Japanese style Sake pub is called an Izakaya.
Haven’t you been to there yet?
New Yorkers call Izakaya not Japanese pub.
I guess Sakagura on 43rd is the best in U.S.A!
Today, I talk about real Izakaya in Japan.
- Izakaya Rule in Japan
- No English
- Izakaya Information in TOKYO depending on your Japanese level
- Kaku-uchi (角打ち)
- FYI:Picking up gals (ナンパ)
- Bottakuri bar (ぼったくりバー)
Izakaya Rule in Japan
Oshibori & Water (おしぼりと水)
In Japanese Izakaya, They always serve free a wet towel,(“Oshibori” or “Otefuki” in Japanese) and a glass of water or green tea before you order.
Then they will serve some small appetizer, called “Otoshi (お通し / おとおし)”.
But, this appetizer is not free.
This is like as table charge.
You can refuse it, but very uncouth.
(If you refuse them, the service will not be worse)
How to pay
Unbelievably, almost all the bill is often cash only even in Tokyo. You should check they accept credit cards or not before you go in.
We usually pay at the table. Japanese never cheat you.
Almost all Japanese do not speak English! This is very famous… Even though we have learned English more than 10 years in compulsory education!😣
There is no English menu even in Tokyo. So that it may be hard to go to Izakaya alone, if you do not have any Japanese friends.
But, this is no problem!
I recommend you ask the same foods next to you. Then point👉 to the plate and say “Are”. (“Are” means that)
This pronunciation is “a-re” not “ɑːr”
“Kudasai” means please.
I often do that when I travel alone around the world. I don’t speak Russian or Chinese, but I was used be OK😉
No chip, VAT8%
There is no system of tipping or service charge in Japan. So you don’t need to worry about small change. However, VAT on food service is +8%.
The word “Hashigo” means ladder. In Japan, going to more than 2 bar at once is called “Hashigo-suru”.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean we take you to the gallows.
Izakaya Information in TOKYO depending on your Japanese level
I will tell you the recommended izakaya places in Tokyo according to your level of Japanese understanding. This information can only be understood by Edokko like me!
Beginner:No Japanese language at all.
Intermediate:I know a little bit of Japanese.
Advanced:No reading Japanese, but can speak it.
However, there are 3 points to note.
1. Any wokers in izakaya do not speak English at all.
Japanese people will never cheat foreigners, so you can trust the prices.
2. The menu is in Japanese only.
I recommend you to use iPhone simultaneous interpretation function.
3. Smells smokey
…this means tabacco smell.
It’s very cheap and huge delicious.
It’s best if you have Japanese friends, though.
These area you may have heard before. There are many Izakaya where English and Chinese are spoken and menu too.
Shinjuku (新宿 / しんじゅく)
The town in Shinjuku, Golden-Gai and 2nd district are plenty of Izakaya.
Indeed, 2nd district is famous as gay district. Japanese are very gay friendly. Because they are smart and interesting! In Japan, they are very popular.
We call them “One-e” instead of “gay” or “Homo”. Japanese welcome & love them😄
Ginza (銀座 / ぎんざ)
Some Japanese restaurants in Ginza has English or Chinese speakers. High class Michelin restaurants are all over here.
There are also many restaurants on Namiki Street where young and beautiful Japanese women entertain you!
Well…only drinking for a few people costs 4000 USD, though. (Not 400USD)
Ebisu (恵比寿 / えびす)
Ebisu is the next to Shibuya. There are many foreigners living here, so there are many English-speaking Izakaya.There are many sophisticated restaurants like a Robuchon.
Shibuya(渋谷) and Roppongi (六本木) have many covid-19 area. So I do not introduce them. Ueno(上野) and Ikebukuro (池袋) are Chinatown. Moreover there are many Bottakuri bar for Chinese tourists.
Asakusa(浅草) is too many Chinese tourists. If you go there, you will think I came to Shanghai?! As for Tsukiji(築地) fish market, has moved to Toyosu (豊洲).
Few foreigners. You can experience a real Japanese izakaya.
Shimbashi (新橋 / しんばし)
Shimbashi means “Pont Neuf(New bridge)” in French.
Here is next to Ginza and has a great garden, Hamarikyu Onshi Park.
In addition, there are many small Sake bar like Kaku-uchi (角打ち), Ko ryouri-ya (小料理屋) and Izakaya.
Kagurazaka is a historic geisha district. Many French people are living here. And French may be more understood than English.
There are many small restaurants in the back streets that are a bit expensive but delicious. It is better to go with a Japanese person.
Kanda is next to Tokyo Station and a business district, so there are many great hidden sake bars and Izakaya.
Kanda Myojin(神田明神), the god of business prosperity, is also famous. The Kanda Festival is here, one of the three major festivals in Tokyo.
This city is also famous for Japanese curry. Every year there is a festival called the Kanda Curry Grand Prix.
These town are not tourists at all. There are many nice and inexpensive local Izakaya. You can have very Japanese Izakaya experience…
Akabane (赤羽 / あかばね)
You can enjoy a full meal of sake and yakitori. It cost only for 30USD or so for two people.
It is crowded every day because you can drink cheap and delicious sake in the morning.
Tateishi (立石 / たていし)
Tateishi is often called “Senbero (せんべろ),”town. This meaning is you can get very drunk for 1,000 yen.(pronunciation of 1000 is “Sen”)
“Bero” means “Bero bero” of Onomatopoeia, is to get hammered.
It is also crowded with Japanese people every night because it is tasty and cheap.
Nakano(中野 / なかの)
Nakano station is conveniently located 5 minutes from Shinjuku station. It has long been a student town, so there are many cheap and tasty ramen restaurants and izakaya.
There are Sake pubs also that mainly serve Sake, standing style, Japanese calls these style pubs as “Kaku-uchi”.
People drink for short hour after working, then go home.
There are small sake bar with sophisticated and run by a hostess called “Okami-san (おかみさん)”.
These small bars are also called “Ko ryouri-ya”.
There are many Koryouriya in Shimbashi. Here is the place true-sake-lovers gather, so if you would like to try rare Sake and delicious foods with little money, I special recommend you Shimbashi.
However, I guess they do not speak English at all.
FYI:Picking up gals (ナンパ)
Picking up gals is called “Nampa (ナンパ)”
There are many clubs in Shibuya and Roppongi that are full of foreigners. These place are for pick up artists! bravo!!😁
If you would like to pick up girls, that cities are good place…Well, I guess Japanese gals are very easy though.
Oh, you should bring any rubbers like contraceptives… because, never your size in Japan.
Well, it’s none of my business. Hahaha
Bottakuri bar (ぼったくりバー)
“Bottakuri” means rip-off.
Asians who talks to you in English are as a con man Chinese pretends to be Japanese.
Especially, the corona main town, Kabuki-cho is famous Bottakuri town in Shinjuku.
I talk about this bar, here.
Anyway, I hope you have a fun Izakaya time in Tokyo.