Tokyo’s Top Yakitori

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FOOD: Tokyo’s Top Yakitori

Japanese food isn’t all raw fish and rice – there’s plenty on offer for meat-eaters too and top of the list for any carnivore should be yakitori. Literally meaning ‘grilled chicken’, you’d be forgiven for writing yakitori off as run-of-the-mill street food, but these delicate barbecued skewers are so much more than your average fast food fare.

Enjoyed in Michelin-starred restaurants and eaten by the plate-load as the nation’s favourite beer snack, yakitori is the ultimate high-low cuisine. Read on for five of Tokyo’s yakitori hotspots.


1. Yakitori Imai

Opening for business in November 2016, Yakitori Imai has been delighting customers with upscale chicken-on-a-stick ever since. Take a seat at the counter and for a very reasonable ¥4,500, grillmaster Takashi Imai will serve you his signature multi-course menu of delicate skewers, personally seasoned to match the mood of the customer. By observing the weather, your choice of drink and even your personality, Imai will carefully judge how best to serve each dish. Now that’s what we call service.

Yakitori Imai: Rosa Bianca 1F, 3-42-11 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Image: Japan Times

2. Toritama Honkan

With one of the most extensive yakitori menus in Tokyo, Toritama Honkan is the go-to for those wanting to try something different without breaking the bank. Awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for great food at affordable prices, a menu of over 30 different chicken cuts, plus a daily ‘secret menu’ of rare cuts, makes this ultra-popular yakitori joint a mecca for enthusiasts. Well worth the trip off the beaten track.

Toritama Honkan: 6-22-19 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Image: TimeOut

3. Toriki

For yakitori that comes with a Michelin star, make your way to Toriki. A short walk from Kinshicho station, Toriki’s famous giblets are by far the main attraction, but if intestines aren’t your thing, you’ll be relived to hear the rest of the menu is of a similarly high standard. Reservations can be tricky to come by, so plan in advance, and increase your chances with a weekday booking.

Toriki: Kosaka Bldg 1F, 1-8-13 Kinshi, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

Image: TimeOut

4. Kushiwakamaru

Packed with locals, boasting a vibrant atmosphere and tasty skewers fresh from the smoky grill, Nakameguro’s Kushiwakamaru is a neighbourhood favourite. Casual and affordable, those in search of an authentic yakitori pit-stop after a long day exploring the city should look no further.

Kushiwakamaru :1-19-2 Kamimeguro, Meguro, Tokyo

Image: Hedonisthk

5. Yakitori Ogawa

Perfect for first-timers, Shinjuku’s Yakitori Ogawa offers a variety of tasting menus. For ¥2,000 an impressive selection of juicy skewers offers the perfect introduction for yakitori-virgins, whilst ¥5,000 will buy you a whopping 10-course yakitori feast.

Yakitori Ogawa: Wind Arakicho 1F, 9-1 Arakicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Image: Ringofcolour.com

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