Hidden away just south of the calm Shoin Jinja-dori shopping street deep in residential Setagaya, Marusho Ariku is not your average neighbourhood izakaya. This shabby, somewhat bar-like joint with a small kitchen enclosed by a counter may not look like much, but it actually serves up a wonderful spread of oysters and ‘obanzai’ – traditional, healthy Kyoto-style meals.
A veteran of Tsukiji fish market, the owner constructs his menu around fresh oysters, sourced from wherever in Japan the bivalves are tastiest in each season (we recommend the Hiroshima ones when they’re on the menu). You can always choose from at least three types of top-quality oysters – or you could try them all by ordering the three-piece set, which lets you compare textures and flavours before deciding on a favourite.
Besides picking off the menu, you’re welcome to look around and see what the regulars are having, or just ask the chef for the daily recommendations. Whatever you end up ordering, it’s sure to pair well with some beer or sake.