In recent years, Japan has been experiencing an increase in the number of yakiniku (Japanese barbeque) restaurants where patrons can easily dine in alone and have a good time. Park yourself at a counter seat and enjoy a great meal while relaxing after a long day of travel! Here are 5 recommendations for yakiniku restaurants that you can enjoy alone!
1. Kanechan Susukino Main Shop (Hokkaido)
Kanechan is located a 3-minute walk from Susukino Station in Sapporo. Every counter seat in this restaurant is equipped with its own small grill where patrons can enjoy a solo yakiniku experience. One of Kanechan’s most popular dishes is Gyu-Waraji (1,980 JPY (excl. tax)), which is said to be only available at this restaurant. Waraji is a special cut located in the area stretching from the cow’s shoulder to the flank. This strip of beef is almost 30cm long and its taste resembles a cross between kalbi (a cut taken from the rib area) and harami (a cut taken from the diaphragm area, also known as outside skirt). Various other rare cuts of Hokkaido-produced Wagyu beef (a high quality beef) are also highly recommended.
Price range: Around 4,000 JPY and up
2. DON-DON Shinjuku Kabuki-cho Branch (Tokyo)
DON-DON has a casual atmosphere which makes it very welcoming to solo diners. The restaurant is mainly composed of counter seats where you use a grill to charbroil your meat. The beef served here is produced in Japan, with a majority from the island of Kyushu. Their specialty is the aitchbone (a cut taken from the tip of the rump) served alongside a wide variety of other rare parts. Their most popular dish is Negitan (880 JPY (excl. tax)), sliced beef tongue topped with finely cut green onions dressed in sesame oil. To best savor this beauty, broil the sliced tongue and take it off of the fire just before it starts shrinking, place the green onions on it and roll it! DON-DON is a 5-minute walk from Shinjuku Station.
Price range: Around 4,000 JPY and up
3. Yakiniku Daichan (Fukuoka)
The top yakiniku spot in Fukuoka City is Yakiniku Daichan. At this restaurant, you can make the most of a solo yakiniku experience without any reserve. The specialties here are Daichan Kalbi (830 JPY (excl. tax)) and other cuts of Miyazaki beef, a brand of Japanese black beef known for its rich and mellow flavor. The restaurant offers a wide variety of different meats for you to taste, such as yakiniku of branded pork and chicken, and basashi (horse meat sashimi). Yakiniku Daichan is located 5 minutes by car from Jiromaru Station.
Price range: Around 2,800 JPY and up
4. Teppen Tenroku Renga-dori Branch (Osaka)
All the seating at this yakiniku restaurant is at the counter. Within the shop's relaxing atmosphere, you can try different brands of Japanese beef, including Kobe beef. The restaurant has a wide line-up of meats from regular cuts to rarer ones. Since this restaurant allows you to order as little as a single slice, you can try a wide range of different cuts. One of the most popular dishes is the Teppen Mori (2,380 JPY (excl. tax)), an assortment of three suggestions of the day which end up being cheaper than if you order them in single portions. The restaurant is a mere 1-minute walk from Osaka Metro Tenjimbashisuji 6-chome Station.
Price range: Around 1,000 JPY and up for lunch, and around 4,500 JPY and up for dinner
5. MISO TONCHAN (Nagoya)
Miso Tonchan-ya is located a 5-minute walk from JR Nagoya Station. The restaurant has counter seats so it’s perfect for those who want to enjoy some yakiniku by themselves. The signature dish here is the Miso Tonchan (290 JPY (excl. tax)), a pork offal dish marinated in red miso, Nagoya’s traditional miso paste. The rich and flavorful red miso combines superbly with the chewy texture of the pork offal, making it a perfect match for a cold beer! Another recommendation is the Miso Gyu-Horumon Abura-tsuki (550 JPY (excl. tax)), a flavorful fatty beef offal dish marinated in miso.
Price range: Around 2,300 JPY and up
Yakiniku is delicious even if you’re alone, so make sure to use this article if you’re planning a solo trip to Japan!
*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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