12 Best Michelin Star Restaurants in Tokyo

12 Best Michelin Star Restaurants in Tokyo

There’s nowhere better to find the excellence that Japan delivers than in the Tokyo Michelin star restaurants that exist in the heart of Tokyo.

Like any foodie-adventure, you’ll find great food, but also food snobs. Some restaurants welcome folks new to Japan’s cuisine, but others will be offended if you skip portions—especially things that might turn your stomach (like shirako).

It's worth your time reading this Michelin guide, or guides like this, before starting down the path to booking your dining reservations, so you'll know what to expect.

Most Michelin-star restaurants are built around their chef. Take the time to read up on their background. If they’ve worked in Europe or the US, then you’re likely to be well understood. If they’ve trained in Japan and are in a long lineage of domestic chefs, then you may be in for the “black belt test” of Japanese cuisine.

Some hints for a successful dining out experience:

  • You can’t dress up too much.

  • Right on time is the perfect time to arrive.

  • If nobody else is photographing their food, don’t.

  • Keep your phone and gadgets off the table.

  • Keep your voices down.

  • Drink all you want.

  • You are welcome to try and talk to the chef and staff, but not the other customers.

  • You can ask for a fork.

  • Eat all the rice. They will offer you a refill, and it’s flattering to them if you ask for a refill (okawari), but you better eat it all.

  • If you are asked for any preferences, don’t give them. Just say “osusume onegaishimasu” (whatever you suggest).

Ryugin (3 Michelin stars)


Ryugin menu

Nihonryori RyuGin, a Tokyo staple for 20 years, aims to present Japanese cuisine with the spirit of Wa (和), or “harmony” (“Nihonryori” means “Japanese cooking” and RyuGin comes from the Zen term, “Ryugin Unki”).

Chef and owner Seiji Yamamoto infuses his cooking with pride in Japan and its ingredients, with a commitment to using no chemical seasonings or artificial flavors. The tasting menu changes daily and can be paired with wine, sake, or a selection of teas.

RyuGin doesn’t offer counter seats, so this is an experience best for pairs or small groups. Reservations can be made online or by phone within 2 months of the desired date, though the restaurant does not offer substitutions, so picky eaters or those with food allergies may want someone who speaks Japanese to call on their behalf to verify they can eat everything.

  • Price range: $300+ per person.

  • Hours: Dinner service only.

  • Address: 7F Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, 1-1-2 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 100-0006

  • Phone number: +81-03-6630-0007

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Kanda (3 Michelin stars)

Kanda restaurant

Kanda's home page

Everything at Hiroyouki Kanda’s three-star restaurant has been carefully curated, from the artwork and garden to the omakase course menu, which features inventive pairings of classic Japanese ingredients. The ambience is unmatched, and even those well-versed in Japanese cuisine will find something new in the deceptively complex flavor combinations.

With only 17 seats, Kanda is an exclusive and intimate experience. Children under 18 are not allowed to sit at the counter, but are welcome in private rooms, which can be booked for an extra charge of around $215.

Reservations at Kanda are tough to get. While there is an online reservation system, it only opens up periodically, so working with a concierge service such as MailMate’s bilingual assistant service can help you pounce on reservations when they are available.

  • Price range: $350 per person plus service charge.

  • Hours: Dinner service only.

  • Address: Toranomon Hills Residential Tower 1F 1-1-1 Atago, Minato-ku, Tokyo

  • Phone number: +81-03-6459-0176

Joël Robuchon (3 Michelin stars)

Joël Robuchon restaurant

Joël Robuchon restaurant

Anyone with an Instagram account will be enthralled by the colorful French cuisine masterpieces put forth at Robuchon’s Tokyo outpost. Housed in a French chateau in the Yebisu neighborhood, the restaurant’s interior is immaculate, presenting a formal dining room and environment for the revered chef’s French cuisine.

While not the most traditional Japanese choice, Robuchon is a household name for a reason. Those more accustomed to Western flavor profiles may be more comfortable here, with aspirational French ingredients like caviar, snails, lobster, and of course, plenty of bread and cheese.

Reservations can be made online but must be re-confirmed the week of. If you’ve never dined at a Michelin-starred restaurant before, Joël Robuchon is probably what you imagine it to be. This is one to show up hungry for.

  • Price range: $200-$500+ depending on time of day and course selection.

  • Hours: Lunch and Dinner service available.

  • Address: Yebisu Garden Place, 1-13-1 Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-0062, Japan

  • Phone number: +81-03-5424-1347

Usukifugu Yamadaya (2 Michelin stars)

Usukifugu Yamadaya

Usukifugu Yamadaya restaurant

You may have heard of fugu, the Japanese pufferfish, due to its reputation for being poisonous. It’s true that much of the fish’s meat can be deadly, and only trained chefs can serve it. But fugu is available in many Tokyo restaurants, and Usukifugu Yamadaya has a reputation not only for being safe, but they earned their two Michelin stars for presenting this delicate fish in its most delicious form.

As far as the taste: don’t be scared. Fugu is a rather mild, flaky white fish like cod or trout. It does require skill to bring out its flavor, which is why if you’re adventurous enough to try it, you need a chef like Yoshio Kusakabe, who serves the famous blowfish in more than a half-dozen different ways.

