Map of Little Tokyo

I haven’t been traveling lately and won’t be traveling anytime soon. I’m at my wit’s end, counting down the months until the next trip. The self-imposed travel ban was due to me trying my hand at being responsible, putting my money into grown up expenses like insurance, business registrations and an accountant, instead of squandering it on impulsively planned booked trips. The farthest I’ve been traveling lately is to Makati, where I get to experience the closest I’ll probably ever get to Japan: Little Tokyo.

Just Wandering Little Tokyo Map
Amazing map by the designer/photographer/calligrapher extraordinaire, Cla :D
(Click on the image to see the bigger version)

Little Tokyo is actually a compound where you can eat the best and most authentic Japanese meals in Manila. Many of these restaurants are own by Japanese, with a Japanese chef manning the kitchen, preparing and cooking ingredients imported from Japan and served to Japanese nationals.

Though I’ve been hearing about this place for years, it wasn’t until 2007 that I finally tried eating there. Thanks to my dolly obsession, I’ve gotten to know and became great friends with a crazy bunch of people who are as passionate about food as they are about the toys they collect. Aside from the toys and food, we all have a common interest in Japan. And so Little Tokyo became our unofficial meeting place.

Since then, I’ve taken friends to this little slice of Japan in Makati, pointing out which restaurant serves the best value lunch sets, telling them about the special deals of each, and treating them to a medley of flavors. Now, it’s your turn to take the tour.

Hana Little Tokyo
Hana’s mix fry bento

Here’s a run down of the restaurants and shops in Little Tokyo, with a short description and recommendations for each. I’ve enlisted the help of some friends who’ve tried more restaurants than I have and have more discerning tastes to share their favorites with you.

Hana
Our favorite restaurant in LT. Khursten describes Hana as having the best “Japanese comfort food.”
Specialties: Takoyaki
Order: Hana maki, pork senbei (BACON!), cubic steak, tofu steak
Average cost: Php 200
Related reads:
Hana: Authentic Takoyaki in the heart of Makati
Hana scores a homerun with their new menu options
Like Hana on Facebook

Kagura
If you’ve read Ranma 1/2 manga or watched the anime, you’ve probably wondered how okonomiyaki tastes like. Wonder no more and try this hearty Japanese pancake here.
Specialties: Okonomiyaki
Order: Modern-yaki with everything on it
Average cost: Php 250
Related read:
What to Eat Where: The Quick and Dirty Japanese Resto Guide for Manila

Okonomiyaki!
Okonomiyaki from Kagura

Seryna
A popular lunch place for employees and executives working in the area. Open for dinner too.
Specialties: Sushi, sashimi
Order: Kaizengozen (chirashi-don), kami nabe
Average cost: Php 350
Related reads:
A box of treasured from the sea
Little Tokyo’s Seryna: Best. Chirasizushi. Ever.

Kikufuji
Izakaya style dining
Specialties: Sushi and anything seafood
Order: Seafood salad, Salmon ikura bowl, maguro-don, shake ikura-don, nasu tempura
Related reads:
Unforgettable Sushi at Kikufuji
Discovering umami in Kikufuji

Kaisen gozen at Seryna
Kaizengozen from Seryna

Urameshiya
Love meat? Grill ‘em here!
Specialties: Yakiniku
Special: Gorge on all the meat and seafood you can grill and eat every Tuesday for Php 500.
Note: This is not like the other yakiniku places in Manila that feature smokeless grills. They use the traditional grills that leaves you smelling like meat. If you have pets, expect a very amorous welcome when you get home.

Yamazaki
A Japanese grocery with a small restaurant off the side
Order: Cha-han (fried rice)
Average cost (restaurant): Php 140

Chotto stop
Convenience store selling various Japanese food products for Php 80. Has a small restaurant serving bento on the side.
Average cost (bento): Php 250
Related read:
Co-op finds a new home

Shinjuku Ramen
A favorite among Filipinos
Specialties: Ramen

Urameshiya Little Tokyo
Grilling meat at Urameshiya

Sekitori
A small restaurant serving sumo-sized meals
Specialities: nabe (hotpot)
Order: Chanko nabe

Oishinbo
Filipino-owned Japanese restaurant

Riozen
Another Izakaya serving the usual Japanese favorites
Order: Tonkotsu ramen, ikura-don, yakitori

Nodasho
A Japanese chef mans their kitchen
Specialties: Sukiyaki and sushi

Bunchum
An old coffee shop that also doubles a bar and stays open until late.
Order: Crispy pata

There you go! I do hope you find it useful, and I hope I bump into you at Little Tokyo one of these days!

Little Tokyo
Chino Roces corner Fernando Street
Makati City, Philippines
View on Google Maps

Leave a Reply

    • I’m sure your mom will enjoy eating there! If you’re going there for lunch, try Seryna for the great value kaizengozen. For dinner, take your pick among the restaurants inside because the courtyard is lovely when it’s all lighted up :D

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Nina. I’ve never been to Little Tokyo, I want to take my fiance there because he absolutely loves Japanese food. I’m sure that if I show him this post, mag-aaya yun na pumunta kami ASAP. :-)

  2. Hi Nina. I’m Irish and i’m from PEX. I love reading your blog. Super helpful. Like this entry, super timely ’cause my friends and I are currently hunting for the best Japanese food in Metro Manila. We so love Japanese food. I’ve never heard of Little Tokyo, dito lang sa blog mo. Kaya thanks for sharing this.

  3. awt! that’s what I’ve been missing ever since I moved to the south walang maxadong makainan na kakaiba or maski shopping, our choices here are limited kaya minsan or rather madalas pag my meet up w/ friends or PTB d ko alam o-ordiren ko kase d ako familiar sa menu. haha I should go to Makati more often. Like you, wala din ako travels, nag-iipon din, idol kita eh. hehe
    thanks for sharing this Nina. Very helpful esp sa mga bihirang naluwas ng Maynila tulad ko. =))

  4. there’s also a Japanese mini-mart/resto that can be found facing the mall there. The foods pretty good here too.. and very affordable. I guess authentic too – lots of Japanese nationals there eating and reading the newspaper. :)

    • There is a small parking lot outside Little Tokyo fronting Chino Roces and you can also park along the street in Fernando and in the lot beside the Little Tokyo compound. If you want more security, you can park underneath Makati Cinema Square.

  5. Thanks for this. :) I usually make a beeline for Hana, Chotto Stop and Yamazaki because it’s the places that I know. I’ve tried Urameshiya once and though my friends & I ended up smelling like our dinner, we had fun.

    It was also Ranma 1/2 that made me curious for okonomiyaki. Now I know where to get one. :)

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  7. Im planning to bring my half-jap bf in little tokyo. he said he wants to taste some real green tea. its been years since he last had one… any idea? :(

  8. Planning to go there this coming valentines! ayeee thank you so much sa post! natutuwa ako kasi may price kang nilagay. makakapag-budget na kame. congrats din pala sa pagkakapanalo mo sa nuffnang awards! Pinoy pride! :)

  9. I never knew there’s Little Tokyo in Makati! All this time, I come there for the Korean restos! Geez. Thanks for this article. :)

    Kailangan ko makapunta dito. :) Magbubuhay Hana Kimi at Gokusen ako :)

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