Updated: October 07, 2019
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8 Of The Best Unagi (Eel) Restaurants In Tokyo


Unagi, or soft water eel, is a Japanese delicacy that you must try when you're in Japan. Tenderized and grilled with a soy-based sauce, it is truly delectable. Here are seven restaurants in Tokyo that serve some of the most outstanding unagi dishes. Enjoy!

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Nodaiwa 野田岩 (Near Akabanebashi Station)

Nodaiwa is a Tokyo unagi institution that has been in operation for more than 200 years! The store now has 4 locations across Tokyo, but the longest-standing operation is the restaurant near Akabanebashi Station in Azabu.
The unagi here is spectacularly fluffy and delicious, prepared the same way for centuries and brushed with a simple sauce that is as classic as it gets. If you're searching for a place to enjoy traditional unagi, look no further than Nodaiwa.

Obana 尾花 (Minami Senju, Near Ueno)

Obana is one of the most reputable unagi restaurants in Tokyo. Located on the eastern side of Tokyo, it is at about a 2 km distance from the Ueno Station. The nearest station is called Minami Senju. The restaurant has the architecture of a traditional Japanese house with an interior that is just as charming.

Unaju, which is a grilled eel with tare sauce on a bed of rice, is the signature dish of the restaurant so you should probably try this one if it's your first visit. You have a choice of two sizes which are ¥4,300 and ¥5,300. It may seem a bit pricey but it's very reasonable for eel.

Definitely try this place out! It's a restaurant of long-standing and you'll love the food as much as you'll love the quaint atmosphere.

Unatetsu うな鐵 (Shinjuku)

Unatetsu, a very traditional restaurant, is located in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku, among the bustle and the neon lights of central Tokyo.

The particularity of Unatetsu is that you can enjoy your eel on skewers, cooked yakitori style. Skewered, they serve the unagi in seven different styles that include different parts of the eel and either a salt seasoning or a tare sauce (soy based) seasoning. They have so many choices of Japanese sakes as well.

The atmosphere is really nice too. There are some counter seats and some tatami tables. This is the perfect place to spend an evening in Shinjuku in good company.

Kawachiya 川千家 (Shibamata, Eastern Tokyo)

To get to Kawachiya you have to travel by train to the Shibamata Station located in Katsushikaku-ku, in the east of Tokyo. It takes about 1 hour to get there by from the Shinjuku Station, or about 40 minutes from the Ueno Station. It's a bit far but it's well worth the go, especially considering that the area has one of the best traditional shopping streets of Tokyo which isn't as touristy as Asakusa or the other well-known tourist spots.

As for the food, the eel at Kawachiya is top of its class, as you'd expect from a restaurant with a history of 250 years! Expect to pay around ¥3,000 to ¥4,000 for the unaju (grilled eel on rice) set.

The restaurant is really spacious and peaceful. In the back, there are large windows from which you can see a Japanese-style interior courtyard.

Tsukijimiyagawa Honten つきじ宮川本廛 伊勢丹新宿店 (Shinjuku)

This restaurant with a solid reputation is located on the 7th floor of the Isetan department store. It has a relaxing atmosphere and is entirely non-smoking. You can have the unagi here served hitsumabushi or unagi don style, both of which are fantastic. The restaurant uses a traditional charcoal fire cooking technique and season the eel with their secret tare sauce that has been used for some 120 years. The prices are quite reasonable here, with lunch starting at ¥2,000 and dinner courses starting at ¥2,376.

Akasaka Fukinuki 赤坂ふきぬき (Akasaka)

Fukinuki opened in Akasaka in 1923 and has been a flagship restaurant for unagi for decades.

The unagi is served in set meals that are about ¥2,500 for lunch and a little more for dinner. You can also try the "hitsumabushi" style, which is a way to eat it in 4 parts that is popular in the Nagoya region. First, you eat it as is, then you add some seasoning such as leek or nori, finally, you add some savoury soup to make it into a porridge.

Edogawa Ishibashi 石ばし (Edogawabashi)

Ishibashi has been open since 1910, and serves the same incredible unagi (eel) kabayaki today that it did 100 years ago. Ishibashi is one of just 3 unagi specialists in Tokyo to have earned a Michelin star, and it's obvious why once you try the beautifully fluffy and tender unagi dishes that take hours to prepare.

The restaurant itself is in a beautiful building with traditional Japanese scenery and includes private dining rooms for parties who reserve one of the course meals. The atmosphere, service, and food combine to give guests an unforgettable meal in the center of Tokyo.

Bonus: Unagi for ¥500! Unatoto 宇奈とと (Ueno)

500 yen for unagi don definitely seems outrageously cheap. However, that's really how much the basic unagi don at Unatoto, a Tokyo unagi chain restaurant costs. It's not as large as the other unagi don and unaju dishes at the other restaurants on this list, but it's far from miniature, and has a surprisingly large piece of eel on top of the rice! Unatoto doesn't cut any corners with the preparation, either, grilling the eel over a charcoal flame and imbibing it with a lovely smoky flavor.

Unatoto has a total of 11 locations across Tokyo, any of which offer the incredibly priced unagi don. Check it out if you're trying to save a little money but still want some authentic unagi!

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