Misty Fujii is a Canadian who moved to Osaka, Japan in 2019 and married her Japanese sweetheart. In 2022 they had a baby and moved to Fukui for the clean country air. She is a DJ who teaches English part time and writes in order to share Japan with the world. She gets excited about collecting vintage vinyl records, food of all countries, travelling and renovating her traditional Japanese house.
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Welcome to a meat lover’s dream. Yakiniku means grilled meat and consists of bite-sized meat and vegetables cooked over a grill. Slathered or dipped in sauce (tare), you can choose beef, pork, and more. The best part? Grilling it to perfection yourself! Moreover, several restaurants offer the finest meat on the market, from specially raised cattle yielding perfectly marbled, melt-in-your-mouth wagyu. Tokyo is home to thousands of yakiniku restaurants, but here are ten of the best.
- 1.Yoroniku (Omotesando)
- 2. Kunimoto Shinkan (Hamamatsucho)
- 3. Rokkasen (Shinjuku)
- 4. Uguisudanien (Taito/Ueno area)
- 5. Kintan (Akasaka)
- 6. Ushigoro (multiple locations)
- 7. Jambo Hanare (multiple locations)
- 8. SATO Briand (multiple locations)
- 9. Jinbocho Meat Center (Kanda Jinbocho)
- 10. Daikanyama Yakiniku Kaneko (Daikanyama)
- Japan Wonder Travel Tours in Tokyo
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Customized service and the finest wagyu beef take center stage at Yoroniku, where they hold meat in high regard. A pioneer for truffled beef, deep-fried breaded fillets, and their signature silk loin, Yoroniku is often imitated but never duplicated. The meat is carefully selected from Hiyama, a butcher shop in Ningyocho that has been open since 1912. Set courses are recommended, and expert staff will watch you to ensure you grill the meat precisely. Try their unique “secret” sauce that pairs perfectly with the dishes. Make a reservation, then look for the dimly lit sign down an alleyway for this must-visit yakiniku experience.
2. Kunimoto Shinkan (Hamamatsucho)
If lean beef is your desire, this is the spot. A choice of three dinner sets awaits you with first-rate cuts of beef from Omi, Iwate, and Sendai. Known for chewier meat as opposed to the melt-in-your-mouth variety, there is no shortage of juicy flavor. But the atmosphere is what really sets Kunimoto Shinkan apart from other yakiniku restaurants. Guests are encouraged to order their chosen sets over the phone while making a reservation so that the service upon arrival is highly efficient. The dining room also has a policy of no young children being allowed and discourages loud noise to ensure that the meat is the star performer. Another highlight is using a charcoal grill without chemicals to bring out the dish’s succulent and smoky flavors.
Website: Kunimoto Shinkan
3. Rokkasen (Shinjuku)
Famous for shabu-shabu, sukiyaki and yakiniku, Rokkasen boasts some of the best wagyu beef on an all-you-can-eat menu. Specializing in Matsusaka beef, this is a great way to try the famous meat at an affordable price. There are many other menu options here, from succulent crab legs to Korean bibimbap, full of sizzling shrimp, spinach, mushrooms and kimchi. The decor may be a little scarce, but the Honten branch offers exciting views of Shinjuku from their 6th and 7th floors.
4. Uguisudanien (Taito/Ueno area)
How do you know a restaurant in Japan is good? Look for the spot that locals are flocking to. It’s rare to find quality yakiniku at a price as affordable as Uguisudanien, an undisputed reason this restaurant is so beloved by tourists and locals alike. While the price draws customers, what keeps people coming back is the savory selections of beef and pork. Popular dishes include the special rump, egg gukbap, and thick-cut harami. You’ll likely need a reservation in advance for this in-demand grill.
