Yakitori Fans Flock to Shinjuku Imaiya Honten, Tokyo’s Haven for Exquisite Hinai Chicken Yakitori

A beloved dish in Japan, yakitori, or skewered grilled chicken, is enjoyed by adults and children alike. Available at many taverns as well as specialty shops, it attracts a large number of customers.

Photo of yakitori

Neslted in the busy Shinjuku neighborhood of Tokyo, “Shinjuku Imaiya Honten” serves yakitori using Hinai chicken from Akita Prefecture. This free-range brand chicken is known for its firm texture and sweet fat. The skewers are grilled over binchōtan charcoal, a type of high-quality white charcoal made from ubame oak, offering a juicy and premium taste.

Photo of Shinjuku Imaiya Honten exterior

Can’t decide? Try the Popular “Omakase 5 Skewers”

The “Omakase 5 Skewers” set features popular yakitori varieties chosen based on what’s available that day. On the day of our visit, it included salt-seasoned negima (usually chicken meat interspersed with Japanese bunching onion, or negi), dakimi (chicken breast wrapped in chicken skin), sunagimo (chicken gizzards), and hand-kneaded tegone tsukune (seasoned minced chicken sticks) with a sweet and salty soy-based sauce.

Photo of a yakitori set

“おまかせ 五本,” Omakase 5 Skewers 2,800 JPY (tax included)

Their negima is an easy way to enjoy the flavor of Hinai chicken. The restaurant skewers thigh meat, negi, breast meat, negi, and then thigh meat again, allowing you to appreaciate the different textures of the meats. The sweetness of negi and the perfect seasoning enhanced the umami of Hinai chicken.

Photo of negima


Their dakimi featuring aged breast meat wrapped in chicken skin offers a superb texture. The softness of the breast meat combined with the crisply grilled skin is a perfect match.

Photo of dakimi chicken breast wrapped in chicken skin

“むねと皮の抱身,” Dakimi chicken breast wrapped in chicken skin

Sunagimo (chicken gizzards) are known for their unique crunchy texture. Savor their subtle sweetness enhanced by a touch of salt.

Photo of sunagimo chicken gizzards

Sunagimo chicken gizzards

You can choose one of three toppings for sasami (chicken breast): wasabi, plum, or yuzu koshō, a Japanese condiment made with yuzu citrus and chili pepper.

During our visit, we chose the spicy yuzu kosho, which added a perfect kick to the refreshingly light sasami. The sasami is grilled over charcoal just enough to sear the surface, resulting in a tender and moist texture.

Photo of sasami chicken breast

Sasami chicken breast

The hand-kneaded tegone tsukune at Shinjuku Imaiya Honten is a must-try, with its fluffy texture and flavor packed with the umami of Hinai chicken. It’s even more delicious when dipped in plenty of egg yolk.

Photo of tegone tsukune

Tegone tsukune

Don’t forget to pair your Omakase 5 Skewers with a selection of shochu or sake from across Japan for a perfect match!

Indulge in the soft sweetness of “Kuroge Wagyū Skewer with Kyushu Sweet Soy Sauce and Wasabi”

In addition to Hinai chicken, the restaurant also offers skewers of Kuroge wagyū beef. The “Kuroge Wagyu Skewer with Kyushu Sweet Soy Sauce and Wasabi” is made with carefully selected wagyu.

Photo of Kuroge Wagyu Skewer with Kyushu Sweet Soy Sauce and Wasabi

“黒毛和牛串 ~九州甘口醤油 山葵~,” Kuroge Wagyu Skewer with Kyushu Sweet Soy Sauce and Wasabi 1,800 JPY (tax included)

The meat is incredibly tender and melts in your mouth. When eaten with sweet soy sauce and wasabi, the sweetness of the wagyu beef is even more pronounced.

Photo of Kuroge Wagyu Skewer with Kyushu Sweet Soy Sauce and Wasabi

Of course, it pairs wonderfully with alcohol. If you’re in the mood for some meat other than chicken, this is highly recommended.

