An izakaya (居酒屋) (Japanese: [izakaja]) is a type of informal Japanese pub. They are casual places for after-work drinking. They have been compared to Irish pubs, tapas bars and early American saloons and taverns.
1 Etymology 2 History 3 Dining style 4 Typical menu items
4.1 Alcoholic drinks 4.2 Food
5.1 Akachōchin 5.2 Cosplay 5.3 Oden-ya 5.4 Robatayaki 5.5 Yakitori-ya
6 In literature, TV drama, and film 7 See also 8 Footnotes 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links
The word izakaya entered the English language by 1987. It is a
compound word consisting of i (to stay) and sakaya (sake shop),
indicating that izakaya originated from sake shops that allowed
customers to sit on the premises to drink.
Taipei izakaya in 1951
Historian Penelope Francks points to the development of the izakaya in
Japan, especially in
People at an izakaya, sitting by the bar and facing the kitchen.
Izakayas are often likened to taverns or pubs, but there are a number
Depending on the izakaya, customers either sit on tatami mats and dine
from low tables, as in the traditional Japanese style, or sit on
chairs and drink/dine from tables. Many izakaya offer a choice of both
as well as seating by the bar. Some izakaya restaurants are also
tachi-nomi style, literally translated as "drinking while
Usually, customers are given an oshibori (wet towel) to clean their
hands; the towels are cold in summer and hot in winter. Next, a tiny
snack/an appetizer, called an otōshi in the Tokyo area or tsukidashi
in the Osaka-Kobe area, will be served. It is local custom and
usually charged onto the bill in lieu of an entry fee.
The menu may be on the table, displayed on walls, or both. Picture
menus are common in larger izakaya. Food and drink are ordered
throughout the course of the session as desired. They are brought to
the table, and the bill is added up at the end of the session. Unlike
other Japanese styles of eating, food items are usually shared by
everyone at the table, similar to Spanish tapas.
Common formats for izakaya (as well as much other) dining in Japan are
known as nomi-hōdai ("all you can drink") and tabe-hōdai ("all you
can eat"). For a set price per person, customers can continue ordering
as much food and/or drink as they wish, usually with a time limit of
two or three hours.
A mock-up of an izakaya style menu
The wide variety of izakayas offer all sorts of dishes. Items typically available are: Alcoholic drinks
Sour mix (sawā) Chuhai
Some establishments offer a bottle keep service, where a patron can purchase an entire bottle of liquor (usually shōchū or whisky) and store the unfinished portion for a future visit. Food Main article: Sakana
Cold edamame beans and a cold Japanese beer
Edamame – boiled and salted soybean pods Goma-ae – various vegetables served with a sesame dressing Karaage – bite-sized fried chicken Kushiyaki – grilled meat or vegetable skewers Salads Sashimi – slices of raw fish Tebasaki – chicken wings Tofu
Agedashi dofu – deep fried tofu in broth Hiyayakko – chilled silken tofu with toppings
Tsukemono – pickles
Rice dishes such as ochazuke and noodle dishes such as yakisoba are
sometimes eaten at the end to round off a drinking session. For the
most part, the Japanese do not eat rice or noodles
(shushoku – "staple food") at the same time as they drink
alcohol, since sake, brewed from rice, traditionally takes the place
of rice in a meal.
Akachōchin ("red lantern") with kanji "Izakaya" written on it
Akachōchin for nikomi (right) and nobori banner for nabe (center)
Izakayas are often called akachōchin ("red lantern") after the red
paper lanterns traditionally displayed outside. Today, the term
usually refers to small, non-chain izakaya. Some
unrelated businesses that are not izakaya also sometimes display red
Activity at a robatayaki. Seafood and vegetables to cook displayed
Chicken skewers (yakitori)
Yakitori-ya specialise in yakitori. The chicken skewers are often
grilled in front of customers.
In literature, TV drama, and film
Cuisine of Japan List of public house topics Ramen shop Sunakku
Beer portal Culture portal Food portal Japan portal Liquor portal Wine portal
^ "Audio pronunciation". Google Translate. Google.
^ Mente, Boye Lafayette De. AMAZING JAPAN! – Why Japan is Such an
Intriguing Country!. Cultural-Insight Books. p. 52.
^ "Does English still borrow words from other languages?". BBC News. 3
February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014. Some examples that the
Oxford English Dictionary suggests entered English during the past 30
years include ... izakaya, a type of Japanese bar serving food
^ *Hiroshi Kondō (1984). Saké: a drinker's guide. p. 112.
ISBN 978-0-87011-653-7. Literally translated, the word izakaya
means a 'sit-down sake shop.'
^ Francks, Penelope (February 2009). "Inconspicuous Consumption: Sake,
Beer, and the Birth of the Consumer in Japan". Journal of Asian
Studies. Association for Asian Studies. 68 (1): 156–157.
doi:10.1017/S0021911809000035 – via Cambridge University Press.
(Subscription required (help)).
^ Rowthorn, Chris. Japan. Lonely Planet. p. 88.
^ "Bobby Regales Japanese with Song Rendition" Monroe Morning World (6
February 1962): 11. via
Yamate, Kiichirō (20 December 1957). 桃太郎侍 (Momotarō-zamurai). Kokumin no Bungaku, color edition (in Japanese). 16. Kawadeshobō. Yamaguchi Hitomi (1982). Izakaya Chōji (in Japanese). Shinchōsha. Ikenami, Shōtarō (2011). Onihei hankachō II. Kanpon Ikenami Shōtarō Taisei (in Japanese). 5 (reprint ed.). Kōdansha. Nihon Eiga Eisei Kabushikigaisha; Shōchiku (2013). "Ikenami Shōtarō and Film Noir" (in Japanese). Fuji Television. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
Izakaya: The Japanese
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