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Seven Great Yakitori Towns in Japan

27/07/2023 3:00 PM

Immerse in a culinary journey through Japan, exploring the seven towns renowned for their delectable Yakitori. From sizzling skewers to flavorful grills, experience authentic Japanese barbecue culture at its finest.
japanese yakitori


Welcome to the ultimate guide for yakitori lovers and foodies alike! Japan is known for its unique and delicious cuisine, and one dish that stands out is yakitori, a dish of grilled chicken skewers. In this article, we'll be exploring the seven best towns in Japan for sampling mouth-watering yakitori.

Each of these towns offers a unique culinary experience, making them a must-visit destination for any food lover. From Fukuoka to Sapporo, we'll be taking a journey through Japan's most beloved yakitori towns.

So get ready to pack your bags and embark on a food tour of a lifetime, as we introduce you to the Seven Great Yakitori Towns in Japan!

Yakitori: A Brief Introduction

yakitori food

Yakitori is a popular Japanese dish consisting of grilled chicken skewers, traditionally cooked over charcoal. It is a classic example of the country's obsession with perfecting a single dish, with each restaurant and street vendor having their own take on it.

The name "yakitori" translates to "grilled chicken" in Japanese, but the dish encompasses much more than just a simple chicken skewer. Different cuts of chicken are used, including thigh, breast, and skin, and each is grilled to perfection with a variety of seasonings and sauces.

Yakitori can also feature a variety of other ingredients, including vegetables, seafood, and even offal. The result is a delicious and versatile dish that can be found all over Japan, from street vendors to high-end restaurants.

"Grilling yakitori is not just a cooking technique; it's an art form which requires a lot of skill." - Chef Nobu Matsuhisa

Each region of Japan also has its own take on yakitori, with unique seasonings and cooking techniques that make each version special. Whether you're a seasoned yakitori fan or trying the dish for the first time, Japan is the perfect place to indulge in this culinary delight.

Must-Visit Places for Food Lovers

If you're a food lover looking to explore Japan's culinary scene, then these seven yakitori towns are a must-visit destination. Each town offers a unique culinary experience that will leave your taste buds satisfied and your stomach full.

In Fukuoka, you'll find yakitori served with a local twist, using ingredients like mentaiko (spicy cod roe) or negi (green onion). Nagoya, on the other hand, is known for its sweet and savory tare sauce that's used to glaze the grilled chicken skewers.

Tokyo's yakitori scene is diverse, with many restaurants specializing in different types of yakitori. From the classic salt and pepper seasoning to the more adventurous chicken liver or heart, there's something for everyone.

If you're looking for a food adventure, Osaka's street food markets are a must-visit. Try yakitori alongside other street food favorites like takoyaki (octopus balls) or okonomiyaki (Japanese-style savory pancake).

Hiroshima is a great destination for grilled delights, with yakitori featuring prominently on many menus. And in Kyoto, you'll find yakitori served alongside traditional Japanese dishes like tofu or yuba (tofu skin).

Lastly, in Sapporo, you can sample local delicacies like grilled lamb, seafood, and of course, yakitori.

Each town on this list is a food lover's paradise, offering a unique culinary experience that you won't find elsewhere. Whether you're a fan of yakitori or just looking to explore Japan's local cuisine, these seven towns are a must-visit destination.

First Stop: Fukuoka

When it comes to yakitori, Fukuoka is a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts. Known for its fresh and flavorful chicken, Fukuoka boasts a wide variety of yakitori skewers that are sure to delight your taste buds.

One of the local specialties that you shouldn’t miss is the mizutaki hot pot, a delicious chicken stew that is cooked at your table. Another popular dish is the mentaiko rice bowl, which features spicy cod roe served over rice. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a refreshing glass of yuzu sake, a Fukuoka specialty.

As for yakitori, be sure to check out the stalls at the Nagahama Fish Market or the night stalls on Nakasu Island. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try the chicken sashimi – a local delicacy that is served raw.

The Flavor of Nagoya

Nagoya is another great destination for yakitori lovers. While traditional yakitori is made using chicken thighs and breasts, Nagoya-style yakitori is made using chicken wings. The wings are seasoned with a sweet and savory sauce made from soy sauce, sake, and mirin, giving them a unique flavor that sets them apart from other types of yakitori. Another must-try dish in Nagoya is miso katsu, or deep-fried pork cutlets covered in a thick miso sauce. It's a hearty and flavorful dish that's perfect for a cold day.

