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10 Strange Japanese Dishes in Tokyo

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Tokyo is known as the food capital of the world especially when it comes down to strange dishes. These are my 10 strangest dishes in Tokyo especially the raw shark, octopus balls and cold chicken skin.

Tips & Advice
  • Why: Participate in an actual Japanese Awa Odori dance
  • Where: Shinjuku Awa Odori [Map]
  • Dinner: 5pm - 10:30pm
  • Price: All-You-Can-Eat - ¬•1,980 Yen ($18 USD) per person
  • Phone: +81 3-5363-5120 (English is spoken)
  • Website: Click here
  • Notes: Make sure to order enough food since the Japanese dance can be very distracting and don't be afraid to be loud.
  • Related: Self-fishing restaurant Zauo

incredible salmon sushi with giant fish eggs in Tokyo, Japan fun on the streets of shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan raw shark in Tokyo, Japan grilled horse mackerel in Tokyo, Japan

My Japanese friends took me to two Izakaya's (Japanese drinking restaurants) in the Shinjuku district in Tokyo where we enjoyed lots of different traditional Japanese dishes. To my suprise, we ended up at an Awa Odori themed restaurant which is a Japanese steet dance festival. We kicked off the party with some Shochu to mizu (Soju with water), a great drink to get you really wasted really fast, Japanese-style!

Best Places for Travel in Tokyo

  • 1. Cold Chicken Skin

    Boiled chicken skin served cold, this is an acquired taste.

  • 2. Fried Shrimp

    These shrimps you eat in its entirety including head, legs and eyes.

  • 3. Gyoza

    Delicious crispy Japanese fried dumplings, but be careful, these tasty dumplings can be boiling hot.

  • 4. Grilled Squid

    Warm, smooth and chewy! One of the best ways to enjoy squid.

  • 5. Caviar Sashimi

    Fish egg sacks cut straight out of the fish's belly and served as sashimi.

  • 6. Takoyaki

    Very popular Japanese street food; fried doughy octopus balls with mayonnaise and seasoning.

enjoy a feast with my friends in Kabukocho, Shinjuku, Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan we are now members of the Shinjuku Awa Odori group! in Tokyo, Japan fish egg (tobiko) sashimi in Tokyo, Japan delicious chewy grilled squid in Tokyo, Japan

As a welcoming gift I was dressed into a Pikachu outfit. Up first was the boiled chicken skin and deep-fried shrimp (which you eat in its entirety). The most delicious thing must have been the massive Gyoza platter which are Japanese deep-fried dumplings. The grilled squid (known as Ika) was warm, smooth and chewy, just the way I like it. The main event started at 9:30pm in which I had to participate in my first Awa Odori, we were instructed to dance in circles around the dinner tables by swinging our arms left and right.

  • 7. Raw Shark

    Extremely salty and fishy with an interesting after taste!

  • 8. Japanese Horse Mackerel Tartar

    Great tasting fish tartar which comes with the rest of the fish fried.

  • 9. Goya Champuru

    A popular Okinawan stir-fry dish of bitter melon, egg and spam.

  • 10. Grilled Stingray

    My favorite Japanese snack; grilled stingray with mayonnaise!

receiving a warm welcome by my friends in Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan receiving a warm welcome by my friends in Tokyo

Next, the caviar sashimi, absolutely delicious, these fish egg sacks are probably cut straight out of the fish's belly before being served. Salmon sushi, which were actually maki rolls with raw salmon on top and with tokibo (the giant fish eggs), although not part of my strange 10 dishes but still worth trying. The Japanese Takoyaki balls are the most famous street food in Japan, these delightful balls consist out of fried dough with a piece of octopus, mayonnaise and seasoning on top.

fresh deep-fried shrimp in Tokyo, Japan chuncy hot Japanese gyoza in Tokyo, Japan raw horse mackerel, with the rest fried in Tokyo, Japan grilled stingray with Japanese mayonaise, my absolute favorite in Tokyo, Japan Goya Champuru stir fry of bitter melon, tofu, egg and sliced spam (Okinawa style) in Tokyo, Japan cheersing with my friends in Tokyo, Japan Awa Odori performances in Shinjuku in Tokyo, Japan dining at the Awa Odori restaurant in Tokyo, Japan

At another Japanese Izakaya across the street I was introduced to more strange dishes like raw shark, Japanese horse mackerel tartar, but my favorite strange dish has to be the grilled stingray which is deliciously crispy and tastes like chewy chips and gets even better when dipped into Japanese mayonnaise. Finally, the Goya Champuru which is a stir-fry of bitter melon, tofu, egg and spam and is very popular on the Japanese tropical island of Okinawa.

ending an incredible evening at the Awa Odori restaurant with my friends in Tokyo, Japan ending an incredible evening at the Awa Odori restaurant with my friends

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