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Omoide Yokocho

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This tiny bustling alley is an interesting throwback to post-war Tokyo of the 1950s when a lively underworld of black markets and bars thrived along Shinjuku backstreets. Literally translated as Memory Lane, Omoide Yokocho is a small lane crammed full of tiny bars serving good, cold beer and sake and simple but tasty grilled chicken skewers called yakitori. The staff are friendly but don’t expect any English-speaking, instead just point to the foods you wish to order and enjoy this very Japanese experience.

  • Opening Hours: Varies with each vendor, generally 17:00 til late
  • Subway: Shinjuku station, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi lines
  • Address: 1-2-11 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
  • Cuisine: Yakitori
  • Price Range: Budget
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Nakajima

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Awarded one star by the Tokyo Michelin Guide in 2008 Nakajima is regarded as an excellent traditional Japanese restaurant. The lunch sets at Nakajima may be your only opportunity to sample Michelin rated food at budget prices, then at night the prices return to the luxury bracket. The menu features regional food mainly from the Kansai region but innovative chefs including apprectices from prestigious cooking schools all over Japan, add their own creative flair to the menu.

  • Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 11:30 -14:30, 17:30-22:00
  • Subway: Shinjuku station, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi lines
  • Address: 3-32-5 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
  • Tel: 03-3356-7962
  • Cuisine: Traditional Japanese
  • Price Range: Lunch: budget, Dinner: luxury
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Genpin

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The blowfish served at Genpin is so fresh it is literally still wriggling on the plate before you. The fishtank at the entrance to the restaurant is home to your meal, until you single out the fish you want. The chef then expertly slices away the toxic poison and serves up tender slivers of the delicacy in a number of tasty creations.

  • Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 16:00-24:30; Sun & Hol: 12:00-24:30
  • Subway: Shinjuku station, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi lines
  • Address: 2F, 3-8-2 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
  • Tel: 03-3341-9529
  • Cuisine: Fugu
  • Price Range: Lunch: affordable, Dinner: pricey
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Botejyu

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This long-established okonomiyaki restaurant first opened in 1946 in Osaka and is credited with being the first to use mayonnaise on the pancake. At Botejyu you don’t have to cook the okonomiyaki yourself, just sit back and relax watching an expert do it for you right at your table. Portions are generous so visit Botejyu when you are hungry.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 10:00-23:00
  • Subway: Shinjuku station, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi lines
  • Address: B1F, Shinjuku Subnard Bldg. 1-2-2 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku
  • Tel: 03-3348-5322
  • Cuisine: Okonomiyaki, Monja
  • Price Range: Budget
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Itamae Gokoro Kikuura

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This restaurant is so popular you will need to make a reservation at least a week in advance of your visit. The izakaya has a very traditional atmosphere and specializes in small creative Japanese seafood dishes. There are also very satisfying ‘don’ rice dishes and tempura. You can watch the chefs prepare everything from sashimi and sushi to tempura and beef steak.

  • Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 11:30-13:30, 17:00-22:30
  • Subway: Shinjuku station, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi lines
  • Address: Fuji Bldg.18 1F, 7-16-3 Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
  • Tel: 03-5389-5581
  • Cuisine: Traditional Japanese
  • Price Range: Lunch: affordable, Dinner: pricey
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Fukinuki

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For eel that melts in your mouth visit Fukinuki and order a bowl of unagi-don, eel on rice served with soup and pickles. The soft, buttery eel is cooked in the Hitsumabushi Nagoya style, a specialty of the house since 1923. The meal is complemented by great views of the Shinjuku skyline from the 14th floor of the Takashimaya building.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 11:00-23:00
  • Subway: Shinjuku station, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi lines
  • Address: 14F Takashimaya Times Square, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shinjuku-ku
  • Tel: 03-5361-2028
  • Cuisine: Unagi
  • Price Range: Affordable
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Tsunahachi

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Well established Tsunahachi has been a favourite among locals for over 80 years. With mostly counter seating you will be constanly entertained by the chefs preparing the various tempura items that you order. You can also just sit back and enjoy whatever the chef serves you; fish, prawns, clams, tofu and vegetables, all with authentic flavour and three dipping sauces for extra taste. 

  • Opening Hours: Daily 11:15-22:00
  • Subway: Shinjuku station, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi lines
  • Address: 3-31-8 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
  • Tel: 03-3352-1012
  • Cuisine: Tempura
  • Price Range: Lunch: budget, Dinner: affordable
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Uogashi Nihon Ichi

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This tiny sushi bar has standing-room only but serves some of the best sushi in the Shinjuku area. Find a counter spot and enjoy hot tea before ordering the sushi you prefer from the chef who will make it on the spot for you. He will understand most common choices tuna, salmon, mackeral in English otherwise simply point to your choice among his ingredients. 

  • Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00-23:00; Sat-Sun 11:00-22:00
  • Subway: Shinjuku station, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi lines
  • Address: 1-12 Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
  • Tel: 03-3349-1739
  • Cuisine: Sushi
  • Price Range: Affordable
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Chacha Yufudachi

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Favoured by Japanese women for its healthy menu of seasonal Kyoto ingredients, Chacha Yufudachi is an elegant izakaya style restaurant with wooden interiors, paper doors and warm glowing lantern-light. The food is beautifully served in elegant ceramics and pottery and includes some interesting dishes like mackeral with sweet and sour sauce, salad with tuna and cow tongue or crab-flavoured tofu. 

  • Opening Hours: Daily17:00-01:00
  • Subway: Shinjuku station, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi lines
  • Address: 6F Kawano Bldg., 3-26-18 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
  • Tel: 03-5368-6302
  • Cuisine: Izakaya
  • Price Range: Pricey
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Kohmen

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With 12 ramen shops throughout Tokyo, Kohmen is a local favourite serving delicious pork ramen with three different types of noodles and delicious homemade dumplings. Each Kohmen restaurant is an individual, designed by some well known architect. At the Shinjuku branch each seat has a small TV monitor showing the latest pop music videos. Desserts are also available including the house specialty; a mysterious “magic pudding.”

  • Opening Hours: Daily 11:00-17:00
  • Subway: Shinjuku station, Oedo, Shinjuku and Marunouchi lines
  • Address: 2F, 3-32-2-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
  • Tel: 03-5919-1660
  • Cuisine: Ramen
  • Price Range: Budget
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