Premium quality at super cheap prices.

There are a number of fancy districts in Tokyo that are known to be popular with celebrities, such as Aoyama, Azabu, and Roppongi, but for many celebs nothing beats Ginza for its longstanding history of old-school glitz and glam.

With its upscale reputation, those who want to eat in Ginza will often need to spend a little more than they would in other neighbourhoods, but if you know where to look you can find some great deals in the area. Take Ginza Hanadaikon, for example, where you can eat Kuroge Wagyu beef for just 1,350 yen (US$9.69).

▼ Hanadaikon, which combines the kanji for flower (花) and the kanji for daikon radish (大根), is the Japanese word for “sweet rocket”, as the flowers are shaped like a daikon.

Ginza Hanadaikon is a shabu-shabu and sukiyaki specialty restaurant where you can enjoy “Ginza’s best premium Wagyu beef “, according to its website. While dinner is reasonably priced, it’s the Aburi Wagyu Sashi Tororoju at lunchtime that’s got everyone talking, with diners saying it’s off the scale in terms of value for money.

▼ Prices for the Tororoju (top left, below) range from 1,350 yen for a normal serving, through to 1,750 yen for 1.5 times the meat, and 1,999 yen for a special with double Wagyu.

The deals are only limited to 50 servings per day, so our reporter P.K. Sanjun headed out on a weekday to check it out. With prices this good, lines are inevitable, and P.K. ended up waiting in line for about an hour and 15 minutes before entering the restaurant, despite arriving right after it opened at 11:30 a.m.

The restaurant also serves up some well-priced sukiyaki meals at lunchtime too, but P.K. was here to try the Aburi Wagyu Sashi Tororoju, so he ordered the special for 1,999 yen. With most lunch meals in Japan priced in the 1,000-yen range, this was more than P.K. would usually fork out for lunch, but for Wagyu in Ginza, it was worth it.

▼ When his order arrived, the entire platter of food looked like it was worth twice as much.

▼ The Wagyu wasn’t even contained within the box — it had spilled out gloriously over the sides.

▼ P.K. described it as “a jewellery box of meat”.

Now is a good time to unpack what the name of the meal means — “Aburi Wagyu Sashi” is “Roasted Raw Wagyu Beef Slices“, “Tororo” is “grated yam”, and “ju” is the box it’s served in, which is usually lacquered and multi-tiered.

According to Hanadaikon, their Kuroge Wagyu — a prized Japanese Black cattle from Miyazaki Prefecture — is so fresh it can be eaten raw, and that’s what diners here are able to do, although it’s broiled ever so slightly for extra flavour. While that might sound frightening to the uninitiated, it’s actually not uncommon to see raw beef on the menu at Wagyu restaurants in Japan, and it’s often a sign that the restaurant serves up only the highest quality meat.

The thin slices ​​of Wagyu beef sparkled like gems in the light and P.K. couldn’t stop snapping photos of them from all different angles in an attempt to capture their beauty. The moment he placed a morsel in his mouth, the umami of the Wagyu beef melted with a sizzle, making P.K. groan with delight. The addition of wasabi imparted a gentle heat that brought out the umami of the fat, and when he tried it with the grated yam, the melt-in-the-mouth beef became even softer, creating a sublime mouthfeel.

It was so good that P.K. desperately wanted to order more, but by the time he’d finished he was sufficiently full. It was a superb lunch that P.K. highly recommends trying, and the meat was so soft he’d go so far as to describe it as “drinkable Wagyu”. That may not be a term that’s particularly enticing, but he says it’s one that Wagyu connoisseurs will be able to relate to and even seek out, so if that sounds like you, feel free to stop by Hanadaikon and give it a try!

Restaurant Information

Ginza Hanadaikon / 銀座 花大根
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 6-7-4, Ginza Takahashi Building B1F
東京都中央区銀座6-7-4 銀座タカハシビルB1F
Hours: Lunch 11:30a.m.-3:00 p.m. / Dinner 5:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays

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