Until the last dates of Tokugawa shogunate, Japanese did not have the habit of having beef in their daily lives. After the opening of the country, the culture to eat beef has spread all over Japan and Sukiyaki (or other name Gyu nabe), invented in early Meiji Era, is very much liked by people in Japan now.
Therefore, among shabu-shabu and wagyu, sukiyaki is another typical icon of civilization and enlightenment to Japanese. Below are the best 10 sukiyaki shops in Tokyo you should try for a new adventure of flavor.
1. Ishibashi (いし橋) in Ueno
The 135 years old shop is purely a traditional style Japanese restaurant, specialized in sukiyaki, and it’s easy to missed if you’re a first time visitor. All of the seats are privately divided for families and groups. The main focus here is the black haired, Kobe beef served for your sukiyaki. The sukiyaki is prepared right on your table for each person, one by one carefully by waitresses in kimono costume.
3-6-8 Sotokanda Chiyoda Tokyo
2. Yonekyu (米久) in Asakusa
This is another more than 100 years old sukiyaki shop in Tokyo, unfortunately, you cannot find counter seats here because they only have table seats and private rooms in traditional tatami style. When you enter the shop, they will welcome you with a hit in the big drum, so it makes the atmosphere seems exciting. The popular gyunabe served at Yonekyu is a caldron of beef (Omi-gyu from Shiga Prefecture), tofu, shirataki (noodles made from konnyaku starch), spring onions and shungiku (a leafy vegetable, Chrysanthemum coronarium).
2-17-10 Asakusa Taito Tokyo
3. Asakusa Imahan (浅草 今半) in Asakusa
Asakusa Imahan is a legend in the art of Sukiyaki with its signature Imahan Wagyu Beef. It has been operational since 1895, and also has another branch at Ningyocho Imahan, run by the owner’s son. The branch at Ningyocho Imahan serves sukiyaki and shabu-shabu more expensive than Asakusa Imahan. Imahan is very close to Sensoji Temple so you can either have a visit there after finish your meal, or take a walk around before have your meal!
Voyagin offers a reservation service for Imahan. Use this plan to secure your reservation to the restaurant! Check out Voyagin's website to find out details.Reserve Asakusa Imahan (View at Voyagin)
3-1-12 Nishiasakusa Taito Tokyo
4. Okahan (岡半) in Ginza
Okahan has a rich and colorful history back a half century in Ginza. Guests can enjoy Sukiyaki and Shabu shabu in their 7th floor decorated with Japanese traditional in both tatami rooms and leg-well floor seating. At their 8th floor, you can enjoy teppan-yaki and steaks in Western style counter seats.
Okahan is very popular so I’d recommend you to make a reservation beforehand!
Ginzakanetanaka Building 7F & 8F, 7-6-16 Ginza Chuo Tokyo
http://www.kanetanaka.co.jp/restrant/okahan/ (Japanese only)
5. Ginza Yoshizawa (銀座 吉澤) in Ginza
They offer high-grade black wagyu beef selected carefully with skills established in their over 50 years history. They stock only beef from female cattle because they consider females are fattier and more delicious. Various private Japanese style rooms would surely make you relax. Enjoy their tender wagyu beef with superb eggs and sauce.
3-chome-9-19 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
6. Koiku (古郁) in Ginza
This is an old and traditional restaurant in Japanese style. You can choose to enjoy your meals in front of the counter seats or table seats. Koiku is a typical kind of Japan cuisine restaurant, which is having meal sets as well as friendly recommendation of “osusume” from the shop owner.
Takuya Ginza Building 5F, 7-2-8 Ginza Chuo Tokyo
http://www.ginzakoiku.com/ (Japanese only)
7. Botan (ぼたん) in Akihabara
Botan’s charm lies in its history and classic wooden premises as much as its food. There’s only one thing on the menu, chicken sukiyaki, served in the old style. You will be well taken care of by matrons in kimonos, who bring glowing charcoal to the grill atop your low table, set a small iron dish on top, then begin cooking: chicken, onion, tofu and vegetables, all simmering in the rich, sweet house sauce.
1-15 Kanda Sudacho Chiyoda Tokyo
8. Aigamo Ippin Toriyasu (あひ鴨一品 鳥安) in Nihonbashi
One of the special thing about Aigamo Ippin Toriyasu is its popular duck sukiyaki, and of course, other dishes from duck. Aigamo Ippin Toriyasu is a quite old shop with more than 100 years of operation and it has warm, wonderful atmosphere that you’d definitely love. I’d recommend to enjoy duck sukiyaki with fried rice or “soboro-gohan” – which is minced eggs and meat with rice!
2-11-7 Higashinihonbashi Chuo Tokyo
https://aigamotoriyasu.com/en/ (Japanese only)
9. Ginza Bakuro Ichidai (銀座 馬喰一代) in Ginza
Bakuro-Ichidai has been serving the authentic Hida-beef in Ginza. Hida Beef has been recognized as one of the leading wagyu brands in Japan. It is perfect to have lunch with friends and family, gorgeous Japanese atmosphere and spending your time in no rush. Also a perfect place having business dinner at dinner time.
Ginza Trecious Building 11F 2-6-5 Ginza Chuo Tokyo
10. Edomae Niku Kappou Miyashita (江戸前肉割烹 宮下) in Ginza
Much effort goes into the making of our sukiyaki stock to give it that winning flavor. The shop’s slogan is “All of that hard work pays off in the rich delicious taste that delights our customers”, they use organic vegetables and seasonal ingredients in order to bring their customers the best experience when having meals in Miyashita. They have both spacious counter seats and private rooms that you can use for receptions. Enjoy the night skyline from the window seats, too. Have your fill of delicious food and drinks in the relaxing atmosphere!
MARRONNIER GATE 11F, 2-2-14 Ginza Chuo Tokyo
http://xn—-no6at4lqrc60n0pegdy60fbzuis9atk4b97p.com/ (Japanese only)
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Information in this article is as of April 2016
Thumbnail image is from Flickr