Have you guys heard of Japan’s favourite hangout place, Izakaya? If this sounds foreign to you, allow me to explain what it is.
Izakaya is a type of casual Japanese-style bar/pub (the midpoint between a bar and a restaurant), serving a range of Japanese alcoholic drinks and top-notch snacks to accompany it. In fact, Tokyo’s Izakaya night bars are the most frequented place for after-work drinks to relax. Experience the authentic Japanese drinking culture and taste and share the amazing food on small plates. In addition, interact and socialise with the friendliest Japanese locals who are guaranteed to uplift your mood and make you feel the warmth of home! I know what you are thinking, it may be hard to decide which ones to check out but our guide to Tokyo’s Izakaya night bars will help you settle on a few of the best!
1. Kishidaya | Tokyo’s Izakaya night bars
Photo via tabelog
Kishidaya is an izakaya restaurant. The owner is a friendly and kind old lady who takes on the role of greeting the guests and guiding them to their seats while taking charge of the seating arrangements, as well as supervising the kitchen operations. The seating arrangement layout allows approx. 15 guests to be seated around a connected table which resembles the shape of the letter U. The other table faces the wall which allows approx. 5 guests to be seated there. If you are sitting in the cramped space around the U-shaped table, you are most likely bound to have a little chat and interact with the person next to you. Being that, izakaya is known for having a fun social atmosphere.
Kishidaya is very popular for its tasty gyu-nikomi (beef tendon stew), with guests confidently referring to its taste as one of the best for a Tokyo Izakaya. If this has got you instantly curious, then the more reason for you to try it yourself! There are also many other traditional Izakaya dishes from their menu such as their delicious grilled fish, sashimi and stews. With this in mind, the menu does change seasonally.
Why not compliment these delicious food choices with some refreshingly good alcoholic beverages to top it off! I bet you the drinks menu is something we all look forward to! Take your pick from a selection of different Japanese sake brands (Nihonshu), Japanese spirits (Shochu), whiskey highball or a bottle of beer. Now that’s a fantastic way to end your night in high spirits, especially along with having some great company to make your experience truly special.
【Official website】No website.
【Address】3-15-12 Tsukishima, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
【Opening hours】5:00pm – 9:30pm. Closed on Sundays and holidays.
【Access】 From Tsukishima Station, it is 8 minutes on foot.
2. Kagaya | Tokyo’s Izakaya night bars
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Kagaya is an izakaya restaurant with the full name being ‘Kagaya Izakaya: Frog is Stranger Than Fiction’. Just from hearing the name alone, you’re probably sensing that you’re going to be in for something a bit bizarre and yes, you’re totally right. So, if you’re searching for a weird experience then this is right up your alley. This izakaya surprisingly has its own unique twist, making it not just any ordinary izakaya. Get ready to be surprised because this Izakaya is literally going to be your most insane Tokyo bar experience ever with great food, drinks and entertainment! The restaurant’s atmosphere is filled with liveliness and laughter and perhaps even tears of laughter by the end of it.
The owner, waiter and entertainer refer to himself as Mark Kagaya and is also known as “Yukio Uchida”. One word that would best describe him is eccentric. The ordering system is quite quirky as every table has to choose a country written on the drinks and food menu such as the USA, Japan, China, England, Brazil or France. The menu itself is an exercise book with colourful crayon handwriting on it (English version) which resembles that for children. The dishes brought out to the table are themed to suit the country that you have selected. It will definitely be fun to see what you get.
Anticipate a short but entertaining performance directly from the man himself Mark Kagaya, which occurs along with every order that comes your way. Although, beware because he suddenly turns into crazy mode! Be prepared to participate because he could make you randomly sing. He may unexpectedly scream and he might show super weird behaviour that might catch you off guard, render you speechless or even cause a bit of confusion in the room. He may make a few sexual references so just take note of that. But don’t you worry, it’s all for some good old fun involving a bit of teasing, and is especially for those with a great sense of humour and doesn’t get uncomfortable or offended easily. In addition, Mark Kagaya dresses up in either a frog costume, cow costume and others!
Look forward to the most hilarious part which is when Mark approaches your dining buddies specifically while putting on his strange performance which makes them squirm and this causes you to crack a huge laugh at them! This will be an unforgettable and hilarious experience in which you won’t be able to stop laughing all night long!
Food and Drinks
For the drinks, the drink glasses go crazy too which makes it super hilarious to watch others drink! The glass of beer shakes and vibrates crazily, making this a challenge for you to try to drink as much as you can out of it!
The awesome entertainment will make you forget all about your hunger and thirst as you await for your delicious and homestyle food and drinks! There is a full course meal and all you can drink options on the menu. Although, he might make you sing if you order these! For food, there is a basic set menu option to the largest menu option, a total of 4 set menu options to suit your hunger level. Also, you won’t know what food is going to be included in them. Remember that this is the sort of restaurant where you would come here more for the experience of the entertainment and the food and drinks are definitely a bonus!
【Official website】Click here
【Address】2-15-12 Hanasada Building B1F, Shinbashi, Minato City, Tokyo 105-0004.
【Opening hours】Mon-Sat : 6:30pm-11:30pm. Closed Sundays.
【Access】From Shinbashi station, it is 6 mins on foot. Located at the bottom of a high building.
