After getting back to Tokyo from Hakone and hiking the Kyukaido, we went straight to Harajuku for dinner. The boyfriend had found a place specializing in gyoza (dumplings, cooked or steamed) on foursquare, imaginatively named Harajuku Gyoza. It’s a very popular place, so of course, we had to stand in line for quite a while again.
We didn’t mind so much, though, since the restaurant is located in quite a picturesque neighborhood, just off the main street Omotesando. If you are in Harajuku, exploring the Omotesando is all very well, but don’t forget to nip into the side streets, as they are quite interesting and often have wonderful little stores or cafés, bars, and restaurants. And amazingly many hairdressers. Like, every third store was a hairdresser.
The Harajuku Gyoza restaurant is especially popular with students and other young people since it is very cheap. One set of gyoza, steamed or fried, is only ¥ 290. Even in the konbinis (convenience stores) you won’t find gyoza much cheaper than that. There really isn’t much on the menu, just the gyoza and a few side dishes and beer as well as soft drinks.
We ordered some of the side dishes, including mung bean sprouts with a kind of bolognese sauce, some pickled cabbage, and cucumber with a peanut sauce. The sides were so good, we had to order them again!
The gyoza itself were pretty good, not a phenomenal experience in taste, but I did not expect that anyway when I saw the prices. Also, I preferred the fried gyoza over the steamed ones. They were nice and crispy and if you add some chili sauce to it, there’s nothing better than this after a strenuous hiking trip to fuel up again.
I would have liked to sit at the bar and watch the cooks but unfortunately, we were seated in a back room. One thing I do not like about restaurants or bars in Japan, in general, is that smoking inside is still allowed. It kinda destroys the appetite and I don’t fancy smelling like an ashtray when I leave a restaurant. It wasn’t too bad since they fry the gyoza in the middle of the restaurant and, therefore, have a huge exhaust hood as well.
Nevertheless, when I go back to Tokyo, I would probably visit the Harajuku Gyoza again. It’s nice for a group dinner and you just can’t beat those prices!
Don’t forget to check my other posts in my Tokyo Foodie Tour series. If you are planning a trip to the ancient capital Kyoto as well, head over to my Kyoto Foodie Tour series.
Planning your trip
There are a lot of good hotels or hostels around in Tokyo. I prefer to stay at an Airbnb apartment. In my experience, it has often proven to be much more affordable and comfortable as well. If you haven’t signed up for Airbnb yet, you can use this link and get 18 € (or 20 $) off of your first booking! If hotels are more your thing, I’ve been told that the Toyoko Inn Hotels are good, so feel free to check their rates!
If you are planning a longer trip through Japan, consider getting the Japan Rail Pass! Read here to find out more about the pass!
To help me plan all my trips and itineraries in Japan, I mostly used the Lonely Planet Japan (Travel Guide)*. I’ve used it a lot when I was living in Japan and found it a great help this time as well!