Side Trips from Tokyo Restaurants

The local specialty in Nikko is a soybean-based concoction known as yuba (tofu skin); dozens of restaurants in Nikko serve it in a variety of dishes you might not have believed possible for so prosaic an ingredient. Other local favorites are soba (buckwheat) and udon (wheat-flour) noodles—both inexpensive, filling, and tasty options for lunch.

Three things about Kamakura make it a good place to dine. It's on the ocean (properly speaking, on Sagami Bay), which means that fresh seafood is everywhere; it's a major tourist stop; and it has long been a prestigious place to live among Japan's worldly and well-to-do (many successful writers, artists, and intellectuals call Kamakura home). On a day trip from Tokyo, you can feel confident picking a place for lunch almost at random.

Yokohama, as befits a city of more than 3 million people, lacks little in the way of food: from quick-fix lunch counters to elegant dining rooms, you'll find almost every imaginable cuisine. Your best bet is Chinatown—Japan's largest Chinese community—with more than 100 restaurants representing every regional style. If you fancy Italian, Indian, or even Scandinavian, this international port is still guaranteed to provide an eminently satisfying meal.

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  • 1. Beer Mountain

    $$$

    This beer hall is Mt. Takao's only full-fledged restaurant and serves a prix-fixe two-hour, all-you-can eat, all-you-can drink buffet meal that is a hodgepodge of...Read More

  • 2. Bergfeld

    $

    This German bakery serves cakes and cookies that are surprisingly authentic—the baker trained in Germany. There are a few small tables outside, and cozy tables...Read More

  • 3. Cafe Omnibus

    $ | Naka-ku

    Omnibus serves up an impressive selection of gourmet sandwiches and deli plates in the airy lobby of Yokohama's Historic former Dai-Ichi Bank Building. The building...Read More

  • 4. Enokitei Honten

    $$ | Naka-ku

    Located in one of the area's few remaining historic Western-style houses an Enokitei is a relaxing stop for sweets or a light meal. The interior...Read More

  • 5. Gyoshintei

    $$$

    This is the only restaurant in Nikko devoted to shojin ryori, the Buddhist-temple vegetarian fare that evolved centuries ago into haute cuisine. Gyoshintei is decorated...Read More

  • 6. Hachinoki Kita-Kamakuraten

    $$$

    Traditional shojin ryori (the vegetarian cuisine of Zen monasteries) is served in this old Japanese house on the Kamakura Kaido (Route 21) near the entrance...Read More

  • 7. Houtenkaku Shinkan

    $$$ | Naka-ku

    This no-frills eatery serves up excellent sheng jian bao (Shanghai-style fried dumplings) and other casual Shanghai cuisine all day long. The open kitchen is behind...Read More

  • 8. Kaikin Hanten

    $$$ | Naka-ku

    In contrast to many of the meat-heavy choices in Chinatown, this Cantonese restaurant specializes in fresh, flavorful seafood dishes. Menu highlights include the shrimp-shiso spring...Read More

  • 9. Kaiseiro

    $$$$

    This establishment, in an old Japanese house, serves the best Chinese food in the city. The dining-room windows look out on a small, restful garden....Read More

  • 10. Kaisen Misaki-ko

    $$

    This kaiten-zushi (sushi served on a conveyor belt that lets you pick the dishes you want) restaurant serves eye-poppingly large fish portions that hang over...Read More

  • 11. Kamakura Udon Miyoshi

    $$

    Serving up some of Kamakura's best handmade udon noodles and tempura, this unpretentious restaurant is a good bet for quick and satisfying lunch. Miyoshi also...Read More

  • 12. Kaseiro

    $$$$ | Naka-ku

    Chinese food can be hit-or-miss in Japan, but not at Kaseiro. This elegant restaurant, with red carpets and gold-toned walls, is the best of its...Read More

  • 13. Kyorai-an

    $$

    A traditional Japanese structure houses this restaurant known for its excellent Western-style beef stew along with homemade cheesecake, pastas and local wines. Half the seats...Read More

  • 14. Meiji-no-Yakata

    $$$

    Not far from the east entrance to Rinno-ji temple, Meiji-no-Yakata is an elegant 19th-century Western-style stone house, originally built as a summer retreat for an...Read More

  • 15. Nantai

    $$

    The low tables, antiques, and pillows scattered on tatami flooring make visitors feel like they're dining in a traditional Japanese living room. Try the Nikko...Read More

  • 16. Roma Statione

    $$$ | Naka-ku

    Opened more than 40 years ago, this popular venue between Chinatown and Yamashita Park is Yokohama's source for Italian food. The owner, whose father studied...Read More

  • 17. Sawamoto

    $$$

    Charcoal-broiled unagi (eel) is an acquired taste, and there's no better place in Nikko to acquire it than at this small and unpretentious place with...Read More

  • 18. Scandia

    $$$$ | Naka-ku

    This Scandinavian restaurant near the Silk Center and the business district is known for its smorgasbord. It's popular for business lunches as well as for...Read More

  • 19. Shunotei Hira

    $$$$ | Naka-ku

    The area of Motomachi is known as the wealthy, posh part of Yokohama; restaurants here tend to be exclusive and expensive, though the service and...Read More

  • 20. Yokohama Cheese Cafe

    $$$ | Nishi-ku

    This is a cozy and inviting casual Italian restaurant, whose interior looks like an Italian country home. There are candles on the tables and an...Read More

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