As an island country surrounded by the ocean, Japan is a country blessed with fresh seafood. Below are 10 handpicked izakaya (Japanese-style tavern) in metropolitan Tokyo that specialize in seafood dishes.
1. Hannaritei Yaesu Main Shop
Hannaritei Yaesu Main Shop is an izakaya boasting a prime location just a one-minute walk from Tokyo Station. Here, you can enjoy dining while relaxing in a completely private room with a door. Its signature dishes are those that use seafood shipped directly from the source, and you can savor the delicious flavors of seasonal seafood cooked in many different ways, including stewing and grilling. The recommendation here is the Sengyo no Otsukuri Moriawase (assorted sashimi from fresh, seasonal fish) (1,980 JPY – 2,680 JPY (excl. tax)). Aside from that dish, this izakaya is also famous for its creative dishes that incorporate Kyoto ingredients such as soba (buckwheat noodles) kneaded with matcha (green tea).
Mikuriya is a popular shop that is just a 2-minute walk from Ebisu Station. It does business under the concept of “aozakana specialty x Japanese sake”. Its signature menu is a list of dishes that use “aozakana” (blue-backed fish) such as horse mackerel, Japanese mackerel and sardines, which are sourced directly from their production areas and boast superb freshness. Recommended here are the Aozakana Sanshu-mori (1,600 JPY (excl. tax)), which is an assortment of three kinds of blue-backed fish, and the Meibutsu – Aburi Shime Saba no Bozushi (prices start at 1,500 JPY (excl. tax) for four pieces), which is a plate of sushi that uses mackerel marinated in salt. There is also a rich lineup of local alcohols from all over the country that have been carefully selected by the shop’s sake connoisseur. They even have premium rare sakes.
3. IKA no SUMI Shinjuku Station South Exit Shop
The Shinjuku Station South Exit Shop, located just two minutes from Shinjuku Station on foot, is the Tokyo branch of IKA no SUMI, a famous izakaya in Niigata. This izakaya mainly draws in customers with its fresh seafood from Sado, Niigata, and is widely known for being a treasure trove of ingredients, as well as having wide selection of Japanese sakes, including rare brands. Fish and seafood that are raised in the rough Sea of Japan are characterized by their firm meat and good amount of fat. At this izakaya, you will get to enjoy seasonal seafood such as red snow crabs, a premium fish called Nodoguro, squid, and shrimp that are served in various ways. Recommended here are the Sado-oki Otsukuri Moriawase (assortment of sashimi from seafood caught in the coast of Sado), the contents and price of which depend on each day's seafood delivery, and the Honjitsu no Sado-oki Chokuso – Hamayaki (freshly caught seafood grilled at the beach). Foreign language menu (English) available.
4. New Uobaka Santaro Shinjuku Main Shop
New Uobaka Santaro Shinjuku Main Shop is an izakaya run by the Uobaka Group, which is known for having its own route to the local fishing harbors, especially those in Chiba’s Boshu area, so it is able to directly purchase seafood every day without going through the market. With that, this shop is not only able to ensure high quality in the seafood that it uses, but it also gives customers a chance to taste rare seafood that is not normally seen in markets either because it is caught in limited quantity or its freshness rapidly deteriorates. If you want to fully enjoy their delicious flavors, then try the course meals (prices start at 5,500 JPY per person (incl. tax)), which include sashimi, tempura and other dishes.
Hayase is an izakaya that is run by a professional intermediate wholesaler of tuna at Tsukiji Market. This shop is becoming increasingly famous through word of mouth, with customers claiming that “you can eat fresh, high-quality ingredients at reasonable prices” since, for instance, the seasonal Pacific bluefin tuna is just 1,000 JPY (price may change depending on the season) here, whereas it costs nearly 3,000 JPY in other restaurants. You can enjoy a la carte dishes, of course, but make sure to try the slightly luxurious course meal Itacho Omakase Gensen 6,000-en Course (a course in which the dishes served are chosen by the head chef) (6,480 JPY (incl. tax) for one person). Foreign language menu (English) available.
