Tokyo’s Best American BBQ

ByMichael Stigall
May 29, 2024

Tokyo’s Best American BBQ

In the United States, BBQ is cooking meat for long periods at low temperatures with smoke from a wood fire.  BBQ adds a distinctive smoky taste to the meat, and depending on the style in question, BBQ sauce.   While BBQ traditions may not have originated in the United States, they have taken it to new levels; in the South, barbecue is more than just a cooking style.  It is a subculture with wide variation between regions and fierce rivalry for titles at barbecue competitions.  BBQ is part food, part lifestyle, and all passion.  If you are interested in trying US-style BBQ here in Japan, you are in luck!  We have some suggestions in and around Tokyo.

Hato’s Bar in Meguro-Ku

Hato’s is tucked away in the corner of Naka-Meguro. It’s located smack-dab in between Daikanyama and Naka-Meguro stations on Tokyu’s Toyoko line, and without the map I’m attaching to this post, you’ll probably never find it since its wedged into a nook in the side of a building that itself is wedged into the side of a steep hill with its back turned towards the rest of town. This is a locals only spot…and indeed, the best BBQ joints in my experience are just like this.

Top | HATOSBAR -The Real Pit BBQ with Craft Beer-

Meguro-ku, Nakameguro 1-3-5 Prince Kobo 106

Bashamichi Taproom in Yokohama

The Bashamichi Taproom’s concept is simple enough; authentic American-style BBQ matched with a great selection of craft beers by Baird Beer.  The Taproom reflects the traditions of three major U.S. BBQ regions: Kansas City, South Carolina, and North Carolina.  Their pitmaster and manager is a foreigner and a BBQ native with experience cooking in the American South at a variety of BBQ places.

Bashamichi – Baird Beer

5-63-1, Sumiyoshi-cho, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken 


Midtown BBQ in Yokohama and Tokyo

Back in 2017, Robb Shannon had a dream to recreate his childhood days, a time when his Grandfather would fire up the grill, and the scent of barbecue would waft through the air, and his uncle would put a pig on the spit, and it would rotate there, succulently roasting. As such, Midtown BBQ has become one of Japan’s go-to barbecue spots, but they also do an amazing selection of steaks, covering the gambit from Scottish Angus steak to filet mignon up to the stupendous 11oz A5 tenderloin. Midtown BBQ has locations in Nagoya and Yokohama. Their philosophy is simple; delicious food, great drinks, and gracious hospitality. They pride themselves on making virtually everything on the menu in-house, including their original BBQ rubs and sauces, and handmade desserts. Besides the peripherals, the main point is their top-quality meats cooked over a fire! They now have a location in Tokyo too near the Tokyo Dome, so maybe think about that the next time you head there for a game.

MIDTOWN BBQ – Steak + Smokehouse (Nagoya and Yokohama) (

231-0015 Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi Naka-ku, Onoechō, 1 Chome−8
(045) 298-6584

102-0072 Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Iidabashi 3 Chome-10-9 2F
(03) 6261-4558


Smokehouse is my personal favorite on this list. I don’t know if it is the ambiance, or the multiple types or BBQ sauce they give you, or the location on Harajuku’s trendy Cat Street, but I just can’t get enough of this place. Brought to you by the same minds behind T.Y. Harbor Brewery, and the Roasters, you know they are offering something really special. Their lunches are both affordable and delicious but they really shine with their bbq plates and platters.


2F 5−17−13 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001


Aspensmonster, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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