At The Urban List, we would dine in Tokyo every weekend if we could. While taking a weekly trip to Japan might not be on the cards, finding a slice of Japanese culture right here on our doorstep is the perfect alternative.
We’ve teamed up with Sapporo Draught Beer to bring you Japan On Tap, a guide to the best Japanese everything in Sydney. Because some days, nothing beats a sashimi platter, some origami, and a freshly poured beer.
The love of Japan is real at The Urban List. Whether it’s slurping down on some of Sydney’s best ramen, buying up large at Japanese versions of dollar shops (which are actually awesome), or stocking our homes with gorgeous Japanese homewares, we love injecting a bit of Japan into our lives on the reg.
Here are a few of our favourite Japanese hotspots in Sydney…
Chef Chase Kojima is bringing a bit of cool to the Japanese dining scene in Sydney. With a resident DJ on the decks, some of the best Japanese food in Sydney, and delicious cocktails, Sokyo should be high on your hit list of Sydney eats. Our tip? Pre-order the sushi omakase (chef’s recommendation course) to try some of the best sushi this side of Tokyo.
There is very little we don’t love about Japanese megastore MUJI. Besides wanting to fill our houses with it (or even have our houses be MUJI—they make ‘em!), we want to clothe ourselves in their basics, travel smart with their on-the-go range, and be surrounded by all its basic awesomeness like all the time. For a while MUJI was based only in Melbourne, but fortunately for us, they’ve opened a store in The Galeries, which pleases us to no end.
Anyone who doesn’t like karaoke is a liar or hasn’t done it right. Mizuya, in the CBD is 50% izakaya 50% karaoke bar and 100% fun and, if you don’t like karaoke after a visit here, you probably won’t like it anywhere. Build up your sustenance in the restaurant section before busting out some Bieber (no judgement here) in your private karaoke room. Still feeling snacky mid power ballad? Order up on the food from the touch screen in your room and your dishes will magically arrive. Same goes if you need a top up of Sapporo Draught Beer. Press the button and, hey presto, beer appears!
Daiso is the kind of store where you find things you didn’t know you needed. An animal face frying pan? Yes please! A mini tripod? Of course! A corn kernel peeler? Sure, why not? And what’s best about Daiso is that everything (yes, everything) is $2.80. So it basically means you can fill your basket with all sorts of things and you’ll probably leave with enough cash for some post-shopping ramen. Win!
In what sounds like a mispronunciation of the word “Japan”, Jipang is bringing some legit Japanese food to Manly. Tucked away in a nondescript arcade, don’t be fooled by its looks—Japanese deliciousness awaits… And it’s cheap! Order up on the pan-fried gyoza or the deep fried takoyaki, and then go in on the karaage chicken (with Japanese mayo, of course). The bento box is a great option for those who don’t want to commit to just one main and will leave you with enough coin to spend on dessert.
This restaurant in Bondi blends Taiwanese and Japanese into one tasty menu. Everything here is designed to share and we suggest you order their popular “one bite beef”, some duck pancakes, plus a few dumplings for good measure. There are a range of cocktails on offer as well as Sapporo Draught Beer on tap, so if you’re looking for a good restaurant in Sydney for a date or catch up with friends, pay a visit to Mamasan.
#7 Tokyo Mart
The amount of hours racked up in the lolly section at this Japanese supermarket in Northbridge as a child would easily reach the hundreds. Stocking all sorts of Japanese groceries, household items and the kind of candy you thought you could only find in Japan, this is the place to go when you’re after proper Japanese ingredients. You can even buy Japanese alcohol, so if you’re a lover of chu-hai, sho-chu and umeshu, you need to get to Tokyo Mart, stat.
Upon walking into Goros in Surry Hills, you almost feel like you’ve walked onto a Japanese themed movie set. There’s lots of neon signs which remind us of the streets of Japan, a few arcade games, Japanese snack foods and plenty of drinks to boot. One thing you may not know about Goros is that there are a few private karaoke rooms hidden up the back, so if you’re in the mood for a bit of a sing, you know where to go.
#9 Daniel San
Named after a certain kid who mastered the art of karate, Daniel San is a restaurant in Manly that’s serving up Japanese style street food. Think yakitori fresh from the robata grill, an array of sushi and sashimi (that’s served on a boat-shaped platter!) and freshly made sushi rolls. Pro-tip: Head in on Tuesdays to take advantage of their 2-4-1 specials, which is as friendly on your wallet as it is on your tastebuds.
#10 Ginkgo Leaf
Good luck walking into Ginkgo Leaf and leaving without buying something. Sourcing and stocking a range of handcrafted Japanese homewares, it’s the perfect place to visit when you’re after the best gift ever or just want to add something a little special to your home. From hand turned wooden bowls to washi lanterns, the products here are all hand-picked and designed to make your life just that little bit more beautiful.
For more Japan On Tap finds, check out Sydney's Best Kept Japanese Secrets.
Editor's Note: This article is proudly sponsored by Sapporo and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: Daryl Kong at Sokyo