With the Hokkaido Shinkansen now operational, Japan’s best burger, available only in Hakodate City, is now a mere four-hour shinkansen ride away from Tokyo. Indeed, fans of the Lucky Pierrot burger restaurant, who can better be described as cult followers, will vouch that it’s worth the journey just to bite into the juicy and strangely addictive Chinese Chicken Burger. No joke; 1.8 million customers a year can’t be wrong: the trip is actually worth it.


(Photo by Ching-Li Tor)

Started in 1987, this local burger chain became an instant hit after it introduced a burger that consisted of pieces of fried chicken marinated Chinese-style with a hint of ginger, and generously smothered in a sweet-and-spicy sauce. A perfect match with crunchy lettuce and a burger bun. Another secret to its finger-lickin’-great taste is the fact that the chicken is fried and the burger prepared upon order. This also explains the constant queues that consist of hungry local students and out-of-towners who have made a pilgrimage to this burger mecca.

There are currently 17 stores only found in Hakodate, and the owner has no plans to expand outside of the city. Each of the stores has a unique decor and slightly different menu. All of the offerings, however, try to offer an authentic taste of Hokkaido, from squid burgers to Genghis Khan burgers and scallop burgers. The extensive menu also includes curries with various combinations of toppings. For those feeling really hungry, there is a Foot-Long Burger, limited to 20 a day per store.

One word of advice: call the store ahead of time to pick up your freshly fried chicken burger, as there will probably be a queue if you turn up at the door.

Lucky Pierrot is such an institution that it even has its own array of souvenirs, from canned sodas to chips and t-shirts, to bring home to the folks not as lucky as you.

Various locations. Visit, http://luckypierrot.jp