The Best Bamboo-Skewered Chicken in All of Japan

This is Sanzoku chicken. It is the best chicken.

Sanzoku, aka “The Chicken Shack” as it’s been dubbed by its many American military visitors, is a delicious traditional Japanese restaurant situated on the top of a small mountain near Iwakuni, Japan. The American Iwakuni military base is about a 30 minute drive away.

Three-tiered landscaping and many lanterns strung through the trees, as well as primarily outdoor seating amongst the bamboo forest and outdoor tea hut give the area its beautiful ambiance. The restaurant serves an array of traditional food like gyoza, udon, and oniigiri. But, they are most famous for their bamboo-skewered coal-pit roasted chicken, basted in a soy sauce mixture. It was the most delicious thing I’ve eaten since coming to Japan.

Another nice thing about the restaurant was that on the way out (and in, for that matter) you can walk through the kitchen to get to the outdoor seating area. It sort of feels like the kitchen of a hard-working Japanese grandmother you never knew you had. It’s also a very old-style kitchen, with lots of stone work and ovens. The rustic feel of the place is absolutely amazing, and I think it probably makes the food taste that much better.

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