Typically Japanese, izakayas traditionally serve a vast range of alcoholic drinks and freshly prepared snacks and small dishes. They’re basically the equivalent of a British pub or a Spanish tapas bar, a place you visit with colleagues or friends after a long day at work. This is where you can drink local brews and eat your favorite comfort food while chatting away. Some places have open kitchens that offer guests the chance to watch the chefs at work. Don’t be put off if the staff doesn’t speak English. Just use a translation app. It makes the experience all the more authentic. The best izakayas are found in one of Tokyo’s most famous and chic shopping districts, Ginza, along with upscale boutiques and high-tech stores. We’ve put together a useful list for you. Scroll down to see the 10 best izakayas in Ginza to have great food & drinks when in Tokyo.
1. Ginza Inakaya
In perfect Japanese tradition, experienced chefs will cook up a storm right in front of you. You will marvel in awe as you watch them cut, chop, marinate, grill, and gently sizzle a variety of food such as fresh fish, meat, and seasonal vegetables. As you eagerly wait for your food to make your way into your fangs, you can sip on sweet sake or dry shochu. Ginza Inakaya will let you choose among over 15 different types of drinks.
Address: 1st floor, Kanedanaka Building, 7-6-16 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Website: Ginza Inakaya
Opening hours: 5:30pm - 11:30pm (daily)
2. Hakataya Daikichi Ginza
Japanese-style lamps hanging from the ceiling, long tables surrounded by chairs, low stools with different-coloured embroideries, and a pop-art mural depicting a group of samurai are just some of the things you can expect at Hakataya Daikichi Ginza. Behind a screen, the busy chefs prepare all sorts of delicacies, from dumplings to meat skewers. They also prepare classic bowls of ramen. Wash everything down with a fizzy alcoholic beverage known as chūhai, which is made by adding flavoured carbonated water to strong shochu.
Hakataya Daikichi Ginza
Address: 6-chōme-2 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Website: Hakataya Daikichi Ginza
Opening hours: 12pm - 4pm, 5pm - 10:00pm (daily)
3. Ginza Kan
Since there is only one long table in this izakaya, you have no other choice but to sit opposite or right next to the chefs who will skillfully dish out perfectly assembled bite-sized delicacies. Fill your stomach with assorted sashimi or try the rice topped with raw egg. The friendly and helpful staff will guide you through the all-Japanese menu.
Address: 2-4-6-7F Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104 - 0061, Japan
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 5pm - 11:30pm; Sat - Sun: 5pm - 11pm
4. Kushiyaki Bistro Fukumimi Ginza
A square kitchen is the centrepiece of this bistro and hungry guests can sit at the table that surrounds it. They can watch the cooks as they prepare their food. The specialty at Kushiyaki Bistro is chicken, either cooked on a skewer or mixed with onion and soy sauce. The staff is friendly and speaks English so that you won’t feel completely lost.
Kushiyaki Bistro Fukumimi Ginza
Address: YK Building, B1F 5-10-9 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Website: Kushiyaki Bistro Fukumimi Ginza
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 4pm - 10pm
5. Tofuro Ginza Corridor Street
Tofuro Gonza Corridor offers a true Japanese experience. Guests will be sitting on thin cushions called a “zabuton” that are lined up on the floor by long low tables. You can rent a private or semi-private room at your pleasure and upon availability. Guests particularly love the homemade buckwheat noodles (soba) and the tempura.
Tofuro Ginza Corridor Street
Address: 8-2 1-2F Corridor-machi, Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Website: Tofuro Ginza Corridor Street
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 2:30 and 5pm - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 11:30am - 10pm
6. Andy's Shin Hinomoto
Once you walk into this small izakaya, you’ll soon find out that Andy is not your typical Japanese chef. However, he’s definitely an interesting character and the heart and soul of the place. He’ll welcome you and explain the menu that highlights is fresh fish and seafood. Andy has been in business for over 28 years and his guests are locals and tourists alike. Try the sashimi, tempura, and king crab. Expect the place to be very crowded and loud especially if the Rugby World Cup is on.
Andy's Shin Hinomoto
Address: 2-4-4, Yurakucho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0006, Japan
Website: Andy’s Shin Hinomoto
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 5pm - 12am (closed on Sun)
7. KICHIRI Ginza
An elegant place with minimalist decor, wooden interiors, and dim lights, Kichiri is a chain with over 15 locations around Japan. The menu features fusion dishes with classic Japanese flavours accompanied by Western influence, such as the teriyaki foie gras and crispy french fries with butter and soy sauce. Don’t miss their roast beef, salmon roe, guacamole, grilled chicken with red miso, and chocolate fondant for dessert.
Address: 2nd floor of Yamashita Building, 8-2, Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Website: KICHIRI Ginza
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 5pm - 3am; Sun: 5pm - 12am
8. Japane Restaurants Kakoiya Ginza
A great, traditional ambiance with a touch of nostalgia will warmly welcome you in this izakaya. You can opt for smaller dishes as you would expect from a proper izakaya or go for an all-you-can-drink set menu. They have a great selection of beers, and they serve many meat and fish options. If you dare, try their horse sashimi.
Japane Restaurants Kakoiya Ginza
Address: 7-9-20 3F Lion Building, Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 2pm, 5:30pm - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 12pm - 9pm
9. Sakura Suisan
As you stroll along Ginza, you might just miss this charming izakaya unless you know it’s there. A flight of stairs takes you one floor down from the street level where you’ll be welcomed in a well-lit room with wooden partitions, sliding doors, and your usual tatami flooring. The food is delicious and affordable. Sashimi is a favourite among guests who also particularly appreciate the all-you-can-eat eggs, pickles, rice, and miso soup. For drinks, try the highball which is a concoction of Scotch or Japanese whisky and carbonated water.
Address: Ginza Sunny Building B2, 3-4-16 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Website: Sakura Suisan
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 2pm, 4pm - 12am; Sat - Sun: 11am - 2pm, 4pm - 11pm
10. Tofuro Ginza 1-Chome
Providing a unique experience, this huge complex looks more like a movie set than a restaurant. If you wonder how a neighbourhood in Tokyo during the Edo period would have looked like, this is the place to find out. Take the lift and go down two floors from the street level. You’ll be hit by a rather fascinating setting as you walk through two-story houses and Japanese-style gardens complete with a red-painted small bridge that crosses a shallow river. The tables are placed on different levels and are lit by warm lights. This Tofuro branch offers private rooms ideal for business meetings as well as banquet halls that can accommodate up to 96 people. The affordable seasonal menu is vast and incorporates many different all-you-can-drink set courses as well as a delicious assortment of small dishes that deserve to be washed down with a glass of sake.
Tofuro Ginza 1-Chome
Address: 1-10-6 B2F First Building, Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
Website: Tofuro Ginza 1-Chome
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 2:30pm, 5:00pm - 11:30pm; Sat - Sun: 11:30am - 11pm
An authentic Japanese experience
Izakayas are a must-visit when in Japan. They are usually open until very late in the evening or until the early hours of the morning. These eateries offer traditional, fresh Japanese food at affordable prices and a great selection of alcoholic libations, from mellow, tangy sake to dry shochu. Prepare to have a fun time with your friends in these special restaurants.
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