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Izakaya as single travel 2019/1/8 07:34
Hi,
Being a male single traveller, is it possible to visit an izakaya? I speak and read basic Japanese.

Since izakaya joints seem quite small, I get the idea that only certain people are allowd inside. I have passed by several izakaya in Tokyo but they seem quite lively and as a non-Japanese I feel like I would stand out too much or not allowed inside.

by Mio (guest)  

Re: Izakaya as single travel 2019/1/8 10:38
Of course, a solo diner can eat at an izakaya. I do that a lot, because I like talking to the chef and sometimes meet new people. And I can really enjoy the sake when I am by myself. I do look for a counter seat, especially during busy hours so that I don't hog a table all by myself. Some izakaya are cozy and quiet, others can be loud and rowdy. Choose what suits your mood.

by Nonn Bay (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Izakaya as single travel 2019/1/8 12:20
Yes, look for izakayas that have counter seating, and sit at the counter - you'll be fine. And not all izakayas are tiny - some are quite large and seat hundreds of people.

Just a couple of rules to be aware of - there's almost always a small cover charge (typically Y300-500, but sometimes a bit more or less), and you'll receive a small dish called an otoshi for that price. This isn't optional - it's part of the pricing system that izakayas rely on to stay in business. You don't have to eat your otoshi, but you do have to accept it and pay for it.

The second rule is that you need to order a drink when you sit down. Izakayas are considered to be drinking spots, even when they have large food menus. If you don't want to drink alcohol, then order a cold oolong tea (ooroncha) - that's the standard non-alcoholic beverage at izakayas, although there may be other choices.

There are lots of different kinds of izakaya - some specialize in grilled chicken (they're called yakitoriya), some in seafood, some have good collections of sake, some just beer and shochu. If you absolutely don't know what to order, usually nama-beer (draft beer) and sashimi-moriawase (platter of assorted raw fish) is a safe bet to start with, unless you're in a yakitoriya, in which case yakitori-moriawase (platter of assorted chicken skewers) is worth trying.
by Umami Dearest rate this post as useful

Re: Izakaya as single travel 2019/1/8 15:06
Izakayas are made for single men, Ifd say. (Although there is nothing wrong in going as a single woman or in a small group).

Apart from by food as PP said you can distinguish izakayas by size. There are the really small ones often with counter seating only/mainly. They are full of male single clients who often go to THEIR izakaya. You will be welcome and with rising alcohol levels get dragged into some conversation more often than not.

Then there are big mainly chain izakayas. Apart from the type of food they serve, they are not different than any other restaurant/trattoria. Single guests no problem there either but much less likely youfll get involved with the other guests or the host.

Then there are midsize izakayas which are like Italian village trattorias. Lively, but generally separate seating for all. But not generally a chain.

Mostly (except big chains or some totally tourist focused place) there will be Japanese menu only. Donft rely on google translate as they are more often than not handwritten which is illegible for google. If in doubt apart from following PPs advice, in the very small ones, often a part of the food is displayed on the counter. So you can just point. Or just have a look around at your co-guests if you see something attractive and ask for the same.
Plates are generally small. Ifd compare it to eating tapas in Spain. But you can order one after the other.

While Nama beer is a safe choice, I personally would go for sake (called Nihonshu in Japanese). Other popular choices are highball (whiskey soda).

In the very small izakayas you will stand out. But as generally everyone is friendly it can make for a entertaining evening.

Enjoy your isakaya experience!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Izakaya as single travel 2019/1/8 20:28
"Izakaya" simply means "tavern" or "pub", and there is a great variety of them. Just to add to the other great suggestions, choose a district that is popular among your age range.

For example, izakaya in university towns would often be packed with loud students partying. Meanwhile, districts like Shinbashi and Akabane are known to attract local office workers and middle-aged men (and women who think like men) aiming for cheap and casual drinking. For foreign first-timers, Yurakucho is a nice area to look for tourist-friendly izakaya with English menu. The safest way is to ask for recommendations at your hotel.

Happy drinking!


by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Izakaya as single travel 2019/1/8 22:04
My only comment with an Izakaya is that I sometimes do not use them when they are extremely busy. Many have single seating - but others don't. As such, if it's a Friday/Saturday night I sometimes look for somewhere else to eat.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Izakaya as single travel 2019/1/10 01:45
As others have said, the answer is a simple and resounding YES!

The only other thing I'd say is that I'd always recommend the smaller sort of place which has a counter. As a foreigner, especialy with a little nihongo ability, you are almost guaranteed to end up chatting to those around you and having fun. If you go to a larger place with no counter, you'll end up on a table or little booth by yourself and that's no fun at all.

by wakarahen rate this post as useful

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