We are visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, and Kanazawa in December/January with some side trips to Yokohama, Osaka, Nara, and Shirakawago. We have been to Japan previously as a couple, but this time we would be traveling with our 3 kids (ages 6, 6, and 3). As someone who obsessively researches “best of” foods for each category whenever we travel internationally, I wanted to ask for your recommendations on restaurants that would still be doable for a larger party like us. I understand we probably cannot do counter only seatings / tiny restaurants as we don’t want to occupy most of the space. Cost wise, we would also stay away from restaurants where there is an expected set menu high-spend per person as the kids still don’t usually get their own full-sized entrees. Given that it’s winter, waits longer than 30 minutes are also not ideal, unless it’s something where you can just get a number / put your name down and come back later. So in general, more comfortably sized restaurants, reasonable pricing (max US$30ish entrees), not out of the way, but still a place a self-respecting Food Talk Central member would be okay eating at. =)
What would be your recommendations for the following categories? Any other foods I’m missing? Any other unique places to try? We are coming from Los Angeles so we do have access to pretty good Japanese restaurants and even branches of some Japanese chains.
-Ramen (all kinds but we have chains like Afuri, Nagi, Tsujita, Menya Hanabi in LA)
-Tonkatsu (have tried Bairin and Tamafuji in the past)
-Sushi (conveyor is fine too) - love the fatty, oily stuff like mackerel, toro, etc.
-Yakiniku (any of those AYCE wagyu places good? or any must-try places for Kobe/Hida beef? we can splurge a little here)
-Tempura - seems so pricey in Japan, not sure why, but can try it once
-Donburi - Gyudon/Katsudon comfort food
-Japanese style pasta
-Soba/Udon - prefer hot versions
-Bread (both Western and shokupan styles)
We would also prefer not to have to drag the kids around to far off places just to eat at a restaurant. In general, we will be near tourist areas (Ginza, Odaida, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Roppongi, Akihabara) with our hotels in Ginza and Shinjuku. I don’t mind making reservations if necessary.