A Have A Look At Japan's Izakaya Culture

A Have A Look At Japan's Izakaya Culture

Because the sun goes down and the roar of another bustling day begins to soften, alongside the winding streets and corners of town, the glow of the lanterns of the izakaya begin to activate, inviting you to the refreshing comforts of a drink and freshly prepared meals, for this is only the beginning of a magical entertaining night time before one other bustling day of work.

Izakaya which literally means 'keep-in sake shop' (sakaya) are Japanese Lifestyle pubs where people can relax and luxuriate in freshly prepared small plates of meals together with their drinks. Within the Western world, the izakaya can be regarded as a Happy Hour venue, the place people come after work for affordable food and drink to chill out after a day at work. Izakayas fluctuate greatly in type, price, menu and atmosphere. Roughly 1 out of each 5 eating places in Japan will be considered an izakaya.

History and Tradition

The origin of Izakaya goes back as far as the Edo interval (1603-1867). They began as liquor shops, the place one might buy a bottle of sake and sit to drink it. Ultimately food was added to menus and the drink lists started to develop with the introduction of foreign liquors.

Typically at an izakaya, prospects can see over the counter and watch cooks prepare the dishes. It's this closeness between the shoppers, the chef and the food that makes izakayas deeply rooted in each day life creating a community. Individuals in Japan do not commonly have house parties, dinner events or backyard barbecues; coworkers, friends and social clubs typically use izakaya as a venue for get-collectively and social interactions.

Traditional-type izakaya, which are called akachochin for his or her red lanterns, are normally smaller institutions which will play people or traditional music. These shops tend to draw regulars from the surrounding neighborhood and are favorites among older patrons.

There are additionally western type izakaya, which are more stylish and modernized to draw in guests and the youthful generation. Izakayas may also be found in lots of cities across the world.


While you sit down at an izakaya in Japan, it's possible you'll be given some small dishes and a warm wet towel before you order anything. Called 'otoshi' or 'tsuki-dashi', these are a part of a Japanese custom to provide small appetizers earlier than customers order; under no circumstances are you being pressured to order these. These are a part of the cover charge which is added to your invoice on the finish of the meal. You can also choose the character and environment of the restaurant's food from the contents of the otoshi.


One of many biggest distinction between izakaya and restaurant is that the food parts are served in small plates, something to go together with the drinks. These small plates are called 'tsumami' which can fluctuate based on the seasons and places.

Most izakayas almost at all times have skewered items on the grill called yakitori (which consists of chicken, meats, and vegetables on skewers), sashimi, sushi, tofu, stuffed peppers, soups and lots of different dishes traditional as well as modern.