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A Foodie in Search of Restaurants he would Continually go Back to:
Takashi Tomiya's Top 10 Restaurant Recommendations in Japan

A Foodie Searching for Restaurants to Continually go Back to

Takashi Tomiya is President of HAYARUKA Co., Ltd., which operates "HAYARUKA(ハヤルカ)," a crowdfunding platform specializing in food and drink. As an expert in business development and marketing, he serves as an executive and advisor to several companies, including IT, finance, and manufacturers, and makes use of his experience in restaurant management to support startup chefs, event planning, and business consulting. A foodie who travels the country in search of "restaurants he would keep going back to for the rest of his life."

Began his Gourmet Journey in 2001 and Visits 400 Restaurants a Year, Mainly in Tokyo

During his mid-20s, when working as a consultant for a company in the restaurant business, Tomiya started visiting restaurants in Tokyo every night as part of his research. From famous starred-restaurants to casual restaurants, Tomiya has visited thousands of restaurants. However, in recent years, he visits around 400 restaurants a year in and around Tokyo, from restaurants serving sushi, Japanese cuisine, and meat dishes. He has visited all the prefectures in Japan and is familiar with local restaurants in Osaka, Sapporo, Kanazawa and Fukuoka. Although he actively searches for new restaurants, Tomiya also relies on "fate" and "compatibility" with the chefs, and frequently re-visits the restaurants he has enjoyed based on his belief that "you can feel the real goodness of the restaurant only by going there."
Introduces Recommended Restaurants through Beautiful Instagram Photos

He not only uses his experience from visiting many restaurants for his own business, but also makes recommendations on Instagram when he thinks, "I want many people to know about this good restaurant." Tomiya does not rate the restaurants but rather, expresses the delicious food through beautiful, expertly-taken photos. His hope is for people to refer to his Instagram photos when they are looking for restaurant recommendations in Tokyo.

Click Below for Tomiya’s Social Media Accounts

Japanese Cuisine Tagetsu
A great restaurant to visit, with the hospitality to satisfy all guests

Carefully prepared dishes are the feature of Chef Mochizuki's cuisine. After the kombu is completely drained, shaved bonito, made at the restaurant, is added to the dashi in a bowl to increase its fragrance. In winter, it is served in a special way, allowing guests to fully enjoy the flavor of the dashi. Seasonal ingredients are also added, such as red sea bream from Wakasa, Shogoin daikon from Kyoto, and yuba Shinjo.


A Japanese restaurant just a few minutes walk from Omotesando Station in Tokyo. It is located on a path in the quiet Aoyama area. They serve various dishes made with carefully selected seasonal ingredients, directly brought in from all over the country. The broth is made with the skills of the owner who studied Chakaiseki. What is noteworthy is the hospitality and flexibility. While the restaurant serves seasonal dishes, they also offer various cuisine to meet customer's requests. The counter seats where you can have a conversation with the owner are recommended, but there are also private rooms which can accommodate various occasions, such as business gatherings and family celebrations. This is a typical "restaurant to visit" where you can be satisfied with whoever you visit with and for whatever purpose.


Takumi Sushi Owana
A sushi restaurant to visit on any occasion, where you can casually enjoy the chef's skills inherited from a famous restaurant

Located about 3-minutes' walk from Ebisu Station, "Takumi Sushi Owana" is a sushi restaurant where you can enjoy the chef's delicate craftsmanship in a relaxed atmosphere. The counter, cypress ceiling, and bright lights create a clean space. The restaurant uses red vinegar and white vinegar depending on the ingredients and changes the acidity according to the temperature of the day.


Owner-chef Owana was trained at the famous "Sushi Sho" in Yotsuya. The course meal is omakase, and the restaurant serves carefully prepared side dishes, alternately with nigiri. Here you can experience the genuineness and care of the owner, evident when preparing Saikyo grilled conger eel as a snack, or making smoked fish with its distinct aroma. By the end of the course, the chef can understand your preferences and will introduce ingredients to match your palate. If you have time, you should not miss the famous "Broiled red bream skin," "An-Kimo and watermelon narazuke" and "Ohagi" (chopped tuna nakaochi with takuan pickled radish), dishes which have been inherited from the chef's training. There is a private room where you can enjoy time with your guests or family. On Sundays, the restaurant opens at 3pm, allowing guests to enjoy sushi from early afternoon. Please feel free to visit this restaurant.


A new "Takigi Washoku" (Japanese cuisine prepared using firewood) restaurant where you can enjoy unique, wood-fired cooking techniques

The omakase course is served with "smoked Japanese food," and can be enjoyed with carefully selected beef, vegetables, and fish from around the country. The course is finished with "rice cooked in an earthen pot." The wine served by the sommelier is mainly French wine, such as champagne, white wine, etc., with some featuring aromas from the barrel. Japanese sake is selected to match the flavors of the kelp and bonito stock used in the cuisine.


