A visit to Tokyo is not complete without many things: Skytree, Sensoji, and Meiji Jingu to name a few. But how about those who travel for the food? If you’re feeling famished, adventurous, and—daresay—tired of sushi and tempura, it’s time to try horsemeat hot pot, known as sakura nabe.
Called sakura niku for its cherry blossom-pink color, horse meat is a delicacy of Japanese cuisine. And there’s no better place to try this meal fit for a daimyo than at Minoya. Minoya uses draft horses that have been raised for their delicate and tender meat. But let’s start from when you enter the restaurant.
Minoya offers a rare authentic Japanese dining experience that has changed little in their more than 100 years of service. Upon entering, you’ll remove your shoes and be seated on the floor in front of a burner on the table—if you have trouble sitting on the floor, ask for a zaisu from the staff; this small seat will allow you to sit more comfortably. The warm wooden interior lends itself perfectly to the feeling that this is a vestige of Tokyo long past. Gaze out on the miniature garden and get ready to tuck in.
The menu is quite simple. Minoya knows what they’re good at and that’s sakura nabe. Offering roast or fillet cuts, select your hotpot (nabe). If you’re wanting even more of a taste of the delicious horse meat, order some baniku tataki (vinegared and seared rare horsemeat), aburasashi (fatty horse meat from the neck), or basashi (thin slices of raw horse meat). And once you’ve eaten all the meat from your hot pot, you can ask for another serving to be added.
With caring and attentive staff, delicious food that fills you with warmth, and a location perfect to kick off your Tokyo sightseeing, every carnivore should pay Minoya a visit and try this classic Japanese dish with a quality that is hard to come by.