Step Back in Time and Experience Old Japan at Tanuki-koji Alley, Located Right Next to Yokohama Station
Tanuki-koji is an alley located just by Yokohama Station that can be considered as one of the city's hidden gems. Its unique character, showcased through the shops that call it home and the decor, is sure to whisk you back in time. If you only have a few hours to explore Yokohama, why not experience a taste of retro Japan right by the train station by paying Tanuki-koji a visit? Read on to see what our recommended eating spots in this alley are!
May 21 2019 (Jan 09 2020)
What is Tanuki-koji?
Tanuki-koji is a small lane near Yokohama Station that has existed since 1945. If the name seems familiar, that's because it was named after Tanuki-koji, a shopping street in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
With only around a dozen bars and restaurants here, Yokohama's Tanuki-koji doesn't compare in size to its enormous namesake, but it has plenty of old-school charm. Read on for seven of Tanuki-koji's best spots, from long-standing local staples to some fun new additions.
Hanaya [Kyoto-style Oden]
This oden restaurant has been open since 1947! Oden is a dish made with ingredients like whole eggs, fishcakes, and radish stewed a light, soy sauce flavored broth. This dish is a winter favorite in Japan, but you can enjoy it year round here.
Oden can usually be ordered by the piece, but if you're trying it for the first time, order the Oden Assortment (770 yen) here. Another uniquely Japanese choice is the Toriwasa (530 yen), which is chicken served sashimi-style.
Maichin [Pork Dishes]
Pork lovers should definitely visit Maichin while in Yokohama. Maichin clearly takes a "nose to tail" approach to their menu, offering dishes made from six parts of the pig: head, ears, tongue, stomach, feet, and tail.
Instead of relying on commonly-used ingredients like vinegar miso or Chinese-style spices, Maichin uses their own secret Japanese-style sauce and slow cooking methods to bring out the flavor and texture of the meat. These methods have been passed down unchanged since the restaurant opened in 1961!
Nonkiya is popular for its yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and ramen noodles. Choose from over 10 types of yakitori and yakiton (grilled pork skewers), including skewers made with head and tongue cuts. The affordable prices here means this is a great place to sample some new types of yakitori.
Particularly recommended is the pork liver skewer - you're sure to find its soft texture and savory flavor irresistible!
Okayo Tanuki-koji Branch [Yakitori]
This izakaya (Japanese pub) specializes in yakitori. There are over 20 types of skewers on the menu, including some unusual kinds unique to this restaurant. Even better, most skewers are priced affordably at 160 yen, so feel free to get adventurous!
Customers recommend the Heisei Dango (160 yen), made with shiso-flavored dumplings, and the Tsukune (160 yen), a Japanese-style chicken meatball skewer accented with crunchy pieces of cartilage.
Minato Sashimi [Sashimi]
Opened in 2017, Minato Sashimi is a standing bar restaurant that serves a daily-changing menu of sashimi at affordable prices. Enjoying sashimi made fresh from the day's catch for around 300 yen a dish is an affordable luxury you can only get in Japan!
This restaurant's friendly, unpretentious atmosphere and great prices has earned it many regular customers. The day's menu is written by hand on their whiteboard, so make sure to keep an eye out for it!
Wine Bar Yamitsuki Tanuki-koji Branch [Wine Bar]
Wine Bar Yamitsuki offers an expert selection of international wines in a relaxed, retro atmosphere. This is a great place to experience drinking at a Japanese-style standing bar, but you can also head up to the second floor if you want to sit down instead.
The bar food served here pairs wonderfully with the range of wine and drinks available. Their signature dish is the Yamitsuki Stew (600 yen), which you can even have topped with fries!
Located just a quick walk from the West Exit of Yokohama Station, Marimo is a long-running Sapporo-style ramen shop. This shop has been open for 36 years, and while its interior may reveal its age, that in itself is a great symbol of Tanuki-koji's history.
The slowly-stewed soup here is thick and delicious, and comes with a fluffy beaten egg. To try Sapporo-style ramen without heading north, try the Miso Butter Ramen (850 yen) that comes complete with a pat of butter.
Now that you know what Tanuki-koji has to offer, why not visit the next time you're in Yokohama? It's a great opportunity to quickly get a taste of old Japan before moving on to whatever else you have on your travel itinerary.
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.