Hi,I’m Keiko from Osaka!
Yakitori, literally translated as grilled chicken, is a popular dish among the Japanese businessmen.
It is grilled chicken skewers, made from different parts of chicken or other ingredients such as vegetables.
They are usually grilled over charcoals, eaten either with tare (sweet salty soy-based sauce) or shio (salt).
Kyoto is full of yakitori restaurants.
Though chicken skewers are available in many Asian countries, Japanese yakitori offers a wide variety of chicken and vegetables that you might not have tried elsewhere.
Try some of the best yakitori restaurants in Kyoto where fresh (and often branded)
chicken are perfectly grilled over premium charcoal, I am sure you would re-think of this popular Asian dish.
Here are top 5 best yakitori restaurants in Kyoto!
Local tells Top 5 best Yakitori Restaurants in Kyoto!
1.Sumiyakisosaitoriya HITOMI/炭焼創彩鳥家 人見Hitomi is one of the most popular and best yakitori restaurants in Japan.
Due to its popularity, it is also the most difficult yakitori restaurant to make a reservation even for the locals.
People usually reserve a few months in advance.
If you get lucky, you will enjoy Hitomi’s perfectly grilled, fluffy grilled chicken skewers that are perfect in one-bite size.
The popular items here include: momo shio (chicken thigh with salt), tsukune (grounded chicken balls), along with non-skewed items such as delicious green salad, crispy chicken skin, and grilled onigiri (grice balls).
After trying these items, you would understand why this restaurant is so popular and hard to get in.
2.Sumiyaki KIMURA/炭焼 きむらThis is my personal favorite. Kimura has been operating for 65 years.
It is a small yakitori restaurant that has yet to be discovered by the foreign tourists.
But it is very popular among the locals of Kyoto.
You can enjoy the true “after work” atmosphere of the local culture here.
The restaurant offers perfectly grilled chicken skewers that are so fluffy and juicy.
Their skewers are known for being bigger than normal, thus its high cost performance makes Kimura very popular.
The restaurant does not have an English menu, so you might want to go with a Japanese speaking friend.
Reservation must be made in Japanese in advance, and you need to bring someone who can speak Japanese.
3.Torisei/鳥せいThis is a restaurant with a long history which offers yakitori, nabe (hot pot), other chicken based dishes, as well as great sake menu.
First established in 1966, Torisei’s vast menu and high cost-performance has been attracting many Japanese from in and outside of Kyoto.
Yakitori starts around ¥140 per skewer though it uses high quality branded chicken.
Some of their unique grilled items include namafu (wheat gluten mixed with rice flour, etc.).
It has a great lunch menu, most of which are below ¥1,000.
If you are a ramen enthusiast, you might want to try their Chicken ramen here for lunch.
It offers you the best chicken broth that warms your heart.
Torisei has 4 branches in Kyoto: Fushimi, Kyobashi, Shijo Kiyamachi, Takoyakushi.
Next,let’s go to the yakitori restaurant where you can enjoy fresh chicken sashimi!
4.Yakitori KAMINARI/やきとり 雷You will not miss this yakitori restaurant, if you walk nearby.
The entrance is brightly lit by many red lanterns.
The warm atmosphere is so picturesque.
Once inside, the restaurant is so vibrant, full of businessmen and the locals.
This place is fairly easy to get in even for a single lady traveling alone.
Kaminari is known for their fresh chicken sashimi.
They serve you raw chicken, but extremely fresh, so you do not need to worry.
Kaminari offers raw cuts of different parts of the chicken such as breast, liver, hearts.
The mixed sashimi platter might be a nice way to experience what you can only experience in Japan.
Don’t forget to try their popular Stamina don, butabara (bacon) tomatoes cheese, shirako (soft roe), sankaku (chicken tail meat).
5.Bajitofu/馬耳東風Bajitofu is another popular yakitori restaurant in Kyoto, which is hard to get in.
Skewered chicken here are fairly big, so they are fairly filling to your stomach.
Perfectly grilled tender chicken with sweet sauce is so inviting.
It is interesting also to observe the master chef manning the grilling station like a hawk.
Most of their skewers are only ¥150 and yakitori come in fairly big chunks, compared with a typical yakitori place.
No wonder why it is difficult to reserve a seat.
The popular items here include: kimo (liver), seseri (neck), torinegi (chicken and green onions), etc.
You might also want to try some of their unique flavors such as curry, pizza, wasabi, etc.
Bajitofu is conveniently in the middle of the city, near Hankyu Karasuma Station.
Top 5 best Yakitori Restaurants in Kyoto
- Sumiyakisosaitoriya HITOMI・・・ If you get lucky, you will enjoy Hitomi’s perfectly grilled, fluffy grilled chicken skewers that are perfect in one-bite size.
- Sumiyaki KIMURA・・・It is a small yakitori restaurant that has yet to be discovered by the foreign tourists.
- Torisei・・・First established in 1966, Torisei’s vast menu and high cost-performance has been attracting many Japanese from in and outside of Kyoto.
- Yakitori Kaminari・・・Kaminari offers raw cuts of different parts of the chicken such as breast, liver, hearts.
- Bajitoufu・・・You can enjoy yakitori with their unique flavors such as curry, pizza, wasabi, etc.
Lastly,let me explain the most common yakitori items in Japan.
Negima (chicken with leeks), tsukune (chicken meat balls often comes with raw egg to dip), momo (thigh), kawa (skin), tebasaki (wings), sasami (breast) and vegetables such as asparagus, leeks, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.
More interesting items would include: seseri (neck meat), bonjiri/sankaku (tail meat), nankotsu (cartilage), kimo/reba (livers), hatsu (hearts), sunagimo (gizzards).
Now,try your Japanese language skills with these words in Kyoto!