Social distancing in a big city - is there outdoor dining in Tokyo?
These days more than ever, we prefer to dine outdoors in the fresh air rather than risk dining in a cramped space filled with other people. However Europe this is not - in Tokyo it can be difficult to find places with spacious outdoor dining that doesn't face directly into the traffic. We did some research, and did manage to find several good options for outdoor cafes and restaurants in Tokyo.
TY Harbor - Tennozu, Shinagawa
This family-friendly brewery restaurant is located on the harbor on the arty island of Tennozu. They serve seafood, burgers, chicken, BBQ and more, so no one will struggle to find something they like. It's open every day from 11:30am and serves many popular inhouse brewed craft beers. It is wheelchair and stroller accessible from 1pm. The best thing is the large outdoor terrace which looks out onto the water. It is best to make a reservation if you wish to sit outside because this place fills up fast, especially on weekends.
Spring Valley Brewery Tokyo - Daikanyama
This trendy brewpub in Daikanyama has several tables on their outdoor patio , with some trees and light as decor. The food is mostly pub-style, but trendy. The craft beer is brewed on site and is the main attraction of this place. You can get lots of little appetisers to suit each drink, or you can try one of their famous meat platters. From 9:00am they also do a Western breakfast of bagels, eggs and more.
Privado - Kuramae
Located in the Shitamachi Part of Tokyo, Privado is one of the few venues on this list not in a wealthy part of Tokyo. It has a rooftop bar with good views of Sumida River and Tokyo SkyTree. They're well known for their margaritas but their vintage whisky is also rather good. They only have a few terrace tables so you should definitely reserve one in advance. The good thing about this restaurant is its small size gives it indeed a rather private feel, making this an excellent date spot.
Ivy Place - Daikanyama
Quite a nice green space comprising of a a café, dining and bar area. This place is popular with expats living in the area. It's open from breakfast and serves Western style cuisine, changing their menu seasonally to make use of Japan's delicious fresh produce. It is child friendly, and there are many good stores in the area you can browse afterwards. They won't take reservations for the weekend breakfast, so you may need to get in early.
Eataly - Harajuku
Italian style restaurant and café with views towards Meiji Jingu Shrine. Wide, spacious and modern. The only problem is that you have to fight the Harajuku crowds to get there. They have a small shop selling various Italian ingredients, as well as the in-store restaurant. The outdoor balcony has both chair and sofa seating and is lovely in good weather. This place is famous for its gelato, so be sure to get dessert. It opens from 11:00am daily.
Mr. Farmer - Komazawa
One of the best on this list. It is a vegetable themed cafe serving all their dishes with fresh, healthy produce. It's also located in a peaceful, leafy area, perfect for relaxing. They serve salads, and I mean proper salads, not the Japanese style shredded cabbage and half a cherry tomato! Here you'll find colourful, healthy, creative salads. They also do vegan burgers, sandwiches and pasta and well as smoothies and fresh juices. They have many vegan and gluten-free options, so it is a good place to take those with dietary restrictions.
Tokyo Dome - Korakuen
This is not one restaurant, rather they have an outdoor area with astroturf grass and lots of seating, where you can bring food from any of the surrounding restaurants like several Italian joints, Shake Shack and Taco Bell. Kids will love all the nearby attractions at the themepark, like a rollercoaster, haunted house, log ride and for the small kids - Asobono play park. There is also a roller skate rink, good for kids and adults.
Bon-Hanabi - Asakusa
Regular pub fare, but nice views of Sky Tree and Sumida River. It's a relaxed establishment with a nice terrace, albeit not so large. This place is fairly small and has a distinctly local feeling, it's probably the least expat oriented on this list. However it has a relaxing ambience with good music in the background. If you want to sit outside, it is best to book as there aren't many spaces. They have an extensive alcohol menu, with the dark beer said to be particularly good.
NEWLIGHT - Shibuya
They have a small open air terrace where you can dine. They offer premium cuts of meat grilled on a wood fire through their special course and a la carte menus. The food is European style, prepared using regional ingredients.
R restaurant & Bar - Asakusa
The restaurant is located on the top floor of The Gate Hotel, diagonally across from Kaminarimon. There, you can dine in style in the open-air while enjoying a spectacular view of Asakusa and Tokyo Sky Tree. They are open from the morning with their famous Eggs Benedict, until evening when they offer a wide selection of alcohol and dining options.
KHAN's KITCHEN - Tsukuba
Located in Tsukuba City, KHAN's KITCHEN is a restaurant with a spectacular view of Tokyo Sky Tree and Mount Fuji from its terrace on a fine day. You can enjoy food and sweets in a relaxed atmosphere at the foot of Mount Tsukuba after a morning's hike up the mountain.
Thrush Café - Shirokanedai
This cafe is located in the garden of Happo-en. Happo-en is a large events facility boasting surprisingly large Japanese style gardens and Edo-era architecture. The grounds are large enough to walk peacefully around, and feature bonsai, a pond, sakura and maple trees galore. The outdoor seating here is lovely as the whole terrace is surrounded by the trees of the garden. The food is made using local organic produce and utilises Japan's abundance of seasonal ingredients.
Canal Café - Iidabashi
In the past, the Canal Cafe was the Tokyo Suijo Club - the oldest boathouse in Tokyo. These days, it is used mostly as a restaurant, although one can still take a rowboat out on the water for fun, or a romantic date.They offer a few Italian style mains and lots of desserts which you can enjoy by the side of the river. The best time to go here is in sakura season, as the pink blossoms line both sides of the adjacent river.
Shibuya Yokocho - Shibuya
This is a bit different to the rest of the list. It is actually a whole cluster of Japanese style izakayas lining a 100m alleyway. Together they sell over 2,500 dishes, representing each area of Japan - ramen from Hokkaido, chanpuru from Okinawa and so on. If you want cheap, Japanese izakaya food, this an a good option. Even better - if you download the app, you can order food from any restaurant and they'll deliver it to where you're sitting.
The Top - Aoyama
Just opened in 2020, The Top is home to a rooftop bar where you can enjoy seasonal original cocktails, specially-selected wines, champagnes, and more.