Eating Out in Japan: Restaurant Guides
While going out and trying different foods at various restaurants is a fun and adventurous approach, using one of the restaurant guides may be a more efficient way to find your dream eatery in Japan. Whether you're in Tokyo, a foodie's paradise with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, or planning to have a meal in any other city, restaurant guides can help you make the best choice for your next dining experience. For your convenience, we've compiled a list of some of Japan's most popular guides.
Japan Restaurant Guides
Website: https://tabelog.com/en (in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean)
Website: https://award.tabelog.com/en (in Japanese and English)
Tabelog is one of the most popular restaurant guides in Japan. Its impressive database of restaurants, user-friendly interface, and search features make it an excellent starting point for exploring Japan’s food scene. You can search for eating establishments by entering criteria such as your dinner or lunch budget, preferred cuisine, payment method, availability of a private room, etc. You can even narrow your search down to restaurants that have an English-language menu! While the restaurant's rating score can be understood regardless of the language you use, the reviews are written in Japanese and are not translated. Although the Japanese version of the website is more comprehensive with useful features such as coupons and online booking options (available for some restaurants), the essential information such as ratings, photos, telephone numbers, etc. can be accessed in multiple languages.
Tabelog Award is another useful feature for finding the finest restaurants based on user reviews. It is available in Japanese and English languages.
Website: https://www.tripadvisor.com (in multiple languages)
Tripadvisor is a popular website for searching restaurants, hotels, rental cars, and other services in many countries around the world. In Japan, you can easily find lots of restaurants using this multilingual and user-friendly website.
Website: https://gurunavi.com (in English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese)
Website: https://www.gnavi.co.jp (in Japanese)
Gurunavi has two websites: one in English, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and the other one in Japanese only. Although a multilingual website is useful for people of various language backgrounds, using Gurunavi that is only available in Japanese seems to allow you to access a greater number of restaurants. Overall, It's a fantastic restaurant guide with many useful features. For reviews and scores, Gurunavi uses the information from Tripadvisor.
Hot Pepper Gourmet
Website: https://www.hotpepper-gourmet.com (English, Korean, Chinese)
Website: https://www.hotpepper.jp (in Japanese)
When it comes to search options, coupons, and other useful information, Hot Pepper Gourmet is an amazing restaurant guide that will make every foodie's life easier. While the English version of the website appears to be lacking in coupons and information that are available in Japanese, you can still make an online reservation, search for restaurants by location, cuisine, among other things.
Website: https://hitosara.com (only in Japanese)
There are many excellent restaurant guides in Japan. What sets Hitosara apart from the rest is the fact that it offers a lot of information from a professional perspective. Each restaurant listed in Hitorasa has a profile of its chef. You can even read reviews written by other professional chefs. Hitosara can be recommended for any foodie eager to explore restaurants serving excellent food.
Website: https://retty.me (only in Japanese)
Retty is a very easy to use restaurant guide with many features such as searching for restaurants based on your budget, preferred area, cuisine, etc. Some restaurants also offer an option of making a reservation online. The website has many reviews allowing you to check out other users’ experience.
Website: https://restaurant.ikyu.com (only in Japanese)
The website displays rating scores for restaurants and contains a large number of reviews. Very easy to navigate through as well as make an online reservation. Ikkyu Restaurants is a fantastic restaurant guide for a fine dining experience.
Website: https://www.ozmall.co.jp (only in Japanese)
Ozmall lists restaurants as well as hair salons, hotels, travel, and a variety of other services. Since our article is about restaurant guides, we will only look at services related to eating establishments. The website can be especially recommended for making a reservation for course meals. It also offers unique meal plans as well as discounts for some restaurants. The website is easy to navigate through and contains reviews with ratings so that you can read about other users' experiences before making a reservation.
Website: https://loco.yahoo.co.jp (only in Japanese)
This restaurant guide's "wadai-do" score is one of its most distinctive and intriguing features. Because it is a score that reflects search trends based on the data from Yahoo Japan, you can always be sure to visit the most talked about eating establishments. Yahoo Loco also offers reviews as well as all the information you need to choose your next restaurant.
In this article, we have introduced some of the most well-known restaurant guides in Japan. Whether you are planning dinner at an exquisite restaurant or looking for a cafe that serves delicious coffee, restaurant guides can help you make the best choice and find the place that suits your needs. Before embarking on an exciting journey to explore Japan's food scene, we also recommend checking our guide to Japanese restaurant etiquette.
For more information about vegetarian and halal food, you can always check our guides to “Halal Food in Tokyo” as well as “Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Tokyo from Casual to Classy.” In case if you opt for delivery, don’t forget to read our article about “English-Friendly Food Delivery Options in Tokyo.”