By Lester Goh
The first thing you'll see as you walk towards Inanba is the statue of a cow sitting atop the restaurant's signboard. It's huge, life-sized, and a riveting reminder that you're about to taste some of the best wagyu beef available in Japan, right in the heart of Hamamatsu.
Inanba is an award-winning teppanyaki and shabu-shabu restaurant. The restaurant specialises in using the two traditional Japanese cooking methods to bring out the best in Japanese wagyu beef. For both teppanyaki and shabu-shabu, guests may select from a range of quality wagyu cuts, all the way up to the top grade of A5.
Beyond satisfying its guests' taste buds, Inanba seeks to provide a quality dining experience to match. Inanba prides itself on both its traditional cooking and authentic Japanese dining atmosphere. In fact, to that end, the entire restaurant building was literally uprooted from its original site in neighbouring Nagano prefecture and transported to Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. Little wonder the restaurant retains such a rustic charm despite being in metropolitan Hamamatsu.
Teppanyaki is served exclusively on the first floor, where the restaurant has 8 live cooking hotplate counter tables. Guests are seated right in front of these hotplates, and can enjoy watching chefs cook the delectable wagyu right in front of their eyes. The second floor of Inanba is for shabu-shabu, and features a dozen individual traditional Japanese rooms. With tatami mats and plush cushion seating, you can experience truly authentic shabu-shabu dining without needing a getaway to a far-flung onsen ryokan.
Quality Japanese wagyu will definitely burn a hole in your wallet, with both shabu-shabu and teppanyaki starting at around ¥4,500 (200g), and reaching ¥11,100 (200g). However, the meat is well worth the money, and the experience in Inanba even more so. As with most restaurants, discounted courses are available for lunch, so try to come early for a more affordable wagyu feast.
Annexed to Grand Hotel Hamamatsu, Inanba is a 15 minute walk from JR Hamamatsu station on the Tokaido Shinkansen line. Alternatively, it is a 10-minute bus ride on the local bus No. 20, or a 5-minute taxi drive from the same station. The restaurant is situated at the foot of the slope that leads up to the hotel, making it accessible for both hotel guests and non-staying visitors.
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