TRAVEL RECOMMENDATION: Iseya いせや, Classic Yakitori @ Kichijoji (吉祥寺) Tokyo

It was through coincidence after a weary disappointing night out.

Having bought the wrong ticket date to Ghibli Musuem and having to fly off before the next available date.

And a very long lost walk through the woods somewhere.

It was a very cold windy night, after a long week of work and a late evening arrival at Kichijoi.

Really to visit Inokashira Park and a glimpse of the musuem.

That I came across Iseya いせや and had my very first takeout Yakitori, freshly grilled and steaming in the cold.


Never did I think it had the reputation of one of the oldest establishments in Tokyo – I strucked gold accidently.

Reminiscent of the Showa period – Wow (Thanks Google).

What piqued my interest then, was the long line of Tokyoites (A possible good sign to a foodie) and the enticing smell of grilled meat.


Outdoors, an almost makeshift pub feel. with the standing/waiting bar top.


It was only last week when i found out that Iseya was going to Close It’s Doors for a year finally for Renovation at the End of June 2012.

Which makes sense I suppose? With the 3-11 earthquake possibly affecting it’s infrastructure.

What a shame really somehow.

You know how it is, when you realised you have visited a place twice without knowing about it’s history or popularity?

I did manage to snap a few photos and will share them here.


Built in 1928, Iseya started out as a butcher shop. 

Yakitori skewers (which only made its way into the business in 1958) starts from the price of ¥80, one of the cheapest Yakitori I have had.

Base on memory, it seems they have an emphasis on Chicken (& Organs) and Pork (like Fatty Pork Belly), with a few other vegetable options.

Randomly picking out my meats out front,  all which i have ever ordered were yummy, downed with a fresh draft of beer.

SO GLAD I made it to the Original restaurant, albeit unknowingly.


And I appreciate Rustic and Old. Something about establishments like these that never fails to tell a story.

Imagine the number of people that has came and went.

In Japan with it’s history of Samurai and War, the mix of Traditional and Technology. Somehow it represented many things.

Standing the test of time.


I remember having my skewers on my 2nd visit, and smiling to myself.

Hip youngsters a little rowdy in groups, an older Ojisan having a beer too many sitting quietly on his own.


Smoky interiors both from Charcoal and Cigarettes, with a mainly Japanese customer base.

Authentic food and atmosphere never felt better.

Service was brisk and casual.


This had been one of my favourite food experience whilst in Japan.

So if you are in Tokyo, please visit and have a Sapporo Beer for me!

When they re-open in September 2013.


Iseya いせや

Address: 1-15-8 Kichijoji Minami-cho, Musashino-shi

Hours/Times: 12-10pm, Closed Monday