Yakitori Travel Guide

When perfectly grilled over an open charcoal fire, yakitori chicken skewers can be a tasty street food snack or a side dish that goes hand-in-hand with a glass of sake at a traditional izakaya.

Literally meaning “grilled bird” in Japanese, succulent chicken pieces served on bamboo sticks are roasted over an open charcoal grill to make yakitori, the classic Japanese chicken skewer. Ancient Japan’s early days of Zen Buddhism strictly frowned upon the consumption of meat, however during the Edo period chicken was tolerated, a luxury enjoyed by the aristocratic elite (schmoozed by farmers and European traders). The end of World War II saw the price of chicken dramatically drop making delicious yakitori rise in popularity, quickly becoming accessible to the everyman.

Order them by the stick, from meatballs to thighs to liver to skin, all parts of the chicken can be skewered and enhanced by a shio (salt) seasoning or a classic glaze of soy sauce, sugar, and sake. Mouth-watering with a slightly smoky flavor, experience Japan’s best yakitori through one of our authentic food experiences. Learn to grill them at a Japanese cooking class (beautifully tender with skins crispy to perfection), or discover Nagoya’s famous tebasaki wings during a spicy food tour. Have it hot off the grill from the famous street food stalls of Fukuoka, or enjoy tender yakitori with a beer while exploring hidden izakayas on a Tokyo bar crawl. Yakitori sticks may be small in size but are definitely striking in flavor.

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