As any connoisseur would tell you, winter is the ideal season for an oyster feast, when these bi-valves are at their best. Grown and caught in large quantities across this island nation’s shores, the popular marine delicacies can be savoured in a number of different ways and settings. Some of the best oysters come from Iwate and Miyagi in Tohoku and Hiroshima further down south.
Traditionally eaten raw on the half shell with lemon juice or ponzu (Japanese citrus vinegar), or straight off the grill, oysters also make for superb deep-fried fare (look out for kaki furai) and shabu-shabu material. They’re so versatile that you can happily pair them with your favourite poison, be it sake, craft beer, wine or champagne.
Bakushuan is a gem of an izakaya that boasts ten domestic craft beers on tap, along with a selection of some of the most massive oysters you’ll ever see, sourced directly from fishermen across Japan. The Cave De Oyster, on the other hand, offers an all-you-can-eat deal on Mondays. It is conveniently located in a corner of the Yaesu Chikagai underground mall right by Tokyo Station.
Kakigoya Oyster Shack may not be an actual shack, but does offer an experience quite close to what you’d get at a port-side somewhere on the Tohoku coast. In Ginza, Kakishabuya is the place to try every oyster preparation method out there, including shabu-shabu, deep-fried and steamed in sake.
If you’re near Nakameguro Station, head to the stand bar and casual izakaya Nodoguroya Kakiemon for their sake and reasonably priced oysters.