Eel dishes are a specialty of Yanagawa City in Fukuoka Prefecture.
I’ll introduce you to restaurants where you can eat delicious eel dishes that you must eat when you visit Yanagawa, which is famous for river cruising through the moats that surround the city.
There are famous restaurants that have been loved by locals for a long time, as well as tasteful shops with an attractive, quaint appearance, all of which you cannot miss if you want to eat eels in Yanagawa.
I recommend them for lunch as well!
What is Yanagawa Eel?
Yanagawa City is located in the southern part of Fukuoka Prefecture in the Chikugo region.
Yanagawa has long been famous as a tourist town.
You should definitely try a boat ride through the historic town with a castle in the center of the city and many old-fashioned historical buildings.
Along with river cruising, there are some gourmet that you must try when you visit Yanagawa.
That is eel cuisine.
Eel steamed in a bamboo basket is a specialty that you can’t get anywhere else.
The grilled eels are cut into bite-size pieces.
It is cut into bite-size pieces and placed on top of steamed white rice and steamed again.
This is a cooking method developed by our ancestors in the days when there was no such thing as a microwave oven, and they wanted to enjoy the same taste of freshly cooked eels even after they had cooled down.
The Yanagawa style is to repeat the process of grilling the whole raw eel and then dipping it in the sauce.
The characteristic feature of this process is that the sauce is infused with the concentrated flavor of the eel.
By steaming the grilled eels further, the savory eels are given a fluffy texture.
You should definitely try it when you visit Yanagawa.
The key to the flavor is the sauce invented by the first generation, which has been protected for over 300 years.
The original Motoyoshiya was established in 1681.
Since its founding, the restaurant has maintained the sauce and cooking method invented by the first owner.
The sauce that has been passed down from the first owner is spread on fluffy white rice, steamed, and topped with grilled eels.
Another feature of this dish is the generous amount of thinly sliced egg, which goes well with the eel and is very colorful.
In addition to the steamed sea eel, you can also have white-baked or kabayaki eel.
In addition to the main store, you can eat at Okibata store in Yanagawa City and the Iwataya store in Fukuoka City.
All of them have an appearance reminiscent of a high-class restaurant.
You can enjoy steamed eel to your heart’s content in a calm, Japanese-style space.
Address: 69, Asahi-machi, Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Business hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (L.O. 7:30 p.m.)
If it is a national holiday, the next day, please refer to the website for details.
Access: 11 minutes on foot from Nishitetsu Tenjin-Omuta Line Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station West Exit.
There is a little bit of creativity in the rice with eels.
Wakamatsuya was founded in 1860 during the Ansei era.
It has been in business for over 160 years.
Wakamatsuya’s steamroller is characterized by the taste of eels as well as the white rice.
The white rice is cooked by reducing the amount of water to the utmost limit and then sprinkled with sauce that has been added daily since the establishment of the business, and left to sit for several minutes to allow the flavors to soak into the rice.
You can enjoy the taste of the fluffy texture of the eel that is integrated with the sauce and the white rice with the flavor of the eel soaked into each piece of rice.
Since its establishment, there has been no relocation of the restaurant, and it continues to operate in Okinohata-cho, Yanagawa City, where a beautiful moat spreads out in front of it.
The beautiful Japanese garden in the courtyard, which is lit up at night, is also worth a visit.
In addition to the famous “Seiro-mushi” (steamed rice), there are plenty of a la carte dishes such as kabayaki, unglazed, hone-senbei (rice crackers), and eel rolls.
The restaurant is a great place for lunch and drinks.
Address: 26 Okibata-cho, Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (L.O. 7:15 p.m.)
Closed on Wednesdays and the third Tuesday of the month
Bus: 5 minutes walk from Nishitetsu Bus “Ohana” stop 【Car] 10 minutes by Car: from Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station
Eel dishes with a beautiful view of the city.
Kawayoshi is located in the central area of Yanagawa City, within walking distance of Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station.
It is a famous restaurant that has long been loved by tourists and locals.
Right in front of the restaurant is a moat, which is part of the river cruise course, and a willow tree lined avenue, from which Yanagawa gets its name.
In addition to steamed eel steamed in a bamboo basket, the restaurant also offers a wide variety of a la carte dishes using eels, such as “Uzaku,” which is a dish of shredded eel kabayaki with cucumber and vinegar, and “eel tataki,” which is grilled eel served in mustard vinegar.
The restaurant has a tatami room and private rooms where you can enjoy a meal in a relaxed atmosphere.
It is a great place to visit for lunch, but I recommend it to those who want to enjoy a relaxing evening in Yanagawa.
Address: 494-4 Fujiyoshi, Mitsuhashi-cho, Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Business Hours: 11:00-20:30 (L.O.)
Tuesday, if it is a holiday, I will be open on Tuesday.
Access: 【Train】About a 7-minute walk from Nishitetsu Tenjin-Omuta Line Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station 【Car】About 20 minutes from the Miyama Yanagawa Interchange on the Kyushu Expressway
Unagi no Tomisan
It’s a little far from the tourist attractions, but it’s about a 10-minute walk from Nishitetsu Yanagawa station and a 7-minute walk from the river rafting terminal in the city.
When you go inside, you can feel the atmosphere of a long-established restaurant, but you can enjoy your meal in a relaxed atmosphere because all the seats are tatami style.
This popular eel restaurant, which also delivers food to the restaurant and is loved by the locals, has a great taste.
The eel steamed in a bamboo basket is 2,550 yen.
If you’re looking for a cheaper price, you can get an eel bowl for 2,000 yen.
The eel steamed in a bamboo basket has a relatively sweet flavor, but Unagi no Tomisan’s dishes are not too sweet.
Address: 15 Tsukaguchi-cho, Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Business Hours: 11:00-20:00
Closed on Wednesdays
Access: 【12 minutes walk from Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station
Unagi no Tomi-san
Since the mid-Edo period, Saraya Fukuryu has been in business for 250 years in Okibata.
The secret sauce is sprinkled on white rice and steamed, and then topped with broiled eel and a thinly-sliced egg, you can enjoy steamed eel steamed in a bamboo basket, which is one of Yanagawa’s specialties.
Unamusu(eel rice ball) that is 540 yen for two eels is also available for takeout.
Inside the restaurant, which has a garden where you can hear the birds chirping and feel the history of the restaurant, you can enjoy your meal in a tatami room with a peaceful nature view.
The restaurant is located in the middle of a lush canal lined with willow trees and offers you a chance to taste the local speciality of eel.
Address: 29-1, Okibata-cho, Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Business Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (O.S.)
Closed on Thursdays and the 4th Wednesday of the month (subject to change if the day falls on a holiday)
Access: 【Train】From Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station, take the bus bound for Okibata and get off at Ohana-mae Bus Stop, 5 minutes on foot.