Due to its singular focus, this isn’t the best choice for large groups that include picky eaters. But if you want a meal to tell everyone back home about, Usukifugu Yamadaya is a rare and unique experience. Reservations can be made by phone, though availability of English staff may vary.

  • Price range: $60-$130 for lunch, $90-$130 for dinner, not including drinks.

  • Hours: Lunch and dinner service available.

  • Address: 5-kumi Minatomachi hon-dori Usuki Oita, 875-0041

  • Phone number: +81-0972-62-9145

Kohaku (3 Michelin stars)

Kohaku restaurant

Kohaku restaurant

Chef Koji Koizumi was the youngest three-star Michelin chef in Japan when his restaurant gained this impressive accolade, and this Shinjuku restaurant is a small hidden gem that aims to take diners on a journey through Japan’s culinary possibilities with a seasonal menu featuring new twists on ingredients like nodoguro, or blackthroated perch, a fish I’d never heard of before moving here but is found in some of the country’s best restaurants.

Reservations can be made online, but require you to register for a rather inconvenient system. Foreigners may benefit from MailMate’s bilingual assistant service to confirm the reservation and provide allergy information.

The website also has an extensive guide to etiquette, and diners should read this page before visiting to understand the proper decorum regarding photos, perfume, and table manners. Those completely unfamiliar with Japan may feel a bit of culture shock at Kohaku, but there’s no better way to feel you’re truly immersing yourself in a new country than a personal experience where the chef has overseen every aspect, right down to the carefully-chosen tableware.

  • Price range: $400 for omakase menu.

  • Hours: Dinner service only, closed on Sundays.

  • Address: 1F, 3-4 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

  • Phone number: +81-03-5225-0807

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Ginza Kojyu (2 Michelin stars)

Ginza Kojyu restaurant

Ginza Kojyu restaurant

Chef Toru Okuda attempts to replicate the feeling of Japanese seasons with food and fresh ingredients the country is known for, presented as authentically as possible. Sea urchin in the shell, somen noodles, edamame, tofu, harusame, and charcoal-grilled proteins are just a few of the delicacies prepared here.

Ginza Kojyu's small space includes eight counters seats and three private rooms, including one tatami (bamboo floor) room for a truly Japanese experience. There is only one course option, with chef-selected seasonal dishes that feature prized Japanese ingredients like Wagyu beef or Classic Bushi bonito flakes, which are matured in a room where Mozart is played for the aging fish blocks.

The Japanese restaurant does not accept online or phone reservations from customers overseas. In order to secure a reservation before your visit, you’ll need a concierge service, either from a hotel or from MailMate’s bilingual assistant service, which can make and manage reservations on your behalf.

  • Price range: Around $300 per person for lunch, $500 per person for dinner.

  • Hours: Lunch and dinner service, closed Sundays.

  • Address: Carioca building 4F, 5-4-8 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061

  • Phone number: +81-03-6215-9544

Tempura Kondo (2 Michelin stars)

Tempura Kondo restaurant

Tempura Kondo restaurant

You’ve probably had tempura, crispy-battered fish and vegetables, at sushi joints in your home country. But you’ve never had it like this, prepared in front of you at the counter at Tempura Kondo, a restaurant specializing in what you may not realize can be a high-end dish.

Instead of the thick batter usually used for tempura, chef Fumio Kondo employs a light flour-based batter that doesn’t absorb too much oil. The chef focuses on local vegetables, precisely timing the frying to bring out the flavor without overcooking. The signature sweet potato tempura will change the way you think about this Japanese staple.

Tempura Kondo does have an online reservation system where you can indicate allergies and other preferences and will organize your experience accordingly. However, due to the restaurant’s small size, you cannot make changes to your reservation and must pay in advance. Luckily, this is one of the more affordable options on our list, so you won’t be out so much if you’re unable to make it—you’ll just be missing out on some delicious tempura.

  • Price range: $60-$90 for lunch, $100-$160 for dinner.

  • Hours: Lunch and dinner service, closed Sundays.

  • Address: 104-0061 5-5-13 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo (Sakaguchi Building 9F)

  • Phone number: +81-03-5568-0923

L’Effervescence (3 Michelin stars)

L’Effervescence restaurant

L’Effervescence restaurant

Holder of not only three Michelin stars but also Michelin’s Green Star award for sustainability, L’Effervescence prides itself on the artisanal producers that supply its seasonal ingredients. The restaurant aims to create an atmosphere that transports diners to a forest oasis in the middle of the city and displays an appreciation for nature.

Head chef Shinobu Namae’s menu incorporates French fine dining influences while centering dishes around traditional Japanese ingredients. A look at the restaurant’s Instagram page reveals gorgeous dishes like Sasanishiki risotto with américaine sauce, sea urchin, spiny lobster, and turban shell, or Tokachi Royal Mangalica pork wood-fired over local mizunara oak with sauce aigre douce, green pea and wasabi puree, and canola flower. Ask for the matcha and see a beautiful production of art, movement and tea.

