Nightfall, when the city illuminates, people flock to Japanese taverns, or izakaya to unwind and sate their hunger after a tiring work day. Even in Japan, izakaya are one of many popular genre of places. You are probably wondering how they differ from pubs, right? Well, how about we dig a little deeper to find out?

History of izakaya

Izakaya originated back during the Edo period. Long ago in Japan, alcohol was sold at alcohol merchants, or sakaya. The word "izakaya" comes from a combination of the words isuwaru or "to stay" and "sakaya". After many years, izakaya evolved into a place where both food and alcohol are served.

Q1.Which is better? Franchises, or privately-owned izakaya?

If you're new to izakaya, then a franchise is highly recommended since they usually have multi-language menus readily available. If you have faith in your Japanese language skills and wish to thoroughly explore izakaya, then challenge yourself to visit a privately owned one. Who knows--you may have an unexpected chance encounter there.

Q2.What's an otoshi?

Some people might be troubled by food that suddenly shows up at their table even though they've not ordered anything. This otoshi is a type of culture at izakaya and is considered by many as a sort of table charge. Some izakaya will let you refuse otoshi, while it is mandatory at others. If you don't care for it, there are some places that don't require it, so be sure to try finding them!

Q3.I don't care for Japanese sake... Should I be concerned?

You need not worry as many izakaya carry a large variety of alcohol in addition to Japanese sake! They even have soft drinks, so those wanting to eat there can also rest easy.

All that's left is a toast! Enjoy a rich variety of cuisine!

What did you think of the world of izakaya? If you're ever in Japan, be sure to bring one of your days of travel to a great close at one! Tomorrow we will show you food that goes great with alcohol called "otsumami" which is served at izakaya.