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  • Urawa

  • Must See

  • Gourmet

Urawa Unagi (Freshwater Eel)

Unagi, a kind of Japanese freshwater eel, has always been a cut above the gourmet competition in Japan. You may have a small piece sometimes during a meal of sushi, but in general, when people go to eat unagi specifically, it’s a special occasion with the dish centered on the eel. Various shops have their own way of steaming and grilling it, and it’s usually coated many times with a savory sauce made specially in-house.

Many regions situated by large rivers have long been renowned for their unagi dishes, one of the most famous being Hamamatsu city in Shizuoka. Urawa in Saitama City was traditionally a well-known area for unagi, due to a large river nearby, and splintering rivers through flat wetlands. These days, unagi is not caught locally so much, but the culture is still very rooted, and locals and tourists alike enjoy unagi restaurants that have made a name for themselves over the years.

Unagi is generally grilled over charcoal, which is called kabayaki. Much in the same way people have their own ways of prepping and barbecuing, restaurants have their own unique, albeit subtle techniques for preparing and grilling the meat. The way to then enjoy unagi is to have a couple of flatly grilled steaks of it placed over rice, with a generous helping of sauce. The dishes are usually square, and designed in a way that they can be stacked upon one another for ease of carrying and storage; this is una-ju. Alternatively, you can enjoy it similarly over rice, but in a round bowl; called una-don.

The addition of soup and pickled vegetables make this an incredibly savory and filling meal. It is on the slightly more expensive side, but if you’ve tried the typical Japanese go-to foods like noodles, fried food, and sushi, unagi is sure to add a notch to your gourmet palate.

[You may be interested]
Urawa Unagi Festival (Every late May)

Restaurants in Urawa area Address Opening hours Holidays
Kojimaya さいたま市南区太田窪2166 [weekdays]
11:00a.m.-3:00p.m.(last call),
5:00p.m-7:30p.m.(last call)
11:00a,m-7:30p.m(last call)
Mondays (following day if Monday is a national holiday)
Nakamuraya さいたま市浦和区高砂3-2-12 [weekdays]
11:00a.m.-3:00p.m.(last call),
5:00p.m-7:30p.m.(last call)
11:00a,m-7:30p.m(last call)
Sundays,national holidays
Masuya さいたま市浦和区岸町7-1-3 11:00a.m.-2:45p.m.(last call),
5:00p.m.-8:45p.m.(last call)
*Last call on Sundays and holidays is 7:45p.m.
Mondays (following day if Monday is a national holiday)
Mandana さいたま市南区鹿手袋1-2-26 11:00a.m.-10:00pm
*Last call for 1st floor is 9:00p.m.
Thursdays(open on national holidays)
Restaurants in other areas in Saitama City  
Okitaya さいたま市岩槻区大戸1722
Eel,river fish cuisine Kojimaya さいたま市岩槻区大戸1719 11:00a.m.-8:00p.m. Mondays
Kiwaiya さいたま市岩槻区大戸1723 11:00a.m.-9:00p.m. Mondays
Senbeiya さいたま市岩槻区本町2-2-31 11:00a.m.-9:00p.m. Tuesdays
Funamata さいたま市岩槻区本町4-1-8 11:30a.m.-2:00p.m.(last call)
5:00p.m.-9:00p.m(last call)
Tuesdays, Summer holidays, and New Year holidays
Hoteiya さいたま市岩槻区仲町1-6-3 11:00a.m.-9:00p.m.(last call) Irregular closures occasionally
Kanouya さいたま市大宮区吉敷町4-101


11:00a.m.-2:30p.m.(last call)
5:00p.m.-9:00p.m(last call)
Tuesdays(following day if Tuesday is a national holiday)
Yamaya さいたま市大宮区大門町1-24 11:00a.m.-2:40p.m.(last call),
5:00p.m.-8:30p.m.(last call)
*Last call on Sundays,holidays is 7:45p.m.
The third Wednesday of each month,New Year holidays, special closures occationally

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