Reservations must be confirmed within a week of the date of arrival or risk cancellation and a charge of 50% of the course rate per person (100% in the event of a no-show). If your trip schedule is overly hectic or you don’t plan to have phone service while traveling, MailMate’s bilingual assistant service can help with confirming reservations.

  • Price range: $250 per person for chef’s tasting course, plus service charge and drinks.

  • Hours: Lunch and dinner service, closed Sunday and Monday.

  • Address: 2-26-4 Nishi-azabu, Minato-ku Tokyo,106-0031

  • Phone number: +81-03-5766-9500

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Sublime (1 Michelin star)

Sublime restaurant

Sublime restaurant

If you’re seeking contemporary fine dining, look no further. Utilizing classic ingredients from French and Scandinavian cuisine, Sublime’s menu offers something different from traditional Japanese fare, with dishes like beef tartare, Chateaubriand, and dry-aged venison with purple carrots. But the one Michelin star menu also contains Japanese staples like yellowtail and pear (if you’ve never had Japanese pears, you haven’t lived) presented in a manner unlike anywhere else.

Without much in the way of a web presence, Sublime is another restaurant that foreigners may have trouble getting reservations for without a concierge service like those at high-end hotels or the bilingual assistant service offered by MailMate. If you can get in here, you’ll likely be the only one of your friends who’s tried it.

  • Price range: $100-$200 per person, a la carte.

  • Hours: Lunch and dinner service.

  • Address: 3-3-9 Higashiazabu Annex Azabujuban 1F, Minato 106-0044

  • Phone number: +81-03-5570-9888

Other places that punch above their weight and may be a little easier to get into

Some of the best restaurants in Tokyo don't necessarily have the most Michelin stars. Here are some of our lesser-known favorites.

Le Sputnik (1 Michelin star)

Le Sputnik menu

Le Sputnik menu

A feast for the eyes as much as the stomach, the imaginative cuisine at Le Sputnik is ideal for a romantic evening. Reductions, carefully-arranged plates, and creative dishes like beets and foie gras in the form of a red rose are just a few of the surprises Chef Yujiro Takahashi may have in store at this establishment in the popular Roppongi area.

Two versions of the tasting menu are offered, and reservations can be made online if you can manage to navigate the online system. The restaurant cautions that those with seafood allergies may prefer a different restaurant. Children under 12 are not allowed, as this is really more of a place to take your beloved for an unforgettable evening.

  • Price range: $85-$200 per person.

  • Hours: Lunch and dinner service, closed Mondays and the 1st of each month.

  • Address: Limone Roppongi 1st Floor, Roppongi 7-9-9, Minatoku, Tokyo, 106-0032

  • Phone number: +81-03-6434-7080

Kaikaya by the Sea

Kaikaya by the Sea resturant

Kaikaya by the Sea restaurant appearance

Perhaps the most casual environment on our list, Shibuya’s Kaikaya by the Sea is all about the seafood, with a helpful staff that can explain the different dishes that are part of the “course menu,” which is what the Japanese call a basic set menu. You’ll be able to try Japanese favorites like sashimi, tofu, and sukiyaki as well as Western dishes like carpaccio and risotto.

The restaurant’s website is not the most advanced, so you may want to work with MailMate’s bilingual assistant service to ensure your reservation has been completed and that you fully understand the course selection you’ve made. Also note that families with children can only reserve certain times and that strollers are not allowed.

  • Price range: $30-$50 for course menu.

  • Hours: Dinner service only, closed on Wednesdays.

  • Address: 23-7 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

  • Phone number: +81-03-3770-0878

Sushi Yuu

Sushi Yuu

Sushi Yuu chef making sushi

You’ve probably had sushi before, but the true omakase experience is not like ordering rolls in America. At Sushi Yuu, you’ll receive a lengthy parade of sushi with different kinds of high-end fish selected and prepared by the chef, to be eaten immediately as it’s placed in front of you. Sit back and let your tastebuds experience the freshest, most mouth-watering sushi you’re likely to find.

This is another sushi restaurant with little online footprint, so if you want to make sure you can get in, you’ll need to plan well in advance and utilize a concierge service like the one offered by MailMate so you won’t have to worry about whether your information has been properly received and can instead focus on getting excited for your delicious sushi.

  • Price range: $200 per person.

  • Hours: Lunch and dinner service, closed Sundays.

  • Address:  4 Chome 5-11, Roppongi, Minato City, Tokyo, 106-0032

  • Phone number: +81-03-3404-1134

In closing

Whether it's the three Michelin-starred establishments like RyuGin, Kanda, and Joël Robuchon, or the hidden gems like Usukifugu Yamadaya, Kohaku, and Ginza Kojyu, Tokyo's culinary landscape offers a diverse range of options to suit every taste and preference.

While securing reservations for Tokyo Michelin star restaurants can be a challenge, the reward is an unforgettable dining adventure that showcases the very best of Japanese culinary artistry.

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Gregg Maxwell Parker is the author of Troublemakers and a resident of Japan. He’s dined at and reviewed Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe and Asia, and writes frequently about his culinary experiences for his blog, As Seen in Japan.

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