It’s no longer a secret: Tokyo has some of the finest pizza in the world. But what’s even more impressive is the growing number of dedicated artisans setting up shop well away from the more obvious mainstream neighbourhoods. There’s no better example than Yutaka Hazama’s Pizzeria Bakka M’unica.

His friendly little restaurant stands on a modest suburban shopping street in the southern extremities of the city. It’s not a destination restaurant or worth crossing the city for. But for the lucky folks in and around Samezu Station, four stops south of Shinagawa on the Keikyu Line, Bakka M’unica is many rungs higher than standard delivery-pizza fare.

Hazama is self-taught and has even entered pizza competitions in Italy. He prefers to follow his own path, rather than any Neapolitan orthodoxy, as you can tell from his pizzas: one includes salsiccia (sausage) and hanjuku (soft-boiled) egg, another comes with prosciutto, arugula and white truffle oil.

He used to operate out of a mobile pizza truck, and for a while was a fixture in Shibuya’s backstreets. He still has the truck, but his new brick oven delivers much more consistent results. He has also joined up with a chef friend who puts together more than adequate antipasti and pasta dishes. Better yet, they have a fridge crammed with craft beer, both local and imported. It isn’t what you’d expect in this quiet neighborhood. And it’s certainly impressive.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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