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Tokyo travel – Yanaka’s retro restaurants and bars



2020.02.20 (Thu)

Enjoy good food in the relaxed atmosphere of old buildings

By David, long-term Tokyo resident & food-loving traveler

Visit Tokyo’s Yanaka area to travel back in time a little bit. You will not find tall buildings and big developments here. Instead, you will find narrow streets, residential buildings, and small local shops. Many restaurants, izakaya bars, and cafes here are located in older buildings and have a charming retro feel. Here are a few places that serve excellent food and drinks in surroundings that might make you nostalgic.

I recommend that you work up an appetite by taking a walk through Yanaka. Explore the area slowly. It is a great contrast to the futuristic and pop places that Tokyo also has.

Yanaka Beer Hall

As the name suggest, Yanaka Beer Hall has a great selection of beers and is open for lunch, coffee, and dinner. Located on a quiet residential street near the Yanaka Cemetery, it is a great place to stop by on a walk through the area. From the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park it is about a 10-minute walk here. Go past the Former Yoshidaya Liquor Shop and then turn right when you see SCAI the Bathhouse. If you have time, check out the old shop that is now an exhibit and the bathhouse that is now a gallery. Yanaka Beer Hall is located in a few old buildings hidden in the backstreet.

Open 11:00 – 20:30

Address: 2-15-6 Ueno Sakuragi, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Yakuzenkare Jinenjo

This small restaurant serves carefully prepared Japanese curry offered with a selection of condiments. Open for lunch and dinner on most days, you can also stop by for a drink. Yakuzenkare Jinenjo is located a short 5-minute walk from the JR Nippori Station near the Asakura Museum of Sculpture. Combine a meal here with a visit to the former residence and studio of Japanese artist Fumio Asakura.

Open 11:30 – 16:30 & 17:30 – 21:30, on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays 11:00 – 21:30 (Thursdays open for lunch only, closed Mondays.)

Address: 5-9-25 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo


Come to this lovely little place located near Sendagi Station in an old residential home for great udon noodles and sake. You can also enjoy other delicacies like tempura, pickles, and sashimi. Maybe end your day in Yanaka here and sample a few types of sake. Yorokobi is open until late at night.

Open 11:30 – 14:00 (Tuesdays – Fridays) & 18:00 – 2:30.

Address: 1-2-14 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Click the link below to read this related article you might like: “Travel tips for eating and drinking in Japan”

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