Meet the locals and delight your senses at an Izakaya gastropub
The words “gastro-pub” and “small plates” probably wouldn’t exist without Japanese izakaya. These down-to-earth eating and drinking establishments are ubiquitous throughout Japan and epitomize Japan’s culinary culture. In Tokyo, you’ll find izakaya packed with office workers unwinding after a long day at work almost everywhere you go. Although Japanese favorites such as sashimi, yakitori, grilled fish and tofu dishes are always available, Japanese-Western hybrid specials such as deep-fried ham, pizza, fried potato and omelets are on most menus, too. The Japanese style of izakaya dining is focused on conversation and interaction—dinners are often several hours long and steadily paced, with many small plates being shared before the final shime, or closing dish, which always consists of rice, noodles or other carbs to round out the meal. A few months before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games, which begin on July 24, 2020, Japan will ban smoking in most bars and restaurants with hired employees. This should only increase the enjoyability of izakaya establishments for all. We hope you find one that you can’t wait to visit again!