alas, nothing is perfect, and this small but delicious breakfast ticks most of the boxes. They use real HP sauce along with Heinz beans and PG Tips, so while the plate is smaller than we might like, you’ll just have to focus on savoring the flavors. They have two locations, one in Gaienmae and one in Harajuku and both offer a lunch set from 11 am–2 pm, which includes tea or coffee for the regular price of the breakfast.
Wins points for: HP Sauce and Heinz Beans—deliciously cooked
Loses points for: A little small and no bacon, no tea included until 11 am
Available: 7:30 am–8 pm (LO: 7:30 pm) | Price: ¥1,400
3. Bills: Pricey but picturesque
Offering balcony seating with city views, Bills is a well-known Australian breakfast chain known mostly for its pancakes. The breakfast may be described as a “Full Aussie”, but as with most Australian things, it’s basically British. Enjoy scrambled eggs, bacon, a pork and fennel sausage, herbed mushrooms and grilled tomato with toast. While the price comes in higher than our other recommendations and doesn’t include tea, it’s good if you’re looking to please a crowd or want more of a brunch feel.
Wins Points for: Location and very good scrambled eggs
Loses Points for: No tea included and the portion is a little light
Available: 8:30 am–11 am | Price: ¥2,200
4. Tiny Toria Tearoom: Crumpets to die for
Ok, so it’s not a full English per se, and you might have to watch out for the china, but this place has a secret weapon. Homemade and able to knock Warburtons out of the park in a single bite, the homemade crumpets are incredible. Served with butter, Marmite or as part of a set with tea, they are the star of the show. Ignore the slightly strange pairing of salad and tuck into the mini-bacon rasher, fried egg and (proper) sausage for some pure comfort in the form of soft, butter-filled holes. If, like us, you cannot physically bring yourself to leave (hangover not required, but helps), then stay for another pot of tea and some fresh scones—you’ll emerge feeling like a new person.
Wins points for: Yorkshire tea, Marmite and incredible crumpets
Loses points for: Not a real full English, but who even cares?
Available: 11:30 am–7:30 pm | Price: ¥1,400
5. The French Kitchen buffet: Quantity and quality
If you’ve got a serious appetite and want to take some time over your breakfast, this is the one for you. Offering over 50 dishes including sausages, bacon, eggs (made to your liking), toast and grilled tomatoes, it’s not quite the fry up but it’s close enough. There are also freshly baked croissants, waffles, salads, cereals and more so you can really make the most of it. A number of nice hotels in Tokyo offer these options, and we won’t list them all, but The French Kitchen at the Grand Hyatt is one of the better value options. The Westin’s restaurant, The Terrace, also has a buffet from 6:30 am to 10:30 am for ¥3,200, which is in Meguro.
Available: 6:30 am–10:30 am | Price: ¥3,700
Our favorite (read: cheapest) maid cafes in Akihabara. These types of cafes are one of Japan’s pop culture icons.