What is “Doyō no ushi no hi” ?
Eat Unagi to survive hot summer!

Do you know about “Doyō no ushi no hi” or Dog days of summer? Most of the Japanese will say “It is definitely a day to eat Unagi”. Why Japanese eat Unagi on this day? What does “Doyō” means? And “Ushinohi (day of ox), why not eating beef instead of Unagi?

Starting from here, we will share more about “Doyō no ushi no hi” and Unagi.
What is “Doyō no ushi no hi”?
In Japan, it is common that Japanese usually eat Unagi as a custom on “Doyō no ushi no hi”. But what is so special about this day? Why Japanese eat Unagi on this day? Believe that foreigners will wonder what “Doyō no ushi no hi”is all about. “Doyō no ushi no hi” means the day of the ox in midsummer and also known as the Dog Days of summer. But we will explain more deeply about the meaning of “Doyō no ushi no hi” by separating “Doyō” and “ushi no hi”.
The word, “Doyō” comes from the five elements in Chinese philosophy, “Wu xing”. The five elements are usually used to describe the state of nature, Wood for spring, Fire for summer, Metal for autumn, and Water for winter. “Doyō” used to represent Earth and refers to the 18-day period in between transitional seasonal periods. In the other words, “Doyō” appears in all of the season, but mostly refers to the “Doyō” in summer. Some thought that the word “Do” is related to the Japanese “Doyoubi” (Saturday), but these two are totally not related.
What does “Ushi no hi” means? There are twelve signs of the zodiac in Chinese astrology.
※The sequence of twelve zodiacs:
Ne (Rat)→ Ushi (Ox)→ Tora (Tiger)→ U (Rabbit)→ Tatsu (Dragon)→ Mi (Snake)→ Uma (Horse)→ Hitsuji (Sheep)→ Saru (Monkey)→ Tori (Rooster)→ Inu (Dog)→ I (Pig)

One of the zodiacs is the ox, or ushi.
The system is that within the 18 days of “Doyo”, the days which fall within “Ushi” when they are sorted into groups of twelve becomes the “Doyō no ushi no hi”.
Why did eating Unagi become one of the customs in Japan?
There are many versions of stories explaining why Japanese eat Unagi during “Doyō no ushi no hi”, or Dog Days of summer. One of the most reliable stories is that a physician named Hirga Gennai who were born in Kagawa Prefecture during Edo period spread this idea. Let me explain this.
During one of the summers in Japan, there was a Unagi shop owner lamented his mid-summer poor sales and sought advice from Hiraga Gennai. In those days, there was a folklore that said “If you eat a food that starts with ‘u’, such as ume (Japanese apricot), uri (melon), unagi and so on, on “Doyō no ushi no hi” (both the day and the food started with ‘u’), you would be healthy and could avoid suffering from summer fatigue”. Hiraga Gennai got the ideas from this folklore and said to the Unagi shop owner, “Why don’t you put up a sign that says “Today is Ushi no hi (ox day)”. Ever since then, business of the Unagi Shop owner became better and other Unagi shops quickly followed suit that eating Unagi during “Doyō no ushi no hi” had become a new custom.
“Doyō no ushi no hi” for this year will be coming very soon.
This year, it falls on the 27th of July, Saturday.
Next, we will introduce the restaurants in Haneda Airport that serve Unagi cuisine.
Unagi Cuisine in Haneda Airport
1. GINZA OGURA (Oden, Dashi-chazuke)
[Premium Unajyu] 4,212yen (tax included)
Haneda Airport International Terminal 4th Floor, Edo Market
First, we will introduce the “premium Unajyu” from the restaurant GINZA OGURA. This restaurant is serving one of the top qualities of Unagi, which is produced in Ishiki, Aichi prefecture. The Unagi glazed with sweetened soy-based sauce called "tare" is grilled till the skin becomes a little scorched. You can taste a little crispy on the outside, but soft and tender on the inside.
The restaurant is not serving normal rice for the Unagi cuisine, but serving rice produced in Hokkaido boiled in tea known as chameshi. It is delicious even if you eat Unagi and the rice separately.
It comes with a clear soup that makes a great harmony with salty sweet flavor of Unagi. Colourful pickled vegetables with a crunchy taste will freshen your mouth. With a Japanese traditional dessert, soft matcha jelly- like mochi, warabi mochi coming at the end, you can experience every detail of Japanese food.
[Details]
Restaurant name: Ginza Ogura (Oden, Dashi-chazuke) Ginza
Business hours: 24 hours
Price: 4212 yen (tax included)
Unagi produced in Aichi prefecture
Takeaway services: not available
Ordering method: order from table (menu with foreigner languages are provided)
Payment method: Pay after meal at the counter (credit card, IC card or electronic money accepted)
2. Tsukiji Miyagawa Honten
[Unagi Bento Fuji 100g] 2,550yen (tax included)
Haneda Airport International Terminal 4th Floor, Edo Market
Tsukiji Miyagawa Honten started since year 1893 in famous Tsukiji fish market. The business had been continued over 100 years. The owner of the restaurant named Watanabe Sukenojo was working in a Unagi restaurant named Miyagawa, and after since Miyagawa restaurant had closed down, Watanabe Sukenojo opened his own restaurant and inherited the recipes of Miyagawa restaurant.
Tsukiji Miyagawa Honten is so famous is because of their Unagi sauce. Since the establishment of the business, the owner concentrated so much on making the downtown style recipes of Unagi sauce. It is a bit sweet, and you will never forget that delicious flavor once you try it. Every of the Unagi is grilled by their professional experienced cook. The rice of the restaurant is produced in the hometown of Watanabe Sukenojo, Chiba prefecture. This Unagi cuisine expresses the historical taste of Miyagawa and also expresses the sentimental feeling of owner toward his hometown.
Tsukiji Miyagawa Honten only provides take away service, but as there is a resting area near the “Haneda Nihonbashi”, it is recommended to enjoy your meal over there.
[Details]
Shop name: Tsukiji Miyagawa Honten
Business hours: 7am- 10pm
Price: 2,550yen (tax included)
Unagi produced in Taiwan
Takeaway services: Only takeaway available
Ordering method: order from table (menu with foreigner languages are provided)
Payment method: Pay after meal at the counter (credit card, IC card or electronic money accepted)
3. Yoshinoya Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal
[Unajyu] 830yen (tax included)
Haneda Airport International Terminal 4th Floor, Edo Market
Talking about Yoshinoya, everybody will think about Gyūdon, the Japanese beef rice bowl. But actually Unajyu is one of the popular menus too. It uses unique sauce to grill the strict selection of Unagi into soft and little scorched. The sauce of the Unagi will be sweet but light, highly recommended to customers who do not prefer heavy taste, and of course it is preferable for children too.
Moreover, as takeaway is available for Yoshinoya, serving time is much more faster and it is highly recommended for customers who are rushing for the train after arrival to Japan. Comparing to the price of other restaurants, Yoshinoya will be more affordable.
[Details]
Restaurant Name: Yoshinoya Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal
Business hours: 24 hours
Price: 830yen (tax included)
Unagi produced in China
Takeaway services: available
Ordering method: order from table (menu with foreigner languages are provided)
Payment method: Pay after meal at the counter (credit card, IC card or electronic money accepted)
4. Kurochobei
[Unajyu] 3,024yen (tax included)
Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 1, 5th Floor, Market Place

