The Hallyu wave of Korea has now reached all corners of the earth, and no other country has seen the effects of it quite like Korea’s neighbouring country, Japan!
So much so, that Shin-Okubo, the resident ‘Koreatown’ of Tokyo has seen an explosive boom in its visitation numbers!
From Korean skincare to K-pop merchandise, there is not one Korean thing you cannot get from Shin-Okubo. Specifically, the Korean restaurants in Shin-Okubo have seen a sharp rise in patrons, and for good reason.
Korean food is, simply put, an intense and addictive explosion of flavours, textures and colours – all of which combine to create a cuisine that you simply cannot stop craving.
Fortunately for those in Japan, Shin-Okubo is host to a plethora of Korean restaurants that are outstanding in quality. From ssamgyeopsol to kimchi jjigae, you can get any Korean dish you crave here.
After your next Korean drama episode, head on out to one of the restaurants below and get a taste of the best Korean restaurants in Shin-Okubo.
1. Shijan Dakgalbi
Dakgalbi is a popular Korean dish consisting of spicy stir-fried chicken. The chicken is usually marinated in hot and sweet gochujang sauce and eaten over rice.
Shijan Dakgalbi is one of the most popular places in Shin-Okubo to satisfy your dakgalbi cravings. More specifically, Shijan Dakgalbi’s cheese dakgalbi will satiate even the pickiest dakgalbi enthusiasts.
This dish comes out on a hot plate, flanked by dakgalbi chicken along the sides and a huge portion of melted cheese in the middle. The idea is that the hot plate keeps the cheese consistently hot so that you can pick up a piece of chicken and give it a whirl in the melted cheese.
A fun game would be to attempt to get the longest cheese pull amongst your fellow patrons!
- Hours: 11:00am-12:00am
- Address: Shijan Dakgalbi
Shin-Chan is known as the spicy fried chicken joint of Shin-Okubo. As famously depicted by the fire-breathing chicken at the front of the store, this restaurant slings out some of the best and spiciest fried chicken you’ll ever have! They also serve up delicious charcoal-grilled chicken, if you’re after something a bit different to KFC.
You can order other accompanying authentic Korean dishes here as well, including kimbap and naengmyeon (cold noodles). If you’re not a big fan of spicy food, Shin-Chan’s extensive menu also has other flavours of chicken you can try.
However, their ‘Super Spicy’ is the one to go for!
- Hours: 11:30am-3:30am
- Address: Shin-Chan
3. Minzoku Mura
Minzoku Mura is your traditional, no-frills Korean restaurant where you know you’ll get a hearty home-style meal at a good price.
The interior of this restaurant feels rustic and warm, not dissimilar to that of a traditional Korean home. The style of meals here is centred around Korean home cooking, and dishes here include generously wrapped kimbap, samgyeopsal, and Korean stews.
One of the biggest reasons they keep getting repeat customers is because the vibes here are relaxed and comfortable. For your next Korean meal, head here to unwind with good friends and great food.
- Hours: 10:30 am-11:00 pm
- Address: Minzoku Mura
Korean BBQ has taken the world by storm in recent years, with much of its popularity stemming from Korean dramas going ham on the K-BBQ experience.
Macchan is one of the most popular places for a great Korean BBQ in Tokyo, so much so that it has more than one branch!
The samgyeopsal (Korean pork belly) is the best seller here, with Macchan offering thick, juicy cuts of pork belly you can’t get anywhere else. Staff will grill this right in front of you (try not to drool from the delicious aroma!), and you can get cracking with your lettuce and dipping sauce immediately after they finish.
- Hours: 11:00 am-11:00 pm
- Address: Macchan
5. Delica Ondoru
Delica Ondoru is a smaller, cafe-style Korean restaurant that offers a huge variety of authentic Korean dishes on its menu. It is for this reason that they are so popular – they have every item you could want at a typical Korean restaurant.
They also honour the Korean-style side dishes system where you are allowed to request free refills of any of the sides offered.
From hot pot stews to stone-pot rice, to kimbap and cheese dakgalbi, it’ll be tough to not overorder here! Everything is super fresh, and when your dish comes out, you know that quality is top-tier here.
They also offer lunch specials if you’re in the area and want some midday meal deals!
