Yakiniku Travel Guide

Flaming beef strips are best eaten hot off the grill! Succulent Japanese yakiniku is a meaty feast accompanied by a satisfying sizzle.

Literally translating to “grilled meat,” the beloved Japanese barbeque of yakiniku is a grill-it-yourself affair, including pieces of beef, pork, and offal. Along with some vegetables, the term yakiniku generally covers Japanese barbeque cuisine that uses a hot plate or a charcoal grill (usually built into the table). The concept of yakiniku emerged during the Showa Period, although it later gaining traction during the Meiji Period after Japan’s beef consumption ban was removed and the nation started to embrace Westernization. Following the Second World War, influences of Korean food and Korean barbeque escalated, leading yakiniku restaurants to spread all over Japan. Yakiniku experiences range from classy to casual. They can be fun DIY affairs, although you can also try Kobe beef or another type of premium Japanese wagyu for a luxurious meal.

Where a meal meets activity, yakiniku makes for a fun group night out, chatting with friends while turning beef pieces. Like it rare or well-done? You’re in control, although the thinly sliced meat doesn’t take long to cook. Mouth-watering and dipped in an intense sauce called “tare,” add condiments just how you like it for the full DIY dining experience. There are different yakiniku variations all over Japan. In Hokkaido to the north, local lamb meat is famously grilled as “jingisukan” on a helmet-shaped griddle; while Osaka lets nothing go to waste, grilling odd innard cuts like liver and intestine for “horumonyaki.” Join a yakiniku experience and explore new cities during a food tour, or book a memorable night with an all-you-can-eat barbeque extravaganza. Fire up the grill and sizzle away!

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