There’s something about charcoal-grilled meat that’s highly addictive, and when you put them on sticks, they become so much better. In Japan, they call this Yakitori. Strictly speaking, it only refers to chicken meat and Kushiyaki is the appropriate term for a broader class of meat skewers. However, even locals use the two interchangeably, so we will just follow their lead.

In Tokyo, particularly in Shinjuku where the city’s nightlife is so vibrant, yakitori joints abound. Best paired with alcoholic drinks, you might want to spend a night out like a local – at a Yakitori restaurant or an Izakaya most likely drinking their choice of poison and chowing down enormous amounts of this grilled meat.

Curious to know where the best sticks in town are served? Check out this list – The 10 Best Restaurants in Shinjuku for the Yummiest Yakitori:

1. Torihana (鳥はな)


Yakitori at Torihana

Yakitori at Torihana

The chef at Torihana is popular among gourmet patrons. There’s a level of sophistication to how he prepares his grilled chicken meat that his creations are regarded to be one of, if not, the best in the area. In-house specialties include Tsukune (chicken meatloaf with egg), Torikawa (chicken skin), Tebasaki (chicken wing), and Seseri (chicken neck meat). You can opt to order a set course and a seasonal appetizer. Wash it off with sake and your night is all good.

Address: 5-18-18, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Price: ¥4,000 ~ ¥4,999

Website: (Japanese only)

2. Torimitsu (鳥みつ)


#焼き鳥 #やきとり #yakitori #ささみ #鳥みつ #うまうま #ジューシー

Half raw chicken breast with wasabi at Torimitsu.

Torimitsu is Kabukicho’s hidden gem. It’s a small Yakitori joint within the vicinity of Toho Cinemas. It’s a little hard to find but definitely worth the scouring for its fresh and high quality meat. Must try items are Tsukune, half raw chicken breast with wasabi, and white liver.

Address: 1F K’s Building 1-12-4, Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Price: ¥3,000 ~ ¥3,999

Website: (Japanese only)

3. Tori Tamura Honten (鳥田むら本店)


ah ken 的 #深夜食堂 - 昭和49年的燒鳥之夜。#japanesefood #vscocam #tokyo #barbeque #tokyo #dinner #sunday #holiday #tori #japan

Tori Tamura Honten Yakitori.

Tori Tamura Honten is a chicken specialist. Besides Yakitori, it offers other chicken delicacies like Torisashi (raw chicken sashimi), chicken salad, Tori Zosui (chicken soup rice), and Nikomi (chicken giblet stew). You’re in for a chicken overload here. Good thing they have a variety of vegetable side dishes and even vegetable skewers to give their menu a good balance.

Address: 3-11-2 Shinjuku Shinjuku Tokyo

Price: ¥3,000 ~ ¥3,999

Website: (Japanese only)

4. Shinjuku Imaiya Honten (新宿 今井屋本店)


今日美味しかったのは焼き鳥つみね串&胸と皮の抱き身&ねぎま #超好吃 #つみね #居酒屋 #雞肉專門 #焼き鳥専門 #焼き鳥 #美味しい #新宿 #新宿三丁目 #日本料理 #今井屋
☆☆☆ 私にとって高すぎる😭 親子丼はまあまあだった

Tsukune yakitori from Shinjuku Imaiya Honten.

Imaiya Honten serves Hinai chicken, one of the “big three” when it comes to Japanese chicken breeds. Given its premium offering, dining at this restaurant is on the pricey side but of course, the extra shell out is worth it. Unlike in other Yakitori joints where you have to battle it out for space, Imaiya provides a more comfortable environment and for sake fans, an impressive selection that can even surpass the Izakaya standard.

Address: Shinjuku Moliere Bill B1F, 3-33-10, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Price: ¥5,000 ~ ¥5,999

Website: (Japanese only)

5. Hajimeya (はじめ屋)


Yakitori party 🐔

Yakitori feast at Hajimeya.

Speaking of Izakaya, Hajimeya is one that serves great Yakitori. The main attraction is of course, their grilled specialties but their Toriwasa (chicken grilled on the outside and raw on the inside) is pretty amazing too. The shop is larger than most Yakitori joints, so if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere and if you don’t want to feel pressured for staying too long, this is a good choice.