- Hours: Mon-Sat: 10:00 am – 3:00 am, Sunday: 10:00 am – 12:00 am
- Address: Delica Ondoru
For a great Korean BBQ experience, Tonchang is the restaurant of choice for many people in Tokyo. More specifically, Tonchan’s samgyeopsal (or Korean pork belly) is its speciality, and once it starts sizzling, you can smell it from a mile away.
Alongside its deliciously fresh and juicy pork belly, it also provides a whopping 8 different side dishes that can be refilled for free. The best way to enjoy the samgyeopsal is to wrap freshly grilled belly up with the lettuce leaves, garnish it with some toppings, and pop it right into your mouth for an explosion of flavour.
- Hours: 11:30 am-11:30 pm
- Address: Tonchan
7. NeNe Chicken
NeNe Chicken is no stranger to the world of Korean Fried Chicken. It’s one of the biggest chains in Korea! If you’re a Korean pop culture fiend, you would have likely seen the NeNe chicken chain endorsed by many of your favourite idols.
NeNe Chicken has expanded all over the world, and its chain in Shin-Okubo certainly reflects its global popularity. Expect crowds on any given day as people swarm there for a taste of some of the most delicious fried chicken in Tokyo.
Nene Chicken is known for its crispy texture yet juicy taste. Their signature tteokbokki, snow fried chicken, and green onion fried chicken are among some of their specialities. If you have never had snow chicken before, this is your chance. The ‘snow’ is a specific cheese powder that coats the chicken. It’s unusual and addictive all at once.
We highly recommend that you try one, if not all when you are there!
- Hours: 11:00 am – 11:30 pm
- Address: NeNe Chicken
After gorging on Korean fried chicken, Korean BBQ, stews, rice, pancakes, and noodles, we know exactly what you need to round off your meal perfectly.
But, what is bingsu?
Bingsu is a Korean-style dessert that consists of special shaved ice with various toppings. It’s a sweet and cold dessert that makes the perfect palate cleanser, especially in warmer months. The shaved ice isn’t what you’d expect, either. Its base is made from milk, giving it a creamier, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Sulbing, located just minutes from Shin-Okubo station, offers a huge variety of bingsu that taste great and are aesthetically pleasing. We recommend their fresh mango bingsu, which is one of the most popular items on their menu.
- Hours: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
- Address: Sulbing
9. 2D Cafe
The 2D Cafe in Tokyo exploded onto Instagram in 2017, and since then, has been a crowd favourite for its unique interior design. Featuring monochrome furniture and wall decors decked out to look like you’ve stepped into a comic book, the experience of dining in this cafe almost feels surreal.
It first made waves in Korea and definitely helped the Korean café culture explode in global popularity.
The appeal is that, depending on where you take a photo, it looks like you’re sitting within a 2D setting!
Not only is it a fantastic Instagram-worthy Cafe, but it also offers delicious bubble tea and bingsu desserts on its extensive menu as well. Each item comes out bright and colourful, meaning photos here will always pop!
- Hours: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
- Address: 2D Cafe
10. Cafe On
As one of the cutest cafes in Shin-Okubo, there is no way we’d leave Cafe On off the list!
After you’ve had your fair share of Korean food, head to this adorable Korean cafe for some dessert to cleanse your palate and finish up. Their menu is quite extensive, but some fan-favourites include their bingsu, croffles (croissant waffles – huge in Korea!), hotteok (Korean pancakes with fillings, usually brown sugar syrup and nuts), and their Flower Cake.
Everything is aesthetic and thus Instagram-able, so make sure you have your camera ready for when your dish comes out!
- Hours: 11:00 am-10:00 pm
- Address: Cafe On
The Korean restaurants in Shin-Okubo all ooze warmth, authenticity, and great vibes, so regardless of where you go, you’re in for a unique and fun experience.
We highly recommend exploring the neighbourhood whilst you’re there because Shin-Okubo is an absolute gem filled with Korean skincare shops, merchandise stores, groceries, and more restaurants than you can imagine! Located close to major stations including Shinjuku, Shin-Okubo makes for the perfect day of exploring Tokyo.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the absolute best Korean restaurants in Shin-Okubo. Writing this made us hungry, and we’re sure you’ve already made plans to check out the ones that you like!
A night out in Shin-Okubo filled with fried chicken, soju, and dessert? Count us in!
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