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Located in the basement of a non-descript building in Shinjuku 3-chome, Nakajima is a 1 Michelin star restaurant that specialises in the humble sardine.

The best deal (as with most restaurants) is lunch. Lunch sets start from ¥800 including tax. Options at the time we visited were the Fried Set, Sashimi Set, Nizakana Set, and the Yanagawa Nabe Set which was slightly more expensive at ¥900.

Fried sardine set. | Photo by Gregory Lane

The entrance is easy to spot as there is usually a long queue. This is because they don’t accept lunch reservations—you have to queue up. It also means that they’re quite keen to push you out the door again when you’ve finished so that they can let more people in.

If you visit in the evening, you will need a reservation. As you’d expect, there is a much more extensive menu available in the evening. You’ll pay for the privilege as well—your dinner budget should be over ¥10,000 per person.

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