Me-Time Munchies: Exploring Tokyo’s Yakitori

Tokyo is the perfect place to embark on your me-time adventures. You’ll seamlessly blend in with other tourists and locals in this vibrant hub of food and drink culture. Embracing me-time dining is effortless in Tokyo, where the culture celebrates those who enjoy eating and drinking by themselves. For a delightful and relaxed evening to unwind, reflect, and recharge, kindly explore our favorite Yakitori spots in Tokyo below. Yakitori offers a casual dining experience with a variety of small and affordable dishes. The meal is simply perfect when accompanied by your drink of choice, ideal for me-timers!

A Taste of History: Yakitori (Grilled BBQ Skewers)

Yakitori, a timeless culinary tradition in Japan, transcends mere sustenance to become an art form, celebrating every part of the animal, in most cases it is chicken. Skewered and grilled to perfection, each piece is imbued with a unique flavor.

Yakitori has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the Edo period (1603 and 1868). During this time, street vendors would grill chicken skewers over simple charcoal grills, serving them to the bustling city crowds. These humble beginnings have evolved into a sophisticated dining experience.   However, the true essence of yakitori remains, using every part of the chicken and grilling it to perfection.  A key element in this culinary tradition is the use of Binchotan charcoal. Known for its pure and clean-burning properties, this exceptional charcoal imparts a beautiful fragrance and enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients. It has become a hallmark of high-quality yakitori, preserving tradition while elevating its flavor profile.

Experience the timeless art of yakitori in Tokyo, where tradition meets innovation. Let each bite take you on a journey through the rich history and refined taste that make yakitori a beloved culinary treasure.

Showcasing Over 30 Unique Parts of the ChickenToritaka

At Toritaka, their yakitori showcases over 30 unique parts of the chicken, each grilled to perfection with fine Binchotan charcoal, allowing you to savor the ideal seasoning for each cut. Recommended choices include Misaki (chicken hip), Soroban (chicken neck), Maruhatsu (chicken heart), Kokoronokori (another part of the chicken heart). Other delectable highlights include Chochin, a skewer featuring two chicken ovary yolks and the oviduct.

There’s also two popular menu items. One is the ground chicken & soft-boiled egg rice bowl named “Toritaka Don”. Another favorite is a special chicken broth ramen. This ramen broth has a intoxicatingly rich chicken flavor! If you are a wine lover, we recommend the “Liver Pâté” which features a seared white liver. It pairs well with a wide array of wine and sake from the menu.

Address: Heimkawabe 1F, 3-21-21 Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Discovering the Richness of Jidori ChickenYoshicho

Experience the exquisite taste of Aomori prefecture’s prized jidori (free-range local traditional pedigree chicken), at Yoshicho—featuring the prefecture’s renowned Shamorock chicken. You can choose between the Omakase of either five or seven skewer courses;  both include delicacies like the succulent “sori” from the chicken’s thigh and the crispy skin called kawa. Each skewer is seasoned simply with salt, but uses seven unique varieties of natural salt that highlights the natural flavors of the meat. Pair these perfectly cooked skewers with local sake for a truly refined experience.

Address: 2F 1-12-9, Higashigotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo

Savor Solo Dining: Top Yakitori Places in Tokyo

A Hidden Gem, Solo-friendly HIYOKUNO-TORI

While HIYOKUNO-TORI is a yakitori restaurant, it can be enjoyed as a casual and  friendly atmosphere of an izakaya. Alongside its exquisite yakitori, the restaurant offers a wide array of unique appetizers and skewers you won’t find elsewhere, all perfectly paired with your favorite drinks. The potato salad starter is a smooth blend with a kick of black pepper, while the green pepper stuffed with cheese and the Tanuki, a mushroom stuffed with minced meat, are must-tries. The menu features delights such as charcoal-grilled smoked cheese and grilled rice balls, all offered at reasonable prices.

Address: 3-2-9, Higashiazabu, Minato-ku,Tokyo

Made with Skills, Pride and DreamsTorishiki

Torishiki’s chef says, “Customers are the stars, and the dining experience is meant to be enjoyed with all of your senses.” One of the secrets to great flavor is all about grilling. By bringing the skewers close to a strong flame, the meat’s surface is quickly seared, locking in all the delicious juices.

