The former rice granary town has been transformed since the Edo era, and is now home to a community of artisanal shops, leatherwork stores, cafes, tea shops, and restaurants. Kuramae is a hidden gem on the east side of Tokyo, between Asakusa and Tokyo Skytree. During its days as a rice storage area in the Edo period, Kuramae attracted merchants and traders who brought their wares along with them. To this day, the Tokyo neighborhood attracts both locals and foreign visitors who are keen to explore the quaint boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. Let’s scout this granary town and find out where to eat in Kuramae.
Ashi is a little diner that started off as a coffeeshop. They serve a superb line of sake paired with dishes from the Oita prefecture. Ashi serves toriten (chicken tempura) and karaage as well as ryukyu, a dish from Okinawa Prefecture that consists of sliced fish that is marinated in sake, shoyu (soy sauce), and goma (sesame). During lunchtime, Ashi serves teishoku that includes a main dish, three side dishes, miso soup, and rice for ¥1000. Other offerings include their Indian-style Ashi curry and vegetable gyoza dumplings.
For ramen enthusiasts, Ramen Kai is your best bet, with their specialty style of ramen being clam ramen. There’s a distinct umami briny aroma and flavor from the broth, and the noodles are painstakingly handmade, and they are topped with a hard boiled egg, bamboo shoots, seaweed, and a hefty serving of pork chashu. They also make limited edition versions, such as clam chowder ramen and chilled dandan noodles.
Kuramae Genraku Sohonten has perfected its ramen with their addicting shoyu (soy sauce) soup base that’s carefully concocted and boiled for three days, before being and served with meat and fresh vegetables. Genraku’s ramen is known as shoyu ramen, though it is quite similar to the thick pork broth soup, tonkotsu. This Kuramae ramen shop is an old-school ramen restaurant, and inspired branches in Ginza and Shinbashi.
Kuramae is blessed with an authentic Japanese wagashi shop, Eikyudo, established 1887. This little wagashi shop serves sweet delights such as chestnut yokan (a type of red bean jelly), waka-ayu (a thin, trout-shaped crepe-like sweet), bean paste-filled daifuku mochi, and sakura (cherry blossom) mochi in the spring. Don’t know your daifuku from your dango? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Mochi and learn more about the various types of mochi rice cakes in Japan.
Another place to indulge your sweet tooth is Dandelion Chocolate, a chocolate production facility, store, and cafe, where you can see chocolate being made before your eyes. The folks at Dandelion Chocolate pride themselves on making chocolate with single-origin beans, and they are one of only a few stores in the entire world that does so. Their freshly made bean-to-bar chocolate is a must-try, as they take care in every single step, from sorting the beans to roasting, to tempering the chocolate and wrapping them all in-house. Their fudgy gateaux chocolat is highly recommended.
Miwako Bake, meanwhile, is a specialty bakeshop that serves up original cookies and cakes made with seasonal ingredients sourced from all over Japan. Its popularity draws locals, and even foreign visitors, back to taste the treats, like their matcha and black bean cake, flower cookies, and chocolate and nut oatmeal cookies. If you’re not in the mood for sweets, they also have sandwiches and even a spam rice ball!
Coffee lovers can unite at Kuramae, with a wide variety of cafes for your every caffeine need. Sol’s Coffee Stand is sure to perk you up with their signature cup of joe. Situated nearby Kuramae Station, Sol’s Coffee Stand offers several coffee options from their roster of hand-picked, twice-roasted beans. They sell beans wholesale to businesses, have catering services, and offer consultation for those who want to begin their first foray into the world of coffeeshops, even assisting with staff training. Sol’s Coffee Stand is a cute place to grab coffee on the go. Lounge on the couch outside or park yourself on a bench to enjoy your coffee on a breezy sunny day.
If you prefer tea to coffee, Nakamura Tea Life Store is a must-visit place in Kuramae. The store sells organic tea straight from Shizuoka. Not sure of what tea to buy? The store’s staff are more than willing to assist you and let you taste test their products.
Kuramae, with its hodgepodge of charming artisanal boutiques, provides a wide array of stores and cafes that will satisfy your cravings, whether for desserts, coffee or authentic Japanese dishes. With the knowledge about where to eat in Kuramae, go forth and explore this relaxed Tokyo area, south of the major tourist attraction of Asakusa. For nearby cooking classes, food tours, tastings, and more, explore food experiences in Asakusa!
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