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13 year old allowed in Izakaya? 2008/6/27 15:37
We are traveling to Tokyo from Australia in a couple of days with our 13 year old son. I have been looking on the internet at all the fantastic places to eat - soooo good - just wondering if it is cool to take him in to licenced bars and restaurants -like Izakaya places.
by Katie  

. 2008/6/27 18:21
As far as 13 years old is accompanied with grown-ups (legal age for smoking/drinking is 20 years old) and as far as he's taking non-alcohol drinks, there shouldn't be any problem.

Actually it is also OK if your whole family are just eating there without ordering for alcohol.
by . rate this post as useful

Yes 2008/6/27 19:04
It most certainly wouldn't be a problem to have your kid with you in an izakaya. I'd frankly be more worried about the possibility of a bunch of drunks and smokers sitting around your child.

by Dan rate this post as useful

Please note 2008/6/28 01:12
Welcome to Japan.
Generally, in most of Izakaya, there're people like students or businesspersons that are very noisy nonsensically.
Japanese drinking manner's terrible. So, I suggest that you search Izakaya which has individual cabin.
They usually don't charge additional fee for that.
And you need make a reservation if you get there in weekend.
As far as I know, Izakaya doesn't have non-smoking area.
I hope you find some nice one.
by n-rosa rate this post as useful

smoking allowed in all restaurants? 2008/6/28 07:14
I didn't really consider the smoking side of things - thanks for pointing that out. I am not so keen on eating in smoking areas myself. I will do some more research - does anyone know if smoking is allowed in all restaurants? Maybe we will look at some other dining options - although those noisy drunks sound just like some good friends of ours!
by katie rate this post as useful

Izakaya and smoking 2008/6/28 08:40

No-smoking areas are rare (non-existent?) in izakayas, as they are primarily adult drinking places. Most other restaurants will have no-smoking areas to varying degrees, and a very small minority are entirely no-smoking. The self-service natural food restaurant chain "Harvest" (in Ikebukuro Tobu department store and elsewhere) is entirely no-smoking and an interesting food experience.
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

OK, smoking and eating sorted now. 2008/6/28 09:34
Thanks Dave, That place sounds good, we will check it out. I think I had an incorrect perception of what an Izakaya place is (clearly!) My eyes went straight to the food part. They sounds like interesting places but maybe not the best choice for family. We leave for Japan tomorrow morning 5am!! Can't wait. Thanks everyone for input.
by katie rate this post as useful

restaurants 2008/6/28 15:20
If you have a chance to read this: all big department stores have one or 2 floors of restaurants on their topmost floors. They aren't the usual department store restaurant, as in western countries, but look like-and likely are-privately owned restaurants, each one with a front, as in a street. They have a menu upfront and replica of dishes in the window.The food is usually good and I don't remember being bothered by smoke.
by Red Frog rate this post as useful

low teens and parents 2008/6/28 17:58
Katie, I have a 16 year old son, and while he didn't mind eating anywhere when he was younger, as he reached adolscence he began to dislike "drinking places" (although I do know many teenagers who are vice versa - beginning to prefer drinking places as soon as they reach adolscence).

There is no need to go to izakaya when there are plenty of cozy and reasonable restaurants which welcome low teens with parents and serve some alcohol for adults at the same time. Just ask for recommendations at your hotel. Many take orders until 8:00pm or even 9:30pm at places that close later. Many of them serve casual Japanese food.

If you're seeking "nightlife", just tell your kid to go to bed but that it's okay for him to watch TV or play video games while parents play outside.

On a related note, most prefectural by-laws loosely don't allow those 17 years old and under to stay outdoors after 11:00pm even when accompanied by a parent.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Izakaya 2008/6/28 23:45
Not all izakaya are filled with drunk salaryman.. and smoke filled. I went to an Okinawan one in Shibuya and it was really nice. Just like a normal restaurant and everyone was very cilized. No smoking too i think... I cant stand smoke and I dont remember being bothered by any...
by ichinensei rate this post as useful

japanese food is the best 2008/7/11 14:42
Thanks for those responses and bits of advice - we have tried many different styles of dining so far and all of them have welcomed our son and he has enjoyed the food immensely. We have been out to a few smokey izakayas but as advised (Uco) - we left our son happily at the hotel (he needed a break from us too). The smoke did not seem to be an issue for us so much - we were either lucky to sit in the right spot or the quality of the food took our minds of it. Slow simmered pork, flying fish roe stuck on seaweed, crisp,fresh salads with delicious dressings, sushi so fresh it tasted of the sea.
We are having the best of times and everywhere we go we are greeted with a friendly reception - even our appalling Japanese language skills have been tolerated. We are constantly in awe of how helpful, honest and polite the Japanese people are. We accidentally left some precious 1920's wood block prints on the Skinkansen from Kyoto and our hotel staff tracked them down and arranged for us to pick them up from Tokyo station where someone had handed them in.

Also,when we went for a big drive around Izu Peninsula and got completely lost trying to find our way back to Atami we stopped at a roadside rest spot and the people there went out of their way to help us - photocopying maps and marking the route in highlighter - I know there are places and people like that in Austalia too but it just seems to be the norm rather than the exception in Japan.

We have stayed at a few different places - both traditional and western but are finishing with a stay at at the Keio Plaza in Shinjuku and it is the best spot as a central location - the trains are so close as are great restaurants. We both love Shibuya which is is close to here too.

We are not really seeking 'nightlife' - just walking around the city at night is fun enough.
When we drove around the Izu Peninsula we stayed at a place in Matsuzaki run by a couple who were so lovely. It is their house - they have about 6 rooms - tatami mats/futons etc. After sampling the hot spas at Dogashima on a cliffside we went back home and "Tosi" the master took my husband to the local store and told him what to buy for "Mama" to cook up that night over some hot coals they have in a pit under their house - subiyaki style. Incredibly delicious. My son was a bit spooked about dipping the meat in the raw egg but gave it a try and loved it. Despite the language barrier and a few moments of confusion, we had a ball - they have a karaoke room, dress-up box and a piano set up under the house too - we had a few drinks and a lot of fun - even our son who usually like to shuffle off and play gameboy or read after dinner hung around had a great time - with a wig on. They had 3 songs in English -"Rudoplh the Red Nosed Reindeer", "My Way" and "Happy Birthday" If anyone is traveling around there i would heartily recommend staying there as a different experience to hotels.

Anyway - thanks again - oh yes - we found the department store restaurants (thanks Red Frog) and those basement food courts - what a sight - our eyes were spinning around in our heads.
We love Japan and everything about it!
by katie rate this post as useful

a good time.. 2008/7/11 15:23
Thanks for the feedback Katie! It is really good to hear that you have such a great time.
by Red Frog rate this post as useful

please tell! 2008/7/11 22:30
Katie if you're still visiting this forum would you mind telling me the name of the minshuku you described in Matsuzaki - it sounds lovely.

by urayamashii rate this post as useful

Thanks, Katie! 2008/7/12 02:15
Thanks for the informative feedback! It's always great to know. And I'm sure people were nice to you because you had been nice to them!
by Uco rate this post as useful

Happy 2008/7/14 03:00
Glad you got to some izakayas. It's a must do, at least once, in Japan.
by Sammy rate this post as useful

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