Sizzle Your Own Eel at Unaginobori: A Unique Unagi Restaurant in Shibuya, Tokyo

Situated in the dynamic Dōgenzaka neighborhood of Shibuya in Tokyo, “Jibunyaki Unaginobori” (hereunder referred to as “Unaginobori”) is an eel specialty restaurant featuring an unusual concept that you’re unlikely to encounter in typical eel eateries.

名物 自分焼き(うなぎ盛り合わせ), Unaginobori's Famous Grill-Your-Own Eel (Combination Platter) 2,900 JPY (tax included)

“名物 自分焼き(うなぎ盛り合わせ),” Unaginobori’s Famous Grill-Your-Own Eel (Combination Platter) 2,900 JPY (tax included)

Exploring the appeal of self-grilled eel at Unaginobori

At Unaginobori, the dining experience parallels that of a yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) restaurant, but with a unique twist: you’re grilling your own unagi (freshwater eel) instead of the usual beef and pork. The term jibunyaki in the restaurant’s name, which literally means “grill-it-yourself,” encapsulates the concept. To facilitate this hands-on experience, each table is equipped with a roaster, already preheated with glowing charcoal.

Umami bites writer Bensky decided to go hands-on, ordering “Unaginobori’s Famous Grill-Your-Own Eel (Combination Platter)” which comes with a trio of eel preparations: mushiyaki (steamed), ichiyaboshi (salted, dried overnight and grilled) and saikyōmiso yaki (prepared with Saikyō miso, a sweet white miso originating from the Kyoto area, and grilled).

Photo of Jibunyaki Unaginobori

The eel comes pre-cooked to your table, but it’s your personal finishing touch on the tabletop roaster that truly brings the dish to life!

Sear each piece—meaty side first, then skin—for 30 seconds over the charcoal, and voila! Your eel is perfectly cooked, plump, and delicious.

Charcoal heated in the kitchen

Charcoal heated in the kitchen

One delightful aspect of Unaginobori is its array of condiments to enhance your eel experience. While the saikyōmiso yaki eel is flavorful enough to eat as-is, the mushiyaki and ichiyaboshi eel are best enjoyed with some special eel sauce or wasabi.

From left to right: ichiyaboshi, mushiyaki and saikyōmiso yaki

From left to right: ichiyaboshi, mushiyaki and saikyōmiso yaki

As Bensky slathered sauce over the mushiyaki eel and set it on the grill, the mouthwatering aroma quickly filled the restaurant. The moment he heard the sizzle and saw those grill marks appearing, his excitement was too palpable to contain, even before taking that first tantalizing bite.

Photo of Jibunyaki Unaginobori

Thrilled by the experience of grilling his own eel for the first time, Bensky was grinning from ear to ear. He eagerly took his first bite.

Bensky
Bensky

Mmm, this is amazing! The smoky flavor from the charcoal makes the soft, tender eel even more delicious. There’s something about grilling it yourself that makes it taste even better!

The other star at Unaginobori: The voluminous “Unatama Rice Bowl”

Another fan favorite at Unaginobori is the “Unatama Rice Bowl.” The name unatama combines “una” from unagi and “tama” from tamago, meaning eggs. It’s a popular combo for a rice bowl but Unaginobori’s take on it is a showstopper. Imagine a bed of perfectly cooked Japanese rice, topped with lusciously fluffy scrambled eggs, and crowned with a sumptuous slab of eel that’s as bold as it is delicious.

うな玉丼, Unatama Rice Bowl 2,500 JPY (tax included)

“うな玉丼,” Unatama Rice Bowl 2,500 JPY (tax included)

The scrambled eggs emanate a rich buttery aroma, which is the secret to their fluffiness. The slightly sweet eggs perfectly complement the savory-sweet eel sauce, making for a heavenly combination.

Photo of Jibunyaki Unaginobori
Bensky
Bensky

Where have you been all my life? This Unatama Rice Bowl is amazing. The eel and scrambled eggs are so tender, they melt right in your mouth—a sensation that’s utterly irresistible!

Bensky’s enthusiasm for the Unatama Rice Bowl was more than just words—within moments, he’d devoured every last grain of rice in the bowl.

Photo of Jibunyaki Unaginobori

The Unatama Rice Bowl is available during both lunch and dinner times, while the unique grill-it-yourself jibunyaki experience is a dinner-only affair. The restaurant is designed to accommodate various dining preferences, featuring counter seats as well as tables that are perfect for social gatherings.

So whether you’re considering a casual solo meal or planning a lively get-together with friends, Unaginobori offers a versatile and unforgettable dining experience to suit any occasion.

Photo of Jibunyaki Unaginobori exterior

Information

Store name 自分焼き ウナギノボリ
Jibunyaki Unaginobori
Address 1F-2F Dōgenzaka Building, 1-17-4 Dōgenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access Shibuya Station(SBY)4-minute walk from Shibuya Station West Exit
  • Keiō Inokashira Line(IN01)

Shibuya Station(SBY)8-minute walk from Shibuya Station West Exit
  • JR Yamanote Line(JY20)
  • JR Saikyō Line(JA10)
  • JR Shōnan Shinjuku Line(JS19)
  • Tōkyū Tōyoko Line(TY01)
  • Tōkyū Den-en-toshi Line(DT01)
  • Tokyo Metro Ginza Line(G01)
  • Tokyo Metro Hanzōmon Line(Z01)
  • Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line(F16)
Phone 03-6455-0615
Reservations Accepted
Phone, Tabelog, DM(Instagram)
Payment
  • Cash
  • Credit cards(American Express・Diners・JCB・Master・VISA)
  • Transportation-related electronic money not accepted
  • Electronic money not accepted
  • QR code payment not accepted
Service charge/Table charge Service charge 500 JPY (tax included)
Only at dinnertime
Hours Mon-Fri. 11:30-14:00(last order 14:00), 16:00-23:00(last order 22:00)
Sat. 16:00-23:00(last order 22:00)
Closed Sunday
Seating 29 seats
6 counter seats, 23 table seats
Smoking All seats are smoking
Official website https://www.instagram.com/unaginobori.shibuya/
Other information
  • Only Japanese menus are available
  • No vegan, vegetarian, or halal menus; please ask staff about allergy-friendly menus
  • Wheelchair-accessible (counter seats only)
  • Take-out and delivery service are not available
  • Luggage storage is not available
  • Wi-Fi is available (first floor only)
  • Posting of food photos and videos on SNS is allowed
  • Separate billing is allowed

※Menu contents, prices, store information, etc. are current as of October 2023.