If you are in Japan for a short period, a hotel concierge might be the most flexible option, especially if you want to dine at a particular restaurant, for example maybe you heard about Tempura Matsu or you really want to go to Sukiyabashi Jiro. Since you are traveling to Japan, you also need a place to stay, which is why a hotel like the Park Hotel Tokyo is probably the best option for a short stay.
A year ago, a hotel concierge was the way to go. However, in my opinion, Tableall has truly become the best option in most cases. There is another online concierge service called Pocket Concierge, but I think they pale in comparison.
Tableall has built a database of quality restaurants, whose description, I was surprised to find out, are accurate and informative. Even if you went to a restaurant, you would not find English information about the chef's biography and youth, where he finds his ingredients, what his vision for the future is, or why he chose this particular tableware. I read the Tableall descriptions for fun in my free time, that is how good they are.
How this website, started by a former GS trader, has convinced top restaurants where you could otherwise not go to, such as Sushi Kimura or Ogata and many others, to participate and welcome foreigners is incredible.
They are very responsive by email and more transparent than the other reservation services. On one day where it snowed, they sent me an email with suggestions on how to reserve a taxi in advance. On a day where the restaurant became available earlier as my reservation was late in the evening, they asked me in the afternoon if I want to come earlier in the evening. All of this service for a flat fee of 4,000円 (especially when a 5% credit card fee on an expensive meal can take half of this money away from them). Their service is worth more than what they charge in my opinion.
Make sure to reserve months in advance for the most sought-after restaurants and keep visiting their website often to see if new reservations are available from cancellations. I am extremely grateful to have come to Japan in the era of Tableall.
The only true voyage of discovery would be not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes.
Kyoaji, Hakone, shodo, home cooking.
Making Restaurant Reservations in Tokyo
Cafe de l'Ambre
Sushi Sho Masa
Bear Pond Espresso
Park Hotel Tokyo
New Year in Kyoto
Quotes from Chefs
Quotes from Farmers
Kwon Sook Soo
Yau Yuen Siu Tsui