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Niku Yokocho: a Meat Lover's Paradise in Shibuya

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Niku Yokocho: a Meat Lover's Paradise in Shibuya

 

 
 
Shibuya. The name brings to mind the statue of a famously faithful dog and the controlled chaos of the “scramble” crossing. What you might not know is that this area is home to one of Tokyo’s favorite yokocho. A yokocho refers to a small area (usually a section of narrow alleys) packed with various eating and drinking establishments. The reasonable prices and casual atmosphere make them a popular choice among locals looking to enjoy a fun evening. While Shibuya’s Nonbei Yokocho is a well-known choice, Shibuya’s Niku (meat) Yokocho is a popular choice among young Japanese people and salarymen as well as a must for any meat-lover visiting Tokyo. 
 

Inside Niku Yokocho

You’ll find Niku Yokocho on the second and third floors of the Chitose Kaikan, a building located in Shibuya Center Gai about a five minute walk from Shibuya Station. With eighteen restaurants on the second floor and seven more on the third, this place is packed with every kind of meat dish imaginable from yakiniku (Korean barbecue) to yakitori (skewered grilled chicken) and even fresh beef sushi. 

The outside of Chitose Kaikan / Niku Yokocho in Shibuya
The outside of Chitose Kaikan, home of Niku Yokocho in Shibuya.

Staff of one of the restaurants inside Niku Yokocho in Shibuya
As soon as you enter the yokocho, staff from all the different restaurants will work hard to entice you inside. 

Here’s a piece of insider information that’s going to make your experience at Niku Yokocho even better. Let’s say after walking around the floor, checking out the menus of the restaurants, and listening to the pitches of the staff hawking outside, you settle on a nice yakiniku place. But just as you’ve placed your order, you see a guy at a restaurant across the way eating what looks like the most delicious yakitori ever. Anywhere else you’d probably be stuck with a bad case of food envy, but not at Niku Yokocho. 

All the restaurants in Niku Yokocho do demae or delivery service. You can actually order take-out from any restaurant on the same floor and have it delivered to the restaurant at which you’re eating. This is one system you’re definitely going to want to take advantage of. 

Inside Niku Yokocho in Shibuya
Of course, you’re more than welcome to change restaurants if you want a change of scenery. With everything packed closely together, you won’t have to look far to find a place to grab a few drinks to wash down all the yakitori you just polished off. 
 
Menus from the various restaurants inside Niku YokochoEach restaurant has delivery menus for the other restaurants on that floor. 

English menus are available at some restaurants inside Niku Yokocho
There are also restaurants that have English menus or English speaking staff. These are good choices if you have questions about certain types of food or want to know where a particular cut of meat comes from. 
 

Niku Tenno Kuni 

If you’re up for something a little out of the ordinary, head to Niku Tenno Kuni on the third floor. The cooks here have come up with some pretty creative ways to serve up their main ingredient. We recommend trying the “uniku.” This is an uni (sea urchin) "sushi," but they’ve replaced the usual sushi rice and seaweed with a succulent piece of grilled sirloin. The perilla leaf garnish gives this bite a nice, clean finish (2 pieces for 734 yen). Next, go for the “Kyokudai Aburi Sirloin Nigiri” (1 piece for 626 yen). This surprising “sushi” is a generous cut of sirloin draped over sushi rice.

Niku Tenno Kuni sirloin sushi
The sirloin"sushi."

肉天国のうにく(肉の寿司)
No need for soy sauce here: the saltiness of the sea urchin is complimented by a touch of black pepper and yuzukosho, a condiment typically made from chili peppers, yuzu peel and salt.  

Grilling sirloin sushi
Dinner and a show! They grill the sirloin "sushi" right at your table. 

Meat sushi at Niku Tenno Kuni inside Niku Yokocho in Shibuya
This is a great option for anyone who wants to have a sushi experience while in Japan but isn't so big on raw fish. 
 

Niku CHIKA

Your dinner bill can add up pretty quickly when ordering a la carte. So for those whose appetites are larger than their budgets, we recommend a trip to Niku CHIKA on the third floor. They offer a 90 minute all-you-can-eat course of meats like beef, pork, and chicken for a reasonable 2,480 yen. And even though it’s all-you-can-eat, they don’t leave out the best stuff; you can enjoy skirt steak, short ribs, pork shoulder, and pork loin. This is a great chance to introduce your palate to new cuts of meat. There’s also a wide selection of side dishes like kimchi and bean sprout namul to choose from. Drinks are not included in the standard all-you-can-eat course and come at around 500 yen per glass for soft drinks. If you’re so inclined, you can add a thirty minute all-you-can-drink course to your meal for 298 yen. 

Niku CHIKA all you can eat course
It's all you can eat, so feel free to indulge!

Niku CHIKA inside Niku Yokocho in Shibuya
The grills here are installed at a slight angle to let the excess fat drain off as the meat cooks, making for a slightly healthier dining experience. 
 

Enya

Recently, the staple izayaka (bar) food known as yakitori has been gaining international fame. The best yakitori places have a charcoal grill called a yakiba where skewers of fresh chicken are grilled by hand before heading to your plate. If this sounds like it would hit the spot, follow the smell of umabe oak charcoal and freshly grilled chicken to Enya on the second floor. Prices here start at 110 yen per skewer, making it a reasonable option. We recommend getting counter seats so you can watch as the cooks slowly roast each and every mouth watering skewer. Also, there are veggie options like shiitake mushrooms and tomatoes to choose from.

Yakitori at Enya in Niku Yokocho in Shibuya
Watch as the cooks grill each piece of yakitori skewer by skewer from a counter seat.
 
Yakitori at Enya is grilled over ubame charcoal Watching the grill is a good way to whet your appetite! 

7 piece yakitori set at Enya in Niku Yokocho
If you’re not sure what to get, the daily chef’s choice set of seven skewers for 680 yen is a good option. 
 

Raise a glass and get into the spirit of Niku Yokocho!


A meal at Shibuya’s niku yokocho is a must not only for the delicious food but also for the fun, boisterous atmosphere. Don’t be surprised if people from the next table lean over with beer stein in hand for a toast! Just smile, say kanpai! (cheers!), and make some small talk with your new dining buddies.

Toasting a fun time at Niku Yokocho in Shibuya
Cheers!
 

Information

Shibuya Niku Yokocho |  渋谷肉横丁
Address:
Chitose Kaikan 2-3F
13-8 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours: varies by restaurant 


Niku Tenno Kuni |  肉天国 (3F)
Hours:
Mon-Thurs 5:00pm~1:00am
Fri-Sat 5:00pm~5:00am
Sun and national holidays 5:00pm~midnight

Niku CHIKA |  肉CHIKA (3F)
Hours: 5:00pm~midnight

Enya | えん家(2F)
Hours:
Mon-Thurs 5:00pm~3:00am
Fri-Sat 5:00pm~5:00am
Sun and national holidays 4:00pm~midnight 

※The above article is based on information gathered May 2016. Please note that there may have been changes to prices and menus since that time. 
 

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THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM 08 25,2016 Author:DiGJAPAN! Editorial Team

 

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