What is Izakaya? I went to Izakaya in Japan.


Written by aki


Do you know Izakaya in Japan?

Izakaya is written “居酒屋(いざかや)” in kanji.


居 means to sit.Zakaya(sakaya) is a shop serving alcoholic beverages.

In other words, izakaya is a type of Japanese restaurant where customers can enjoy light meals and small dishes while drinking sake, beer, or other alcohol.

It’s a popular place for businesspeople, friends, and families to socialize and relax. The menu typically includes a variety of dishes, like appetizers, grilled dishes, skewers, hot pots, fried chicken, sashimi, and other types of seafood. They also serve a wide range of alcoholic beverages, such as Japanese sake, shochu, beer, wine, and cocktails.

Izakayas are deeply rooted in Japanese culture and are a familiar place for many Japanese people. They are also popular among tourists who want to experience Japanese culture and cuisine.

I often go to Izakaya too.
This time, I went to my local Izakaya.


Ordering Process at Izakaya

When you enter Izakaya, you are often first asked what you would like to drink.

Most Japanese say “beer”.

Toriaezu beer in Japanese

Many people order beer as their first drink, so much so that there is a saying, “Beer for now(Toriaezu beer in Japanese)”.

It depends on the Izakaya, but if you want to order a draft beer in a mug, say “Nama beer(生ビール)”.


What is “Otōshi” or “Tsukidashi”?

When you go to a Japanese izakaya, you might be served a small dish called “otōshi” before you order your drinks.

Otōshi is a small dish of food that is served to accompany your drinks. Otōshi is not a main dish, but rather a small appetizer or snack to enjoy while having conversations and drinks with your companions.

Note that otōshi is often automatically served without being ordered, and its cost is usually included in the overall bill.


At the Izakaya I went to, they served sweet potato sweetbreads and fried fish.
I ordered a coke highball for my first round!

By the way, “Cheers!” in Japanese. is “Kanpai”!

Written in kanji, it is “乾杯(かんぱい)”.乾 means to dry and 杯 means cup.


In other words, it means to drink up the cup as if to dry it out.


Order food at Izakaya.

Although it varies from Izakaya to Izakaya, most local Izakaya menus are almost always in Japanese.

If the Izakaya has a food menu with pictures, they’ll even take your order if you point to it!

After deciding on the menu, call the waiter.If your seat has a bell, press it; if not, say “Sumimasen” to the waiter.
Raise your hand, it’s easier for them to find you!

By the way, in Japan, “Sumimasen” is also used to apologize. It is strange, isn’t it?

When you use “sumimasen” to call a shop assistant, it is typically used as a polite phrase to convey that you have a request. For example, “sumimasen, could I ask you something?” In this case, “sumimasen” is not an apology, but a polite way of addressing the person.

On the other hand, “sumimasen” used to apologize is used to express regret for causing trouble or inconvenience to the other person. In this case, “sumimasen” carries a stronger sense of apologizing and often includes a feeling of reflection and regret.

In short, when calling a shop assistant, “sumimasen” is a polite address, while in apologizing, “sumimasen” is used to express regret and carry a stronger sense of apology.


Well, I ordered my food and my food arrived.

This is deep-fried taro.

This is deep-fried taro.

The taro is not simply deep-fried, but is stewed in dashi broth once and then deep-fried, giving it a delicious flavor.



These are skewers.

On the left is a grilled yam skewer. On the right, vegetables wrapped with pork.
Both are grilled over charcoal and have a smoky aroma that goes well with sake.



Now, before you leave the Izakaya, pay your bill.

To pay the bill, just say “Okaikei onegaishimasu(お会計お願いします)” to the waiter and he will bring it to you.
This means, “Please bring me your bill so I can pay you”.

Note that there are quite a few Izakaya that do not accept credit cards.


If this is your first Izakaya experience, go to a chain Izakaya.

I sometimes go to Izakaya called “Torikizoku”.It is easy to order food through a touch panel.

You may ask the hotel staff for Izakaya recommendations.


I hope you will try Izakaya tour.



Hello! I live in a place called Shiga, Japan. I'm not very good at English, but I'm writing this blog in the hope that I can convey some of Japan's beautiful places and delicious food to people overseas.