Fantastic Experience with Kyoto’s Popular Unagi Hirokawa

Written by Katherine

April 6, 2022
Last Updated on March 5, 2024

Our research for things to eat at Arashiyama (嵐山) brought us to Unagi Hirokawa (うなぎ屋廣川). The restaurant specialises in serving high-quality grilled eel and is even a Michelin 1-star restaurant, so how can we miss out on visiting it?! ヾ(☆▽☆)

Oh, the Horrendous Queue…

While trying to find out more about Unagi Hirokawa, we came across a lot of blogs mentioning that long queues would form outside the restaurant way before its opening hours. Since the opening hours for the restaurant for lunch are from 11.30 am – 2.30 pm, hubs and I were planning to reach there by 11 am, hoping to beat the queue.

We had first dropped by Tenryu-Ji (天龍寺) and were wowed by the sheer amount of beautiful flowers blooming in the garden. So much so that by the time we reached the restaurant, it was already noon! Σ(O_O) So it was no surprise that there was already a long queue outside the restaurant.

A staff mentioned to us that the waiting time would be around 1.5 to 2 hours. Usually, we would have just given up on queuing and headed over to some other restaurant for a meal. But for whatever reason, we didn’t and decided to continue waiting. And it was a really long wait. (。•́︿•̀。) Luckily, the weather that day was quite cool, so there was no heat to put us off. There were, however, a lot of people who decided to drop out of the queue after waiting for too long.

You would think that once you reach the entrance, you would be the next to dine in! But nope, the queue continued in the restaurant. By the time we got into the restaurant to continue queuing, it was already around 1.5 hours. The wait continues, but once inside, we know that the end is near, and we will be getting our seats soon. (ノД`)

Update: I just checked their website and realised that they have changed to a reservation system now! So, if you’re interested in visiting, head over to this link to make your reservation so you will not be disappointed, as it seems like they don’t accept walk-ins anymore. ( ´ ▽ ` )

Food, I need FOOD!!!

So finally, after for about nearly 2 hours, we are finally seated! The hungry us already decided what to eat while waiting, so it was straight to the order! Hubs ordered the Una Jyu (medium grilled eel with rice) while I had the A course so we could share the side dishes that came with it. We didn’t order too much since, as you would expect from a Michelin restaurant, food is on the pricier side here.

After ordering, it was another round of waiting. What do you expect, right? They had to grill the eel for us, and the restaurant was full-house, so there was definitely gonna be a waiting time. And 30 minutes passed just like that while I was looking at everyone being served their yummy grilled eel dishes. My tummy… (´-ω-`)

It was well worth the wait when our dishes were served. The grilled eel was so creamy and felt like it was melting in your mouth once you bit into it. The charring from grilling on the charcoal made the eel absolutely delicious. The side dishes were nothing to shout about but were good as well, and also gave me more photo opportunities. (´・ᴗ・ ` ) Anyway, we ate everything so fast that we wished to have more. (╥_╥)

We didn’t stay long in the restaurant as we knew there were still people queuing outside the restaurant. It seems like the opening hours have changed since our visit, but do take note of the last order timing so you will not come at the wrong time~!

Overall Experience

Based on our experience there, we definitely recommend visiting Unagi Hirokawa. I would have encouraged you to go only if you have a lot of time to spare since you have to queue. But since they now have a reservation system, I would say, why not? Note that food is on the pricier side, so you wouldn’t be able to order a lot of food, but I think just the unagi rice is well worth it.

If you ask me if I would ever queue so long for food again? I would say NO. Never. Please, I think we have better things to do. Hahahaha! This might just be the only time we are so crazy to queue so long for food, but luckily, it was all worth it.

Since our visit to Unagi Hirokawa, there have been some grilled eel restaurants opened in Singapore. If you’re in Singapore and interested in some yummy authentic charcoal-grilled eel, I have shared my experience in the blog post here. (>ω^)

Bonus Tidbits

After our meal, we took a stroll back to the Arashiyama train station. Then we spotted this sweets shop called MALEBRANCHE, and it was selling match eclairs. We don’t really know about the brand, but we do know that anything matcha in Japan must be good, so we gave it a try. We love it, and we think you should try it if you’re ever there. (ღ˘⌣˘ღ)

Anyway, it was only after we got home that I realised MALEBRANCHE is known for its okoicha-flavoured langue de chat called ‘Cha-no-Ka. Haha! We obviously didn’t buy them ‘cos we didn’t know. (*/ω\)

Information on Unagi Hirokawa (うなぎ屋廣川)

UNAGI HIROKAWA

☎️ Phone Number: +81 75 871 5226
⏰ Opening Hours: 11.30 am – 3.00 pm, 5.00 pm – 9.00 pm (Tues – Sun), Closed on Mondays

You can find out more about Unagi Hirokawa here:
🔎 Website: Link HERE | Reservation: Link HERE | Menu: Link HERE

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