Address: 1-26-7 Kabukicho Shinjuku Tokyo

Price: ¥3,000 ~ ¥3,999

Website: (Japanese only)

6. Torigen (鳥源)



Yakitori place Torigen.

Torigen is an Izakaya / Yakitori Restaurant with a diverse menu. They serve course menu sets and a la carte dishes, most notable of which is Mizutaki, a kind of hot pot dish with fresh chicken and vegetables in a special broth. They only use high-quality chicken meat that they also have chicken sashimi on the menu. For their grilled specialties, go for their Tsukune, Tebasaki, and chicken liver.

Address: 3-17-11 Shinjuku Shinjuku Tokyo

Price: ¥6,000 ~ ¥7,999

7. Kabuto (カブト)

Shinjuku’s Omoide Yokocho has a lot of nicknames: Memory Lane, Piss Alley, and Yakitori Alley. It is an interesting narrow street filled with tiny establishments, intoxicated crowd, and a vibe that exudes nostalgia for Tokyo that existed decades ago. It has a high concentration of Yakitori shops too, so you can hop from one joint to another.



Kabuto’s Unagi Yakitori.

From this point on, the Yakitori joints featured are all located in Omoide Yokocho and for starters, there’s Kabuto – the corner shop that specializes in Unagi (eel). You’ll be amazed at how many different eel parts they managed to put on a skewer. The eel sticks look charred, but they are very tasty. No wonder it’s a favorite among this alley’s regular patrons.

Address: 1-2-11 Nishishinjuku Shinjuku Tokyo

Price: ¥2,000 ~ ¥2,999

Website: (Japanese only)

8. Agasshai (あがっしゃい)


Happy #Dinner ☆ 12.1.15
#Yakitori (chicken & pork), Sliced Radish & Steamed chicken Salad with Homemade Japanese Plum Sauce(oil-free, #glutenfree) It's my first time coming here. The Omoide Yokocho is retro & historical area. And good cost performance around here. I recommend here & Omoide Yokocho!
( )
新宿#思い出横丁 。初のお店。
熟知していないから, 連れて来て貰わないとジプシーになる。
ここの焼鳥(豚も), 火の通りが中に入り過ぎず全体に柔らかく通っていて…美味しかった……。

hicken Yakitori at Agasshai.

This alley is predominantly a salarymen crowd and can be intimidating for female customers. Fortunately, Agasshai is one of those female-friendly options in the area. They have an inner room with a classy atmosphere. The ruckus outside disappears the moment you step inside. They serve Daisen chicken, another distinguished chicken breed, which basically translates to high-quality meat.

Address: 1-2-8 Nishishinjuku Shinjuku Tokyo

Price: ¥3,000 ~ ¥3,999

Website: (Japanese only)

9. Echigoya (越後屋)


#思い出横丁 #越後屋

Yakitori with English menu at Echigoya.

Perhaps the best way to start your Yakitori-hopping here is to visit Echigoya first. This shop is foreigner friendly because of their English menu. Eat a few sticks here, familiarize yourself with the different varieties, and slowly you will gain confidence navigating the menus of the dozens more Yakitori joints down the lane.

Address: 1-2-12 Nishishinjuku Shinjuku Tokyo

Price: ¥1,000 ~ ¥1,999

Website: (Japanese only)

10. Izakaya Asadachi (朝起)


Awww hey there little buddy. You look too cute to eat! Naw, you know that's not gonna stop me 😁 #grilled #salamander #新宿 #思い出横丁 #HamChoiInJapan

Grilled salamander skewer at Asadachi.

Saving the weirdest for last, Asadachi is only for the brave. This Izakaya is well documented by Western media for serving a lot of bizarre items on sticks and on plates. If you want something to brag about, feel free to try their grilled salamander, horse penis, frog sashimi, pig testicles, and whatnot. You sure deserve a badge after trying any one of these items. Good luck!

Address: 1-2-14 Nishishinjuku Shinjuku Tokyo

Price: ¥3,000 ~ ¥3,999

Website: (Japanese only)

Information in this article is as of August 2016. Refer to the official websites for the latest information.

Thumbnail image is from Flickr.