"Make sure to try Nagoya's unique chicken wing yakitori and the delicious miso katsu while you're in town. Your taste buds will thank you!"

Aside from the food, Nagoya also offers plenty of other experiences for visitors. Be sure to visit Nagoya Castle, one of Japan's most impressive castles, to learn about the city's history and take in stunning views. You can also explore the Osu shopping district, which dates back to the Edo period and offers a wide variety of shops and restaurants. And if you're a car enthusiast, don't miss the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, which showcases the history of the Toyota Motor Corporation and its impact on the automotive industry.

Tokyo's Yakitori Scene

Tokyo is home to some of the best yakitori in Japan, and the city is filled with countless restaurants and bars that specialize in the dish. The city's yakitori scene is known for its diversity, with different cuts of chicken and unique cooking techniques used to create a wide range of flavors.

The Best Yakitori Spots in Tokyo

One of the best places to sample yakitori in Tokyo is at Toriki, a small restaurant known for its high-quality chicken and unique dishes such as liver sashimi. Another popular spot is Bird Land, which serves up succulent grilled chicken skewers along with a variety of other yakitori dishes.

For a more traditional experience, head to Yakitori Shinkaichi, a cozy restaurant that has been serving up yakitori for over 40 years. The menu features a wide variety of skewers, including some unique preparations like chicken thigh with yuzu pepper and shiso.

Other Local Foods to Try

While yakitori is the main draw in Tokyo for many foodies, the city is also home to a wide variety of other must-try dishes. Some popular options include sushi, ramen, and tempura. For something a little more off the beaten path, be sure to try monjayaki, a type of savory pancake that originated in Tokyo's Tsukishima district.

  • Pro Tip: Many of Tokyo's best yakitori spots can be found in the city's yokocho alleys, which are narrow lanes lined with small bars and restaurants.
"One of the best things about Tokyo's yakitori scene is the variety of different cuts and preparations that you can try. Each restaurant has its own unique style, so it's definitely worth exploring to find your favorites." - John, Yelp Tokyo Foodie Insider

Osaka: The City of Street Food

If you're a fan of street food, Osaka is the place to be. Known as the "Kitchen of Japan," this vibrant city is home to some of the best eats in the country, including delicious yakitori.

One of the best places to try yakitori in Osaka is at Dotonbori, a bustling street filled with food vendors and neon lights. Here, you'll find a variety of yakitori stands offering everything from classic chicken skewers to more unique options like liver and gizzard.

"Dotonbori is a must-visit destination for any food lover visiting Osaka. The atmosphere is electric, and the food is simply amazing." - Jane, food blogger

Another great spot for yakitori in Osaka is Shinsekai, a nostalgic neighborhood filled with old-school izakayas and street food stalls. If you're feeling adventurous, try the "tsukune" variety of yakitori - savory meatballs made from a blend of chicken and seasonings.

For a more upscale yakitori experience, head to Yakitori Miharu. This Michelin-starred restaurant has been serving up top-notch chicken skewers for more than 50 years and is beloved by locals and tourists alike.

No matter where you go in Osaka, you're sure to find delicious yakitori and other street foods that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more.

Hiroshima's Grilled Delights

Hiroshima is known for many things, and its delicious grilled delights are certainly one of them. While the city may not be as well-known for its yakitori as some of our other destinations, there are still plenty of great places to sample this delicious Japanese dish.

One of the best spots in Hiroshima for yakitori is Kojinmachi Yaki Tori Tei. This popular restaurant serves up a variety of grilled chicken skewers, including some unique and flavorful options that you won't find anywhere else. Their chicken thigh skewer is particularly tasty, with a savory sauce that perfectly complements the smoky flavor of the grilled meat.

Tip: If you're feeling adventurous, be sure to try their "seseri" skewer, which is made from chicken neck meat and is a true Hiroshima specialty.

Another great spot for yakitori in Hiroshima is Yakitori Kado, located in the lively Nagarekawa district. This friendly and welcoming restaurant serves up delicious grilled chicken skewers, as well as a variety of other tasty dishes like gyoza and fried chicken. Be sure to try their chicken heart skewer, which is a popular choice among regulars.

Of course, there's more to Hiroshima's food scene than just yakitori. The city is also famous for its "okonomiyaki," a savory pancake loaded with cabbage, meat, and other savory ingredients. If you're looking to try some of the best okonomiyaki in town, head to Okonomimura, a multi-story building packed with small restaurants specializing in this delicious dish.

