Updated: December 11, 2018
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5 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 five restaurants in Tokyo that serve some of the most outstanding unagi dishes.

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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.

Owada 大和田 (Shibuya)

The establishment in Shibuya which started as a house restaurant has a solid reputation that dates back to the 1930s. Owada now has a couple of locations across Japan.

It has a simple menu with the main items being grilled eel on a bed of rice served in a lacquered box. This is called unaju. The prices for those range from ¥3,000 to ¥4,000 depending on the size.

The place is extremely popular so you better make a reservation beforehand.

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.

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    Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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