Unlike most countries, train stations in Japan are the best places to find top-level grub. Be it under the same roof or right round the corner, you never have to look far.
Whether you’re starting off on your travels or heading home after a long day, it’s a great relief to know that in Tokyo, good food is always close at hand. Train stations are home to some of the best small restaurants in town and usually have longer opening hours, as well as a focus on fast food. Convenience, speed and cost are all high factors for the commuters and cheapos too, and you rarely have to compromise on quality either. Despite eki-ben often getting all the attention, sometimes you want something a little more substantial. We’ve picked out some of the best stations for food in Tokyo so that next time you’re on the tracks, you can hop off for a delicious dinner!
Top 3 stations for choice
Ok, so maybe a little obvious, but Tokyo Station has earned its place on this list without a doubt. The main spots are Kitchen Street and First Avenue, both of which are busy, and busy for a reason. Filled with every kind of restaurant from sushi to pizza to izakaya and everything in between, you can have a quick bite or a sit down meal. For cheap lunch sets keep and eye out for familiar spots like Mango Tree. And if you’re keen to try Japanese food there’s some budget options like Tenya available as well as ochazuke at Saruka the chance to enjoy Sendai beef tongue at Kiyosuke too.
Alternatively, there’s Tokyo Ramen Street which is a selection of 8 of the best ramen restaurants in Japan, all right next door to each other. If you don’t mind queues this is a great place to try out some top-quality dishes, and all for around 1000yen! It’s on First Avenue along with a handful of other restaurants. Talking of ramen, the famous T’s Tan Tan is within the ticket gates of Tokyo Station and offers vegan ramen options. Towards the Maranouchi side of the station are a series of department stores with a huge range of restaurants to try out, often a little less convenience based and higher prices though.
Ueno has more food than you can shake a stick at. with om-rice, soba stands and sushi, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Midori Kitchen is on the 3rd floor of Ecute Ueno (inside the ticket gate) and has a real focus on vegetables and healthy food, with tofu options and multi-grain rice as well as affordable lunch sets.
Maguro Ichidai serves high-quality tuna at a single-counter-style sushi show with a relaxing atmosphere. You can enjoy tuna soup or a tuna rice bowl among other options and be safe in the knowledge that you’re enjoying some top quality tuna without trekking to any markets.
For affordable Kanto-style soba noodles you can head to Kokusannihachisobayouka to enjoy fresh handmade soba served on traditional trays with a variety of soups and toppings. This is a great option for a speedy lunch and is filling too, all while costing way under 1,000 yen a meal.
For something different, there is an Indian option at Sitaara Diner, which had really reasonable lunch sets as well as a cute option of panda toast and coffee or chai in the mornings. Sets come in at under 1,000 yen for lunch (or 1,030 yen if you’re feeling flush) so you can easily stock up for an afternoon of wandering and have change to spare and that toast is 395 yen.
If you’re feeling a little more American you can try the the Hard Rock Cafe which among the usual offerings of burgers and fries has an intriguing Oedo Kakiage burger with tempura and tempura jelly.
Last but not least there is always the trusty Ichiran in the Atre department store, with good tonkotsu ramen. This chain is not to be sniffed at—especially since it’s open 24 hours day.
With a couple of good department stores in and next to the station, specialized streets and lots of one-offs, Shinagawa has plenty of food for its commuters. Within the realms of the station you can explore Ecute and Ecute South, both with plenty of options, with options like Curry Camp Express offering cheap lunch sets. Shinagawa East One Tower has a 9 restaurants to choose from, but the best is the Shikoku-themed Ryoma Kaido which transports you back in time with both food and decor.
If you don’t mind a short stroll for some fresh fish, Masu Kame Izakaya is only 2 minutes from the station, and they get their fish straight from Tsukiji Market as well as serving a great variety of locally brewed sake. Only a few minutes further in the same direction is Okonomiyaki Kiji, a famous okonomiyaki restaurant with reasonable prices, and therefore pretty long queues at times.
Right around the corner from the Takanawa Exit, you will find the gem of Shinagawa’s restaurant scene: Shinatatsu Ramen Street. Similar to Tokyo Station’s, it has seven brilliant restaurants to choose from including spicy Mongolian and black miso.
Top single station restaurants
Ok, so some places don’t have a million options like the stations above, but they do have some food worth traveling for. Here are the top spots that are definitely worth a detour if you’re nearby!
Takao Station – Soba Takao Taisu
This tiny 5-seater soba restaurant sells udon made fresh at their own factory and shipped out each morning to their stores. Soba is the perfect light but filling meal with hot and cold options seeing you through boiling summers and frosty winters. Located right on the platform, it’s open 7am – 8pm on weekdays, 7am to 3pm on weekends and holidays.
Shibuya Station – Drip Curry Meshi
This is a little on the unusual side, but stay with us. Here your instant curry takes a little preparation, being jokingly called the 3rd wave of coffee. Your curry pot is set carefully below a stand and water drips down through a coffee filter giving you a 50% instant curry vibe and a 50% fancy coffee shop feel. It’s a bit more fun than your regular instant food and actually tastes decent, with 15 flavor options including coffee, bonito flakes and maple sugar—all for under 300 yen a pot! You can get your curry fix on the Yamanote platform.
Roppongi Station – Tetsu Ramen
If it’s raining and Roppongi isn’t looking too appealing just yet, you can head to Tetsu Ramen without stepping onto the streets and enjoy some top quality ramen. With vegetarian options including yuzu and a hot stone to warm up your tsukemen if it gets cold, this place is far more interesting than your regular ramen joint. Although it’s not on the platform, it’s in the adjoining building towards exit 3.