Overall, Hiroshima is a great destination for food lovers, with plenty of delicious grilled delights and other local specialties to try. Be sure to add it to your list of must-visit yakitori towns in Japan!

The Charm of Kyoto

Kyoto is not just famous for its temples and gardens, but also for its delicious yakitori. What sets Kyoto's yakitori apart is the emphasis on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The chicken used in Kyoto-style yakitori is typically from the Tango region, known for its high-quality poultry. The skewers are then seasoned with Kyoto's famous yuzu pepper, which gives them a unique tangy flavor.

In addition to yakitori, Kyoto offers a wide variety of other culinary experiences. One must-try dish is the Obanzai, a traditional home-cooked meal made with locally sourced ingredients. Also, don't miss the chance to try Kaiseki, a multi-course meal that features fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Fun Fact: In Kyoto, you can find a yakitori restaurant that has been open since 1688! Called "Izuju," this restaurant is famous for its delicious yakitori and traditional atmosphere.

For the ultimate culinary experience, consider taking a cooking class in Kyoto to learn how to make your own yakitori and other traditional dishes. You'll not only gain valuable cooking skills but also a deeper appreciation for Japanese cuisine.

  • Must-Try Dish: Obanzai
  • Local Ingredient: Yuzu Pepper
  • Culinary Experience: Kaiseki

Sapporo's Local Delicacies

Sapporo, the largest city on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, is known for its delicious food, including its unique take on yakitori. Here are some other local delicacies you won't want to miss:

  • Jingisukan - Hokkaido's take on barbecue, consisting of lamb or mutton cooked on a convex griddle and eaten with vegetables and miso sauce.
  • Ramen - Sapporo is famous for its rich and hearty miso ramen, with its rich broth, chewy noodles, and toppings like roasted pork and butter.
  • Crab - Hokkaido is famous for its seafood, and Sapporo is a great place to try the local crabs, including king crab and snow crab, which are often served grilled or in hot pots.

To find the best places to try these local delicacies, head to Sapporo's central food market, Chitose Ichiba, which is home to dozens of shops and stalls selling everything from fresh seafood to street food snacks.

Tips for a Yakitori Tour

making yakitori

If you're planning a food tour of Japan to sample the best yakitori, here are some tips to make the most of your culinary adventure:

  • Do your research: Before heading out on your tour, do some research on the different types of yakitori and regional variations. Find out which towns are known for their yakitori and plan your itinerary accordingly.
  • Find a knowledgeable guide: Consider hiring a local guide who is knowledgeable about the food culture in Japan and can help you navigate the different yakitori spots. They can also offer recommendations on where to find the most delicious yakitori.
  • Try different cuts of chicken: Yakitori is made with various cuts of chicken, including thighs, liver, and breast. Make sure to try different cuts to experience the full range of flavors and textures.
  • Pair with local drinks: Yakitori is often enjoyed with local drinks such as beer, sake, or shochu. Don't be afraid to ask for a recommendation on what to drink with your meal.
  • Take your time: Yakitori is meant to be enjoyed slowly, so take your time and savor each bite. Don't rush through your meal.

By following these tips, you're sure to have an unforgettable yakitori tour of Japan and discover some of the most delicious and unique grilled chicken dishes in the world.


In conclusion, the seven towns highlighted in this article truly embody the spirit and flavor of Yakitori in Japan. Each town, with its unique take on this delicious grilled dish, offers a distinct experience that is sure to leave any food lover wanting more. From skewered meats to savory sauces, your taste buds are in for an unforgettable journey. Don't miss the chance to immerse yourself in Japan's rich Yakitori culture, one town at a time.


Q: What makes a yakitori restaurant in Japan great?

A: A great yakitori restaurant in Japan is characterized by the quality and variety of their skewers. From chicken parts like gizzard to types of yakitori like tsukune, these restaurants offer a multitude of options to satisfy every palate.

A: The best way to eat yakitori is right off the grill when it's juicy and hot. Some people enjoy it with a side of sushi or a glass of beer. It's all about enjoying the simplicity of the well-seasoned grilled chicken on a skewer.

A: Absolutely, Fukushima, like many other prefectures in Japan, boasts a number of excellent yakitori restaurants. "Ore no Yakitori" is one of the well-known yakitori establishments that many locals and tourists alike recommend.

Q: What is typically used for yakitori in Japan?

A: In Japan, yakitori typically refers to skewered grilled chicken. Various parts of the chicken are used for yakitori, each offering a unique flavor and texture. These range from chicken breasts and thighs to more unique options like gizzard, making it a versatile dish loved by many.