Japan’s Top 20 Restaurants According to International Visitors

Toyama Bay sushi

The top 20 restaurants in Japan according to bookings by international visitors have been announced by global restaurant booking website, OpenTable.

The global online restaurant booking website has published a list of the top 20 Japanese restaurants according to number of reservations by international visitors. The ranking is based on a survey of over 1,600 Japanese restaurants listed on the website, and includes a wide variety of cuisines, from Japanese kaiseki ryori (traditional multi-course meal) to American, French and Italian food.

As part of the survey, the results were analysed to find common characteristics of restaurants that were popular with international visitors from two key aspects: “food” and “service”. For the “food” aspect, perhaps unsurprisingly, the common feature of restaurants favoured by international visitors was “food that can only be eaten in Japan”. Restaurants offering meals such as kaiseki ryori, sushi, tempura, yakitori or dishes and ingredients that can only be enjoyed in Japan, such as Kobe beef steak, tended to be more popular. The survey also found that offering wine improved a restaurant’s chances of being highly rated by users.

Yonezawa beef

Owner-chef at Kaikaya, the top-ranked izakaya (Japanese pub) in the Open Table ranking, Mr. Tange, said, “It seems that international visitors are gathering information about restaurants in advance before they come to Japan in search of unique dining experiences that they can only have in Japan. Quite a few people come to our restaurant after reading reviews and comments on booking websites. If we can get them hooked then we can get even international visitors to come back again.”

For the “service” aspect, it was found that providing polite and friendly customer service, English menus and staff who can provide customer service in English, and good views while eating improved restaurants’ ratings. For example, at Kaikaya, which is based in Tokyo’s central Shibuya district, illustrated English-language pamphlets with hand-drawn illustrations by Mr. Tange himself showing the cooking methods of the food served by the restaurant and the best ways to eat each dish are placed at each table.

Kaiseki ryori, Kyoto

Meanwhile, at in-house Japanese restaurant Touzan, based inside Kyoto’s Hyatt Regency hotel, the chefs chat with customers across the kitchen counter as they work, explaining the menu in English. Since the restaurant is in-house, multi-lingual tablets are also placed in guest rooms, creating an environment in which it is easy for staying guests to find and order what they want to eat.

Although the majority of the restaurants on OpenTable’s list are based in Tokyo, there are a handful of entries in Kyoto too. In Tokyo, Japan’s most popular restaurants are based in a mix of neighbourhoods that are popular with international visitors and residents alike, such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Hiro and Roppongi, and upscale neighbourhoods that are well-known for their high-class culinary and other offerings, such as Ginza, Azabu, Aoyama and Daikanyama.


If you’re planning to visit Japan and are in search of a memorable and unique Japanese dining experience from both the point of view of food and service, then you could do much worse than by booking an unforgettable meal at one of these top 20 restaurants in Japan. All of the restaurants on the list can be booked simply and easily via OpenTable's English interface: https://m.opentable.com/

 Restaurant name  Category  Location  Website
 Eatrip   Organic food  Shibuya, Tokyo  restaurant-eatrip.com/
 Kaikaya  Izakaya  Shibuya, Tokyo  www.kaikaya.com/
 Kobe beef Kaiseki 511  Kaiseki ryori  Akasaka, Tokyo  www.a511.tokyo/
 Kozue Park Hyatt Tokyo  Kaiseki ryori  Shinjuku, Tokyo  tokyo.park.hyatt.com/Kozue
 Zaou Shinjuku  Seafood/kaiseki ryori  Shinjuku, Tokyo  www.zauo.com/
 Cedros  Seafood/kaiseki ryori  Daikanyama, Tokyo  cedros.jp/
 Charcoal grill Kobe beef Ikuta  Yakiniku (grilled meat)  Shinjuku, Tokyo  www.oztable.net/ikuta (Japanese only)
 Zurriola  Spanish food  Ginza, Tokyo  zurriola.jp/ (Japanese only)
 Touzan - Hyatt Regency Kyoto  Japanese food  Kyoto  kyoto.regency.hyatt.com/Touzan
 Two Rooms Grill Bar  American food  Aoyama, Tokyo  www.tworooms.jp/
 Trattoria Sette - Hyatt Regency Kyoto  Italian food  Kyoto  kyoto.regency.hyatt.com/TrattoriaSette
 Nadaman Shangri La Hotel Tokyo  Japanese food  Marunouchi, Tokyo  www.shangri-la.com/nadaman/
 New York Grill Park Hyatt Tokyo  American food  Shinjuku, Tokyo  tokyo.park.hyatt.com/NewYorkGrill
 NOBU Tokyo  Fusion food  Toranomon, Tokyo  www.noburestaurants.com/tokyo/
 Birdland Ginza  Yakitori (grilled chicken)  Ginza, Tokyo  ginza-birdland.sakura.ne.jp/ (Japanese only)
 Fukuzushi  Sushi  Roppongi, Tokyo  
 Mikawa Zezankyo  Tempura  Fukuzumi, Tokyo  mikawa-zezankyo.jimdo.com/
 Union Square Tokyo  American food  Roppongi, Tokyo  www.unionsquaretokyo.com/
 La Bisboccia  Italian food  Hiro, Tokyo  labisboccia.tokyo/ (Japanese only)
 L’Effervescence  French food  Nishi-azabu, Tokyo  www.leffervescence.jp/

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