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Editor’s Notes

Hello, this is Pocket Concierge editing team.
“Motsuni,” a dish made by simmering intestines of beef, pork, or other animals with vegetables is a signature dish of many izakayas in Japan. And don’t forget about the delicious grilled beef, yakiniku or horumon, grilled beef or pork offal! While these are beloved ways of eating meat in Japan, it’s unlikely that you’ll find it in other countries.
Today, we’re going to explore the origin of “yakiniku” and the different ways of eating beef, without leaving any part!


1. “Meat” – A Forbidden Food for 1200 Years

2. The Origin of the Word “Horumon”

3. Grilled Motsu/Horumon – Best Cuts

1. “Meat” – A Forbidden Food for 1200 Years

“Yakiniku no Bunkashi” (The Cultural History of Yakiniku) (Written by Michio Sasaki/Published by Akashi Shoseki) states that “Yakiniku was the first dish the Peking man ate.” Although the Peking man might have been eating mammoth meat.
But interesting enough, if you look back on the meat eating culture in Japan, you’ll find that there was a period when eating meat was forbidden by law.

This started with the “Meat Eating Prohibition Order” issued by Emperor Tenmu in 675. Eating any four-legged animal (beef and pork) was forbidden. This continued for almost 1,200 years until eating meat started to be promote during the Meiji Restoration. But this does not mean that it wasn’t eaten at all in Japan until the Meiji Restoration. For example, some restaurants served wild boar meat, hanging the sign in front the restaurant, “mountain whale.” It’ still hard to imaging the entire country had set the decree “not to eat meat” since meat is eaten all across the country today.
“Meat dishes” started to develop after the Meiji Period. It’s actually quite recent that people started to enjoy the different parts of meat if you look at the long history of Japan.

2. The Origin of the Word “Horumon”

Horumon, beef or pork offal is highly nutritious, and although it has a unique odor, it’s also popular among women. Do you know why it started to be called “horumon” in the first place? Although there seems to be different theories about the word origin, “Yakiniku no Bunkashi” (The Cultural History of Yakiniku) has an interesting explanation:

“Horumon is said to have been born from the Osaka dialect of “hoorumon” (things to throw away). After WW II, food was scarce in Japan. But Japanese were throwing away beef and pork intestines. The Koreans who stayed in Japan picked it up and cooked it, which is why it was called “horumon” (things to throw away) in Osaka dialect, which changed. There is also a theory that people dug up and brought what Japanese buried under the ground, which was called “horimono” (things to dig up), which eventually changed to “horumon” (Ryu Sanhi “Tabete Shiru Kankoku” Mainichi Shimbun 1988).”

It’s an intriguing theory that the word horumon developed from “hoorumon” (something to throw away). There is actually another theory that claims that the intestines were not thrown away, since Japanese also ate it even before the war. Having so many discussions about horumon might be a sign that this dish is loved by many people in Japan.

3. Grilled Motsu/Horumon – Best Cuts

Now that you know the word origin of “horumon,” you might be interested in “motsu,” offal.
The word, “motsu” is said to be the abbreviated word of “zoumotsu” (giblets). Since there two words actually mean the same thing, there shouldn’t really be a rule of what dish should be called motsu or horumon. For your reference, the Japanese dictionary defines the words as the following,

Horumon: Giblets of beef or pork.
Motsu: Dishes using birds and beats, indicating giblets.
This means that “horumon yaki” (grilled horumon) might be the proper name for the dish if you’re grilling beef offals.
Now let’s take a look at the parts you should definitely know about when eating grilled horumon!


Small beef intestine.
Kopuchan is known for the he bouncy fat. Small intestines that are not cut open but are flipped over and cut into small pieces are called marucho.


The first beef stomach bag out of the 4.
If you had a hard time swallowing horumon although you wanted to try one, there’s a high chance you were eating mino.
There isn’t a strong smell compared to other parts, so it’s a great dish to nibble in-between other meat when eating yakiniku.

◆ Hachinosu

The second beef stomach bag out of the 4.
Hachinosu literally means “honeycomb,” as that’s how it actually looks! It’s tender than mino and not so greasy. It’s already been boiled as a preparation, so all you need to do is to lightly grill it.

◆Shimacho (techan)

Beef large intestine.
Simachou (techan) might be the first thing many people think about when they hear about grilled horumon. People who call themselves “experts in yakiniku” claim that you can judge the restaurant’s quality by their shimacho. So does that mean we can call it the “king of yakiniku?”

On a tangent, we were interested in whether there were cultures beyond Japan that enjoyed meats to the extent we do; through our search, we found a YouTube video produced in the U.S. The video involves a man eating “hatsu,” the heart, and shouting, “It’s sensational!”. Given how surprised he was, it really does seem like Japanese is one of very few cuisines that enjoy this many different cuts of meat.
Video “7-Course Wagyu Omakase”

Kitashinchi Yamagata-ya

Famously hard to reserve, Yamagata-ya is Osaka Kitashinchi’s 6-counter seat gem as far as barbeque goes. From a selection of fresh and intensely flavorful meats and ‘horumon’, the chef himself grills wild-yet-exquisite platters that pulls guest after guest into coming for more. With Pocket Concierge, even these hard to get seats can be yours; why wait?

Sumibi Yakiniku Nakahara

The popular Minowa Shichirin moves to Ichigaya, revamped as Sumibi Yakiniku Nakahara. Disregarding brand-name, the chef himself selects from the finest domestic cattle for the best available quality meat from across Japan. Serving only the most richly tasteful of each cut, chef’s course is of course spectacular; but truly worth mention is the reservation only ‘Maboroshi-Tan’ Mythical Tongue, an absolute must-try.


Hachiyamacho, the area between Shibuya and high-end residential Daikanyama, is a quiet location spotted with foreign embassies; Yakiniku Hachiyama selected this serene location when relocating in 2017, taking a liking to the neighborhood’s cloaked stature. The authentic Korean restaurant, a venerable hiding-post of 50+ years, serves the finest of Japanese Black Cattle in a cozy Korean menu for an approachable yet haute-yakiniku experience.

【About the Author】
Ms. Chikako Tsuruta

Born 1985, raised in Iwate prefecture, currently resides in Tokyo’s east-side workers’ district. The self-proclaimed original ‘Professor of ‘O-Hiya’’, regularly spends time contemplating on the cold glasses of water served at cafés and restaurants. While unaware of it herself, a very…unique…er…disappointing lady.


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