“You have to taste a culture to understand it” ~ Deborah Cater.
Are you thinking about taking one (or more) food tours in Tokyo? I’m sure you know one of the many things Japan is famous for is food! It’s no secret that Japanese cuisine is some of the best in the world, and there are ample new things to devour that you may not have seen (or heard of) at home.
Part of being an invisible tourist is learning more about the local culture through cuisine. It’s such a fun, enriching way to discover new foods, try the freshest local specialties and find out why they’re a significant part of local culture.
But with dozens of neighbourhoods and a slight language barrier in Japan, it may seem intimidating at first to go it alone to the cool, hidden spots locals hang out. Will a Tokyo food tour help with this? And should you make the time to add one to your Tokyo itinerary?
In short, you bet! Never fear, I’ve tried-and-tested my fair share of Tokyo food tours during my multiple trips to Japan, and have broken them down in this article to help make your selection process easier.
Having learnt so much about Japanese food and culture through these kinds of tours, I can honestly say they have opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and helped me gain the confidence to be more adventurous with my food selections – and I hope they do the same for you.
If you want to find out the best food tours in Tokyo, what they entail and how you can “blend in” amongst locals, read on for more!
This guide to food tours in Tokyo will cover…
I experienced the following tours as press invites. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Scrumptious food tours in Tokyo you need to experience
Home to over 36 million people making it the globe’s largest populated city, it’s obvious that Tokyo is one of the best places to visit in Japan for foodies. In no particular order, allow me to present the best Tokyo food tours I believe are worth the time!
Tours for discovering the best ramen in Tokyo
My fellow ramen lovers: Would you like the chance to meet a Tokyo ramen expert? You can’t beat someone who lives and breathes ramen, eating about 300 bowls per year!
Frank from 5am Ramen & Tokyo Ramen Tours is so knowledgeable about ramen, he had answers about this beloved dish I didn’t know there were questions about.
Allow yourself to be guided to 3 underrated ramen shops in the Shibuya neighbourhood and sample 6 mini bowls while learning the lengthy history, diverse ingredients and more.
A word of warning – come HUNGRY. There is a LOT of ramen to devour, I was so full afterwards! My favourites were the curry ramen and basil ramen… Two dishes with flavours I didn’t think would work but were executed brilliantly.
TIP: I usually do not eat pork at home as I dislike the flavour, however pork in Japan tastes better than my home of Australia, so I ate every bite on this tour!
More experiences offered by Tokyo Ramen Tours
I was so impressed with my experience, I’ve teamed up with Tokyo Ramen Tours to give my readers a discount when using the code Invisible5 at the checkout on the following tours:
Where to find the best street food in Tokyo
Scattered amongst the shadows of modern skyscrapers dominating the Shibuya neighbourhood are hundreds of small eateries oozing old-world charm. This is where you can find the best street food and learn about why things are the way they are today!
Having a local guide from Arigato Japan on hand will give you the confidence to try new things.
Visit a stand up sushi bar, stock up on dagashi (Japanese snacks), enjoy wagyu beef at a Japanese barbeque, enjoy exploring old and new yokocho (laneway of eateries), even have a go of flipping your own okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake) before trying a traditional Japanese dessert.
I’ve spent more time than the average tourist in Shibuya during half a dozen visits. This tour helped me understand things hiding in plain sight and how to see my favourite Tokyo neighbourhood from a new perspective!
My favourites on this tour were the BBQ wagyu, cucumber with miso paste and flounder nigiri. SO many incredible flavours to enjoy.
TIP: 5 years ago I would never have touched unagi ウナギ (eel). But having read about its health benefits and knowing most things taste amazing in Japan, I tried the unagi temaki pictured below, based on my guide’s recommendation and LOVED it.
Is this tour for you?
Eat your way around old town Tokyo
Did you know there is an Edo-era neighbourhood that survived the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the firebombing of Tokyo during WWII? There’s no need to travel all the way to Kyoto or Kanazawa in search of old-world nostalgia, Yanaka has it all!
The Yanaka area of Tokyo is bound together with a strong community spirit and is laden with small, inter-generational stores selling local specialties in foods, handicrafts, clothing, sweets, and is dotted with ancient temples and shrines.
Make sure you come along hungry to this Arigato Japan tour… As well as sampling numerous fresh, traditionally-made snacks along the way, your local guide will share details of this charming area all before a full lunch at a specialty restaurant.
My favourites on this tour were the baked “cat tails,” senbei crackers and outstanding lemon yuzu. Definitely a must-try!
