One of the most exciting experiences of a business trip abroad is enjoying a delicious meal. Welcome to the land of Japanese gourmet. You can enjoy not only Japanese sushi and ramen, but also many other delicious dishes from around the world in a variety of price ranges and atmospheres. Who not indulge in a delicious meal while staying in Japan?
However, here’s the biggest problem that arises. How do you find a restaurant that matches your needs? There are many guidebooks and websites written about the most famous and good restaurants in Japan, of course. But if you need to go on a business trip, how much time can you spend checking all that information? Many people don’t have much time for that.
While guidebooks, Google Maps and TripAdvisor are great, if you have a limited amount of time to find great places to eat in Japan, I recommend Tabelog, one of the largest restaurant review sites in Japan.
Tabelog consists of a database of more than 800,000 restaurants listed under the concept of “choosing a restaurant that never fails” and used by more than 92.83 million people per month. It has over 37,260,000 reviews and rankings based on real users who have actually been to the restaurants.
(Reference: Fratures and convenient use of Tabelog https://tabelog.com/help/beginner/)
In other words, Tabelog is a platform equivalent to Yelp in the US, 大众点评 in China, and MangoPlate in Korea.
Let’s take a look at what you can do with Tabelog.
Many travelers want to know “A good restaurant near me”. Here is the answer. You can search by setting “Current location” and “distance” from “Conditions”. This should help you find a restaurant near you, or, if you want to search in a specific area, for example “Tokyo” or “Osaka”, you can simply choose it. This is the best way to find a good restaurant around you.
If you want to search in a specific category such as Japanese food, Bar, Ramen, café, etc., it is a good idea to use “Categories” search as well as location information. By the way, Japanese food is described as Washoku (Japanese food).
You have narrowed down some of the restaurant that you are interested in. The selection process from here is the most important point. Although Tabelog says the score is one of the reference indicators, it is definitely a big reference indicator for users, especially foreigners.
(Reference: Tabelog About scores and rankings https://tabelog.com/help/score/)
According to the official website of Tabelog, restaurants with a score of 3.50 or higher are considered to have a high possibility of being satisfied with the restaurant, which is about 3% of all restaurants. Choose a restaurant with a score of 3.50 or higher, or as close to 3.50 as possible.
Tap on the restaurant you are interested in and you will find a price range, address, map, photos, opening hour and payment methods. Unfortunately, reservations are only available by phone on the international website. Of course, you can call and make a reservation, but keep in mind that many Japanese are not fluent in English, so it’s often difficult to communicate with them.
Also, it’s not necessary to make a reservation for a restaurant in advance in Japan. Some restaurants post their availability for tonight, so you can refer to them and visit them directly.
Good news for visitors from China, Taiwan and Korea who are not good at English. You can use the above useful functions by choosing Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese or Korean from the top menu on the right. Give it a try.
If you would like to visit some of Tabelog’s very highly rated restaurants, check out THE TABELOG AWARD. The Tabelog Award selects the best restaurants at the moment beyond locations and categories. If you choose a restaurant that is nominated here, you will have an experience that meets your expectations. However, most of the restaurants, especially Gold, are very popular and difficult to book, so booking in advance is essential. If you really want to go, I recommend that you check the reservation process and make a reservation in advance before a business trip.
In addition, you can search for a ranking of restaurants by region and category in the PC version of Tabelog.* Advance reservations are required for the most popular restaurants as well, but if you are interested, please take a look at it.
*Not available on the mobile version, and the app is only available to paid members.
It is said that the knack for finding a good restaurant in a destination is to ask the locals. With Tabelog, powered by user reviews, you can easily find a great restaurant in Japan. You are able to find a great place to eat to suit your needs more efficiently from the abundance of restaurants in Japan, the land of gastronomy. I hope that your food experience in Japan is an inspiring one and the fatigue of your business trip is relieved.