Piss Alley – Yakitori Heaven meets Showa Era
Back in 1940 shortly before the 2nd World War in a tiny hidden street this mystical alley (Piss Alley or Memory Lane) became famous for booze, grub and especially yakitori. It used to be an illegal drinking quarter and because there were no restrooms back then people used to step out and piss literally anywhere…hence the name.
This area provided the opportunity to locals to get some beer and meat without spending too much money and after the tragic fire in 1999 the government decided to rebuild this area to its original look and preserve the old vibe of this area.
I have to say that the second I stepped into that tiny alley I was in love. A place that is reminiscent of the Showa era with a hustle and bustle to it that pulled me in immediately. Smoke rises out of each micro restaurant and people are wandering up and down the street for a place to sit down. It can get quite busy here so you might wanna come a bit earlier than the main dinner crowd.
This is no place for vegetarians, I swear if you don’t eat meat do not come here. Everything is meat, the smell of grilled meat is hanging in the street and my mouth is watering already.
Yakitori is the main and in my opinion the only dish you need to eat here. If you can manage to get a seat at one of the more popular joints good for you. What I would recommend is to walk up and down the alley and check out what they are grilling…if you like what you see just take a seat. Then order a highball (Whiskey/Soda – national drink in Japan) and tell the cook that you would like to test it all. Make an impression of not being scared of anything.
You will get everything from steak to intestines, including couple of vegetables (also drenched in animal fat) remember what you liked and order more. Combined with a couple more highballs it will be an incredible evening.
Some places have english menus but just go with your gut and nose you won’t be disappointed. Additionally forget to come here with a group, I would even recommend to rather split your group in twos and meet again after an hour for the next restaurant.
This was one of my best experiences in Japan so don’t miss out!