Shibuya Tokyo Food Scene with Arigato Japan Retro Food Tour
Shibuya is one of the most famous districts of Tokyo and you simply have to visit this area on a trip to Japan.
Shibuya is popular for its mega crossing and neon lights, but if you dig a little deeper you can find many hidden gems when it comes to Japan’s retro past and its popular food scene.
From standing up bars, old ramen shops and Japanese BBQ grills to a candy shop with unlimited buffet, you will have loads of different dishes to try for all types of taste buds on this tour.
I teamed up with Arigato Japan Food Tours who helped to show me the retro food side of town.
If you visit Tokyo, Japan, you have to discover the lively Shibuya area. Without a guide, you could easily get a little lost with the large crowds. It can be a little overwhelming at times so be sure to take it easy whilst taking it all in.
Why not take a guided tour? This way you can let an expert tour guide show you the must-visit retro food spots of Shibuya.
This unique food tour around Shibuya, Tokyo will surely leave you with many tasty memories which will make you miss Japanese food when you return home.
Let’s explore the retro food scene of Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan.
How did you book your food tour around Shibuya
For this food tour, I booked a guided group tour through Arigato Japan Food Tours. It’s nice to go on a guided group tour for solo travellers so you can meet other travellers who are also discovering Japan at the same time.
Arigato Japan Food Tours offer guided food tours not only in Tokyo but all around Japan. The tours are worth checking out if you wish to understand the Japanese food scene a lot better.
I’d heard good things about Arigato Japan Food Tours from other travellers and read many positive reviews online and was happy with my choice.
I took the Retro Shibuya – Local Hidden Gems tour with Arigato Japan Food Tours.
Japan can be confusing at times and that is what makes this country so fun to explore. Having a guided tour can help to enhance your understanding of this wonderful nation, especially when it comes to food.
I found the best deal booking through Voyagin and found many daily tours and activity options to fit well with my Tokyo and Japan itinerary.
Meeting at Shibuya crossing by the Hachiko dog statue
My tour meeting spot was next to the iconic Shibuya crossing and the statue of Hachiko. It is a popular meeting spot with a bronze statue honoring Hachiko, the famously loyal Akita dog (I will leave the story for your guide to tell if you haven’t seen the movie which the story of the dog is based on).
Just a word of warning, the Tokyo metro can get busy at times so plan ahead and arrive early to your tour as the groups leave on time.
Meeting time was 15:45, and the tour started at 16:00 and ended around 19:00.
The tour will last around 3 hours, and it will take you around the back streets and hidden spots of Shibuya.
You will try around 12 local snacks and dishes and the tour price includes a few added drinks as well.
This tour will take you back to the Showa era, and you will discover some special spots from Tokyo’s retro past.
The tour is set in the evening and will show you places around Shibuya that you simply wouldn’t be able to find on your own.
At the end of the tour, you have the option to go off and explore Shibuya by yourself. Be sure to stick around, the night is still young. After the guided tour it’s easier to navigate in the area.
Starting the tour with a classic Tachinomi
We start off our tour by visiting a Tachinomi which is a Japanese standing bar where you can enjoy a drink in a classic way.
Tachinomi is a combined word: “tachi” meaning stand and “nomi” meaning a drink. Shibuya is a popular spot to find many of these types of bars. Normally located next to train stations, Tachinomi have grown in popularity amongst salary workers looking to enjoy a relaxing drink or two before commuting home after work.
Often seen as no frills, these kinds of bars offer a sanctuary for those wanting to escape the rat race for a moment, and drinks are often enjoyed with a selection of bar snacks with friends.
Enjoy a tasty bowl of retro ramen
Next on the tour, we visit a famous ramen shop which has been around for over 60 years. Ramen has become popular throughout the years and you can trace the origins back to shops like the one you will visit which has a rich history.
This location was featured in a popular manga series about a salaryman, which has helped grown attention to this location.
Enjoy a tasty bowl of ramen followed by a plate of fried dumplings called gyoza which go really well together with a glass of beer.
Head down a Shibuya back street and experience a unique blast from the past at this iconic ramen location.
After you’ve enjoyed your bowl of ramen you will find your way back to the main street and learn about the history of Shibuya dating back to the Showa era and discover some special spots from Tokyo’s past. Here you can buy some souvenirs as well if you wish.
A hidden izakaya spot worth checking out
I have to say, without this tour I would have never been able to find this next hidden gem. The entry to this izakaya (Japanese pub) is tucked away on a floor level and the izakaya itself is located high up in the building. Here you will find a selection of izakaya snacks to choose from.
The moment you enter and leave the lift, it’s like being transported back in time. Enjoy some tasty local dishes and drinks in this retro setting.
Choose a sake, beer or highball (whisky soda) as well as a selection of fried/BBQ grilled snacks and enjoy the retro wonderland.
A sweet finish with our surprise dessert experience
We end the tour by trying a taste of Japanese nostalgia. It took me back to my own childhood when I used to get my weekly pocket money and could go down to the local corner shop to fill up a plastic bowl with the candy that I wanted to enjoy over the weekend.
This location takes this childhood concept and turns it into a buffet! The only difference is that all the candy and snacks you can choose are from Japan’s confectionary past. Pick up a basket and fill it up to your heart’s content.
You can spend up to three hours here sampling all the local treats you can possibly consume. Brace yourself as you’re in for a long feast.
It’s such a lovely experience as you can try all these little candy and snack packets which are all different and unique.
As most of the packaging is in Japanese, it’s nice to have a local guide explain all the different flavours. Squid flavoured crisps, anyone?
This is such a fun experience to try in Japan as you will find yourself getting lost amongst all the unique snacks and candy to try. One for the curious traveller, for sure.
Thank you for checking out my food tour review around retro Shibuya
I appreciate you stopping by and checking out the review post of my food tour around Shibuya. It’s a super fun way to explore this part of Tokyo and I hope you have a lot of fun doing the same.
If you have any further questions about Tokyo or Japan, do let me know and feel free to send me an email and I will do my best to help.
Have a wonderful time exploring Japan.