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Between the country’s natural beauty and historic sites, there are plenty of things to see on a trip to Japan. Eventually, though, you’re going to have to take a break from sightseeing in order to eat, and even then you’re in luck, since Japan is a foodie’s paradise.

But while it’s true that Japan is filled with great restaurants, only one can be at the top of travelers’ dining wish list, as decided by users of travel website Trip Advisor in a recent ranking of where they want to eat in Japan.

3. Narisawa / ナリサワ

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Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Minami Aoyama, 2-6-15

Coming in third is Narisawa, French-trained chef Yoshihiro Narisawa’s establishment in Tokyo’s swanky Aoyama neighborhood. While we’ve gotten used to seeing Narisawa on lists of Japan’s best restaurants, we’re still trying to wrap our minds around its signature dish: dirt soup.

▼ Apparently it tastes better than it looks.

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2. Matsuzaka Beef Yakiniku M/ 松阪牛焼肉 M

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Address: Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Namba 1-1-19

Moving from Tokyo to Osaka, Trip Advisor’s visitors made the Hozenji Yokocho branch of yakiniku chain M their number two pick. The restaurant specializes in Matsuzaka beef, which along with Kobe and Yonezawa is one of the most prized varieties in Japan. M is particularly famous for buying steer whole at auction, providing delicious cuts which customers then grill at their tables.

1. Sushi Dai / 寿司大

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Address: Tokyo-to, Chuko-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Tsukiji Ichiba Building 6
Website (Tabelog)

The top of the list brings us back to the capital and finally to Japan’s brightest culinary star, sushi. Located near the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market, Sushi Dai’s unassuming storefront belies its fare’s fantastic flavor.

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Of course, the massive line that forms out the front door should tip you off that there’s more than meets the eye to Dai. Fans on Trip Advisor tell tales of arriving at five in the morning, and still having to wait almost four hours for a table.

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Not that the wait puts much of a damper on the enthusiasm of those who’ve been lucky enough to snag a seat. Gushed one satisfied customer,  “It was so good that it made all the sushi I’d eaten before seem like a pale imitation of what it’s supposed to be.”

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Powerful words. With endorsements like that, we can definitely see why, for many travelers, a meal at Dai is as memorable as a visit to the Tokyo Skytree or Kumamoto Castle. Just remember that since the sushi is to die for, the nice thing to do would be to stop by Tsukiji’s sushi spirit shrine and say thanks to all the fish on the way back to your hotel.

Source: PR Times
Top image: Tabelog
Insert images: FC2, Tabelog (1, 2, 3)
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