Japan’s Top Tamago Sandos & Toasts
by Roni Xu Mori
Roni Xu Mori, a Tokyo-based diamond and pearl specialist with a deep passion for food, has been meticulously documenting her culinary experiences since the age of 10. Drawing inspiration from her Chinese and Japanese heritage, she delights in sharing the most unique and delectable dishes. Currently, she is collaborating with writer W. David Marx on a forthcoming book centered around Showa-era (1926-1989) cuisine, slated for release this autumn.
Below, Roni has thoughtfully curated a mouthwatering list of Japan’s finest Tamago Sandos & Toasts, offering an array of flavors and textures that are sure to excite even the most discerning palates, inviting you on a culinary journey through the heart of Japan’s vibrant food scene.
Coffee House Katsura / 珈琲店 桂 (Ueno)
Easily accessible from Ueno Station, Katsura is a neighborhood kissa with a great morning menu and huge sandwiches. Get the mixed sando that doubles up an overflowing omelet tamago sandwich with a thinner tuna-and-mayo one.
Renga / レンガ (Tsukiji)
Located in a back alley a few steps from the crossroads where the Harumi-dōri and Shin-Ohashi-dōri intersect, look for Renga’s signature crimson red awning and be rewarded with some of the best toasted tamago sandwiches in the city. For big eaters, Renga’s rendition of the globally controversial Naporitan pasta may also be worth a try — it’s as good as Naporitan gets.
Aroma Coffee Yaesu / アロマ珈琲八重洲店 (Tokyo Station)
Aroma is the best choice when you need a classic kissa breakfast inside of Tokyo Station. Finding it, however, is never easy, as it’s buried deep in the “Yaechika” Yaesu Underground Shopping Mall. Once you finally locate it on the map, the breakfast menu is extensive — for the purpose of this list however, find their tamago toast. While they do have salad-style tamago sando, it is the single thick slice that seems to be the crowd pleaser here at Aroma.
Restaurant Kamiya / レストラン香味屋
Located between Tokyo’s highly obscure stations Uguisudani and Iriya, Kamiya is unlikely to be a place you randomly stumble into. At first, Kamiya sold imported goods, and then after World War II, became a high-end yōshoku restaurant for geisha to eat with their clients. The egg sandwich is a luxurious take on the simple dish with double-decker white bread and soft omelette cut into impossibly uniform cubes.
Arabiya Coffee / アラビヤコーヒー
A short walk from the Glico sign, Arabiya has been a downtown Osaka institution since former military officer Takasaka Mitsuaki opened the café as his postwar trade (Strong trivia: His wife was a professional women’s baseball player in the 1950s). The Arabia tamago sando places a fluffy yet sturdy ham omelette in-between toasted slices of white bread slathered with housemade tomato paste. Pair this with their in-house nel drip South American coffee for a real good morning.
Marufuku Coffee / 丸福珈琲店 千日前本店
Around the corner from Arabiya is Marufuku — another Osaka kissaten institution, founded by the chef of Tokyo restaurant Ginrei. Marufuku does two types of tamago sando: a cold egg salad sandwich (which they claim to have invented) and an omelette version where the egg is rolled in dashi stock.
Café Amazon / アマゾン
Amazon is popular in Kyoto for their home-roasted coffee and tamago ham sando, commonly ordered as part of a mixed toast combo with crunchy vegetable toast. They also serve a few interesting variations such as the Japanese-style wafū toast with dashimaki tamago (Japanese omelette), seaweed, dried bonito and grilled chikuwa (Japanese fishcake).
Smart Coffee / スマート珈琲店
Smart Coffee is the most obvious choice for anybody looking for a Showa-retro café in Kyoto, convenient for tourists as it is right in the middle of the Teramachi shopping street running perpendicular to the famous Nishiki market. The tamago sando is light and easily inhalable.
Hata Coffee / はた珈琲店
Kobe is a kissa town, and Hata Coffee, located in a semi-Tudor building right on the main Motomachi strip, is an excellent spot for serious coffee from self-roasted beans. Their tamago toast places an extraordinarily flat omelette atop white bread.
Furufuru / フルフル (Hiroshima)
Housed on the first floor of an eight-story red-brick residential complex, Furufuru is known for its 100% furu-tsu (fruit) juice, made using seasonal produce throughout the year. What our tamago sando aficionados would really love though, are the geometrically precise ham-cucumber-tamago toasted sandos, available as part of a morning set that comes with fruits and coffee or tea.