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Izakaya, a Japanese style pub or tavern

Izakaya is a kind of Japanese pub or tavern. It is a casual place for after-work drinking.
Izakaya are sometimes called akachōchin (red lantern), because these paper lanterns are traditionally found in front of them.

■ Drinks and dishes
They serve drinks and foods. Drinks are beer, wine, Sake, Shochu and more. Sake and Shochu are Japanese alcoholic beverages. Sake is made from rice. Shochu is a kind of distilled liquor made from sweet potato, barley or rice. Non-alcohol beverages are also served.

They serve a variety of dishes, which are suited to drinking. For example, seafood such as sashimi and grilled fish. And okonamiyaki or Japanese pizza, edamame or steamed soybeans and various kinds of pickles. You can eat and drink in the traditional Japanese atmosphere.

■ Nomi-hodai
A unique format for izakaya is known as nomi-hōdai (“all you can drink”). For a set price, customers can continue ordering as much drink as they wish, with a usual time limit of two hours. The menu from which you can order is restricted. Not very good sake or wine are not included, of course.

It is good for those who drink a lot. When you take the nomi-hodai, all of your group must take the nomi-hodai. Therefore, big people such as sports men and foreigners like this.

■ Otoshi
Otoshi are small appetizers served at izakayas. This is local custom and usually charged onto the bill as an entry fee. Since otoshi are served without being ordered and the customer is charged, some complain.Otoshi costs only three hundred or so yen, which is comparable to tipping, something we don’t do in Japan.Some otoshi are especially tasty because the chef puts a great effort into enhancing the customer’s first impression.

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I hope this helps you appreciate izakaya.
Many izakayas have English menus recently. Why don’t you experience it?

By Eddy

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