Ranking restaurants against one another is never an easy task. No matter if we’re searching for the best in a given city, country, or continent, the nuances across cuisine, value, and ambiance can be challenging. It’s not impossible, though.
With an experienced and well-traveled group of expert panelists, we’ve been able to put the ranking up to a vote and mathematically determine the best within a set of defined criteria. We recently did this while compiling a list of the 101 Best Restaurants in Asia, which ultimately included addresses across 25 cities and 11 countries.
It didn’t hold the top spot or have the most restaurants on our list, but Japan was (unsurprisingly) a very strong contender, with 16 restaurants making the final cut. The majority of these spots are based in Tokyo, but we also included deserving restaurants in comparatively smaller cities like Kyoto, Osaka, and Asahikawa.
Just because they’re the best, don’t assume that all of the restaurants in our list are out of reach of your wallet. The list includes Michelin three-star restaurants, including the renowned Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo (recently made famous in the States thanks to the film Jiro Dreams of Sushi), as well as more casual ramen joints like Santouka Ramen in Asahikawa. While some of these restaurants are owned and operated by master Japanese chefs, some of the best are also the projects of foreign chefs, including France’s Michel Bras and his TOYA Japon restaurant in Toyako.
No matter your budget or recent travel plans, check out our slideshow to see and learn more about the restaurants that our survey determined to be Japan’s best.