5. Kintan (Akasaka)
With locations throughout Tokyo, the Akasaka branch offers a classy and unique experience to fulfill all your senses. A self-proclaimed marriage of yakiniku and wine, this is an elegant take on grilled meat. Sit up at the counter where you can revel in the craftsmanship of the chefs who will ensure each dish is sublime, or enjoy a table in this spacious hideaway. Kintan also specializes in safe and delicious raw dishes like beef sushi and the unique yukhoe pizza made of thinly sliced meat. Another highlight is the 30-day aged beef tongue, matured in their dedicated aging facility to ensure all the protocols are proper.
6. Ushigoro (multiple locations)
Promising to impress guests with their “meat power,” Ushigoro vows to use only the highest A5-grade Japanese black beef and carefully selected ingredients in their exquisite dishes. You can even taste the sumptuous goodness of rich Omi beef, which is extremely hard to find in Tokyo. The meat is sourced fresh daily from pedigree cattle on two farms and is never frozen. Here is a restaurant to feel like a celebrity in; each table has its own room, complete with a personal chef. Their menu has set courses with dishes like smoked beef, tartar with caviar, skirt steak, and water kimchi.
7. Jambo Hanare (multiple locations)
Tokyoites who are serious about meat flock to Jambo Hanare for A5 Kuroge wagyu. Opened in 1988, the restaurant pays homage to the family matriarch who ran a BBQ joint for over 40 years. With branches all over Tokyo, the Hanare outpost is Jambo’s specialty shop, serving family recipes and secret sauces. It isn’t a large restaurant, so reservations ahead of time are a must. Make sure to try the zabuton or “little pillow,” an often overlooked but delicious cut from the chuck area of the cow. Another requisite dish is the luxurious noharayaki, thin slices of beef served rolled and dipped into a raw, beaten egg before eating. There’s also the incredibly filling wagyu fat rice topped with steak, which you need to order when you make your reservation. Small appetites need not apply; prepare to be so full that you feel drunk with meat after your feast.
Website: Jambo Hanare
8. SATO Briand (multiple locations)
Try to secure a reservation at this restaurant with a cheeky name for a relaxed atmosphere. Owned by head chef Mr. Sato, it’s a play on his name and chateaubriand, the cut of meat that’s the focus at his establishment. With only 600 grams of chateaubriand from one beef, the price can often be prohibitive, but the taste makes it worthwhile, and Mr. Sato aims to make it accessible. This is also a popular spot for those who typically find yakiniku too heavy. The leaner cuts offered here will satisfy with a smaller caloric footprint. Don’t miss their signature dish, buri-meshi, a soy butter chateaubriand, and rice topped with uni and caviar.
Website: Sato Briand
9. Jinbocho Meat Center (Kanda Jinbocho)
If beef isn’t all you crave, Jinbocho Meat Center has you covered with their offerings of Gunma prefecture’s Joshu beef and pork. Gunma is renowned for its crystal clear and delicious water, which contributes to this meat’s delightful aroma and taste. Much care and work go into raising the cattle, including adding Japanese plum (ume) into their feed, and that also reflects in sweet and flavourful bites for the customer. Jimbocho Meat Center also prides itself on hygiene and cleanliness, ensuring its meat passes strict inspections. What this means is everything on the menu is of the highest quality, and it’s apparent in the consistent 5-star reviews.
Website: Jinbocho Meat Center
10. Daikanyama Yakiniku Kaneko (Daikanyama)
Start with an Omakase platter of assorted cuts, hand selected by the owner and chef, before taking on the rest of the menu if you still have room. This style is a unique take on a yakiniku menu, but it’s perfect for anyone who wants to ease in without knowing exactly what to order. One of the highlights of Yakiniku Kaneko is the sauce. Added to enhance the taste of the meat without overpowering, it works in harmony with the beef to bring out the best flavor. Reservations are required as the restaurant only seats a few guests at a time, adding a cozy and intimate atmosphere to your dinner.
Website: Daikanyama Yakiniku Kaneko
No matter your budget or taste, there is yakiniku for everyone in Tokyo. Why not try as many restaurants as you can? If you’re still unsure where to start (because they all look so good!), book a food tour with Japan Wonder Travel and explore your taste buds with a pro.
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