The influence of American culture in Japan is obvious in almost every district of its cities. Alongside the temples and pagodas of old, modern Japan is also a world of baseball stadiums, jazz bars, and - of course - fast food joints.
All things Americana have been celebrated in Japan ever since the 1950s, which means that while in other Asian countries you might struggle to have your burger cravings (and high burger standards) suitably met, Japan has long since mastered the fine art of beef and bun.
Over the past few years, the burger scene in the capital has been booming, with new stores popping up every few months. Your options in Tokyo are varied and vibrant, with everything from tiny family-run burger stands to flagship branches of massive US chains.
Here’s our pick of the best that the city has to offer!
Photo by Blacows
For a great burger with a Japanese twist, head down to Blacows in Ebisu. The name is a reference to the black cows from which the famous kuroge wagyu beef is produced. Each of their burgers is 100% made from this premium meat, with the quality reflected in both the taste and the price.
Blacows’ burgers range from 1,300 to 1,900 yen, excluding sides and vegetable toppings. You won’t regret paying that little bit extra when you’re biting into one of the most tender and tasty burgers in Tokyo, made with some of the best meat in the world.
This place prides itself on customizability, with a decent rage of toppings to mix and match. For big eaters, they offer the fully-loaded “Big Blacows Burger”: stacked with cheese, bacon, egg, avocado, and an extra patty.
Opening Hours: 11:30am-3pm, 6-10pm
Munch’s Burger Shack (Shibakoen)
Photo by Munch's Burger Shack
This restaurant is the only one in Tokyo to hold the (dubious?) honor of having cooked for the president of the United States, Mr Donald Trump - a man so fanatically crazy about burgers that he serves them up at presidential dinners.
Whatever your opinion of the man himself, we’re sure you’ll love the burger which bears his name: a Colby jack cheese burger at just 1,400 yen for the fries and ‘slaw set. If you’re particular about the way your burgers are cooked, you’ll be happy to know that this place accommodates requests for medium-rare patties.
The space itself is super-chic, with an open kitchen and industrial design. Seating is somewhat limited, so be aware you may need to share a table or queue during peak times on the weekend.
Opening Hours: 11am-2:30pm, 5:30-8:30pm
Photo by Fatburger
A common complaint among the expats of Japan is that the portions in the fast-food joints are significantly smaller than in Europe and America. If you find yourself complaining about this every time you’re served up a teeny-tiny Big Mac, get yourself along to Fatburger in Shibuya.
This American brand is famous for their huge challenge burgers, stacked gravity-defyingly high. In Japan, the biggest item on the menu is the six-patty "US Kingburger” at a pretty reasonable 2,560 yen. For the mere mortals among us, single, double, and triple options are also available. All the standard burger varieties are to be found here at decent prices, with fries and a drink only an extra 400 yen.
Opening Hours: 11am-10pm
Umami Burger (Omotesando)
Photo by Umami Burger
Umami (noun): one of the five basic tastes, characteristic of cooked meats and broths. If this mysterious fifth flavor category is alien to you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Only recently adopted into English, the Japanese have used this word since the early 20th century to describe the mouthwatering taste of meats and stews.
It literally translates to “deliciousness”, which perfectly describes the burgers offered up by this Nihon-inspired burger joint, originally established in LA. Naturally, they decided to open up a store in Tokyo, which offers up their fresh burger inventions for around 1,000 yen and above.
The Omotesando branch offers a range of fifteen varieties with toppings ranging from the classic cheese and bacon, to the more inventive lotus root and wasabi. A perfect place to satisfy your craving for Western comforts, without missing out on unique local flavors.
Opening Hours: 11am-10pm
Address: 〒107-0061 東京都港区北青山３丁目１５−5
Eights Burger (Shimokitazawa)
Photo by Eight Burger's
Shimokita is a neighborhood best known as a hub for fashion hipsters, coffee lovers, and theatre folk. On top of great culture and even better coffee, you can count outstanding burgers as another string to the bow of this ultra-cool pocket of Tokyo.
