For Grilled Meat on Stick, Japanese Have it Figured Out

By Mark Wiens 23 Comments
Yakitori Tonton, Tokyo, Japan
Eating in Tokyo, Japan

In between meals of insanely fresh and delicious sushi when I was in Tokyo, I was also excited to hang out and eat skewers of grilled succulent meat known as yakitori.

There are a near infinite quantity of small yakitori-ya restaurants in Tokyo, serving up tasty sticks of grilled meat paired with refreshing beverages.

One day, after walking around Ginza, I decided to head over to Yūrakuchō.

Yūrakuchō, Tokyo – Life under the railroad track

Yūrakuchō, Tokyo

Yūrakuchō is an area in Tokyo that’s positioned right along the railroad track.

Though it’s adjacent to the business high class district of Ginza, the neighborhood remains less modern, and more traditional; The lifestyle difference from Ginza to Yurakucho is quite noticeable.

Yūrakuchō is especially known for its izakayas and yakitori-ya restaurants scattered along and underneath the railroad. One of the most famous in the area is Andy’s Shin Hinomoto, but there are countless others.

There are dozens of restaurants and bars ranging in size from just a few seats to being able to accommodate a large crowd.

Some of the restaurants are neatly decorated and fancy, others sprawl into the sidewalk and are sheltered by tents.

Despite the differences, people stop at these institution to do two things: Grab a drink and eat some food.

Yakitori Tonton (登運とん)
Delicious dining at Yakitori Tonton (登運とん)

Walking around the Yūrakuchō area of Tokyo, I was lost.

There were so many choices and so many places, I honestly had no clue where to even begin.

But since I was there a bit early, arriving at 4:30 pm, one place stood out – not only because it was one of few that looked like it was fully open – but they were also already busy before the main rush of office employees came (good sign).

The place, Yakitori Tonton, a yakitori-ya I learned later, is a Tokyo classic.

Yakitori in Tokyo
Menu at Yakitori Tonton (登運とん) in Tokyo, Japan

Yakitori Tonton (登運とん)

The menu at Yakitori Tonton was simple and easy to follow, being written in both English and Japanese.

There was a small selection of beer, whiskey, and sake, and then a short, but highly sufficient, list of complementing tasty things to eat.

Kirin draft
Refreshing Kirin draft

I decided to order what I saw many others at Yakitori Tonton drinking: Kirin draft beer.

It was served fresh and cold, and extremely refreshing.

Price – 540 Yen ($5.33)

Yakitori and beer, one of the world’s great combinations

The Meat Skewers

It took me a few minutes to scan the menu, but then I quickly just pointed to a few of the skewers. Here’s what I got:

Honestly, I wanted to order one skewer of everything on the menu, but that would have been a little harsh on the budget, so I had to hold myself back.

Price – Each meat skewer was 160 Yen per piece ($1.18)

Nasu Eggplant
Nasu – Grilled eggplant with miso sauce

Nasu Eggplant

When I saw grilled eggplant on the menu at Yakitori Tonton, it sounded like the perfect complement to all the skewers of meat.

For some reason though, the price was much more expensive than any of the meat skewers, which I thought was odd, but I figured I would give it a shot as it might be something special.

The eggplant came, grilled up, and topped with a fantastic miso sauce.

It was very good, but I was a little puzzled as to why it would cost more than the meat. Nevertheless I did enjoy the eggplant and the deliciously salty and mild miso glaze on top.

Price – 420 Yen ($4.14)

Juicy meat
Incredibly juicy meat

Why was it so good?

I think I’ve already said this a number of times before, but when it comes to Japanese food, one of the top reasons it’s so good, is not always because of the seasoning, but because of the good quality ingredients, and the expert cooking (or lack of it).

Nothing I ate in Japan was overcooked.

And that to me, is one of the many, but one of the main reasons why Japanese food is so delicious.

Eating is one of the top things to do in Tokyo (video), and yakitori is one of the many amazing things to try.

Exploring Yūrakuchō in Tokyo, Japan

Mouth happy from the juicy skewers of yakitori, I continued on walking around Yūrakuchō.

The area is a fantastic place in Tokyo just to stroll around, people watch, and observe the interesting life and culture that takes place under the railroad tracks.

Yakitori Tonton (登運とん)
Yakitori Tonton (登運とん)


Yakitori Tonton (登運とん) is a small and friendly yakitori-ya in Tokyo where you can get a drink and eat some delicious skewers of grilled meat.

When I went, the service was friendly, the environment was local and authentic, and the skewers of grilled meat were succulent and juicy. I had a great time, and enjoyed everything.

