Delicious Ways to Explore Japantown | San Francisco Travel
The Peace Pagoda in Japantown
Japantown's five-tier Peace Pagoda was designed by architect Yoshiro Taniguchi.

Delicious Ways to Explore Japantown

One of San Francisco's smallest neighborhoods is packed with excellent eats!

San Francisco is full of unique neighborhoods to explore. Japantown is densely-packed and the somewhat odd urban design in the area can make it hard to find the best gems. But as your destination experts, we're here to help you find them!

Here are some of our favorite places to get a meal in Japantown.

Udon Mugizo

1581 Webster St.

To start your foray into noodles, try the udon at Udon Mugizo. It’s one of the few places in town specializing in handmade udon, as opposed to the more widely known ramen. Some diners opt for the really rich cream-based sauces, including one made with uni; but the pork broth is light, balanced, and just rich enough. The generous portions are also a plus. It’s an ideal spot for a fast meal before catching a movie at the AMC Kabuki.

Ramen Yamadaya

1728 Buchanan St.

There was a great deal of buzz when Southern California-based Ramen Yamadaya opened a location in San Francisco, and rightfully so. The long-simmered tonkotsu broth is notable (some hardcore fans go for the extra-rich kotteri). The spicy ramen is another favorite, but you can’t go wrong with the classic Yamadaya ramen, either. Get the chashu, of course, and be prepared to wait if you’re there during prime dinner hours.

Hinodeya Ramen Bar

1737 Buchanan St.

Ramen aficianados all have their own, strong preferences. For those who prefer lighter, clearer broths, head to Hinodeya. Their seafood-focused menu offers some incredible delights, including clam ramen and fried oysters flown all the way from Hiroshima. Hinodeya is walk-in only, so you may encounter a wait at this popular spot.

Royal Indian Cuisine

1740 Fillmore St.

While you may be in a sea of Japanese establishments, you’ll also find excellent Himalayan and North Indian cuisine at Royal Indian Cuisine. It’s a charming spot for lunch or dinner, with tasty momos and tender chicken and lamb curries. With friendly staff and pleasant surroundings, you'll want to return again and again. 

Marufuku Ramen

1581 Webster St.

Savvy foodies may have encountered Marufuku Ramen in Austin, New York, or other parts of California, but the popular operation began here in San Francisco. At their Japantown location, you can enjoy the creamy broth and thin noodles that put them on the map. Their chashu pork belly is worth the wait.

Daeho Kalbijjim and Beef Soup

1620 Post St.

The must-have dish is right there in the name. The famous braised short rib at this Korean establishment is prepared dramatically before your eyes by servers equipped with blowtorches! Other notable selections from Daeho's menu include kalbitang, a beef rib soup, and seolleongtang, an ox bone soup that some say is the perfect dish to cure what ails you after an exciting night out in San Francisco.

Nijiya Market

1737 Post St.

Japanese food lovers (or the food curious) will want to head to Nijiya Market to check out all the interesting Japanese products on offer, and pick up some of their freshly packaged sushi, seaweed salad, or even just a package or two of Japanese snacks. You can take your goodies to the nearby Peace Plaza, and enjoy them while people watching. Nijiya is also a great place for hard-to-find but useful kitchen tools at startlingly low prices. They're the perfect souvenirs for a gourmand.


1700 Polk St.

For an exclusive dining experience in Japantown, look no further than Yuji. Specializing in the kappo style of Japanese cooking, which uses only the freshest available ingredients, Yuji has attracted the attention of San Francisco's elite diners, as well as the Michelin Guide. A reservation-only venue with less than a dozen seats and a high price point ($150+ per person), Yuji may take a good deal of advance planning, but we think it's well worth the wait.


1625 Post St.

Recipient of a Michelin Star for its terrific Thai cuisine, Nari is known as much for its elegant atmosphere as it is for its one-of-a-kind dishes. Try the squid and pork jowl appetizer; you won't regret it. Chef Pim Techamuanvivit's other incredible creations include chili-flaked fried branzino, curried lamb shanks, and even some delectable vegetable-focused selections.

Tenroku Suhi

1825 Post St.

Looking for dining a little more down to Earth? Visit Tenroku and sample as much as you like from its conveyor belt of quality sushi. You'll be amazed at the variety! An affordable option that's open late seven days a week, Tenroku is perfect for groups, families, or visitors on a budget.

Blum’s coffee cake at Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop

1790 Sutter St.

Ready for some dessert? The Blum’s coffee cake at Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop has been a San Francisco classic for over fifty years. The layers of chiffon cake are frosted with whipped cream and then covered with a coffee crunch candy that owner Tom Yasukochi learned to make from the candy maker at Blum’s, a soda fountain chain that was popular in San Francisco in the 1950s and 60s. The cake is still available at this tiny shop, but often sells out by 11 a.m., so get there early (they open at 10 a.m.)—or plan ahead and order a whole one two days in advance! They’ve also got a selection of other cakes, plus fun candies and cookies.

Tyler Cohn headshot
Tyler Cohn

Tyler is the Sr. Manager of Global Content & Communications at San Francisco Travel. He has lived in San Francisco since 2015 and has been part of the San Francisco Travel team for just as long. He enjoys splashy production numbers and outdoor sporting events equally, which means you can usually find him at one of San Francisco’s many great theaters or at Oracle Park, cheering on the Giants.