Toryu: Bringing the Flavors of Imabari to Araki-Cho

Even for those of us fortunate enough to live in Japan, it’s not often that we make it out to the city of Imabari, located in Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku. Thankfully, Go Masaoka, the proprietor of Toryu has brought a taste of his hometown to Araki-Cho, Shinjuku. If you are a fan of yakitori, Toryu is a restaurant you can’t miss. Keep in mind, however, that this is anything but your typical yakitori restaurant. Read on to find out what makes Toryu so special, and learn about some unexpected surprises that you’ll find on the menu.

2019-06-06   Bars & Restaurants, Arakicho, Tokyo,

Tsukune (chicken meatloaf), a yakitori classic.

Yakitori meets teppanyaki

Masaoka-san whipping up a spectacular meal.

Naturally, yakitori is the first thing that you’ll want to order upon settling into this cozy, down-home establishment. (Well, actually you should probably order a nice cold beer first, but I digress…) However, you may be surprised when your order arrives. You’ll find no wooden skewers in this grilled chicken. Things are done differently in Imabari, and what we know as yakitori is more like teppanyaki—grilled on an iron plate.

This cooking style, combined with an array of fresh ingredients, sumptuous sauces, and zesty seasoning make Toryu’s offerings incredibly addicting. Good luck following the “hara hachi bu” rule here—you’ll be hard pressed not to order everything on the menu.

Toryu’s cooking style and recipes are so unique that they give an entirely different meaning to yakitori classics such as chicken skin. Even if you aren’t typically a fan of something like chicken skin, give it a second chance at Toryu. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Imabari Yakitori: grilled chicken skin with cabbage, sprinkled with chopped onion (left) and grilled chicken thigh (right).

Chicken isn’t the only bird on the menu

Try the ostrich sashimi. You won’t regret it!

Still have room for more? One of Toryu’s hidden gems is an extensive ostrich menu. Yes, that’s right, ostrich. A rare treat in Tokyo, Toryu offers a variety of ostrich dishes including sashimi, steak, carpaccio, and sausage. Go all in and try the sashimi. It has a rich, light flavor that will keep you coming back for more.

Travelers welcome

For this article I had the pleasure of dining with Tadaima Japan Editor-in-Chief Hiroyuki Shigenobu, who provided me with added insight on the cuisine. Don’t hesitate to enjoy Toryu on your own, though. Counter seating and English menus are available.

Without any English-language marketing or signboards, Toryu might be a bit intimidating for those visiting Japan. Don’t let that deter you, though. The proprietor, Masaoka-san, has gone out of his way to provide an extensive set of English menus.
That being said, translations for daily or weekly specials may not always be available. So, don’t hesitate to ask for a recommendation. Masaoka-san will happily oblige.

Just in case…

Enjoy an Ehime experience

If you’re traveling to Japan and can’t make it to Shikoku, a visit to Toryu is the next best thing. Tokyo has more restaurants than you can visit in a lifetime, and the fact that this humble Araki-Cho eatery is so memorable says a lot. If you are a fan of grilled chicken (skewered or otherwise), you owe it to yourself to spend an evening at Toryu.

Many restaurants in Tokyo have amusing decor. Toryu is certainly no exception.

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Writer / Translator

Originally from Riverside, California, I've been living, working, and writing in Japan since 2009. Japan has become my second home, and I'm especially fond of Shinjuku, Tokyo. That being said, I also love getting out into the countryside and exploring the entire country. Through Tadaima Japan, I hope to share the wonders of Japan with a wider, international audience. Check out my articles if you enjoy exploring on foot, convenient cafes, and affordable dining.


Address Espero Bldg. 1F, 16 Arakicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyoto 160-0007
Hours Weekdays: 18:00 – 2:00
Weekends and holidays: 17:00 – 24:00
Price 3,000yen~4,000yen
Close -
Access Five-minute walk from Akebonobashi Station via the Tokyo Metro Marunouichi Line
Phone 03-6274-8949
Language Japanese