Cheap and delicious karaage is popular with foreign tourists

If you've ever visited an izakaya (Japanese tapas bar or gastropub), you've probably seen karaage on the menu. Although technically, any meat can be prepared karaage (literally meaning "simply fried") style, in absence of any other qualifying noun, karaage almost always refers to fried chicken. Considering the high quality of chicken raised in Japan, it's no wonder that reasonably priced and plentifully available karaage is very popular not only with locals but with foreign visitors as well.

The best karaage restaurants in Tokyo

If you're eager to try some karaage in Tokyo, but aren't sure where to go, then look no further. The Japan Karaage Association, which probably knows a thing or two about karaage, has just announced the results of the 2018 Karaage Grand Prix, and we've put together a list of all the Gold Medal winners located in Tokyo, by division (type) of karaage:

Su-age (no coating) & Hanmi-age (half-cut)

Kameido Youjou Ryouri Takano 亀戸・養生料理 高の

  • Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10:00-22:00 (L.O. 21:00) / Sun., holidays 10:00-17:00 (L.O. 16:00) / Closed Mondays
  • Address: 108 Kameido Nichome Danchi, 2-6-1 Kameido Koto-ku Tokyo
  • Telephone: 03-6676-9055
  • Website: Kameido Youjou Ryouri Takano

Nakameguro Sai 中目黒 彩

  • Hours: Dinner 17:30-26:00 (L.O. 25:00 Drinks 25:30) / Closed Sundays except when Mon. is holiday)
  • Address: Court Modelia Nakameguro 2-7-4 Kamimeguro Meguro-ku Tokyo 153-0051
  • Telephone: 03-5724-7076
  • Website: Nakameguro Sai
  • Comment: Their award-winning karaage is called "goukai-age" 豪快揚げ (literally "exciting fried chicken")

Shoyu-dare (soy-based sauce)

Karaage-ya Oushu Iwai からあげ家奥州いわい (Division Winner)

  • Hours: 10:30-about 19:00 (while supply lasts)
  • Address: 1F Someya Bldg. 4-16-5 Asakusabashi Taito-ku Tokyo
  • Telephone: 03-3865-8181
  • Website: Karaage-ya Oushu Iwai

Nakatsu Karaage Kei 中津からあげ 渓

  • Hours: 11:00-21:00 (almost every day)
  • Address: 2-18-5 Hiratsuka Shinagawa-ku Tokyo 142-0051
  • Telephone: 03-3785-1177
  • Website: Karaage Kei

Karayoshi から好し (chain)

  • Hours: various
  • Address: 4 locations in Tokyo
  • Telephone: various
  • Website: Karayoshi
  • Comment: Karayoshi is a part of the giant Skylark restaurant group which includes family restaurants Jonathan's, Gusto and Bamiyan, as well as a variety of other restaurant chains.

Yakiton Mako-chan やきとん まこちゃん (chain)

  • Hours: Main shop: Mon.-Fri. 16:30-23:15 (L.O. 22:4) / Weekends 14:00-23:00 (L.O. 22:15) / Holidays 16:00-23:00 (L.O. 22:15)
  • Address: Main shop: 1F Momoyama Bldg. 3-18-7 Shinbashi Minato-ku Tokyo
  • Telephone: 03-3431-5700
  • Website: Mako-chan
  • Comment: 5 shops all located in the Shinbashi area in vicinity of the main shop, and 1 shop in Suidobashi

Nogata Shokudou 野方食堂

  • Hours: 11:30-14:45 (L.O. 14:30), 17:30-23:00 (L.O.22:00), Closed Thursdays
  • Address: 5-30-1 Nogata Nakano-ku Tokyo
  • Telephone: 03-3338-7740
  • Website: Nogata Shokudou

Tebasaki (wings)

Yajirou やじろう

  • Hours: 16:00-24:00
  • Address: 5-51-1 Higashinippori Arakwawa-ku Tokyo
  • Telephone: 050-5890-4855
  • Website: Yajirou

Botejyu Kinshicho Sakaba ぼてぢゅう錦糸町酒場

  • Hours: 11:00-23:15 (L.O. 22:30)
  • Address: TERMINA 3 (former TERMINA West Wing), 2-19-1 Kotobashi, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0022
  • Telephone: 03-3635-0771
  • Website: Botejyu Kinshicho Sakaba

Unconventional Tastes


  • Hours: Lunch 11:30-15:30, Dinner 17:30-24:00 (L.O. 23:00)
  • Address: 2F Levante III 5-17-21 Toyotamakita Nemrima-ku Tokyo 176-0012
  • Telephone: 050-3313-2796
  • Website: AkiTaka
  • Comment: AkiTaka bills itself as a bistro serving "ethnic cuisine" (エスニック料理 in Japanese usually designates cuisine inspired by South and Southeast Asia, but also West Asia and the Middle East). In this case, their karaage is served with the following six sauces: green onions and salt, tartar, cilantro Genovese, cheese, green curry, honey chili.

Tenka Torimas 天下鳥ます (chain)

  • Hours: various
  • Address: 6 locations in Tokyo
  • Telephone: various
  • Website: Tenka Torimasu
  • Comment: In addition to offering a wide range of karaage dishes with more standard tastes, Tenka Torimas is also very adventurous, having collaborated with idol group Kamen Joshi on karaage tasting like the idols' sweat (actually just salt and lemon) or the soles of their feet (actually just natto topping).

Chicken Namban (fried chicken w/ tartar sauce)

Toritatsu とり多津 (chain)

  • Hours: various
  • Address: 14 locations in Tokyo
  • Telephone: various
  • Website: Toritatsu

By - Ben K.