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TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogPizza Chains: The Amazing History in Japan!

Pizza Chains: The Amazing History in Japan!

James LauJames Lau
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March 27, 2024
Pizza from one of many chains.

From the introduction of delivery pizza in the 1980s to the authentic New York-style slices, explore how pizza chains like Pizza-la, Domino’s Japan, Pizza Slice, and Shakey’s Pizza have transformed Japan’s pizza!

When did pizza delivery arrive in Japan?     

Pizza became popular in Japan with its introduction in the 1950s when Italian-American Nick Zapetti opened Japan’s first pizzeria, Nicola’s, in Tokyo’s Roppongi district. However, pizza delivery in 1985 changed the food scene in Japan. Inspired by American practices, Tokyo saw the country’s first home delivery pizza service in Ebisu. Today, pizza delivery is more convenient than ever, with chains offering pizzas through websites and smartphone apps.

Pizza from one of many chains in Japan.
Delivery pizza became popular in Japan in the 1980s. Image via Shutterstock

Pizza delivery services in Japan became more popular in the 1980s when big American chains like Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Hut started offering delivery. Pizza used to be a fancy and expensive food, but now it’s something many people can afford and enjoy. Nowadays, ordering pizza online and delivering it straight to your door is easy. That’s why many people in Japan love pizza and choose it as their favorite food.

Pizza-La (est. 1980)

Pizza-La is a pizza delivery chain in Japan that was founded by Hidenori Asano in 1987. The name “Pizza-la” comes from a mix of “pizza” and “Godzilla”. Pizza-la has grown quickly and now has over 552 stores across Japan. They offer many different and fun pizzas, like teriyaki chicken, curry, and shrimp with mayonnaise. The chain also has Pizza-La Express, a place to eat pizza in the restaurant instead of getting it delivered.

Pizza-La, one of many pizza chains in Japan.
Pizza-La was one of the first delivery chains in Japan. Image via Nintendo Switch Unofficial Blog

This chain is popular because it uses unique ingredients and dough recipes. Customers can choose from different types of dough and sauces. They can also add fresh toppings and cheese to make custom pizza. Pizza-la focuses on quality and creativity, making it a favorite pizza place for many people in Japan!

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Domino’s Japan (est. 1985)

Domino’s Pizza Japan was established in 1985 with Domino’s Pizza from the United States. They started many aspects of pizza delivery in Japan, including using three-wheeled bikes. Today, Domino’s Pizza Japan has a network of over 1000 stores, reaching all 47 prefectures in Japan.

Domino's Pizza in Japan.
Dominos Japan has plenty of flavors in the upcoming season! Image via Gaijin Pot Blog

It offers various promotions and collaborations to attract customers. They have worked with popular anime like Pokémon, One Piece, and Blue Exorcist. They also have unique menu items like the New Yorker 1-Kilo Ultra Cheese pizza and seasonal specials like the Sakura Pizza with cherry blossom-inspired toppings. With a focus on innovation and customer satisfaction, Domino’s Pizza Japan continues to be successful in Japanese food delivery!

Pizza Slice (est. 2013)

Pizza Slice, founded by Hiroki Sarumaru in Tokyo in 2013, brings the authentic taste of New York-style pizza to Japan. With multiple locations, Pizza Slice offers classic varieties like pepperoni, Italian sausage, and plain cheese, served by the slice starting from ¥390 ($2.60). The restaurant has a stylish atmosphere with long wooden tables, high ceilings, and a well-stocked bar, providing customers a dining experience that brings them back to Brooklyn.

People making pizza at Pizza Slice.
Pizza Slice is a a New York-style pizza parlor! Image via Timeout Tokyo

Pizza Slice delivers an authentic taste of New York pizza with a menu featuring thin, foldable slices and generous toppings. From classic cheese slices to specialty options like caramelized onion and homemade meatballs, customers can enjoy a taste of the American East Coast without leaving Tokyo. The restaurant’s commitment to authenticity, stylish ambiance, and affordable prices make it an excellent choice for pizza lovers in the city!

Shakey’s Pizza (est. 1954)

Shakey’s was born in 1954 in Sacramento, California, USA, and has been loved by people of all ages as a pizza parlor for over half a century. Named after one of its founders, Sherwood Johnson, who coined “Shakey’s” from repeatedly shaking hands with customers, Shakey’s provides a casual atmosphere for enjoying pizza. Shakey’s made its debut in Japan in 1973. This chain changed Japan’s pizza scene by introducing the all-you-can-eat style at reasonable prices.

Shakey's Pizza Parlor, one of many pizza chains in Japan.
Shakey’s Pizza is an amazing buffet! Image via Fukuoka Now

It doesn’t compromise on the quality of its all-you-can-eat offerings and always provides various options. Famous for its American-style crispy pizza and dessert pizzas, Shakey’s offers unique menus that cannot be found elsewhere. Even over half a century since its founding, Shakey’s strives to please its customers by offering various services and discounts through smartphone apps and email newsletters.

Why are these pizza chains so popular?

The pizza chains in Japan are popular because they focus on quality, freshness, and customer satisfaction. You can enjoy New York-style pizza or creative pizzas from Pizza-La, Domino’s Japan, Pizza Slice, or Shakey’s Pizza. They offer quality ingredients, diverse menus, and convenient delivery. No wonder they’ve captured Japan’s pizza lovers’ hearts and taste buds!

A bunch of delivery pizza.
Have you ever been to one of these pizza chains before? Image via Shutterstock

Try these delicious pizza places to experience the perfect blend of tradition and innovation! Have you ever been to any of them before? Which one do you like the best? Let us know in the comments below!

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