A wood-fired Japanese restaurant located in a residential area with a nostalgic atmosphere, close to Azabujuban Station in Tokyo. The restaurant opened in May 2019, and its name quickly spread among serious foodies. There are six counter seats, and the soft warmth from the wood-fired oven, together with the appetizing smell of the smoke, will excite you. The food is part of the Yakiniku Kappo "Nikusho Horikoshi" and consists of a course that features carefully selected domestic beef. One of the signature dishes, "Steamed chateaubriand with rice" is a dish that will make you smile, both at the appearance and the taste. The seasonal vegetables and seafood are amazingly delicious, and the dessert is also made using the wood-fired oven, allowing you to completely experience the style of cooking. This is one restaurant that will catch your attention.



The new world of Edomae-style sushi expressed in 30 pieces of nigiri sushi

Unlike the recently popular standard sushi course, that features both side dishes and nigiri sushi, this restaurant follows the original style of Edomae sushi and only serves nigiri sushi. The omakase course starts with hand-rolled sushi, made with a rare part of the fish, called "Tossaki" (the part of the tuna between the head and the body), and vinegared rice wrapped in the highest quality dried seaweed from Ariake. The sushi itself, with its condensed umami of seasonal fish, is essentially 30 masterpieces.


Owner-chef Sato, the first owner of Ginza "Sushi Tokami," opened "Hakkoku" in February 2018. It is characterized by the red vinegar rice, with its strong umami flavor, and matching ingredients, served with precision. The course meal consists of 30 nigiri sushi, where the taste and texture changes, and the balance of ingredients and rice and serving speed are adjusted ensure you will enjoy the course right until the last piece. The specialty "Tossaki hand-rolled sushi" display's the owner's attentiveness and ingenuity. You can also enjoy the finest tuna from Toyosu's tuna-broker, "Yamayuki." Sous-chef Saito, who spent 15 years as a sushi chef and 5 years making Japanese cuisine, also has many fans because of his friendly personality. This is a restaurant dedicated to the Edomae-style which you can visit regularly to enjoy delicious and creative sushi.


A 2-star Chinese restaurant that uses Chinese cooking techniques to express the abundance of Japanese ingredients

A restaurant, bringing "Chinese cuisine in Japan" to the world, that uses seasonal Japanese ingredients and Chinese cooking techniques, such as charcoal grilling. The menu features two dishes with two different kinds of baby pigeons from Ibaraki Prefecture. The pigeon thighs are cooked over charcoal in a modern way but, using traditional techniques unique to Chinese cuisine.


A Chinese restaurant inside the renovated house of a former ambassador's residence, located in a quiet residential area of Minamiazabu. Chef Kawada has trained at the famous Chinese restaurant "Nagae Azabu" and the 3-star Japanese restaurant "Ryugin." The restaurant's dishes are characterized with a delicate finishing of rich ingredients expressing Japan's four seasons, and prepared using Chinese cooking techniques. You can enjoy refined yet memorable "Chinese cuisine," such as the fragrant charcoal grilled baby pigeon, shark's fin in rich chicken soup, and spicy fried chicken with lots of chili pepper and Sichuan pepper. The wine pairing by sommelier Mr. Ueno is excellent, and in addition, tea pairing is also popular. If you inform the restaurant in advance, you can also enjoy fried rice and mapo tofu in addition to the course meal.


Attractive food presented in a number of beautiful bowls that "brings out" the flavor of the ingredients

Customers can feel a close connection to the owner of this restaurant, who is said to own another famous restaurant, due to the very detailed attention to the ingredients. It serves a menu that focuses on fish dishes based on the idea of "there are not so many delicious things in the world."


Araki-cho in Shinjuku, Tokyo, is a place brimming with excellent restaurants. The restaurant first opened in Roppongi in 2009 and moved to its current location in February 2016. The name of the restaurant, "Seika," is derived from Suda Seika, the pottery of Kutani-yaki. The owner has a large collection of bowls that he has collected over the years, including rare items from renowned artists. Based on the concept of "there is only a limited amount of really delicious food," the types of ingredients used throughout the year are fixed. However, the "best of the best" ingredients are purchased from time to time, prompting the cooking methods to be changed accordingly. The restaurant is characterized by beautiful bowls, carefully-prepared soup stock, with its umami flavor brought out through skillful techniques, and, not to forget, the slightly large portions. It is a restaurant that you will want to visit all-year round to fully enjoy the taste of the season.