3. Hakuri Tabai Hanbey | Tokyo’s Izakaya night bars
Photo via nipponrama
Hakuri Tabai Hanbey is an awesome old-school style izakaya restaurant where you can feel the 1950s vibe of Japan. This Izakaya restaurant chain ‘Hakuri Tabai Hanbey’ is the full name but many refer to this restaurant as simply ‘Hanbey’ for short. Hanbey has about 17 restaurants scattered around Tokyo. Hanbey tends to have a lot of younger guests, most likely because of their cheap menu! Some waiters/waitresses are about university age too. The atmosphere is youthful, lively and cheerful.
The restaurant is beautifully decorated to display the theme of a retro style, Showa WWII Era. They have done a wonderful job at it because it will make you feel like you have truly travelled back in time! You will see that the restaurant’s walls have been covered with various Showa Era (1926 – 1989) posters and advertisements. In addition, they have Japanese vintage toys, action figures and sweets that you may be able to or can purchase here in the restaurant. Meanwhile, the radio plays music from that time (old-school Japanese pop songs from the 60s) to create that nostalgic ambience as well as create a warm Izakaya experience.
Food and drinks
The menu’s delicious dishes include yakitori (grilled chicken skewers/meat skewers), okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake), octopus sausages, sashimi, fried potatoes, fried noodles, rice cake and so forth. Now, I dare you to try something out of the ordinary if you feel courageous enough because they also have unique dishes such as grilled frog, sparrow, locusts (grasshoppers) and raw horsemeat.
As for the drinks, they have a massive goldfish bowl called ‘Fishbowl Chu hi’ (Shochu highball). The drinks menu also includes beer, jockey, whiskey-type drinks and shochu-type drinks. As well as, a big pitcher (consisting of the amount of about 6-7 mugs), cocktails, plum wine and more. As listed above, the menu has a variety of good quality and tasty food and drinks available at an affordable price.
Hakuri Tabai Hanbey (Shibuya) information
【Official website】Click here
【Address】2F Shinoda Building, 31-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
【Access】From Shibuya Station, it is 6 mins.
4. Torikizoku | Tokyo’s Izakaya night bars
Photo via favy
Torikizoku is a Yakitori Izakaya restaurant chain with around 200 stores located in Tokyo. You can easily find the place just by simply searching for the vibrant yellow sign with red letters. The restaurant’s interior design consists of all things made from wood including wooden table seats, creating a warm ambience. In addition, there is a touch screen menu on every table and you can select the English translation option but a reminder that not all locations may have it.
Each item on the Torikizoku menu is super cheap costing only 298 yen, this includes both the food and drinks menu. It is an absolute bargain for the gourmet quality you are getting! Not to mention, this place always offers a ‘Limited time menu’ and ‘Monthly recommended menu’ so there is always a new reason to come back again. In addition, there is a ‘Speed menu’ perfect for those who are hungry and want their food to come out fast.
They are most popular for their signature menu which is a variety of yakitori (grilled chicken skewers/meat skewers like pork/beef etc.). You can choose between two types of flavours being shio (salt) and/or tare (sauce). In fact, their chicken is raised locally so the quality is guaranteed to be authentic. The recommended items to order are the ‘Momo’ (chicken thigh) or ‘Mune Kizoku’ (chicken breast). The sweet green onions sandwiched between them and paired with the chicken’s sauce umami is fantastic. Most of the menu also offers other chicken-based foods other than just yakitori.
The drinks menu includes a large range of alcohol to choose from. The Torikizoku drinks menu includes the ‘Mega’ size of alcohol, beer, whisky and Sho-chu high balls. As well as, Sho-chu (sake), PlumLiqueurs, Fruit Liqueurs (wine) and Cocktails etc. The Sho-chu high balls are quite sweet and generally consist of less alcohol. They also serve non-alcoholic drinks. This Izakaya will help quench your thirst in the most satisfying way.
Torikizoku (Shibuya) information
【Official website】Click here
【Address】3F Third Tanaka Building, 31-3 Udagawacho, Shibuya city, 150-0042 Tokyo Prefecture.
【Opening hours】4pm-4am daily.
【Access】 From Shibuya Station, it is 0.5km.
5. Doma-Doma | Tokyo’s Izakaya night bars
Photo via gurunavi
Doma-Doma is an Izakaya restaurant chain serving tasty food and refreshing alcoholic drinks! Here, you can have a lovely traditional meal with the traditional interior but with a bit of modernness added to it as well. The food menu consists of delicious dishes like yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), hot pot, assorted sashimi, seared Atka mackerel, roast beef and more. There are enough options to surely satisfy any of your cravings! The drinks menu offers a ‘3 hour all-you-can-drink plan’. The drinks menu includes Japanese sake (Nihonshu), Japanese spirits (Shochu), Wines, Beer, Cocktails and others. Also, there is an English menu for those who are not familiar with Japanese.
Doma-Doma (Shinjuku) information
【Official website】Click here
【Address】1-25-3, Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0021
【Opening hours】5pm-12am daily. Food Last order 11pm, Drink last order 11:30pm.
【Access】It is 5 minutes on foot from JR Shinjuku Station.
Izakaya is such an authentic place to visit when you are in Tokyo and makes for a special experience as you have the chance to connect with the Japanese locals through your love of socialising, food and drinks. You are absolutely doing yourself a favour by checking these places out because you are definitely going to walk away wanting more. Don’t hesitate and go for it.