Japan's Abura Nikuhachi is sure to attract many visitors with its melt-in-your-mouth selection of A4-A5 ranked premium wagyu and Kobe Beef, as well as affordable lunch sets, but the yakiniku restaurant seems primed to reel in a new batch of customers, even if they have to come in one by one. In an attempt to appeal to those who want to eat alone, but simply feel socially awkward doing so, the restaurant has installed personal booth spaces for a solo-yakiniku experience that limits as much contact with others as possible.

The practice may sound strange to some, but there's precedent for it in Japan due to a social stigma of entering certain types of eateries in Japan by yourself, and sometimes alone as a woman. While by no means a mindset shared by everyone, and particularly shrugged off by younger generations, there seems to be a certain apprehension that women in Japan feel about entering restaurants such as gyudon (beef bowl) shops by themselves.

And although many restaurants in Japan have shifted making themselves more inviting to customers regardless of gender or party number (Ichiran Ramen offers personal ramen booths), the domain of yakiniku grilled meat dining remains a hard door to open for solo diners, as it's often seen as a communal or party experience.

Abura Nikuhachi crunched some numbers, however, asking different age ranges of Japanese diners who ate out alone or not, with men clocking in at 82.7% and women at 64.7%--of those, only 4.1% had gone to yakiniku restaurants alone, with the most common reasoning cited as "not wanting to make eye contact with other people".

At least while dining, customers at Abura Nikuhachi won't have to worry about that thanks to partitioned booths where parties of one can focus on only having eyes for the food in front of them.

Of course, standard tables are available as well, but those seated at the solo diner seats won't have to have their mood brought down by them.

Instead they can focus on the food!

The lure of Kobe Beef and other high quality meats might outweigh any social apprehension you have of going out to eat alone, but even as Japan moves away from a negative image of solo dining, this provides a considerate option for those who may still feel uneasy about it. You can find access information here.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.