For a more local night out in Tokyo an izakaya, a traditional type of Japanese bar or restaurant, is a great choice.
There are some large chains that you will find in most major parts of the city such as Watami and Tengu, however, some of my favorites are the smaller, locally owned enterprises.
Tokyo Izakaya Selection - Author Dave Perry
For our Tokyo izakaya section we are lucky enough to have Dave Perry, writer of Yumeji's Theme, join us as our guest author.
Dave is a regular izakaya goer and has really found some gems during his adventures into the backstreets of Tokyo. We love reading about his food and sake experiences. Dave has some great tips for new visitors on what to eat, how much it costs and how to get to each location.
If you're looking for something just that little bit different from the main izakaya chains then check out Dave's recommendations below. First of all though, a quick bit of background about what an izakaya is all about.
What's An Izakaya?
A Tokyo izakaya can be anything from a stand up bar with room for around 15 people, to a huge brightly lit 3 storey complex seating 500 people or more. Some specialize in a particular type of food such as yakitori or tofu while others have a varied menu for you to choose from.
In the evening after work you'll find many Japanese people heading to their preferred izakaya for an after work drink and meal with colleagues or clients. In fact, many business deals are agreed and negotiated during these after work gatherings with just the formalities to complete back in the office.
Akira Yakitori Grill in Nakameguro
The Akira yakitori grill is located close to the Nakameguro river famous for its cherry tree blossoms during the hanami season in early April. This is a cosy place with balcony tables giving you views over the river and a good selection of sake to go with your meal!
En Izakaya In Kichijoji
The En Izakaya in Kichijoji is part of a popular chain of Japanese bars you can find in Tokyo. Our favorite is the Kichijoji location. It's decorated in a traditional Japanese style and serves a great variety of Japanese food and drink. We love the little Japanese garden upstairs.
Mifune Toshiro Izakaya In Roppongi
The Mifune Toshiro in Roppongi is a new Tokyo izakaya that was built to celebrate the actor of the same name. The interior is designed in the style of old Japan with a hint of samurai and tradition everywhere you go. If you want somewhere just a little bit different it's certainly a good venue to try.