As for ambiance, the Memory Lane yakitori stall was amazing too, but Yakitori Tonton had a little extra breathing room – both places were fantastic.

Yakitori Tonton (登運とん)

Address: 2-1-10, Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Open hours: 11:30 am – 11 pm daily
Prices: About 800 – 2000 Yen per person
How to get there: Take the JR train line to Yurakucho station. Exit and keep walking south along the railroad track and you’ll eventually find a footpath under the railroad, and you’ll see Yakitori Tonton under the tracks. You might need to walk around a bit to find it, but that’s part of the fun of eating and traveling.

Check out my Tokyo map for location of Yakitori Tonton and other places I ate (scroll down to find Yakitori Tonton):

If you’re visiting Tokyo, make sure you check out all my Tokyo tips here.

23 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • High Rated Gabru

    3 years ago

    Rocking article. Thanks a lot!!

  • Keith Waterloo

    3 years ago

    Those dishes are looking so delicious for such an economical price, except for the beer.

  • Yui

    6 years ago

    Hi. I’m searching the net cos I’m looking for places to go for when my cousins come this April and so far your blogs are very helpful. Thank you for that. It’s also great to see you sharing the prices so tourists can plan their budget. I’ve lived in Japan for more than a decade but there are more suprises to uncover. Btw, this is a little late and you may have found out about it already but I think the reason why that eggplant yakitori is more expensive than meat is simply because good quality vegetables are actually more expensive here than meat! And I know some types of eggplants are seasonal. I don’t know where they get the meat but most meat are imported and native ingredients are always more expensive than imported ones in Japan. Just my 2 cents 🙂

  • Carri

    7 years ago

    Can’t wait to try this place in April 2017!

  • Travel Croatia

    8 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    This food looks so delicious. We have some similar dish in Croatia it is called Ražnjići.


  • Samantha

    10 years ago

    Thanks for sharing, Mark. I will be going to Japan to visit my daughter who is in the Navy. We will try what u posted. Have u found any sashimi place that r inexpensive? Please let me know if u do. My daughter & I would like to run around Japan to try everything before her assignment ends.
    I was in Japan for 9 months years back but I didn’t get to try much.

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Hi Samantha, great to hear from you, glad that you’ll be going back to Japan to meet your daughter soon. I did find a great inexpensive sushi restaurant, here: But I think the main thing is to just eat sushi / sashimi for lunch, usually when the prices are much better. Hope you have a wonderful visit.

  • frankaboutcroatia

    10 years ago

    Those skewers look delicious. I would go for that eggplant skewer with miso sauce too. Disappointed to hear that it failed to impress you more. Thanks for sharing, Mark!

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Hey Frank, thanks for reading. Yah, the eggplant was delicious, but I was a little baffled why it cost so much… but maybe there’s something I missed? But they were very good anyway!

  • Luke Mitchell

    10 years ago

    Alright, I have to admit my curiosity here. I thought South Africans had the market cornered on anything kebabs, but it appears not…. It appears I need to make a priority trip to Tokyo! Those photos look ridiculously delectable. Have you found a place with good bento boxes? Not the kind that would be primarily marketed for children, but the artistic variety.

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Hey Luke, I’m sure South Africans have mastered the art too. I think the main thing I really love about the Japanese way of cooking, is they never overcook anything. I haven’t found much in the way of bento boxes yet, but I’ll let you know if I come across anything.

    • Luke Mitchell

      10 years ago

      Thanks for the reply. The world is such an amazing place, and there’s never a better time to go find out than right now. When the meat is cut that small, particularly skewered, it is so easy to overcook. There is a real art in that. Looking forward to seeing more from you!

    • patrick

      9 years ago

      For wonderful bento boxes, go to the underground food floor of shopping malls such as Takashimaya.

  • Tim

    10 years ago

    It looks great Mark! Will you post this as a video on youtube along with the sushi place you’ve ate in Tokyo? I look forward seeing those!


    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Hey Tim, thanks for reading. Unfortunately the footage didn’t come out too well this video, but as soon as I get a little time, I’m going to try to fix it and edit it to publish.

  • Sacha

    10 years ago

    The eggplant ones look heavenly! I’m convinced now to try a whole range of yakitori during my exchange year in Japan. I didn’t eat any when I went on a trip there three years ago, so time to make up for it!

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Thank you Sacha, great to hear that, hope you enjoy the yakitori.

  • Maria Falvey

    10 years ago

    Grilled eggplant with miso sauce looks like the best snack (or side) EVER!

    • Mark Wiens

      10 years ago

      Thank you Maria, that miso sauce was delicious.

  • ameer

    10 years ago

    Nice photo shoot Mark!
    Im drooling