Yakitori Shops: The Most Dangerous Places in Japan

A doorway filled with the charcoal-infused smoke of roasting animal bits. A six-person strong chorus welcoming you, each cook, server, and dishwasher shouting as loud as their lungs will allow. Cheap beer that only comes in 1.3 pint bottles, all the offal you were always curious about but never had the gumption to try, a crowd of people of varying ages and backgrounds all looking for the same thing; this is the yakitori shop, and it’s the most dangerous place in Japan.

A line of chefs works in unison, with one end seasoning the skewered vittles and the other cooking them over charcoal-fed pyres to crispy perfection.

A line of chefs works in unison, with one end seasoning the skewered vittles and the other cooking them over charcoal-fed pyres to crispy perfection.

The word “yakitori” tells you just about everything you need to know about these extremely common establishments that pock the Japanese landscape from Kyushu to Hokkaido. “Yaki” means grilled, and “tori” means bird or chicken. You no doubt get the picture; yakitori shops are where you can get some really killer bits of chicken, everything from the intestines to the skin, skewered and grilled over charcoal.  Continue reading →