A great place in Shinjuku for an early morning breakfast or late-night snack. 

Despite being a huge metropolis, a lot of Tokyo shuts down when the last trains depart the city after midnight. However, there is one place with a vibrant 24-hour nightlife that’s been dubbed “the city that never sleeps”, and that place is Kabukicho in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward.

▼ The entrance to Kabukicho.

Image: Pakutaso

When you’re looking for somewhere to eat in the wee hours of the morning, or any time before most other restaurants open at around 11 a.m., Kabukicho has a variety of options to choose from. One restaurant we can recommend is open 24 hours, serving kamameshi meals even for breakfast, seven days a week, 365 days a year.


Kamameshi literally means “kettle rice” and refers to a traditional Japanese rice dish cooked in an iron pot called a kama. Kamameshihana specialises in kamameshi, and advertises that fact with an automated display of an iron pot in front of the store.

Rice makes up the bulk of a kamameshi, and this restaurant uses 100-percent Koshihikari rice, sourced directly from farmers in Minamiuonuma, Niigata Prefecture, which is considered by many to be “the best rice production area in Japan“.

While the English sign and display out the front might lead you to think this is a gimmicky tourist trap, it actually isn’t, with attention to detail given not just to the quality of ingredients but their presentation, and there are a variety of kamameshi meals to choose from.

The meals are also cooked to order, ensuring optimal freshness and deliciousness, so it can take around 25 minutes for your food to arrive, but the wait is worth it.

▼ One of the most popular meals is the Salmon Ikura Kamameshi (1,850 yen [US$12.29])

Lifting the lid on the iron pot reveals…

…the beautiful meal inside.

Salmon, bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, burdock, carrots, quail eggs, and chestnuts make this a very hearty meal at any time of the day or night, and the warming aroma whets the appetite.

▼ To eat the kamameshi, simply spoon some of it out into the bowl on your tray…

▼…and add some of the ikura (salmon roe) to your liking.

The entire kamameshi fills about three bowls, so the wait to receive it is actually good as it helps you to work up an appetite, making it easy to finish.

The salmon is plump and delicious, as is the rice, and the freshly cooked nature of it all works to elevate the taste.

The dashi that the entire meal is cooked in helps to bring all the flavours together beautifully and the miso soup on the side conceals a surprise, as it’s flavoured with yuzu to give it a refreshing aftertaste.

As the menu is written in both Japanese and English, this restaurant is well suited to locals and tourists, so you might want to keep this spot in mind, along with this other longstanding restaurant popular with hosts, next time you’re looking for a place to eat in Kabukicho.

And don’t forget you can pick up a free Godzilla manhole card from the Shinjuku tourist information centre nearby!

Restaurant information
Kamameshi Hana / 釜めし 華
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukicho 1-2-17
Open 24 hours

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