The Top 3 Must-Try Dishes here are:  the Crispy Chicken Skin with its crispy exterior has an ultra-satisfying chewiness; the fresh Liver is truly masterfully  grilled; and the Chicken Wings maintain a wonderful firmness and delightful texture. This yakitori place is known for being a hard-to-get reservation, so bookings are accepted two months in advance.

Address: 2-14-12 Kamiosaki, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo

Famous for pork skewersBan

Ban was established in 1958 in Nakameguro.  This izakaya offers 19 different cuts of motsuyaki (grilled offal) at 1USD per skewer. Rare cuts include Oppai (breast), Nanyawa (heart), Kikuyu (large intestine fat), and Chanpon (cheek muscle with fat).

The menu boasts four specialties: motsuyaki, Lemon Sour, the famous Liver Cutlet & Tonbi Tofu. Lemon Sour is made with shochu, club soda, and lemon, squeezed half into a glass, enjoyed first. The second glass is ordered with “Naka” (shochu refill), mixing the remaining lemon and soda. Tonbi refers to pig tails, simmered with tofu in a rich, spicy soup until tender. The Liver Cutlet dish thinly slices liver, coats it in batter, fries it, and serves it with sauce.  This is best enjoyed piping hot with mustard to taste. In addition to Nakameguro, they also have branches in Gotanda, Sangenjaya, Shimokitazawa, Takadanobaba, Ebisu, and Naha, Okinawa.

Address: 2-14-3 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

Discover Tokyo’s Yakitori: Perfect for Solo Dining Enthusiasts

Beloved Yakitori Place in Ginza – Take-chan

The chefs at Take-chan, boasting over 50 years of experience, skillfully grill skewers of duck and Nagoya Cochin chicken over binchotan coals, perfectly timing their skewer movements to ensure every bite is a masterpiece. Established as a food cart in 1953 and then moving to its current location in 1957, Take-chan has become a beloved fixture in Ginza.

If you’re in the mood for a lighter meal to accompany a couple of drinks, consider the half course, featuring five skewers instead of eight. Additionally, if there’s something you prefer not to have, the chef will gladly substitute chicken liver or heart with thigh or breast pieces. Serving over decades, it remains a favorite among the locals and workers of the area. Please bring cash as they don’t take credit cards.

Address: 4-8-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku Tokyo

Small Gem With an Amazing Chef Toriki

Toriki is renowned for its dedication to the timeless craft of yakitori. The chef meticulously grills each skewer using high-quality Binchotan charcoal, which enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients with its clean-burning properties. This commitment to quality and tradition ensures that every bite is a celebration of authentic yakitori flavor.

The intimate setting of Toriki allows for a truly personalized dining experience, where the chef’s expertise shines through in every meticulously prepared skewer. From the succulent chicken thighs to the delicately seasoned vegetables, each dish reflects the chef’s commitment to perfection.

Address: Kosaka Building 1F, 1-8-13 Kinshi, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

U Can Drink From 8 AMTatsuya

A yakitori restaurant opens from 8 AM, Tatsuya serves simple, down-to-earth. Japanese dishes in an unassuming, nostalgic setting. It’s a lively izakaya that operates from early morning until late at night. It is opened early to accommodate taxi drivers, police officers, and firefighters who finish work early in the morning. Recently, it has become popular for seniors, who were used to conduct business in the area, to drop by for a drink during their walks in the afternoon.

It should be noted that many Japanese business people are dining alone, and thus, this guide is also beneficial to Me-Time lovers or someone who wants to discover the joy of the Table for One in the city.

Address: Stm Ebisu Building 1F, 1-8-1 Ebisu Minami, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Popular Chicken Stock RamenTorimasa

Torimasa is a well-known longstanding establishment located in Omotesando. Omotesando is lined with luxury boutiques and stylish cafes, and Torimasa can be found just one alley away from there. The owner-chef honed his skills at a renowned yakitori place, where larger cuts of meat are grilled for optimal flavor. Ramen is also a big hit here.

Originally born from a desire not to waste chicken bones, the broth comes in soy sauce, miso, and salt varieties. Highly recommended is the light and simple soy sauce ramen paired with a mini-sized yakitori bowl. For lunch, the standout is the Yakitori Don, featuring five hearty skewers—negima (grilled chicken and green onion), chicken tenderloin, liver, tsukune (chicken meatball), and thigh—all generously served atop rice, exuding a delightful charcoal aroma that enhances its appetizing appeal.

Address: Yamakawa Building 1F, 3-13-2 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

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