Tokyo Night Food Tour in Shibuya

Discover Tokyo's eclectic night food scene with an expert guide
From US$425 privately
Book a Tour
Tour Details
Duration
3 hours
Product Type
Tour
Venues
  • Shibuya
  • Dogenzaka
Photos & Highlights
  • Taste and discover the Japanese Izakaya culture in the heart of Shibuya
  • Led by a local food expert
Select a date
Tour Description
Tokyo’s food scene needs no introduction. While the incredible array of epicurean delights—from world-famous sushi shops to ramen spots hidden in basements—is well documented, navigating this sprawling labyrinth of a city can be difficult for even intrepid travelers. Amazing food abounds but is often tucked away in alleys, unassuming buildings, or train stations. In this 3-hour Tokyo night tour, led by a local expert, we will trek through the neon-drenched, perennially buzzing streets of Shibuya and visit some of the area’s most authentic eateries, sampling their tasty plates and acquiring insider tips on the unique culinary culture of Tokyo.

The Story of Izakayas

Generally relaxed, inexpensive places to drink and enjoy snacks, izakayas have been an essential part of Japanese culture for centuries. The history of izakayas—often equated to pubs or tavernas—traces back as far as the Edo period (1603-1868), when old tea houses began selling sake and allowed visitors to sit down for small plates. In fact, the name ‘izakaya’ originated from a combination of two words: ‘I’ meaning ‘to stay’ and ‘sakaya’ meaning ‘sake shop.’ By the 1970s, izakayas underwent a major transformation; drink lists expanded with the introduction of foreign liquors, while the explosion of salaryman culture led to izakayas becoming the de facto locale for white collar workers to wind down with friends and colleagues over savory bites and drinks.

Tokyo Night Tour

Known for nightlife, youth culture, and a hub for locals and tourists alike, Shibuya is Tokyo’s most iconic neighborhood. Comprised of sprawling avenues and spidery alleys, neon lights and multi-story displays, skyscrapers and microshops, Shibuya’s food scene is as eclectic, interesting, and consistently great as the neighborhood that contains it. We will start our Tokyo Night Tour by observing the famous ‘Shibuya Crossing’ and learning about the area’s unique history, from its namesake family, to its importance to public transport, to the explosion in commerce and development in the 1980s. From Yakitori to Japanese curry buns, we’ll snack our way through the neighborhood’s department store food halls - a surprising gold mine of tasty treats - as well as more hidden-away spots, discovering the flavor of Tokyo while experiencing the city’s modern energy.

Eating Through Shibuya

There are a host of different foods we may try on our Tokyo Night Tour, depending on the proclivities of the group. First, we may stop in to a local hole in the wall for snacks like tempura and hanpen fish cakes, as well as local beer or a hoppy (a beer flavored, low-ABV drink) and shochu. We’ll then stop in Dogenzaka, neon sign-lined street packed with restaurants to talk about the nightlife culture of Tokyo before continuing on to a sit-down restaurant in Udagawacho, where we will glean expert insight on Japanese food etiquette—like when to use wasabi, or chopstick faux pas. We may also venture over to Nonbei Yokocho (Drunkard’s Alley) for craft beer and yakitori—that is, chicken skewers, grilled over charcoal—and hop in a purikura, or Japanese photo booth complete with whimsical additions like themes and filters.

Take Aways

By the end of our Tokyo Night Tour, we will have experienced a side of Tokyo difficult for foreigners to discover. We’ll have tried some emblematic local restaurants and dishes, developed a deeper understanding and respect for Japanese etiquette and meal preparation, explored the humble history of this chaotic heart of Tokyo, and, yes, sampled some of the best food in Shibuya.
 
Note:
Please indicate any food allergies or intolerances in the "additional details" section when booking.


Foodies would also enjoy our Tokyo Food Tour, which includes an introduction to Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji market and tastings along the way.

FAQ

What is a private tour?
Our private tours are limited exclusively to travelers in your party. They are designed to provide a learning experience that is completely tailored to you and your traveling companions. Private tours give you more flexibility with scheduling (you decide when the walk best fits in your trip), the ability to tailor your itinerary (we'll work to match the itinerary to the interests and dynamics of your group), and more personalized time with your guide.


Can the tour accommodate those with allergies or dietary restrictions? 
We do our best to accommodate everyone, but it can be tricky to find tastings to suit all dietary requirements or preferences. Vegetarians can join, but there will be far fewer samples available. We don't necessarily recommend this tour for vegans. If you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, please let us know when you book. We can check in on dishes, order ahead, and do everything possible to ensure you enjoy your tasting and meal. Gluten-free diets are easy to accommodate, but there are trace amounts of wheat in soy sauce, which is common but can be avoided. The more information about your diet and eating and drinking preferences that you can give us, the better prepared we can be for your tour!


Is it okay to tip my guide in Japan?
Yes. Context clients generally tip anywhere from 10-25% of the purchase price of a personal service such as this, depending on the quality of the experience and their tipping habits.
Where You'll Start
138 Reviews (4.77)

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

Going on the tour with photographer and food connoisseur Maciej was a real treat. After we ordered sushi, he showed us his own professional photos to educate us on the the type of fish we were eating and the ways to prepare it. He reserved special tables at restaurants where locals dine and provided a real sampling of the cuisine. I highly recommend taking this tour with Maciej.
Loved the starting point in a grocery store! The information about the spices and baseline of common cooking items was very informative. Maciej was fun and helpful with the food choices presented in front of us. I would definitely book again with Maciej!
Maciej is a wonderful tour guide - and super knowledgeable - would highly recommend this tour!