During our travels around the world we, like all Singerbiters, like to go on food tours. They are, after all, the best way to get to know any destination. Whether its tearing down back streets on a moped in Saigon or visiting secret Parilla restaurants in outer Buenos Aires you always get a better feel for a city when you are sitting down with the locals having a feed.

Recently we were up in Tokyo, one of the world’s best food cities and we took a food tour with Meg and Naoko from Oishii Tokyo. Meg and Naoko lead a small team of guides who are all passionate about one thing. Food. They currently run 4 tours around different neighbourhoods of the Japanese capital. The Tokyo retro tour takes in the less visited area of Koenji and includes plenty of different food stops for the likes of fresh sashimi, yakitori and okonomiyaki. Their Yanaka tour takes place during the day and guests get to visit an 80 year-old house in one of the few surviving neighbourhoods of pre-war Tokyo.   They also offer a tour in Ueno which is not a common place for tourists to visit but is a fantastic spot to try out local steamed scallops, wagyu steak as well as a tour of one of Tokyo’s biggest markets.

We joined the team on their Aka Chochin tour of some fantastic hidden Izakays’s in Tokyo’s Ebisu neighbourhood. All in all we visited about 6 different food outlets, ranging from a high end soba noodle restaurant to a small salary man packed izakaya under the Yamanote train line. We were without doubt eating where the locals eat and thanks to our guides we had no problems with any translation issues or misunderstandings.

This is an area where food tours in Japan come into their own. Whilst everyone knows about the more renowned Japanese cuisine like sushi, sashimi and tempura many aren’t aware of the intricacies of okonomiyaki or tonkatsu. However, the hardest thing for any visitor to the country is often knowing exactly what is going on behind the closed restaurant doors. Usually you need to pop your head in to see what the place is like and at times this can be a bit unnerving as dozens of Japanese faces stare back at you and you wonder what exactly the place sells. Its very easy to just give up and head for MOS burger or a hotel restaurant. This is where Oishii comes in and takes control. They’ve done all of the research, they’ve poked their head around all of the doors and you can rest assured you’re going to some of the best hidden gems in the area.

On our tour we had, sashimi, yakitori, okonomiyaki, soba, sake, Japanese ice cream and a few other things but there was so many choices I can’t remember them all. We were not hungry in the slightest at the end and wouldn’t hesitate to do another tour with these guys.
If you are travelling up to Tokyo and are keen to take one of these tours have a look at www.oishiitokyo.com