You won’t have to wander far out of downtown Kyoto to find great yakitori. Bajitofu is a centrally-located izakaya serving some of the best in town. Reservations recommended.
Bajitofu – image © Chris Rowthorn
Wander around the side streets of the Shijo-Karasuma area in the evening, and you might chance upon Bajitofu, with its nondescript-looking door and white wall with four Chinese characters in black and red written across it. Don’t be fooled by its sedate appearance; Bajitofu serves up some of the best yakitori in town.
While Bajitofu is an izakaya, they really specialise in yakitori, or grilled chicken on skewers. They use only domestic chicken, cut into larger chunks than usual, and grill each skewer over high-grade binchotan (charcoal). Skewers aren’t dirt cheap – prices start at JPY150 per – but given the larger portions, it ends up being pretty good value for money.
As with most yakitori places, you’ll order by the skewer, and choose from a wide variety of chicken parts. Thigh and breast are always safe bets, but we highly recommend the seseri (neck/shoulder, which tastes like a more tender and flavourful piece of thigh) and torinegi (chicken interspersed with Japanese leeks). Wash it all down with some chuhai. We like the grapefruit-flavoured one with real juice.
Here’s a fun fact: “Bajitofu” is a Japanese idiom which means “to ignore the judgments and opinions of other people.” It’s safe to say they won’t have to pay attention to any of the critics in town with yakitori as good as theirs. Try to make a reservation if you can, or go early to avoid being turned away. It’s a full house pretty much every night by half past eight!
For more Kyoto yakitori choices, see our Best Yakitori in Kyoto page.
Name in English:
Name in Japanese:
587 Kikusuiboko-cho, Muromachi-dori-Shijo-agaru, Nakagyo-ku
Closed Sunday and national holidays
Non-smoking area: No
2min walk from Karasuma Station Exit 24, Hankyu line or Shijo Station Exit 2, Karasuma subway line
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world