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Three Lunch Spots in Omoide Yokocho, a Retro Drinking Area in Shinjuku

Aug 23, 2018

Omoide Yokocho is a historical drinking area near the West Exit of Shinjuku Station that is lined with bars and yakitori (skewered grilled chicken) stands. Office workers and tourists alike flock to this retro tourist spot. Although it is most popular after five, there are also a few shops open for lunch. In this article, we would like to introduce you to three lunch spots in this popular drinking area.

Kameya (Soba Noodle Restaurant)

Although there are a lot of soba (buckwheat noodle) restaurants in Shinjuku, the 24-hour shop Kameya is one of the most popular.

The most popular dish is the traditional Ten-Tama Soba. The soba noodles are topped with slightly sweet onions, vegetable tempura and a soft-boiled egg, which all go wonderfully together in the dashi (fish) based broth. The soba noodles are freshly made and boiled so they are still have some elasticity to them – much better than soggy soba noodles! The best part is that this dish is super cheap – these soba noodles topped with so much are only 420 yen!

As lots of tourists from overseas visit the shop, they have an English menu so that you can place your order easily!

Address: 1-2-10 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo-to
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday-Saturday: Open 24-Hours
Closes at 3:00AM on Sunday and Reopens at 6:00AM on Monday

Gifuya (Chinese Food and Bar)

The next lunch spot is Gifuya, which can be entered from both the path in the center of the area and the path closest to the train tracks. Reasonably priced and delicious, this Chinese restaurant is truly enjoyed by all.

They offer a wide variety of dishes, including noodles, fried rice, gyoza (fried dumplings) and tons of snacks that go well with alcohol. Their top recommendation is their Pork, Kikurage (Cloud Ear Mushroom) and Egg Stir-Fry (570 yen). The creamy egg and crunchy kikurage go so well together that you won’t be able to stop your chopsticks! Gifuya’s snacks that go well with alcohol and side-dishes that go well with rice are also delicious, so you can enjoy a full meal at this restaurant.

Address: 1-2-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo-to
Hours of Operation: 9:00AM-1:00AM
Telephone Number: 03-3342-6858

Kikuya (Izakaya - Japanese-Style Bar)

If you’re drinking in Japan, you’re likely going to hear the word “Chu-hai”, which is the short-form of “Shochu Highball”. Shochu is liquor distilled from barely, sweet potatoes or rice, and a highball is alcohol –usually whisky - mixed with club soda. Although Chu-hais can now be found almost anywhere that serves alcohol, it is said that this drink originated at Kikuya, a bar in the area that stands out with a big red lantern decorated with the shop's name out front.

Other than their original Shochu Highball, they also serve Japanese sake, shochu, skewers of grilled chicken and vegetables, pork cutlets, sashimi and more.

On weekdays, from the time the shop opens until 6PM, you can get a 500 yen drink set. This set includes either their original shochu highball or draft beer and your choice of side dish (motsuyaki, potato salad, bean sprouts or pickled Chinese onions). Motsuyaki, seen in the picture above, is offal stewed in miso. It’s very delicious – it’s soft and smells great, so if you’re looking for an “only in Japan” food, this is it!

Please note that this restaurant serves an “ootoshi”. This is an appetizer that each customer must pay for – think of it as a table charge. This is a system that is often found in Japanese-style bars, and is generally non-negotiable. Make the most of your late lunch and and enjoy a drink or two along with it!

Address: 1-2-4 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo-to
Hours of Operation: 3:00PM-12:00AM
Telephone Number: 03-3342-5928

Omoide Yokocho is very close to Shinjuku Station, so it is a great place to get lunch at a reasonable price. If you’re not on the clock, why not grab a drink as well?

Location information

Omoide Yokocho

The Shinjuku West Exit Shopping District is often called Omoide Yokocho or Yakitori Yokocho. The area got its start as a market where the shops were separated by a wall made of a single layer of wood …

1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Telephone number
Hours of operation
Varies according to the establishment

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