A modern restaurant serving small dishes made with seasonal ingredients, that can be enjoyed by yourself

A restaurant that serves small, multi-plate style dishes, which is rare for Chinese cuisine. About 25 dishes of various styles are served in turn as though you are traveling across the vast land of China as part of a meticulously crafted, gourmet journey. The restaurant's new style of pairing includes water, Chinese tea, and sake.


A creative Chinese restaurant located in a back alley of Roppongi, Tokyo. There are only counter seats, so you can fully enjoy the live atmosphere of the open kitchen. The omakase course consists of 25 to 30 original small plate dishes made with Japanese and French techniques. The restaurant mainly serves Chinese dishes, such as classic stewed shark fin, Peking duck and truffle steamed dumplings, as well as dishes using high-class ingredients like abalone and lobster. The alcohol pairing consists mainly of wine, champagne, Shaoxing wine, sake, etc., of which there are around 10 different kinds. In regards to Chinese cuisine, I usually have the image of ordering a large plate and sharing with many people, but at this restaurant, I am so happy that I can enjoy many kinds of dishes on a date or by myself.


A counter Kappo restaurant inheriting traditions from a famous restaurant, where you can enjoy the food at a leisurely pace

There are only 6 counter seats. With a desire to provide meticulous service, such as serving dishes facing the guest and at a specific distance from the counter, the restaurant is in the "Counter-Kappo" style of cooking.


A Japanese restaurant in Ningyocho, Tokyo, was opened in February 2019 by Mr. Kawata, who trained for a long time at "Isetsu," from the well-known Japanese restaurant "Kyoaji." The restaurant only serves omakase course made by the owner himself. The cuisine, made by the chef who is talented at homemade cuisine using seasonal ingredients and traditional ingredients, is something you won't get tired of it eating. The earthenware pot rice at the end of the course is made with seasonal rice and white rice, and you can enjoy a variety of dishes a little at a time. Undoubtedly, this restaurant will become very popular, so it is one place you should visit soon.


Sushi Sakai
Sophisticated 3-star authentic Edomae-style sushi in Fukuoka

The restaurant serves an omakase course with around 6 side dishes and 12 nigiri sushi. Ingredients include fresh fish from the local area, as well as high quality seafood from all over Japan, shipped by air on the same day. As for the side dishes, the "Pufferfish sashimi with An-kimo sauce," which is only available from October to March, is especially popular. The lean tuna meat nigiri, marinated with red vinegar, is recommended for guests to enjoy the ever-evolving Edomae-style sushi.


An Edomae-style sushi restaurant in the Nishinakasu area of Fukuoka. The owner-chef Sakai studied under Nagano, the former head chef of the famous "Sushi Umi" in Aoyama, Tokyo, for 7 years before becoming independent. The restaurant uses local Kyushu ingredients and other delicacies from all over Japan. When I visited in early summer, I noticed a lot of Tsushima ingredients in the side dishes, and the bonito tataki, flounder and sardines were delicious. The rice that is used with other first-class ingredients, is characterized by its moderate elasticity, and the flavor of the red vinegar is not too strong. These reflect the seamless techniques of the owner, and the unique type of sushi made can only be enjoyed here. As for nigiri, Yobuko's big fin reef squid, Fukuoka's sea bream kombu jime, and Shimane's horse mackerel, were impressive. It is difficult to make a reservation as it won 3 stars, but this is one restaurant I would definitely like to visit again if I go to Fukuoka.


A new star in Hokuriku and Kanazawa, worth traveling to

The "dashi" features superb, premium ingredients from the Hokuriku region, and the katsuobushi is specially ordered from Kagoshima Makurazaki. The bonito flakes used are very delicate because when the bonito is caught, care is taken to ensure the net doesn't touch the fish. The soup stock is made with the bonito fakes, kelp from Rishiri and Kafukahama, and spring water from wisteria. The soy sauce is made from 100% domestic soybeans. The best ingredients in Kanazawa are combined to create unique dishes "that can only be enjoyed here."


A Japanese restaurant in a charming area along the Asano River in Kanazawa, where the owner himself carefully collects special ingredients from the Hokuriku region. They serve simple yet elaborately tailored dishes. In autumn, Matsutake mushrooms harvested in the morning from Noto Peninsula are grilled in foil to bring out the umami. There is a dish that is memorable for every season, such as the Kano crab that has plenty of miso and is nicely grilled in the shell, during winter. You can feel the hospitality of the owner not only in the food, but also in the location, the interior, and the bowls. There is nothing wrong with visiting Kanazawa, simply for the purpose of dining at "Kataori."


Part of the photos credits to Tomiya.

Information is as of 1st October, 2019.

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