What is an Izakaya (besides absolute perfection)?

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What is an Izakaya?
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Izakaya (居酒屋) are Japanese taverns, or pubs.

Often easily spotted by the paper lanterns called “chochin.”

Serving some of the most incredible food. Such as yakitori (やきとり), “grilled chicken skewers,” or even sushi (寿司).

Combined with a crazy variety of drinks.

And an important note: there’s usually a table fee.

TOUR: Discover the Best of Izakaya in Shinjuku

Enjoy a classic Japanese experience at select Izakaya locations. Taste fresh local food and drinks as you journey through Tokyo’s busiest area in Shinjuku. Tour price includes full-size dinner samplings and alcoholic beverages of your choice.


  • Taste more than 7 mouth-watering Japanese food samplings served from select restaurants
  • Enjoy unique views of Tokyo’s neon town, the Kabukicho and Shinjuku areas and discover hidden gems with a local guide
  • Learn the history of Shinjuku and Japanese culture as you visit historically preserved places

The history of the izakaya began in the Edo period (1603-1868) when a sake merchant serving a few tasting glasses in a corner of his shop decided to start offering some local specialties to snack on too. Little by little, men got into the habit of spending time in this kind of place after work, having a drink, eating something, and talking with the boss and other patrons. The izakaya soon became a popular place for people to meet up for a chat. —JapanExperience

Aside from being the perfect place to sample a delicious (and very eclectic) variety of Japanese foods — from sashimi and fried foods, to tofu and seasonal vegetables — dining and drinking at an izakaya is also a great way to mingle with locals. —BoutiqueJapan

The Japanese go to the izakayas mainly to drink, but if you only drink with nothing in your belly it’s easy to get drunk soon. That’s why in the izakayas they offer small plates to share so you can eat something while drinking. Therefore the food of the izakayas usually aren’t abundant dishes or sophisticated food. —JapanWebMagazine

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