6. Kushiro KITTE Marunouchi Shop
Kushiro KITTE Marunouchi Shop is located on the 6th floor of the commercial facility KITTE, directly connected to Tokyo Station. The main highlights here are the dishes from Hokkaido, so you can fully enjoy the bounties of the fertile land and water of the north. Some of the dishes offered here include sushi hand-formed carefully by chefs, sashimi of extremely fresh seafood, and hearty charcoal-grilled dishes. When it comes to ingredients, this izakaya serves those that are in season, including the premium fish Kinki (broadfin thornyhead), scallops, hokke (a kind of mackerel), sea urchin, salmon and crab. Recommended here is the Tarabagani Sumiyaki (charcoal-grilled red king crab) (2,980 JPY (excl. tax)). Foreign language menu (English) available.
7. Otsu Yaesu Shop
Otsu is an izakaya boasting a prime location that is within a short walking distance from Tokyo Station. Here, you can enjoy more than 40 kinds of Japanese sakes and various dishes that go well with them, but the pride of this shop is actually its menu of dishes that use fresh seafood sourced directly from their production areas. You can savor extremely fresh and tasty seafood through such offerings as the assortment of seasonal sashimi. There are also various course meals that come with all-you-can-drink service that can be enjoyed by groups of two or more (for instance, the Nihonshu Nomihodai + Ryori 10-pin (all-you-can-drink Japanese sake with 10 dishes) (7,500 JPY (incl. tax)). There are staff who can speak Chinese.
Shakushaku is a popular izakaya in Ginza, which is known as the town for adults. This shop is pillared on its Japanese cuisine menu with flavorful and simple dishes, and its signature dish is oden (a dish of various ingredients stewed in soy sauce-based broth) (480 JPY per person for a selection of three oden items). The oden here has octopus, sardine tsumire (fish balls) and various other seafood ingredients. Another one of its famous dishes is the Taimeshi (rice with sea bream) (prices start at 2,000 JPY (excl. tax) for a serving that is good for 2-3 persons), which is perfect when enjoyed after some sake. It is a famous dish that is filled with the delicious flavors of sea bream carefully cooked in sea bream bone broth. Foreign language menus (English and Simplified Chinese) available.
Founded more than 40 years ago, Choseian is tucked into a secluded place outside of Tsukiji Market. It may be a soba shop, but it also has a rich lineup of local sakes and snacks, and is famous as a quaint hole-in-the-wall izakaya at night. In addition to delicious homemade soba, you can enjoy dishes that use extremely fresh seafood, since the izakaya is located right near Tsukiji market. Recommended here is the Tennen Honmaguro Chu-toro Akami Moriawase (assortment of medium-fatty and lean slices of natural Pacific bluefin tuna) (2,000 JPY), which will let you enjoy fresh Pacific bluefin tuna sashimi.
10. Maguro Shoten
Maguro Shoten is a shop that is located in Kabukicho, Shinjuku, which is known as the premiere entertainment district in Japan. It is famous for its daily “Nama Maguro no Kaitai Show” wherein a whole tuna purchased from Tsukiji Market is dissected in front of an audience. Recommended here is the Nama Maguro Nenrin no Yogan-yaki (2,980 JPY (excl. tax) for a serving that is good for 2-3 persons) that comes with luxurious ring of slices of tuna that only come in 5-6 slices per one tuna. You can eat the tuna raw, or you can enjoy a delicious a la carte dish that is tuna grilled on a lava stone. Another recommended dish at this izakaya is the Nama Maguro no Nakaochi [Honemi] (1,980 JPY (excl. tax) for a serving that is good for about two persons) that will let you enjoy the splendid taste of the backbone of the fish.
When you go sightseeing in Tokyo, choose any one of the spots featured in this article for dinner.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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