Iseya, a yakitori restaurant in Kichijoji from long, long ago

Chad Thiele Updated June 26, 2019
Iseya -- Izakaya in Kichijoji, Tokyo, Japan

Iseya is a yakitori restaurant in Kichijoji that’s been around for a very long time. They’ve been serving delicious, cheap, yakitori since 1928!

#Editor’s note: Iseya is an izakaya. Don’t know what that is? Check out my full guide to the amazing Japanese izakaya experience.

They were serving yakitori long before World War II! How crazy is that to think about.

Now, this place is awesome. No doubt. For one, it’s been doing this for a very long time. Second, it’s an izakaya. What’s not to love about that?

But… that doesn’t mean it is without its faults. It has one. And if it bothers you, it’s REALLY going to bother you.

It’s smokey. Not just cigarette smoke. That’s not the issue. It’s the seeming lack of ventilation. It can get quite smokey in there from all the yakitori grilling!

I suppose that’s not hard to imagine though. There’s a non-stop line of people waiting to get into Iseya — those grills are running full time.

It’s super cool to watch because most yakitori shops will have one person on the yakitori grill while others serve the customers. Not here. They need four on the grill in order to keep up with demand.

Demand is high because the yakitori is so cheap. I still can’t understand how they can only charge ¥80 per stick and stay in business! Whatever magic trick they’re pulling off, I’m glad — it means there always super good, nicely priced yakitori available.

Is Iseya English friendly?

Not really.

The menu isn’t in English, and the staff only know a few English words, but we’re talking about chicken skewers. The point and count method will work well here.

The shop name on the signs outside isn’t romaji. But if you follow the line waiting you’ll find it.

Is it good for groups?

Hmm… if you go when they aren’t busy then sure. But Friday/Saturday nights — heck, even on many weekdays because it’s so cheap — the place will just have too many people inside for you to reliably be able to sit together.

Plus the place is small with small seating. Maybe better to use the outside pickup window and eat outside?

This isn’t the type of place where you need reservations… heck, I don’t know if they even accept reservations. They’re probably too busy cooking yakitori for that.

How much does Iseya cost?

OMG Cheap! I don’t know how they do it, but you’ll spend about ¥80 per stick. Most spend around ¥1,000 per person — credit cards not accepted.

They don’t have a parking lot, you’ll need to park in paid parking nearby — approximately ¥300/20 mins.

Access

Map pin to: Iseya
4 min walk from Kichijoji Station