Imai-Ya – Chicken Restaurant in Tokyo

Imai-ya - Tokyo

On my last evening in Tokyo, I had arranged to meet for dinner with Tina (a friend of mine from high school) and her husband, who also happened to be in Tokyo. Due to Golden Week the restaurant where we had planned to eat was closed, so with the rain streaming down our necks, we had to try to find somewhere else.

After randomly walking around Shinjuku’s streets for a while, we found a restaurant called Imaya, which was located one stair down and looked nice and very Japanese.

We were shown to a private booth where we sat down directly on the floor. Though, there was a hole for our legs under the table, so we did not have to go through any strenuous leg maneuvers during the meal.

As we glanced through the menus, we discovered to our great surprise that the restaurant almost exclusively served Hinai-chicken, which is a special kind of chicken that is considered among the best in Japan. Apparently, all parts of the chicken that could be put on a skewer had also made it to the menu, which included both chicken cartilage, chicken feet and other “delicacies”.

We ordered a selection of side dishes, including raw cabbage that was served with a really tasty salty dip. To my great joy, there was also a greasy looking dish with battered egg on the top, which tasted a lot better than it looked. I am not exactly a big fan of chicken and I almost never eat chicken at home. During my years in the aviation industry, I’ve had one too many dry chicken crew meals, which haven’t been conducive to any chicken cravings I might have had. However, the chicken we got at Imaiya was in an entirely different league and cannot be compared to anything I have previously eaten. The delicious yakitoris tasted great and the meat was juicy and perfectly seasoned. Thanks to Imaiya, I am therefore seriously reconsidering including chicken in my food pyramid again.


Shinjuku Moliere Bldg. B1,

3-33-10 Shinjuku
Tel: 03-5363-1155

Hours: Mon-Fri:17:00-24:00, Sat-Sun and holidays: 11:30-24:00

Address in Japanese:
新宿 今井屋 本店
〒160-0022 東京都新宿区新宿3-33-10 新宿モリエールビルB1

> Visit Imai-ya’s website

Imai-ya only serves the finest Hinai-chicken, which is delivered daily from Akita prefecture suppliers. You can order all parts of the chicken including gizzards, kidneys and hearts, which are delicately arranged on small skewers.

Most small dishes are priced around 500JPY, but delicacies such as raw chicken liver and white breast meat are a bit more expensive. If you stick to the small plates, expect to order 4-5 dishes per person, to get satisfied. If you are several persons out dining, you may want to order one of the meal combos (2800JPY and up) with several dishes included.

Imai-ya is a sleek and elegant restaurant, and you take off your shoes before entering the dining area. If you are more people dining together, you are offered one of the private booths, if you are lucky. Youthen sit on the floor around a low table, with your feet in a pit.

Do not expect to find anyone among the staff, who speaks English. However, the prices are stated in the menu, which also has pictures of the food, so ordering your meal will not be a problem.

• Imai-ya is always full, so reservation is strongly recommended.

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