Many Tokyoites have a fond place in their hearts for Iseya. As children they may have been taken to Kichijoji on the way to visit Inokashira Park, long popular for its boats, zoo and – in more recent times – the Studio Ghibli Museum. Iseya is the last eatery on the right before entering the park, and does a particularly busy trade with young families. On our most recent visit – a sunny public holiday – both the park and Iseya were heavingly busy. We waited 45 minutes to be seated; you may be luckier if you don’t visit at a peak time. Waits explain the popularity of the takeaway hatch, where yakitori is dispensed more speedily. There are other things on the menu (ask for the English menu if you don’t read Japanese), but everyone in the know orders yakitori, every type priced at a mere ¥80 per stick. If you’re playing safe, the chicken and meatballs skewers are both very satisfying; if you fancy something a little more challenging, the chicken skin and pork tongue were also good. Pork gut and pork carriage are probably best left to aficionados. Our only disappointment (if you don’t count long waits for the food) was the grilled corn; it looked appetising, but was tired and soggy. Iseya has been on this site since 1928, but has changed a great deal; the present building was reconstructed in recent years and is pleasingly sleek, while at the same time cleverly evocative of the Showa period, and even has bookable rooms with tatami mats.
Meal for two with drinks: from around ¥3,000
1-15-8 Kichijoji Minamicho, Musashino-shi
|Opening hours:||12noon-10pm / closed Mon|
|Transport:||Kichijoji Station (Chuo, Chuo-Sobu, Keio Inokashira lines)|