Open the window into local cuisine and social life by joining locals at their favorite food spots

Japan’s cuisines and restaurants are varied, and exploring them can be intimidating – especially if you don’t speak Japanese. But you don’t have to do it alone. Create a friendship with locals and a traveller or two over a meal.

Join a local…

For Bar Hopping

From $8 per person + drinks

Join A Local Here

Bar hopping is a popular choice for both travellers and hosts. All bars in Japan have their own unique style and atmosphere, attracting quirky people from all walks of life. As you hop from bar to bar…

READ MORE

you’ll be exposed to various styles and personalities of the city. Absorb as much as you can and appreciate these insights into Japanese subculture. After all, most of them only show themselves at night! Budget ~ 3500 – 4000 yen for drinks on your night out.

At A Sushi Bar

From $8 per person + food

Join A Local Here

You won’t find better sushi than in the Land of the Rising Sun. The atmosphere at your host’s favorite spot sushi spot will be close and personal with a sushi master standing directly opposite you…

READ MORE

skillfully crafting each mouthful of sushi, piece by piece. Otherwise, you may end up in a conveyor belt restaurant which your host has picked based on its outstanding quality and interactive environment. Either way, you’ll be indulging in local sushi recommendations that few visitors manage to find. No grilled salmon with mayo on this menu! Budget ~ 2000 – 2500 yen per person for your meals and drinks at conveyor belt spots, and 4000 yen+ per person for smaller, intimate spots.

At An Izakaya

From $8 per person + food

Join A Local Here

Izakaya are the true delights of Japan that are frequented by locals, but totally hidden from tourists’ sights. Your host will take you to an unassuming spot, which sometimes looks residential…

READ MORE

from the outside, and transforms into a vibrant and communal food haven inside. The izakaya chef is a master of many cuisines, giving you countless flavors to embrace – perfect for adventurous and selective eaters alike. Your host will use their trained eye and experience to take you to only the best. Budget ~ 2500 – 3000 yen for your meals and drinks.

At A Sake Bar

From $8 per person + drinks

Join A Local Here

Sake is one of Japan’s most famous exports. What’s often unknown is the variety of sake available to drink, and how each bar takes on the personality of the owner…

READ MORE

Japanese locals have a treasure chest of sake knowledge, with their own unique preferences that they love to share with visitors. Standing bars, sit down bars, local varieties or stock from across Japan – it’s a truly exciting local experience. Budget ~ 2000 – 2500 yen for your snacks and drinks.

For Regional Cuisines

From $8 per person + food

Join A Local Here

Japan is split into a variety of major regions and then fragmented into more specific areas. Each area has its own preferred meals, cooked by locals at home and enjoyed by visitors at restaurants.

READ MORE

Ishikawa is well-known for its kaisendon – a bowl of sashimi on rice. Hyogo is well-known for its tender beef, and Hiroshima for noodle okonomiyaki. Do you know about each region’s foods? Maybe not, but your host sure does, and they know exactly where to find it. Budget ~ 1800 – 2300 yen for your meals and drinks.

At A Traditional Restaurant

From $8 per person + food

Join A Local Here

You’ll join a local to enjoy the same foods that they grew up eating. Whether that’s a tray with a variety of small foods, kushikatsu (fried foods on sticks), karaage (Japanese fried chicken)…

READ MORE

unagidon (grilled eel on rice) or others, you’re guaranteed to experience the flavors that are close to your host’s heart. The restaurant you visit may have tatami mats (bamboo floor seating), walls of paper separating the tables, and more of that classic Japanese aesthetic. Totally immersive, traditional local favorites. Budget ~ 1500 to 2000 yen for your meals and drinks.

In The Tourist-district

From $8 per person + food

Join A Local Here

Infamous among locals as being the restaurants you always read about on the internet, but no locals actually go to. You’re either walking right into a place full of tourists, or just a plain old tourist trap…

READ MORE

However, the tourist districts are easily accessible, so they’re very convenient. Take a local host along with you – their trained eye will eliminate the tourist traps and take you to the spots that are authentic, local, and delicious. Budget ~ 1500 – 2000 yen for your meals and drinks.

At Some Cozy Cafes

From $8 per person + food

Join A Local Here

The café culture is booming in Japan. With this experience, you’ll be transported into a restaurant that’s near fantasy-like and gives you that warm feeling in your stomach. Japanese cafés are popularizing…

READ MORE

thoughtful plating, calm and warm atmospheres, embracing global coffee styles, and innovating world famous delights like soufflé pancakes that wobble when you breathe. It’s now your turn to experience them, with a host that is passionate about and embraces all that café culture has to offer. Budget ~ 1800 – 2300 yen for your meals and drinks.