The clutter and cramped conditions of a Tokyo restaurant kitchen

For a country obsessed with rules, regulations and infuriatingly convoluted ways of doing unimportant things, Japan is oddly lax when it comes to the likes of food hygiene. Small eateries that’d be shutdown in a heartbeat in other regions, or old places with cooking appliances that haven’t experienced a good scrub in decades, are oddly commonplace. In fact they thrive, with the grime arguably adding to the gourmet experience.

And the same goes for slightly larger concerns. The clutter, cramped conditions and relative uncleanliness are just accepted. Or if not accepted, then at least ignored.

cluttered Tokyo restaurant kitchen


  1. Coli says

    Lee all of the best tachinomi places are like that here in kansai too. Your shoes also stick to the floor. :-)

    • says

      I went to a few on a recent trip to Osaka. Loved them! The grubbier the better for me. Can’t get enough of such places.

  2. Evan says

    I really like the boots in this context. They make me wonder what they are protecting the chef from.

    • says

      I’ve seen kitchens using hose pipes to clear up food on the floor, or just generally give it a clean, so that couple explain the footwear.

  3. says

    I’m also surprised that nobody shuts them down, just my Dutch brain that wants to see everything scrubbed. But these places have heart and the cleaner places are such a bore, aren’t they? I love those grubby places too but never dared to enter for quite a few trips when I was travelling alone in Japan. Now we seek them out, ask a few locals what place they would recommend and end up enjoying food rubbing elbows with the locals and more often than not end up discussing the 1964 Tokyo Olympics (Fellow Dutchman Anton Geesink defeating Akio Kaminaga in front of his home crowd in judo is still very much a sore point)

    • says

      They are, nowhere near like the same atmosphere. I was similar to you as well, didn’t really go to such places at first, but now I also actively seek them out. Can’t get enough of them.

      Haha, didn’t know about the Dutch v Japanese Olympic animosity. The gall of Mr Geesink eh? Judo, and in Japan. Tut tut. Shame on him!

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