Unagi no Irifune

Unagi no Irifune

Leading producer of freshwater eels

Miyazaki ranks third in the production of eels, after Kagoshima and Aichi. We were told that in Saito-shi, a town with a population of about 33,000, there is an eel restaurant that has been in business for more than 100 years since the Meiji era, and very popular among the locals. We decided to take a visit.
Founded in 27th year of Meiji (1894), “”Unagi no Irifune”” is such a popular restaurant that customers come not only from within Miyazaki, but also from other prefectures by bus. There are always long lines, so they prepared an air-conditioned annex as a waiting area. The parking garage is large enough to accommodate large buses.
The set menu consists of grilled eel, homemade “”go”” soup, rice, pickles and eel liver on a skewer. They serve selected domestic eel, mainly from Miyazaki, but also from Kagoshima and Aichi. The eel is grilled over charcoal, and served with a secret recipe sauce.

Different ways of cooking eels, according to the region

Did you know that eels are prepared differently in the western and eastern regions of Japan? In eastern Japan, the eels are split open along the spine, grilled as is, then steamed to remove excess fat. In western Japan, the eels are cut on the belly side, and roasted crisp. The eels at Irifune are prepared in western Japanese style. The eels are well roasted over Bincho charcoal to give the eels a pleasant aroma. The “go” soup, served with the roasted eels, is made from soybeans soaked in water overnight, ground and melted into “miso” soup or clear soup. It is said this soup enhances the taste of the eel, and it is a popular dish on the menu. Their hours of operation differ by month, so be sure to check their website in advance. They also ship the eels nationwide, so if you are interested, please order from the website below.


Unagi no Irifune
3316-3 Minamikata, Saito-shi, Miyagi Prefecture
URL http://www.u-irifune.com/