Tokyo Travel Guides / November 25, 2016
Tonkatsu Image credit: Matt@PEK

Basically, tonkatsu is pork cutlet wrapped in panko breadcrumbs and then deep fried. Sounds like your typical breaded pork chop, right? Wrong. There’s nothing typical about authentic tonkatsu.

First, you bite into crispy, golden panko crust revealing a succulent pork cutlet hiding inside, then you wonder how something deep-fried can be so juicy and not at all greasy. While deep in thought, your attention is caught by the sesame seeds that you have to pound with the accompanying mortar and pestle to release a nutty fragrance that adds another dimension to your tonkatsu. You’re caught up in that glorious moment so you forget about the sides of cabbage, rice, and miso soup.

True story.

Here are the best places to have tonkatsu in Tokyo.

  • MARUGO | Akihabara
    For tonkatsu that has 40 years of history
    What to order: Toku Rosu Katsu, Hire-katsu Teisyoku, Toku Hire-katsu
    Price range: 700 to 2,000 Yen ($6.40 to $18.29)
    When: 11:30 – 15:00; 17:00 – 21:00 Daily except Mondays, third Tuesdays
    Where: 1-8-14 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo
  • MAISEN | Shibuya
    For good tonkatsu that is easily accessible at many shinkansen stations
    What to order: Okita-Kurobuta, Benibuta, Yuwaku
    Price range: 500 to 2,000 Yen ($4.57 to $18.29)
    When: 11:00 – 22:00 Daily
    Where: 4-8-5 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
  • HASEGAWA | Ryogoku
    For juicy thick-cut tonkatsu with a hint of sweetness
    What to order: Jou Rosu, Rosu Katsu Teishoku, Soba
    Price range: 1,000 to 2,500 Yen ($9.14 to $22.86)
    When: 11:30 – 15:00; 17:00 – 22:30 Daily
    Where: 3-24-1 Ryogoku Ozaki Building 103, Sumida, Ryogoku, Tokyo
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