Why go to Tsukiji Fish Market when it keeps coming to you?

We’re going to go out on a limb and boldly bet that if you were to ask any Singaporean what their favorite cuisine is, chances are they would answer Japanese. After all, there must be a (commercial) reason behind the steady stream of Japanese food enclaves popping up all around the island the last couple of years. And if it isn’t your favorite cuisine, well; it likely will be after you complete this round-up.
 

Chijmes



Chijmes

The historic 160-year old building underwent a facelift in 2014 to give us a quaint Japanese food alley resembling a ramen street outside Tokyo station. With restaurants like sushi-by-day and teppanyaki-by-night diner Tatsu, shabu-shabu specialists On-Yasai, and Ikkousha which serves traditional tonkotsu ramen, you’ll never run out of options. For something casual and fun, don’t miss probably Singapore’s favorite yakiniku chain, Gyu Kaku. There’s also Japanese-fusion seafood fare at Wharf Oyster Bar, and a branch of Tonkatsu by Ma Maison. 30 Victoria St., 6337-7810.
 

Cuppage Plaza


Don’t be put off by its local reputation of sleaze and vice; also known as “Little Japan”, this older and more modest building to the right of Cuppage Terrace is a favorite go-to for Japanese-orientated KTV, massage and foot reflexology sessions, and of course, Japanese food. It houses seven eateries specializing in a diverse range of Japanese food such as Azmaya Honten’s signature shabu-shabu; Kazu Sumiyaki’s char-grilled yakitori; quality omakase from Kaiho Sushi; and tempura from izakaya-inspired Japanese restaurant and bar, Hanashizuku. 5 Koek Rd., 6734-1413.
 

Eat at Seven


Seven popular Japanese cuisines converged under one roof late last year and they’re all relatively affordable. There's a tuna, salmon, yellowtail and swordfish sashimi specialist over at Maguro-Donya Miura-Misaki-Kou Sushi & Dining; a yakiniku-style hot plate restaurant, Nikunohi, which specializes in kuroge wagyu beef; Nigiro Cafe, a Tokyo cafe that claims to have the best Caesar salad in the Japanese city; and Enbu, a warayaki and charcoal grill izakaya serving traditional small plates paired with Coedo beer. Also try the Korean tofu stews from Tokyo Sundubu, whose confused presence in a Japanese food enclave is still very much welcome. #03-313,Suntec City Mall. 6238-1630. 
 

Emporium Shokuhin



Live Seafood Market at Emporium Shokuhin

This 34,000 sq. ft. space on the first floor of Marina Square's newer wing consists of 10 dining concepts, plus a Japanese gourmet grocer boasting tanks filled with live seafood from Japan. There’s a small section dedicated to produce from Ehime prefecture in northwestern Shikoku, Japan, with options like yuzu and iyokan yokan (thick jelly dessert) and flavored somen. Head to 102-seat sushi bar Senmi Sushi for authentic bites, or get your own hot pot at shabu-shabu outfit Shabu Tan. Seafood and wine bar umi + vino is a date night kind of spot; but for lighter options, grab some pastries from Japanese bakery-cafe, Kohi-Koji. The dining destination’s latest concept Live Seafood Market Dining even allows you to pick your own premium live seafood, beef steaks and vegetables and have them cooked on the spot. While you’re waiting for your food, grab a draft Kirin Ichiban Frozen Beer at the open bar counter. #01-18, Marina Square. 6224-3433.
 

Japan Food Town



Japan Food Town

Make no mistake; there’s so much more to Japanese food in Wisma Atria than just Koh Grill & Sushi Bar. Needing no introduction, the 628-seater food hall parked on the fourth level of the former Isetan Orchard houses 16 casual-dining eateries from various prefectures and cities in Japan. There’s udon specialist Inanwa Yosuke (Tokyo), famous for their handmade udon that uses a 150-year-old technique; ramen masters Machida-Shoten (Kanagawa); Osaka Kitchen (Osaka), popular for teppanyaki and okonomiyaki; and Sushi Takewaka (Tokyo), a 36-year-old sushi specialty shop originally from Tsukiji market. You can also opt for healthier-choice Kinme Mai rice (available at half of Japan Town's eateries), which has the nutritional value of brown rice. Can’t decide what to have? This should help. #04-39/54, Wisma Atria Shopping Centre. 6694-6535.
 

