Yakitori (焼き鳥) are grilled chicken skewers made from bite sized pieces of meat from all different parts of the chicken, such as the breasts, thighs, skin, liver and other innards. Usually made to order and cooked over charcoal, yakitori is a popular, inexpensive dish commonly enjoyed together with a glass of beer. The best yakitori is served at specialty restaurants, known as yakitori-ya, but it can also be found at many other types of restaurants across Japan, such as izakaya, and at festival food stands.

Popular Yakitori

Negima (ねぎま) is one of the most popular types of yakitori and consists of pieces of chicken (usually thigh meat) skewered with pieces of leek in between.

Momo (もも) refers to the thigh meat, so momo skewers are made up of pieces of chicken thigh.


Tsukune (つくね) are meatballs made of minced chicken, egg, vegetables and spices. They are typically formed into multiple small balls or made into one long patty.

Torikawa (とりかわ), sometimes called just kawa (かわ), are strips of fatty chicken skin, which have been grilled until crispy.


Tebasaki (手羽先) are chicken wings which have been grilled to a crispy golden brown. They are often served in pairs.


Reba (レバー) are skewered chicken livers, named after the German word for liver.



Nankotsu (なんこつ) is the cartilage taken from the keel bone between the chicken breasts. Nankotsu has very little meat attached, but the cartilage has a crunchy texture and contains lots of collagen.

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