One of the reasons to visit Japan is to for the amazing cuisine. There are plenty of resources available to find fantastic restaurants including those with Michelin Star status. The challenge is not finding great places for dining, but making a reservation in the first place. Not all highly rated restaurants take reservations, but there are a few ways to secure your seat.
Check For Reservation Options
The first step to is to see what kind of reservations a restaurant will accept. You can find out by searching online for a website, phone number, reservation portal and other relevant information. Popular restaurants can require booking months in advance.
For example, Steak Otsuka in Kyoto, Japan offers online booking. They offer a simple portal to submit your reservation information directly through their website. Other places may have an email address to request one. Some restaurants will confirm online reservations closer to the date of your visit and may ask for a credit card to charge in case you do not show up.
Ask Your Hotel
Many hotels can call on your behalf to make a reservation at a restaurant. Try contacting your hotel in advance to ask about making a reservation for you during your stay. They can also offer suggestions and make calls while you are in Japan. Four and five star hotels are more likely to have success when booking very popular and extravagant restaurants. This is the best method for securing reservations if your hotel is willing and able to do so.
Reserve by Telephone
More popular restaurants only take reservation via telephone. You should have someone that can speak Japanese call on your behalf. Do not expect restaurant employees to understand non-Japanese languages over the phone. Try having a friend, relative, or hotel employee that speaks Japanese call for the best results.
Make a Reservation in Person
Another option is to physically visit a restaurant during their business hours and request for a reservation for later that evening or another day. Restaurants can be strict on requiring a reservation to seat patrons, but lax on when the reservation was made. However, do not expect a restaurant to take a reservation an hour or two before your desired time. If you are trying to make a reservation for the same day, try calling or visiting in the early afternoon at the latest.
Show Up Early and Wait
Finally, not all restaurants take reservations. Many great restaurants in Tokyo, such as Daiwa Sushi, do not take reservations. Arriving early and patiently waiting is the only way to enjoy some of the best restaurants Japan has to offer.