Eating tempura in Ginza is probably one of Tokyo’s most expensive culinary experiences, but there are other ways to eat tempura in Japan, although with less glamor, that’s clear. One possibility is to enjoy the tempura of the Tenya restaurant chain, specialized in preparing tendon, a donburi or rice bowl with pieces of tempura above at very affordable prices.
Founded by Iwashita Yoshio, the Tenya restaurant chain first opened its doors in 1989 in the underground area of Yaesu, inside the Tokyo station. It offered rich tendons at a third of the average price of the time, so that it quickly became very popular.
The chain was extended until it has more than 130 establishments that it currently has, especially in the area of Tokyo and its surroundings (it has establishments in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama and also the odd ones in Hokkaido, Fukuoka, Tochigi and Osaka).
Tenya restaurants usually have a bar with stools, as do many other Japanese fast food chains, and some have small tables for groups, although it depends on the location. Of course, they do not usually have a ticket machine so you have to ask the bar staff directly.
As in many Japanese restaurants, once we finish, we will take the ticket that they will have left on the table and go to the box to pay. They are fast food restaurants, so the desktop does not get too much and the movement of people entering and leaving is constant.
Tenya restaurants use local products to lower costs and a delicious tare sauce, based on soy sauce and unagi sweet sauce, whose recipe is completely secret. Prices range from 470 yen of a small tendon to 980 yen of a special large-sized tendon.
In Tenya we can eat different sizes of tendon (of vegetables, seafood or mixed) and sets of tendon or tempura with hot and cold soba and udon noodles. In addition, in the vast majority of establishments they have a letter in English, although the truth is that it is little necessary, since in the letter we can see photos of all the options, so with pointing out the photo of the dish that we want we also have it easy. As a curiosity, they have on their website a table about ingredients, dishes and allergies, yes, only in Japanese.