Japan Foods Garden



Hot stone tendon from Sizzling Hot Stone

Across the road, Shaw Centre’s Japan Foods Garden sits in a corner of the Food Republic down in the basement. Of the five dining establishments within the enclave, Sizzling Hot Stone brings to the table Singapore’s first-ever hot stone tendon, as well as healthy soup pots like the Health & Beauty Salmon Pot. If you’re making your rounds, hit up Fry Pan Shokudo for Korean-inspired tempura, Gyutetsu Teppanyaki for teppan-style dishes, Tsukiji Takewaka from Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market for all kinds of sushi, maki, chirashi and sashimi; and Bar, which serves up innovative bar grub and alcoholic beverages. #B1-01, Shaw Centre. 6493-7300.
 

Nihon Food Street


There are plenty of options to choose from Millenia Walk’s Japanese food street—from steaming bowls of ramen at Chabuton and Miharu Sapporo Ramen, to fresh premium thick cuts of sashimi at Teppei Syokudo, Tomi Sushi or Rakuzen (all serving up generous amounts). There’s also a wide variety of quality sake at Patisserie G and freshly baked Japanese pastries from Pullman Bakery, the only Hokkaido-born bakery in Singapore. Millenia Walk Level 2. 6883-1122.
 

Sora Japan Gourmet Hall



Sora Bar

Possibly inspired by the success behind their first Japanese food enclave (Eat At Seven), ANA Holdings opened an even bigger one in Changi Airport Terminal 2 in Nov 2017. Sora (which means ‘sky’ in Japanese) sets itself apart as a gourmet food hall that at 300-diner capacity is the largest restaurant across the airport’s four terminals. It houses six new and existing restaurant brands; must-tries include old faithfuls Kuro Maguro and Tendon Kohaku for chirashi and crispy tendon respectively, plus new brand Japoli Kitchen for its fusion Mentaiko Pizza. You can also pick up drinks and ice cream at the Sora Bar#036-058, Changi Airport Terminal 2, Level 3. 6386-7005.
 

Shokutsu Ten at Jurong Point


Inspired by the bustling district of Ginza in Tokyo, Shokutsu Ten is a Japanese food paradise at this heartland shopping mall, designed with authentic architectural detailing and historic icons specially imported from Japan. It showcases a total of nine restaurants, over 10 cultural kiosks and an amazing selection of Japanese specialties, adding a new dimension to the quintessential Japanese dining experience. Head down for some Japanese pasta at Kabe no Ana or go for a mandatory hot pot over at Shabu Tontei. There's also local favorite Men-ichi Ramen and Idaten Udon which serves up a unique (and spicy) twist on udons. They’ve since opened another enclave at NEX Mall too. #B1-77/78, Jurong Point Shopping Centre. 6792-5662.
 

Tanjong Pagar Centre



Kuro Maguro

It’s not so much a food enclave as it is just a building home to some good Japanese eats, but Singapore’s tallest skyscraper still makes the list for anyone needing to satisfy a craving in town. Cutest among the various Japanese restaurants is the Japan Rail Cafe, but we also like bakery and cake shop Hattendo for their sinful cream buns. Additionally, there is a branch of Imakatsu, sushi restaurant Azuma, and probably most excitingly, donburi place Kuro Maguro (the same one in SORA) by Kanagawa prefecture’s tuna wholesaler Misaki Megumi Suisan, which flies in top-grade blue fin tuna at -60F for maximum freshness. #31-01 Guoco Tower, 1 Wallich St. 6386-8322.