Do you know the meaning of Izakaya? Have you heard of the traditional Japanese bars? In this article, we will tell you all about these small bars that are family and home businesses, used as a meeting point between friends.
What are Izakaya?
After a long day at work, to gather the family or even to drink with friends Izakayas [居酒屋] are a great choice. Izakayas are taverns or bars, which have a very comfortable and friendly atmosphere.
They serve a great and varied variety of dishes and drinks. Currently these homemade bars have expanded and exist in all sizes, but the focus is still have fun and relax people with simple and cheap drinks and dishes.
There are believed to be more than one and a half million Izakayas spread across Japan. You can find an izakaya anywhere in Japan, from small towns to busy streets. They are also very popular around train and metro stations.
Even though bars are mostly remembered for mess, drunken people and a lot of noise, izakayas are different. They were inspired by tea houses Japan's Edo period. In the 17th century, these houses started selling sake and make simple dishes. What became very popular at the time.
The word Izakaya is formed by the ideograms [居酒屋] which means something like a bar serving dishes and snacks. The word has the ideogram of [居] which means residence, [酒] which means sake and [屋] which represents shop or sale.
The main aspect that unites all Izakayas is that they are all places casual, made for relaxation and relaxation with many common drinks and food. But classic traditions and roots and Japanese ingredients are always faithful.
What can be found in an Izakaya
You can find a huge variety of dishes. The most common are sashimi, fried chicken, grilled rice balls, edamame, gyoza among others. The most requested are the yakitori, which are pieces of chicken grilled on a bamboo skewer. And also the oden, which are potatoes, vegetables, octopus and eggs cooked in a broth. Some Izakayas specialize in seafood.
This drink is usually distilled from sweet potatoes, barley, rice, wheat or brown sugar. Such drinks are often taken neat, mixed with water, fruit juice and even tea. But of course, soft drinks are also served.
Often the customer receives a wet towel called oshibori to clean your hands. And then a otoshi, which are small portions of appetizers. The menus can be found from on the tables to hanging on the walls and ceiling.
The dishes are usually shared with everyone at the table. Traditionally in the beginning, izakayas were very simple and frequented only by men. But today more and more women and students are gathering in these places.
The Izakayas are very successful among the Japanese and all tourists who visit. Standing out for its exciting and welcoming atmosphere and traditional and warm services. Have you had a chance to visit an Izakaya? What is your experience?
My Experience at an Izakaya
I went to Izakaya for the first time in the Izu region in the city of Ito. In the first Izakaya I went we took a Sake where he poured it into a glass that was inside another wooden container, filling both containers.
Then we went to a Snack Bar and sang a couple of songs on Karaoke and then we went to another Izakaya top, much more familiar where we talked a lot with the owner and even took pictures of them. That day was an amazing experience while staying at K's.
Of course, during the trip we went to several other restaurants that served drinks, mainly some German beer and also Sapporo's own factory in Hokkaido. I also went to Izakaya in Tokyo and ate Yakitori.