Slide open the door and you will be greeted by a matron in kimono, who will direct you to a table in the modest dining room, or, should they all be taken, to a bench in the interior corridor leading back toward the kitchen where you can wait your turn. Unagi Akimoto is worth the wait.
The slope of the ceiling timbers and the bamboo slats that cover the lower half of the mud-washed walls are almost worthy of a tea cottage, although the unkempt patch of greenery in the pocket handkerchief-size inner garden feels very un-Zenlike in its neglect.
The menu is every bit as traditional as the decor. If broiled eel is not what you’re after, then you are most definitely in the wrong place. As is standard practice, it is served either in a two-tiered lacquer container with the rice separate (ask for kabayaki); laid on top of the rice in a rectangular box (unaju); or on rice in a wide bowl (unadon). Since it is prepared to order, a process that can take as much as 10 minutes, either settle in with a book, admire the surroundings or order up a drink and a couple of starters to tide you over.