When you live in Japan, you will often hear about the place called izakaya. Your Japanese colleagues at work or your friends outside may bring it up and may even invite you to visit one.
An izakaya or 居酒屋 is a Japanese-style pub, and the word itself in Kanji literally means “stay”, “alcohol”, and “room”. In that sense, it is a place where people can socialize and simply have snacks, food and drinks.
A good friend of mine brought me to an izakaya on my last night in Tokyo during my recent visit. It took us a long time to choose which one to settle in because there are a variety to choose from.
There are different kinds of izakaya in Tokyo and here are some of the best ones you can visit with your friends.
The Shirokiya or the House of White Wood is an izakaya chain that is famous for its relaxing and tranquil atmosphere. The place is popular among women but you can definitely check this out with your men squad, too. You can visit its branch near the Yaesu Central Exit of the JR Tokyo Station. Do you know that it opened its first branch in 1983? Its first branch is located in front of the south exit of the Nakano Station in Tokyo.
Average Price: 2,300 JPY
If you fancy a classic izakaya feel, check out the Izakaya Kushiroya, a five-minute walk from the Shibuya Station. The homey place offers Hokkaido-inspired dishes that will surely satisfy your cravings, some which include the must-try Kaburitsuki spring chicken and Hokke or mackerel.
Average Price: 3,500 JPY
If you love grilled chicken sticks in particular, then the Torikizoku izakaya is for you. The name in itself literally means Chicken Aristocracy, therefore the izakaya’s menu is specializing yakitori from chicken and its specialty is Kizoku Yaki. The izakaya is a 3-minute walk from the JR Shinjuko Station East Exit.
Average Price: 2,000 JPY
If you want a place that will satisfy your inner-punk and –rock star with a selection of good sake and beer, make sure to find yourself inside the homey haven punk rock-inspired izakaya in the Daikanyama neighborhood of Shibuya. The izakaya has a live music show, too.
Average Rate: 1,000 JPY
Another izakaya not far from the JR Shibuya Station’s south exit is a place for both locals and tourists. Kin-no-Kura Jr. is considered one of the highest-profile izakaya chains in Tokyo.
Average Rate: 2,000 JPY
Another classic izakaya awaits to welcome you in downtown Yurakucho. The place specializes on a seafood experience.
Average Rate: 4,000 JPY
If you like a more refined version of izakaya, sans the noise and bustle, you might want to check out the branches of Watami chains of izakaya. Some of the branches you can check out are those in Shinjuko, Shibuya and Nihombashi.
Average Rate: 2,400 JPY
Now that you have your list of izakaya to check out, find a friend you can tag along. You can also go alone, but an izakaya is a place to interact and engage with your friends or colleagues, too. You may want to take advantage of this opportunity to socialize in a setting that’s fitting. Also, you may even add more to this list we have made for you.
You may also want to refresh yourself of some of the Japanese phrases you must know in visiting an izakaya. Have a good time!