Photo of Kuroge Wagyu Skewer with Kyushu Sweet Soy Sauce and Wasabi

“Hinai Chicken Oyakodon Rice Bowl with Chicken Broth Miso Soup”: Hearty yet easy to finish!

A popular menu item at Shinjuku Imaiya Honten is the “Hinai Chicken Oyakodon Rice Bowl with Chicken Broth Miso Soup.” This oyakodon (chicken and egg rice bowl) makes generous use of Hinai chicken, allowing you to fully savor the meat’s umami.

Photo of Hinai Chicken Oyakodon Rice Bowl with Chicken Broth Miso Soup

“比内地鶏の親子丼 ~鶏ガラ味噌汁付き~,” Hinai Chicken Oyakodon Rice Bowl with Chicken Broth Miso Soup 1,380 JPY (tax included)

The rice bowl is seasoned with chicken broth made from Hinai chicken. Its light flavor makes it irresistible, even when you’re full. It’s also the perfect dish to enjoy as the last course after drinks.

Photo of Hinai Chicken Oyakodon Rice Bowl with Chicken Broth Miso Soup

The key to achieving the rice bowl’s irresistable flavor is grilling the Hinai chicken before cutting it. Charcoal-grilling makes the skin crispy and the inside soft and juicy. The charcoal aroma is also a special touch.

Preparing oyakodon

Charcoal-grilling Hinai chicken

Shinjuku Imaiya Honten offers more than just the dishes introduced here. They also serve a variety of dishes using Hinai chicken, including hot pots and fried chicken. When you’re craving delicious chicken dishes in Shinjuku, Tokyo, be sure to stop by for a meal!

Photo of yakitori


Store name 新宿 今井屋本店
Shinjuku Imaiya Honten
Address Shinjuku Moliere Building B1, 3-33-10 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Access Shinjuku-Sanchōme Station 2-minute walk from Exit A5
  • Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line(F13)
  • Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line(M09)

Shinjuku Station(SJK) 4-minute walk from Shinjuku Station South Exit
  • JR Yamanote Line(JY17)
  • JR Saikyō Line(JA11)
  • JR Shōnan Shinjuku Line(JS20)
  • JR Chūō Line Rapid(JC05)
  • JR Chūō Sōbu Line(JB10)
  • Keiō Line(KO01)
  • Keiō New Line(KO01)
  • Odakyū Line(OH01)
  • Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line(M08)
  • Toei Shinjuku Line(S01)
  • Toei Ōedo Line(E27)
Phone number 03-5363-1155
Reservations Accepted
Phone, Official website, Tabelog, GURUNAVI, Ikyu Restraurant, Hot Pepper Gourmet, OZmall, Retty, Hitosara
  • Cash
  • Credit cards(American Express・Diners・JCB・Master・UnionPay・VISA)
  • Transportation-related electronic money(Suica, etc.)
  • Electronic money(iD・nanaco・Rakuten Edy・WAON)
  • QR code payment(Alipay・au PAY・Bank Pay・d Payment・Merpay・PayPay・Rakuten Pay・WeChat Pay)
Service charge/Table charge Table charge 630 JPY (tax included)
Only when ordering à la carte
Hours Mon-Fri. 17:00-23:00(last order 22:00)
Sat., Sun. & Nat’l holidays 11:30-14:30(last order 14:00), 17:00-23:00(last order 22:00)
Closed New Year(12/31-1/2)
Seating 92 seats
6 counter seats, 62 table seats, 24 private dining room seats
Smoking All seats are non-smoking
Smoking room available
Official website https://www.dd-holdings.jp/shops/imaiyahonten/shinjyuku#/
Other information
  • Menus are available with Japanese and English language only
  • Please ask about allergy-friendly, vegetarian, and vegan menus when reserving; no halal menus available
  • Wheelchair-accessible (no elevator, steps within restaurant)
  • Take-out and delivery services are not available
  • Luggage storage space is available
  • Wi-Fi is available
  • Posting of food photos and videos on customers’ personal SNS accounts is allowed except when diners outside your party are visible
  • Separate billing is allowed only at lunchtime, not at dinnertime

※Menu contents, prices, store information, etc. are current as of April 2024.