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Hidden restaurants of Tokyo

A vendor and his wares in the food court of a Tokyo department store (top) and a bento box of pork belly  alongside a Yebisu beer on the train fom Tokyo to Kanazawa (above).
A vendor and his wares in the food court of a Tokyo department store (top) and a bento box of pork belly alongside a Yebisu beer on the train fom Tokyo to Kanazawa (above).PHOTOS BY LAURA GOLDMAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

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Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city and is widely regarded by chefs as being the epitome of finesse, with the rarest and most seasonal ingredients on the planet. Pick up any travel or food article on Tokyo, and you’re sure to salivate as you read about restaurants with amazing sushi, mushrooms, miso soup, tonkatsu (pork), ramen noodles, soba noodles, tempura, grilled chicken, Kobe beef, multicourse vegetarian dinners, and terrific cocktail bars and old school coffee salons.

Good luck finding these places.

When I first went to Japan nine years ago, I carried several guidebooks and plotted out a bunch of meals. Little did I know the impossibility of what faced me.

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