Food & Drink

Tokyo barbecue joints to get summer sizzling

by Patrick St. Michel

Contributing Writer

No summer is complete without a barbecue, ideally one held outside in the company of friends and family.

Grabbing your own grill and heading out to your preferred park, public space or spot covered by a bridge is the traditional way to approach barbecuing, but in recent years, new spaces to barbecue in Tokyo and its surrounding areas have popped up for people of all grilling levels. Some of them simply provide a space with a view, while others offer all the meat, vegetables and drinks you need to have a good time (for a price, of course).

One of the newest additions to the premium Tokyo grilling circuit sits atop Aqua City Odaiba. Weber Park aims to transform grilling into “edutainment” via a Grill Academy where instructors teach visitors how to perfectly cook a burger or chicken using the titular American barbecue. The experience is optimal for beginners, but veterans can skip the lessons and indulge themselves by using the venue’s rental grills. Views of Rainbow Bridge add to the experience.

For something with all the charm but more independence, head to Shin-Toyosu Station to check out Wild Magic The Rainbow Farm. This bayside space features several areas you and your buddies can reserve, including one with ample shade and a pool, not to mention dog-friendly grounds. Wild Magic provides meat and veggies, but it’s up to you to cook them up. Throw in a drink plan, or BYOB.

Up in Koto Ward is the Open Air BBQ Garden at Wakasu Public Park. It offers similar courses to Wild Magic, but boasts more scenic views of the ocean, while feeling a little more rough and tumble.

Out on the other side of Tokyo sits a new high-end grilling experience in an unlikely place. Quola no Niwa is located on top of a community building near Musashi-Sakai Station, and provides patrons with the chance to try out “glamping” (“glamour” meets “camping”) from the comfort of a Tokyo rooftop. Besides the chance to sprawl out in a fancy tent, this spot offers several BBQ courses to choose from and then cook yourself. Reservations aren’t required, but are recommended if you want to experience this fancy take on urban camping.

Options abound in the heart of the city, too. Shinjuku offers a handful of rooftop spots for a cook up, including the Tokyo Sky Resort Wild Beach and the Keio BBQ Garden, which is a little closer to a beer garden but offers more food options than most. For a different cityscape to soak in, take the train to Yokohama and hit up The BBQ Beach. While not actually next to the ocean, this sandy spot in the Yokohama World Porters building offers the chance to barbecue while looking out at downtown Yokohama. It has craft beer on tap, to boot.

But part of the thrill of grilling is to get out of the city and into the wild. There’s no shortage of parks to choose from, but for the sake of summer, here are a few beach-adjacent grilling destinations.

Kanagawa Prefecture’s Umi no Koen allows you to book tables in advance, and they sell various meats and seafood to cook. Totally free is Umikaze Park BBQ down in Yokosuka. They have a rental shop, but if you want to bring everything with you, it’s possible to cook up a feast on the cheap, while staring out at the Pacific. That being said, if you’re heading out that way, you might as well catch the ferry out to Sarushima, an island with space right next to the water to barbecue on.