Nestled in the heart of the neighborhood, just a few minutes east of the station, Eight Burger’s (sic) has been serving delicious buns since 2017. With a comfortably stylish interior and outdoor seating, it’s a perfect hangout in any season.
Their lunch set comes as cheap as 700 yen, and includes skinny fries, a drink, and a dish of excellent homemade coleslaw. You can’t go wrong with their cheeseburgers, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous then why not give the straightforwardly titled “F***in’ Hot Chilli Cheese Burger” a go?
Opening Hours: 11:30am-11pm
Chatty Chatty (Shinjuku) and Wakie Wakie (Kichijoji)
Photo by Chatty Chatty
For sheer attention to detail and craft, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Chatty Chatty - a little store located near the peaceful grounds of Shinjuku Gyoen Park. This 20-seater hidden gem is a great example of the kind of independent eateries that make Tokyo’s food scene so great - a real labour of love by the staff and owners.
Order from their menu of over 30 burgers then watch your 100% Australian beef burger being prepared right across the counter from you. What makes their burgers unique is the method used to hold the beef together: a wrapping of pork caul instead of the usual egg and breadcrumb mixture. This means the taste is all-meat!
The end result is one of the most picture-perfect burgers possible: perfectly cooked patties resting atop crisp vegetables, glistening with a generous lathering of melted cheese. Recently, they’ve opened up a second restaurant named Wakie Wakie in Kichijoji with the same great menu and shabby-chic vibe.
Opening Hours: 11:30am-11pm
Opening Hours: 11:30am-11pm
Arms Burger (Yoyogi)
Photo by Arms Burger
Nestled among the cafes and apartments of the chilled residential area on the west side of Yoyogi Park, Arms Burger is a place which is extremely popular among locals due to its family (and dog) friendly atmosphere.
The menu draws inspiration from classic American diners, with some inventive burger options alongside a great range of other favorites such as BLT sandwiches and hot dogs. Standout options include the spinach-topped “Popeye Burger”, and a burger topped with honeyed mushrooms. Prices hover around the 1000 yen mark, with takeout and delivery also available.
For relaxed local vibes, Arms is not to be beaten. After finishing up lunch at your new favorite burger shop, you should think about taking a stroll around this ultra-chilled area to discover your new favorite cafe/gallery/store/bar too.
Opening Hours: 11am-10:30pm, closed Mondays
Authentic Burger (Akasaka)
Photo by Authentic Burger
With a name as bold as the taste of their meat, Authentic Burger is a long-time heavyweight on the Tokyo burger scene. The secret to their success is the mix of meat used in their patties: 80% Angus beef, 20% prime fatty wagyu.
The decor is basic and unpretentious - the menu is the real attraction here. Highlights include burgers with homemade thousand-island sauce, an outstanding chili cheeseburger, and the unexpectedly amazing broccoli cheeseburger. Prices are Tokyo-standard, starting from around 1000 yen.
Be sure to arrive before or after the lunchtime rush so you don’t have to compete for your spot against the horde of loyal regulars this place has accumulated over the years. Once you’ve tried their burgers out for yourself, you’ll understand why.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-3:30pm, 5:30-9pm; Sat-Sun 11am-7pm
Photo by Bareburger
If eco-friendliness and sustainability are as important to you as freshness and flavor, the fully organic menu at Bareburger will tick all your boxes. Originating in New York, their first Tokyo restaurant was established in Jiyugaoka in 2015, with a second opening in Ginza not long after. Both branches boast fresh and bright interiors, and menu items unique to each individual outlet.
As the name suggests, this company prides itself on the quality of their ingredients rather than any fancy gimmicks. The result is one of the freshest and healthiest burgers available, for around 1,500 yen and up.
Also available are some mouthwatering veggie burgers, premium wagyu beef burgers, minced chicken burgers, customizable milkshakes, and a delectable selection of American desserts including pancakes and apple pie.
Opening Hours: 11am-11pm
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-8:30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-8:30pm