Translated by Lester Somera
Delicious Pickled Mackerel and Sake at "Akagaki" in Asakusa
Written by Keisuke Yamada
There are over 1900 restaurants in the Asakusa area, and of these, Akagaki is one of the most beloved establishments, boasting a hundred-year history.
The Asakusa area is home to roughly 1900 restaurants. Among the many options of places where to enjoy food and drinks, there are plenty of well-established soba noodles shops, sushi places, and other kinds of restaurants that are popular with locals and tourists alike. However, there are also many places tucked away in narrow alleys, where it seems as though the only customers are locals. This time we would like to introduce a restaurant beloved by Asakusa residents, Akagaki, which has been operating continuously for roughly a hundred years.
A Century-Old Establishment in the Heart of Asakusa
As you can see in the picture, the shop curtain and the ground-glass door shields the interior from view, but you will hear the sound of merry voices coming from within. It might take a little bravery for someone to enter for the first time. This is the popular Asakusa spot “Akagaki.”
The secret of this restaurant’s popularity is the freshness of its sushi toppings, which other sushi restaurants cannot hope to match. Here, you can enjoy delicious fish at their seasonal peak, and many customers come to do just that. That is why Akagaki has been operating for a century.
Roughly 60 Different Items on the Menu
There are approximately 60 different food items available. The walls are covered with handwritten signs, each displaying different fried, grilled and stewed dishes. Each dish costs around 500 yen, and you can sample many different kinds of menu items. Some popular “hikarimono” sashimi varieties —so named for the way their flesh shines—include herring, chub mackerel and horse mackerel, among others. The taste of pickled mackerel goes perfectly with an alcoholic beverage. On the day we went to Akagaki, it was packed with regular customers.
Fully Enjoy The Taste of Delicious Sashimi
Our visit took place in October, so it was the season for saury (pike fish). We quickly ordered a plate of saury sashimi. With each bite of the fatty, firm-textured flesh, we came to realize why Akagaki is such a popular place.
Next, we ordered a plate of pickled mackerel. The flavor was fully drawn out thanks to the careful pickling techniques of the restaurant.
Different fish are available seasonally; in spring, there are bonito, firefly squid and rockfish; in summer, there are oval squid and grunt fish; and in winter, you can enjoy things like fresh raw oysters and soft roe served with ponzu (citrus-infused soy sauce).
Enjoy A Glass of Sake With Your Fish
Akagaki stocks carefully-chosen sake varieties from many different prefectures to pair with their fish: Takashimizu from Akita Prefecture, Kubotasenju and Hakkaisanginjō from Niigata Prefecture, Uragasumi from Miyagi Prefecture, Tengumai from Ishikawa Prefecture, and Suigei from Kochi Prefecture, to name just a few.
We sampled several different kinds of sake and compared their flavors. At Akagaki, a glass of sake is served in a masu 升 (a square-shaped container).
When sake comes in a masu, the glass is filled so that it overflows, until the masu is also full. After drinking all the sake in the glass, polish off the masu, too.
Address: Tokyo, Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-23-3
Operating hours: 17:00 - 23:00
Fixed holidays: Wednesday
Wi-Fi access: No
Credit cards accepted: No
Foreign language support: No
Foreign language menus: No
Closest station: Asakusa Station 浅草駅 or Tawaramachi Station 田原町駅 (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line)
Access: Six minutes’ walk from Asakusa or Tawaramachi Station
Price range: 2,000 - 3,000 yen
Phone number: 03-3844-2327 (reservations not accepted)
Official homepage: Akagaki (Japanese)