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Sponsored by Saga Prefectural Tourism Federation


Tucked away across from the main road midst the rice paddie fields is an eatery called Minka Restaurant Imaritei (民家レストラン伊万里亭). A famed steakhouse among locals and visitors, Imaritei proudly serves the local delicacy, Imari-gyu (Wagyu beef).

Imari Wagyu Beef Steak set


A delicious restaurant with a nice atmosphere.

Imaritei restaurant in Imari, Sage prefecture


Rice field in Imari

From the outside, Imaritei looks like any other old-fashioned retro style home in Japan. Entering the welcoming wooden structure, the first thing I notice is the warmth and nostalgic smell coming from the gas stove and the oldies playing through small retro speakers. Tunes from Billie Holiday and Bing Crosby hum in the background as guests chit chat with each other or enjoy the serene view outside the ceiling-to-floor windows. I take off my shoes and slip on fuzzy slippers. It was truly like coming to enjoy a cozy meal at a friend’s home.


What are the different ways to enjoy Imari Beef?

Imaritei is only open for lunch, four days a week. There are four set cuisines to choose from which all incorporate the Imari-gyu meat in the main dish. Diners can choose from the steak, stew, Japanese-style curry, or meatloaf (ground up beef ball) known in Japanese as hambaagu (ハンバーグ). Each set comes with an elaborate array of Japanese tapas, from pumpkin soup to pickled vegetables all presented in the famous Imari Arita ware of the region.

In the healthy and typical manner of a balanced Japanese meal, the heartiness of Imaritei’s beef dishes are balanced out with many vegetable niblets, all either boiled or pickled so that they don’t use oil.

Imari beef set

Here is the Imari-gyu steak set. A thin steak that’s lightly flavored. You have the option of pouring a homemade steak sauce on it, but I found the flavor to be abundant without any additions to the meat.

Enjoy using Imari-Arita ware for a meal!

Dessert comes after your lunch

The meal concludes with a cup of coffee or tea, and a slice of cake. Each pottery ware is designed elaborately and uniquely; you won’t find another piece just like each one here. It’s a true treat to be able to indulge in local cuisine that even comes in local pottery ware. In this cottage-like restaurant in the mountains, take the time to appreciate how the ambiance and the presentation of your meal takes you a step back in time.


Useful link: here

**Google maps does not recognize the narrow side street where the restaurant is located. Whether you are driving or walking, trust your instincts and head towards the destination spot on the map instead of following the GPS at the end!


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Nina Cataldo

Nina Cataldo

Nina is a professional and recreational writer currently exploring her motherland of Japan. When she's not busy working on her conversational English book series, she can be spotted biking around Tokyo to indulge in delicious food and attempting to snuggle with kitties at cat cafés. She's an odd collector of free brochures from travel counters, always looking for the next exciting destination. Nina often likes to escape the Tokyo city life to go discover new trails on the outbacks of Japan, where she enjoys connecting with locals and wanderers alike. Follow her adventures on Instagram @nextstop_nina

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