Japanese and international foodies alike love Monjya Street (actually a collection of streets), located on the artificially made Tsukishima Island. Diners usually buy monjayaki as raw batter, then grill it themselves at specially designed tables. Here, dozens of shops sell monjayaki, savory fried pancakes made with cabbage and a variety of other meat or seafood toppings. Other Japanese favorites including yakisoba (fried noodles) can be be enjoyed here as well.
Many visitors come to Monja Street on food-themed walking tours, which usually happen during the evening. It’s close to other points of interest in central Tokyo, meaning it’s easy to tick off while sightseeing in the area. A visit to Monja Street also offers a chance to see Tsukishima Island, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay made from reclaimed land in 1892. Its mix of skyscrapers and remnants of old Tokyo can be admired by strolling along the island’s lanes and canals.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Monja Street is actually a small area rather than one street, consisting of West Nakadori Street and Nishinaka Street, as well as smaller lanes that shoot off from these.
- Some shops have English-speaking staff, but many don’t. Be prepared to point and use improvised sign language when ordering.
- The variety of monjayaki toppings is pretty extensive; popular options include squid, octopus, shrimp, cod roe, cheese, and curry.
How to Get There
As with most places in Tokyo, it’s best to reach Monja Street by subway, rather than by road. Tsukishima Island is on the Oedo and Yurakucho Subway Lines, and accessed by Tsukishima Station.
When to Get There
Many of the food shops are shut on Mondays and/or Tuesdays, although not all. Most open in the late morning or around noon, and stay open well into the evening, until around 10 or 11pm. So, you’re always likely to find somewhere open for a snack.
Real food lovers won’t want to stop at trying one new Japanese dish on Tsukishima Island. They can also try tsukudani, toppings for rice that are preserved and pickled with soy sauce and sake. The condiments were actually invented on Tsukudajima Island, which used to be separate from Tsukishima Island, but is now connected. Shrimp, seaweed, grasshoppers, and beef are common tsukudani ingredients. Adventurous eaters will love trying the different varieties.