What is Tonkatsu?
Tonkatsu is a dish unique to Japan. It is commonly said that the history of tonkatsu began in the Meiji period. The French dish known as “cotelette” was brought to Japan and with that dish’s concept as a base, “cutlet” dishes arranged in a uniquely Japanese way were born. After that, variations on “pork cutlet” were created using thickly-cut meat and sliced cabbage, eventually becoming the dish known as “tonkatsu.” As for the history of “rosu-katsu” (pork loin), it was first sold in 1905 by Shinjiro Shimada, the owner of a shop in Ueno called “Ponta.” By contrast “hire-katsu” was first sold by a store in Ueno called “Houraiya.” Through knowledge passed down from many ancestors, tonkatsu has become one of Japan’s most beloved and representative cuisines.
Here are the recommended places to have tonkatsu in Tokyo!
Tonkatsu using Japan’s highest quality pork, carefully fried at a low temperature
This store fries tonkatsu slowly at a low temperature, using top-class pork from Kirishima, Churashima, and Kinka. The golden yellow panko coating is beautiful, with the meat being a very light pink in the center. Thanks to their careful cooking process, the tonkatsu is juicy and savory with an exquisite texture.
Address: Ozawa Building B1F, 1-32-11 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (東京都新宿区高田馬場1-32-11小澤ビル地下１F)
Operating hours: 11:00~22:00
Closed days: Tuesday
Nearest train stations: Takadanobaba station (高田馬場駅)
とんかつ燕楽 （Tonkatsu Enraku）
Tonkatsu fried at a low temperature using Hiraboku-sangenton pork.
This restaurant serves Hiraboku-sangenton pork slowly fried at a low temperature. The flaky and lightly colored crust gives way to a chewy and savory pork loin flavor, a wonderful combination. All of their ingredients are deliberately and carefully managed; they use homemade panko, lard made from fatty ligaments, and rice from local farmers.
Address: 6-1-4 Ikegami, Ōta-ku, Tokyo (東京都大田区池上6-1-4)
Operating hours: 11:00~21:30
Closed days: Monday
Nearest train stations: Ikegami Station (池上駅)
A wonderful harmony between savory pork and special sauce.
This shop uses Hiraboku-sangenton pork from the Hirada Farm in Yamagata to make a special rosu tonkatsu that is sweet and tender. A high quality fatty tonkatsu with a savory flavor that increases the more you chew. The aka-dashi miso soup and rice are also beautifully arranged, and you can even have second helpings on rice.
Address: 1-8-14 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (東京都千代田区外神田1-8-14)
Operating hours: 11:30 ~ 20:20
Closed days: Mondays and the third Tuesday of every month
Nearest train stations: Akihabara Station (秋葉原駅)
Exquisite tonkatsu made using Hayashi SPF pork
Immediately after being fried, this store lets the tonkatsu simmer in the leftover heat, creating an exquisitely rare and crispy tonkatsu. They use pork from the Hayashi SPF brand which is known for its careful pretreatment and mature flavor. You can season your tonkatsu with one of their many varieties of salt and then enjoy the blissfully sweet and juicy flavor that will spread over your taste buds.
Address: Royal Heights Kamata 102, 5-43-7 Kamata, Ōta-ku, Tokyo (東京都大田区蒲田5-43-7ロイヤルハイツ蒲田１０２)
Operating hours: 11:00 ～ 21:00
Closed days: Monday
Nearest train stations: Kamata Station (蒲田駅)
A noble tonkatsu made using a technique that is transmitted through the flavor
This store sells a noble tonkatsu that conveys the young storeowner’s sincere attitude and careful work method. The thin coating and meat are just perfectly stuck together, and the thickly-cut rosu tonkatsu is soft enough that you can cut it with your front teeth. Oily and tender, it is truly excellent tonkatsu.
Address: Maison Izumi 1-112, 3-22-7 Koyama, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo (東京都品川区小山3-22-7 メゾンいずみ１－１１２)
Operating hours: 11:00 ～ 20:30
Closed days: Monday and Wednesday
Nearest train stations: Musashi-Koyama Station (武蔵小山駅)
A satisfying tonkatsu with 3 times the thickness of regular tonkatsu
At one of Shin-Koiwa’s popular Western restaurants they have a specialty menu which contains an extra-thick tonkatsu, measuring over 3cm in thickness. The crust is slightly hard but gives way to plump and soft meat. With the slightest bite the sweetness of the fat will fill your mouth.
Address: 1-7-14 Higashi Shin-Koiwa, Katsushika, Katsushika City, Tokyo (東京都葛飾区葛飾区東新小岩1-7-14)
Operating hours: 11:30 ～ 21:00
Closed days: Sundays and holidays
Nearest train stations: Shin-Koiwa Station (新小岩駅)
A tonkatsu with a strong sense of unity between the meat and crust
Roppakukuro pork wrapped in a firm and crunchy crust. Thickly-cut rosu katsu is overpowered by its appeal. Each little slice you cut is a pleasant light pink. The sweet Kagoshima soy sauce and wasabi stems are the perfect complement. A new talent from 2014.
Address: Tamagawa Building 2F, 2-3-7 Shibakōen, Minato-ku, Tokyo (東京都港区芝公園2-3-7玉川ビル 2F)
Operating hours: 11:30~20:00
Closed days: Sundays and Holidays
Nearest train stations: Daimon Station (大門駅)
とんかつ 万平 （Tonkatsu Manpei）
Fragrant tonkatsu with a crispy and crunchy crust
This restaurant serves fragrant and crispy tonkatsu that is fried once in oil, and then baked in the oven. The baking process removes the excess oil, meaning this tonkatsu has no oily flavor whatsoever. The lean meat and fatty meat are tightly fixed together, which will make you crave more of it.
Pleasant tonkatsu with a sensually crunchy crust
Located in one of Ogawamachi’s alleys, this is a store that sells retro-modern fried foods. Light and fluffy crusts are their specialty, which draws out the flavors of the tender meat. They have two varieties of sauce and even a unique yuzu-pepper sauce which means you can enjoy personalizing your tonkatsu right down to the very last bite.
Address: 1F Ougi Building, 2-8 Kanda Ogawamachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (東京都千代田区神田小川町2-8 扇ビル 1F)
Operating hours: 11:15 ~ 21:00
Closed days: Sundays and every third Monday
Nearest train stations: Ogawamachi Station (小川町駅)
ぽん多本家 （Ponta Honke）
A cutlet-style tonkatsu that has remained unchanged ever since the business opened
A store located in the ‘holy land’ of tonkatsu, Ueno. As soon as you open the heavy doors you are greeted by a frying location with a wondrously dignified atmosphere about it. They serve tonkatsu with a glistening golden yellow crust, made with loin meat that has the fatty meat carefully removed. This results in a ‘cutlet’ style tonkatsu with a pure, savory flavor.
Address: 3-23-3 Ueno, Taitō-ku, Tokyo (東京都台東区上野3-23-3)
Operating hours: 11:00~ 22:00
Closed days: Mondays
Nearest train stations: Okachimachi Station (御徒町駅)
What do you think? We encourage you to find your own personal favorite tonkatsu!
Please note that the information on our site is subjective information that was collected independently by the Tabearukists; no information was provided by the individual stores, so please note that some information may be subject to change without advance notice.