Is this tour for you?
Make your own wagashi & enjoy a Tokyo tea ceremony
This is one of the most memorable Tokyo food experiences I’ve undertaken! As an add-on to the Yanaka tour I mentioned above, you can make your own wagashi (traditional Japanese sweet) and take part in a relaxed tea ceremony.
This experience is extra special because the tea house is over 100 years old. What’s more, I was able to learn how to make wagashi and enjoy the tea ceremony conducted by a 5th generation tea master!
Having made my own wagashi now, I have so much more appreciation for these beautifully handcrafted sweets.
Is this tour for you?
More Tokyo food tours offered by Arigato Japan
Enjoy hidden Tokyo bars only locals know about
Do you love bar hopping (pub crawls) as much as I do? Naturally, the best way to find bars only locals know about is to have an actual local show you!
A bar hopping tour around trendy Shibuya with a local from MagicalTrip is guaranteed to be a fun experience. I’ve taken several tours with them throughout Japan and they are always a blast!
I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of food and alcohol on the Shibuya bar hopping tour, it was much more than I had anticipated actually. If you’d like to avoid a hangover the next day, maybe go a bit easier on the sake tasting than I did, haha.
If you’re travelling solo in Japan as I often do, joining a small group tour is so much fun to have a night out with fellow travellers and a local who can take care of the ordering!
Naturally, my favourites on this tour were the blow-torched niku sushi and grilled onigiri with melted butter.
Is this tour for you?
More food tours in Tokyo offered by MagicalTrip
Have some extra time? Food tours as day trips from Tokyo
Why not make a day of it and enrich your trip with a foodie experience just outside Tokyo?
Hop on a morning bullet train and explore Fujinomiya, the unseen side of Mt Fuji! Once the ancient starting point for pilgrims climbing the sacred mountain, read my full review of things to do in Fujinomiya and book your own Famous Fujinoimya food tour here →
Wine lovers, this one is for you! Jump on the bullet train down to vineyards around Mt Fuji and enjoy sampling wine made with spring water from this iconic mountain. Book your Yamanashi wine day trip here →
- Fuji City
Eat your way around an old Post Town on the Tokaido Trail during a Fabulous Fuji City Local Food Tour →
Learn how to find your zen, more about local culture and delicious local food on a Gotemba Local Hidden Gems Tour →
Make your way south to coastal Kamakura, one of Japan’s ancient capitals. Enjoy a lunch in a temple, sample street food along the main street and learn the history about this beautiful destination from a local guide. Read my Kamakura day trip review and book your Kamakura foodie day trip here →
FAQ about food tours in Tokyo
Where is the best street food in Tokyo?
I’d like to say everywhere! Although, the most popular places in Tokyo to find street food are Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Asakusa, Shimbashi and Yanaka.
How old do participants need to be?
Check with each tour company directly to confirm as they vary, but most food tours can accommodate small children. However, to join tours with alcohol, participants need to be 20 years or older (the legal drinking age in Japan).
How much time is required for food tours in Tokyo?
On average, most of these tours are around the 3 hour mark so it’s easy to plan the rest of your sightseeing day around them.
What are the prices of Tokyo food tours?
Depending on the tour you select, its duration and whether transport is included, the price range for most of the tours I’ve mentioned is around 100 – 200 USD.
Considering you’re paying for some of the world’s best food, expert knowledge and a few hours of your guide’s time, I believe that’s quite fair.
Concluding the most scrumptious Tokyo food tours
Small group tours with local guides are the perfect way to blend in, enjoy local specialties and meet like-minded travellers. It’s wonderful to know your money is going directly back into the local communities of the places you visit, which is an important part of being a more responsible (and invisible) tourist.
There are food tours available in most popular Tokyo neighbourhoods, as well as some lesser-known to foreign tourists. Even foodie day trips from Tokyo can be arranged if you have some extra time!
Which of these food tours in Tokyo do you most want to try? If you have any questions about any of these tours or Japanese food culture, feel free to ask me in the comments below to help create your Japan food tour itinerary.
How is your Japan trip planning coming along? I’ve got you covered for where to stay in Tokyo, do’s and don’ts in Japan, shared how to learn Japanese for tourists (and free cheat sheet!), detailed 2 week and 3 week itineraries and much more on my Japan travel blog. Take a look once you’re done here for more ideas!
Until next time,
This guide to the best food tours in Tokyo contains some affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase and if you do, thanks for your support! This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. As always, I only recommend a product or service that I genuinely love and use myself!