Robbie Swinnerton
Robbie Swinnerton has been living, eating and writing about food in Tokyo for over 30 years. His column, Tokyo Food File, has run in The Japan Times since 1998.
Chef Hiroyuki Kosugi’s seasonal salad brings together 10 different local Okinawan vegetables, such as 'goya' (bitter melon), star fruit and 'urizun' (square beans).
LIFE / Food & Drink / Destination Restaurants
Jul 7, 2024
6 Six: Innovative French fare from an Okinawan paradise
"My aim is to create dishes that will not be outshone by the view outside my windows," says chef Hiroyuki Kosugi.
Founder and owner Kazunori Otowa (left) in the kitchen of his eponymous restaurant together with his two sons, head chef Hajime Otowa (center) and restaurant manager Sou Otowa.
LIFE / Food & Drink / Destination Restaurants
Jun 22, 2024
Kazunori Otowa: Tochigi’s patriarch of French fine dining
Superb cuisine, family values and deep regional roots have elevated Restaurant Otowa to its lofty position.
Chef Yusuke Murayama’s creative cuisine at Pas Mal spotlights the premium produce of Yamagata Prefecture.
LIFE / Food & Drink / Destination Restaurants
Jun 8, 2024
Pas Mal: French cuisine spotlighting Yamagata’s premium produce
Chef Yusuke Murayama’s signature dessert is a framboise mousse the color of glossy lipstick rouge in the shape of a mouth.
Following the success of the Parklet cafe and bakery, Jerry “JJ’ Jaksich has launched his Baby J’s
line of chicken sandwiches right next to Tokyo’s Olympic stadium.
May 15, 2024
Baby J’s hits a home run with its fried chicken sandwich
Marinated in buttermilk and deep-fried to a golden brown, Tokyo has neither seen nor tasted a sandwich like this before.
When chef Ryohei Ikemi moved to Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, and opened Casa del Cibo in 2011, it was the first proper Italian restaurant in the city.
LIFE / Food & Drink / Destination Restaurants
Apr 26, 2024
Casa del Cibo: A thriving jewel born from Tohoku’s harsh past
Chef Ryohei Ikemi will open dinner with a warming soup featuring vegetables from Aomori's Lake Towada and close with a local Kyogoku apple gelato.
The seafood curry on Massif's dinner menu changes periodically. Right now, it features "asari" clams over noodles in a rich crab bisque that evokes strong Southeast Asian "laksa" influences.
Apr 14, 2024
Even sans cherry blossoms, the Meguro River has a hit in Massif
From early morning eats to dinner options with low-intervention wines, it seems like Massif has all options covered.
In 2017, chef Shinsaku Suzuki moved to the Yatsugatake region of Yamanashi Prefecture with his wife, Emi Ishida, after locating the perfect premises: a splendid 170-year-old traditional Japanese house.
LIFE / Food & Drink / Destination Restaurants
Apr 6, 2024
Ai to Ibukuro: Terroir of Yamanashi's uplands
With a name that translates to “Love and Stomach,” this rural restaurant not far from Tokyo delivers with flying colors on both counts.
Chef Harutomo Hagi's self-named restaurant in Iwaki was selected as the 2023 Japan Times Destination Restaurant of the Year.
LIFE / Food & Drink / Destination Restaurants
Mar 10, 2024
Hagi: French restaurant leads Fukushima revival
The Japan Times’ 2023 Restaurant of the Year is a sterling example of Fukushima’s slow and steady post-disaster revival.
Motenashi Kuroki's smart new premises boast an eye-catching window display, aptly enough featuring a colorful display of ramen bowls.
Feb 18, 2024
Motenashi Kuroki finally has a place worthy of its premium ramen
Naohito Kuroki has finally found a worthy location for his ever-popular, self-named ramen shop.
Chef Natsuki Suzuki opened Naz in the fall of 2020 on the rural fringe of the resort town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture.
LIFE / Food & Drink / Destination Restaurants
Feb 11, 2024
Naz: Bounty from landlocked Nagano's rivers and pastures
Dining at Naz is like sitting down at a bespoke dinner club for a meal catered exclusively for you. And what a meal it is.
Beet carpaccio served with fresh cream and caviar, the signature dish of three-Michelin-star chef Mauro Colagreco, features at Cycle, his much-anticipated new restaurant in Otemachi.
Dec 9, 2023
Tokyo dining finally kicked the pandemic blues in 2023
The further we got into 2023, the more it really started to feel like COVID-19 had finally dissipated like a malodorous mist.
Chef Masato Nishihara chose Nara as the site for his restaurant, Tsukumo, for its antiquity, its proximity to nature and its ancient connections with overseas cultures.
LIFE / Food & Drink / Destination Restaurants
Dec 3, 2023
Tsukumo: Japanese cuisine inspired by Nara's ancient roots
Like the treasures housed inside Nara's Shosoin repository, it may be years before chef Masato Nishihara reprises some of his exquisite dishes at Tsukumo.
Chef Stuart Brioza (left) of San Francisco’s State Bird Provisions explores the vineyard at Domaine Takahiko in Yoichi, together with his partner, Nicole Krasinski, and their son, Jasper.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Oct 22, 2023
A California chef's quest across Hokkaido for umami
Acclaimed chef Stuart Brioza has been to Hokkaido many times — but never with a focus like this on the island’s stunning natural bounty.
At Auberge Tokito, in the far western suburbs of Tokyo, executive chef-producer Yoshinori Ishii draws not only on his background in kaiseki (Japan’s multicourse traditional cuisine) but also his skills as a potter and artist.
Sep 3, 2023
Auberge Tokito raises the bar for this year’s new Tokyo openings
The crown for the most outstanding new opening so far this year goes to Auberge Tokito in Tokyo’s far western suburbs.
Gond, which opened in May near Ochanomizu Station, is run by the same group behind the long-running Dhaba India restaurant that closed in April.
Aug 20, 2023
At Gond, a legendary Indian street food lineage endures
You can tell straight away that Gond has a personality to match its extensive and eclectic menu of dishes from around the subcontinent.
Mexican chef Marco Garcia has developed an innovative cuisine by fusing his love of Japanese classics, especially sushi, with the staple foods and flavors of his homeland.
Jul 17, 2023
At Ebisu’s Tacos Bar, seafood tortillas with sushi inspiration
Chef Marco Garcia’s focus at Tacos Bar is entirely on seafood — and what excellent fish it is.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Jul 2, 2023
At the World's 50 Best Restaurant awards, Central's win is a win for the world
The ultimate victory by Central represents a welcome change of flavor for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Jun 25, 2023
Tokyo hosts Asia’s first ‘Nobel Prize in gastronomy’ award
For the first time, the Basque Culinary Center brought its annual summit to Japan.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / Destination Restaurants
Jun 11, 2023
Villa del Nido: Local produce, Italian technique, volcanic backdrop
Tucked away among the smallholdings of a rural community in Unzen City, it seems an unlikely setting for Villa del Nido’s sophisticated, Italian-accented, farm-to-table cuisine.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Apr 14, 2023
Noma Kyoto’s eclectic beverage lineup leaves no stone unturned
As with the food menu, the beverage program at Noma Kyoto is the fruit of long, deep and, by all accounts, highly enjoyable consideration by Noma’s head sommelier, Ava Mees List.


Akiko Trush says her experience with the neurological disorder dystonia left her feeling like she wanted to chop her own hand off.
The neurological disorder that 'kills culture'