The uniqueness of Kurochobei Unajyu is the size and the thickness of the Unagi served. You can enjoy watching the way how the cook grills the Unagi while sitting at the counter in front of the stove. Every piece of the Unagi need patience and time to be cooked, and served while the meats are freshly grilled. Scorched Unagi meat tastes so delicious and unforgettable. Surprisingly, the Unagi is not produced in Japan, but it tastes no different. The rice absorbs the sauce from the Unagi, recommended to customers who like heavy taste.
It comes with "kimosui", a clear soup containing Unagi liver, which has unique texture you must try once.
[Detail]
Restaurant name: Kurochobei
Business hours: 11am- 9:30pm
Price: 3,024yen (tax included)
Unagi produced in China
Takeaway services: not available
Ordering method: order from table (menu with foreigner languages are provided)
Payment method: Pay after meal at the counter (credit card, IC card or electronic money accepted)
5. Kyozen
[Premium Unaju] 3,600yen (tax included)
Haneda Airport Domestic flights Terminal 1, 3rd Floor Market Place
Last but not least, we will introduce the premium Unaju from Kyozen Restaurant. Grilling the every surface of the Unagi carefully, indeed you can feel the soul of the cook on how he/she handles the Unagi and the texture of the meat just soft as feathers comforter. It is not just only the sweet and salty flavored sauce matches with Unagi, but also the freshly cooked Koshihikari (variety of rice) rice from Chiba prefecture makes perfect match with Unagi too.
The way of eating the Unajyu that I recommend is, on the first half you may try the original taste of the Unajyu, and then for the rest, you can eat it by adding "Sansho"(Japanese pepper) which stored inside the hyoutan (bottle gourd). As a little spicy "Sansho" best matches with Unagi, it will surely increase your appetite.
◆Free shuttle bus information
Free shuttle bus operates between the three terminals of Haneda airport from 5am to 12am (midnight) for the passengers to transit. Please feel free to take a ride as needed.

<Required time between the terminals>
International terminal to domestic passenger terminal 2: approximately 7 minutes
International terminal to domestic passenger terminal 1: approximately 10 minutes
Domestic passenger terminal 1 to domestic passenger terminal 2: approximately 3minutes
Domestic passenger terminal 1 to International terminal: approximately 5 minutes
Domestic passenger terminal 2 to International terminal: approximately 8 minutes


Unagi contains Vitamin B1 that have the effect of reducing tiredness and increasing appetite. Please enjoy it if you have any chance to come over to Haneda Airport, and it might help you to recover from summer fatigue in Japan.